Thursday, September 20, 2012

Book Review 3

Let's start with a good quote:

"A father is responsible to lead his children in a way that helps them think biblically about everything.
In contrast to this, consider Abraham Kuyper’s famous statement from his inaugural address at the Free University of Amsterdam. “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!” If this is true, and it most certainly is, what are the ramification for education?
As was shown earlier, authority flows to those who take responsibility. Taking responsibility is the foundation of all the true authority. This means that reestablishing authority is accomplished by taking responsibility. Often a simple reassertion of authority is an attempt to evade responsibility. The point is reasserted so that some one else will do what needs doing. This is not only impotent; it is counterproductive."

I have to admit that when I first chose to review this book, I wasn't looking for any great insights.  There have been far too many let downs from different sermons and books on a father's role to really get excited about another attempt.  However, there are a few pearls in these pages that kept me reading.

Fatherlessness is a “rot that is eating away at the modern soul,” writes Douglas Wilson, and it goes way beyond not being there. “Most of our families are starving for fathers, even if Dad is around, and there’s a huge cost to our children and our society because of it.”  This is all true, and a truth that needs to be hammered more often in order to push some fathers into being accountable to the biblical role that they profess to believe.

Wilson uses analysis of research on the family and fatherlessness to back up his rich and wise summation of decades of really rotten family life in America - the stats may be American, but they match what is seen in Canada, too. Surprisingly, this combination makes for a good read.
Using the research, Mr. Wilson shows how many of the problems of our culture (homelessness, poverty, lack of education, crime) can be traced to fatherlessness.

One worthwhile observation is that all dads influence their children even if their influence is by their absence. The incredible impact of a dad goes far beyond joining a Dad’s group and signing a pledge (although that movie was a good one to watch); a dad influences simply because it is what he was created to do.

Although the book gets a little bogged down with research stuff which can cause me to skip over those parts,it is a worthwhile book that exposes the sin of fatherlessness. It also calls fathers to repent of their abdication and return to the Father of all for the strength to do what is right and good - that's always a good thing!  Douglas Wilson creates a strong case for a godly vision of fatherhood and exhorts men to “man up” and change the world by stepping into their God-ordained role.

Disclaimer: I receive books from Thomas Nelson Publishers (Booksneeze) free of charge in exchange for my unbiased opinion of them. I am not threatened or rewarded in any way in efforts to encourage me to provide a positive review. All opinions are mine.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Book Review 2

Tyndale I have had this for awhile now and it has been slow read...history has never been a love of mine.  However, this being the first time I have read about Tyndale there was alot to learn.  Tyndale: The Man Who Gave God an English Voice, by David Teems was interesting because so much of the KJV is what Tyndale translated - not to mention the backlash he received for his efforts. 
    I knew a little about Tyndale but now I can more truly appreciate his great sacrafice.  He gave up county, the hope of family, and eventually his life all to follow the will of his God.  He was not afraid to change the status quo or upset powerful people if he knew he was in the right - a 'boat rocker' after my own heart!  He waned the common people to read the Word for themselves rather than simply listent to priests read it to them.  We can all thank him for his courage and strive to follow his example of pure devotion to God.
  David Teems has written a thorough and passionate book about his subject.  The book was well written, if dry in some spots - hard to avoid when writing about history.  It reminds me of reading something translated from a different language.  Even if you dont think this style is for you, it is definiatly worth reading just for the experience.

Disclaimer: I receive books from Thomas Nelson Publishers (Booksneeze) free of charge in exchange for my unbiased opinion of them. I am not threatened or rewarded in any way in efforts to encourage me to provide a positive review. All opinions are mine.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Book Review 1

Surviving Your Serengeti is a simple book; which is good. It is an easy read, simple words, and easy concepts. It chronicles a fictitious American couple in the midst of life struggles and transitions; and how their trip to the Serengeti in Africa changed them forever. Their three day journey proves eye-opening as they meet an unexpected old friend who is now 'one with the Serengeti'. This friend, Zachariah, leads this couple through the Serengeti step by step while introducing them to seven amazing animals which all possess different life skills which all can glean from. This book while interesting in concept is a bit contrived, and has no natural flow to it, fiction or not - it took me a long time to get through the whole book. In fact, well over four months for such a little book!

There are some books that just grab you. One paragraph into the volume and you are just hooked. It had been my hope that Surviving your Serengeti would be like that. wasn't. Mr. Swanepoels intent was obvious and his message was strong. The character Zacaraiah explains nature, the wild animals of Africa and their way of life - and how each of us can learn from the animals. Neat idea, but taken a little too far. Although not the most interesting story, nor the most enjoyable, Surviving Your Serengeti is a New York Times bestseller. It’s more of Zacaraiah – or the author – telling you what it is he wants you to know; lots of facts. There’s not much of an adventure – more observation.

Where the author was involved in real estate, many of the “Praise for Surviving Your Serengeti” are from professionals in that industry. I wonder if it made the New York Times bestseller list because of colleagues buying the book.

I was disappointed. I was expecting something better.

Disclaimer: I receive books from Thomas Nelson Publishers (Booksneeze) free of charge in exchange for my unbiased opinion of them. I am not threatened or rewarded in any way in efforts to encourage me to provide a positive review. All opinions are mine.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

All in the Family

There is a problem among the churches of today. Well, OK...there is more than just one problem. Today I want to talk about the idea of church family. It is a phrase that is tossed about quite freely in every church, but what do we really mean by it?

Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Romans 12:10

And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it. Luke 8:21

Obviously if we are talking about brothers and sisters (and 'brethren' are talked about throughout scripture) then family is a key word. What would you do for your family? Would you babysit to give a married couple a night out? Would you ignore your house for a day to go and clean an elderly relative's house? Would you change significant personal plans in order to help out in a brother's/sister's emergency? The answer is likely 'yes' to all those situations and more!

I have that relationship with only one Christian family at this point in my life. A few posts back I talked about the loss of my local church...but there were so many people in that church that called me a sister in Christ when I was there. We had fellowship together for 10 years and called it a church family. Why does that change when my beliefs in church government and ministry have grown to a be different? We're all still Christians, right?

Now that there has been some time and distance since leaving that church it is easier to see where things are broken - more so than when we were in the middle of it all. Our relationships were very shallow. Although fellowship events occurred regularly, we rarely spent time with other church members outside these events. We genuinely liked several people in the church, however we had very little in common besides our memberships. We never spent any time seeking to build our relationships - why would we when we saw each other three or four times each week at church.

That may very well be the heart of the problem. We spent so much time at organized church events that we had no desire to build a personal relationship outside of those events. We, especially the women, spent so much time organizing, serving, cleaning, etc. during these events, that we spent little to no time sharing our lives together. We were 'church family', but we were not friends.

There isn't anything wrong with having a full schedule of church events in which members work together. The part that is missing...the part that is important...the part that so many churches miss out on to build up their members is the relationship. Without growing relationships we have no foundation; it is a church built upon the sand.

For those of you who are fortunate to be part of a good, bible-believing church, stop collecting family members and start building friendships.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I am a Homemaker

I work for a King. He has put me in charge of his home. When He comes to see how I have managed His possessions and His children, I do not want to be found wanting. I want to do my best. Everything I have is on loan from Him. I have room and board and a job to do, but it is all for Him. Therefore I want to dress my best and do my best in all my work. I also want to be creative, for this is a sincere attempt to glorify Him and His beautiful creation. How I manage my home is a form of worship to Him." --Lydia Sherman

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Propaganda from Teachers, part 2

Okay, so admittedly part one of this topic was on the sarcastic side. Nothing annoys me more than when the "so-called" higher educated establishment tells us commoners that they know more than we do. That somehow they have a special intelligence to accomplish a task that we could never imagine to do (OK, sarcasm is still there, let me try again).

I am educated as a "nurse". Actually, the title "nurse" is protected by law to ensure that anyone who has not completed the educational requirements cannot use the title for themselves - the conviction of the offense comes with a hefty fine. That, I believe, is a good thing. It avoids anyone misrepresenting themselves to a potentially vulnerable people - those who are looking for a "nurse". However, throughout my career I have known people without the diploma who are able to provide nursing far better than some of my own "nurse" colleagues. You see, the diploma is needed to be a "nurse"(just as the diploma is required for the title "teacher"); but the ability to provide nursing (or teaching) to another generally requires ONLY the heart to do it right.

Homecare in Canada is a big deal. That's where the patient's family or friends are taught the nursing skills necessary to keep and care for them at home. These family and friends (when their heart is in it) put a great deal of effort, practice and love into the nursing they provide. I, as a "nurse", have taught the steps involved in the nursing tasks; however it is these non-nurses that have put in the time and diligence to provide the nursing because they love their patient.

Teaching our children at home is the same. I love my children - more than any "teacher" ever could. I want them to grow into real people who can think for themselves; who have all the basics of reading, writing and math but also can find the truths in each situation that may come their way in life. I want them to be people who when choosing where to place their faith will choose with wisdom - not just follow the crowd. It would not matter how devoted a "teacher" in a public school classroom is, that "teacher" does not have the love it takes to raise up my children in this way.

There are some great "teachers" in many different schools (public, private, small, large), but most of the time these great "teachers" only have to concern themselves with the children in their classes for one year. I have been teaching my children for their whole lives, and will continue to do so for the remainder of mine.

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart,
and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
Deuteronomy 6:5-7

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Propaganda from Teachers

There is a bulletin board around my geographical area that reads, "Who will be the voice of the children?" It is an advertisement for a teachers' federation and every time I see it I have this overwhelming urge to drive my car into it. These signs are just another propagation of the lie that sooooo many people believe.

Anyone who homeschools has heard some form of the statement, "I couldn't do that, I'm no teacher." Even in the Christian community I have listened to parents downplay the responsibility of raising their own children when it comes to schooling. Even in the media we hear about governments trying to rule that parents can't teach their children unless they are certified teachers (they tried that in California).

Has anyone looked at our 'certified' teachers as a whole? In Canada, teachers make a substantial income, their union is strong and active; they complain publicly about their workload crawling into their personal home time and they speak out against the government regularly. There are few among this crowd that would qualify as a role model for my children - oh, I still get to decide who is a role model for them? Do I and my husband, as their parents, have any idea what is best for them? Can we discern what reading materials, social settings, friends and authorities are positive for their growth into an adult?

Apparently there are those among us who would say 'no!' - because, you see, neither I nor my husband are trained as teachers. We've never even considered putting out the money to attend university; putting in years of time listening to other teachers outline the 'how-to' of:

1. listening to my children's interests, desires, fears;
2. sharing God's word with their and learning how it applies to them;
3. pointing them in the way God would have them go;
4. celebrating each victory of becoming a godly young people;
5. acknowledging their curiosities;
6. encouraging their imagination;
7. growing with them;
8. loving them;
9. forming a life long relationship with them;
10. shaping them into a real people who are capable if discerning the world before them by weighing it with scriptural knowledge.

That is schooling. If anyone can point me in the direction of a teacher's college that certifies parents in those and any of the other fine points of homeschooling - please let me know!

Okay...that all sounds a bit harsh and sarcastic. However, I do believe that the majority of homeschooled children turn out to be viable people - they are taught to discern good information from bad; they have a strong sense of themselves (confidence); they put more into society than take from it. The majority of parents who take on the responsibility to homeschool their children take a more dramatically caring interest in the final result than any public school teacher could or would.

This will be a popular topic for this site as I am so convinced it is the only way to raise children for the glory of the Lord.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Legalistic Lines

Where is the line? Without a doubt, I am a black and white opinion type. People who like to say the Bible has grey areas are generally making excuses for choosing their own will and not God's. But there are so many differences from church to church over things like dress, dating/courtship, education, music, etc. Is there a wrong and a right on these issues?

Well, of course there is. The black and white of each issue can be found in scriptures; even if it isn't written as 'thou shalt not' we are responsible for knowing how God would have us live, act and witness in this world.

Take the issue of dress as an example. Modest dress is clearly pointed out as a must for women (1 Timothy 2:9), that is the black and white of the issue. The application of this in our lives does engulf some personal preference. I am the first to confess that if any pastor stood before me on Sunday morning and said that all female members would be expected to wear ankle length, loose fitted dresses that were absent from any embellishment or style - I would laugh out loud in rebellion (not a great reaction to authority but I'm just being honest!).

The leadership of a church may set a dress standard for positions of serving - like a uniform - such as men wear jackets and ties, however to pass it off as a biblical standard is untrue. For the most part, I do wear a skirt when I am simply attending church. The idea behind this practice is simply that I want to look my best when I am in God's house and I want to be ready to serve if I am needed.

Having said that, there are plenty of dresses and skirts that do not fit under the term 'modest'. Some of these are seen at church, too. So modesty is not about the type of clothing, it is really more about how and why the clothing is worn. Does the outfit bring to mind the words 'decent', 'honourable', and 'virtuous'? OR does it say 'proud', 'conceited' and 'vain', never mind bringing the term 'available' to the mind of those looking? Regardless of some of the arguments I have heard, the difference in these terms is plain. Any particular article of clothing can be worn modestly or immodestly.

So where is the line between biblical and legalistic? That line is only found in our individual reasons for the decisions we make. Are we following a dress code to please people or God? Are we jumping on an issue bandwagon without seeking God's wisdom? If the way we dress is only an opinion, or to be part of the church crowd, rather than a conviction - that makes it legalistic; it will be short lived.

This particular example of dress is one of the simpler issues to discern. Maybe one day I'll be brave enough to take the conversation further into the 'Christian liberty" discussion. For now, I'll leave the legalism argument with my black and white response: know why you do it; know why you believe it; know why God would like your answers!

Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15

Friday, July 22, 2011

How Shall We Be Told to Live?

Nothing can tempt me into profane language more than running headlong into a socialist situation – some days it is everywhere I turn. Take for example the ideological term that the medical society likes to use during flu shot season: 'immunizing the herd'. This is to imply that the more individuals in the 'herd' that receive the flu shot the safer the 'herd' as a whole should be. This can be how a socialist views society, as well. The more members of society (the herd) comply with the government's decisions, the better off society (the herd) will be – and those among society (the herd) who do not comply will simply be out numbered and forced to live in government rule regardless. Socialists are sneaky, too. They permeate society slowly, in order to avoid civil unrest at the loss of personal freedoms and it is very much part of society now, even if we see ourselves as democratic. Canada is swamped in it, the U.S. Is well on its way.

What is socialism? Websters defines this way:

1. any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods

2a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property

b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state

If you look up national socialism the definition is more to the point: nazism.

Boil it down to how it plays out in reality and we have the government actively training generations of citizens to stop thinking for themselves; to stop getting involved in each others lives; to stop believing diligent work is how to live; to stop taking responsibility for our own lives and choices and simply allow the government to 'take care of us'. What does God say about those who refuse to work for themselves:

Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor. Proverbs 12:24 (we become slaves to our 'provider')

The sluggard's craving will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work. Proverbs 21:25 (a sluggard learns to live off of hand outs)

Socialism is the means to which “democratic” political parties seek to build power. Even politicians who see themselves as conservative recognize that by building the peoples' reliance on the government handout generates future votes. How does this work? For years the Canadian government have given away 'free' money to arts programs, parades for special interest groups, general welfare programs. Grants for 'this' cause and funding for 'that' cause. Today, it is seen as a person's right to access the free money for their personal needs. Really, why work for a living when the government will pay the rent, pay for medications and groceries and still have enough left over for beer and cigarettes. How does a society become so lazy, so self serving?

The government has two very strong tools available to continually perpetuate the attitude. First, public schools. Here is how Adolf Hitler looked at public education, see any similarities?

  • When an opponent declares, 'I will not come over to your side,' I say calmly, 'Your child belongs to us already. What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing but this new community' .

The government also has the media at its disposal. The media in North America constantly breeds a socialist attitude in the slant of its stories. Again, Hitler has a quote that matches:

  • Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it. (think global warming or evolution)

Check out this overtly socialist view recently in the news:

The title of 'expert' is used freely by the media (and government) when wanting to push an idea on the public. By finding even one 'expert' to back an idea, the public can hear that idea repeatedly and learn not to question the expert. This 'expert' word is used as though it means omniscient – to the point where the public come to say things like: “if the experts say [this], then it must be true”; or how about “if Children's Aid [CAS]is investigating that family, they must be guilty”. Honestly, how many of us think this way without notice anymore?

From multiple bylaws telling us what we can do with our own properties(just try building a shed without a permit); to how we are 'allowed' to raise our children (teacher federations and CAS may want to talk with you), to what we are to do with our garbage or car use in order to stop climate change (you don't still use plastic bags do you?!). All because the 'experts' have made decisions for us.

Now I am not suggesting that the idea behind our laws is wrong, i.e. it is good to where a seat belt, it is good to make wise decisions about garbage/pollution, it is good to avoid smoking in a vehicle with children present, it is good to wear a helmet for bike riding and motorcycles...but the point is, I don't need someone else making a law to tell me to do the thinking for me. Socialism is what is killing common sense. Socialism is replacing common sense with policy and procedure.

This is just the tip of the iceberg for socialism – at least in my country. The topic can continue with the damage caused by socialized medicine, socialism in parenting, socialism in taxes (oh, let's not forget the price of it all!) and even socialism in our churches. However, the bottom line is always the same – the government ruling over every aspect of our lives and taking our money to pay for it. You don't have to agree with it, but we're still in the middle of it. (Americans should be aware of their president's recent deal with the U.N. over gun control)

How do we fight socialism? Question everything! Think for yourself! Study and research important issues that affect you and your family and stand up for what you believe – not what you are told to believe. That doesn't mean you will disagree with the idea in the end, but at least you will be confident and responsible for your decision to either follow or go the other direction.

By the way...God is not a socialist:

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: Proverbs 1:5 (actually read chapter 1, verses 1-14)

The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools. Proverbs 3:35


When I was young, our family was broken by divorce by the time I was thirteen. Anyone who has seen this happen will understand when I say that our family was broken long before the divorce actually happened - but it was made official when I hit the teen years. That was the first time I felt that I had 'lost' my home. After that, there wasn't any place that felt like home. The parent with whom my siblings and I lived made repeated nuances to wanting us to grow up and move out. So how can anyone feel the comfort of home with that hanging over your head? I did left before highschool had ended - I graduated, but in absentia. When your own parent is holding the door open and waving you through, you tend to join into the desire to get out quickly. So, that was losing two 'homes' in less than four years.

This pattern recently repeated itself in a different way. For the first time in over a decade, our family is no longer associated to a 'home' church. If anyone has been a visitor of my original blog you'll remember that this separation from that church has been coming for about 2 years now. My husband and I were simply growing away from some of the teaching that the leadership stood strongly on. Everything from what we were learning about family integration to church governance no longer matched up with what the majority of the church members obviously stood for - we rescinded our membership. I say it was obvious that others disagreed with us because no one else wanted to pursue change even when they stated they agreed change was needed.

Did you catch that? Even though the majority of members in this church stated they knew change was necessary to bring the church into alignment with scripture, they did not want to do the work to cause the change. How do christians come to the point of being so apathetic? There is a great article here to discuss that situation, however I wanted to talk about losing my church family.

It hurts.

People who have shown interest in our family and stated a 'love' for us have essentially waved goodbye and turned away from us. This may sound harsh when we were the ones who felt that we needed to resign our membership. However, once we made the difficult decision to do this we took labourous steps to ensure that we did not offend anyone or disparage the church for having different beliefs than us - our letter of resignation stated this:

'The annulment of our membership is a decision based on our respect and appreciation for the remaining members' and how they wish to direct the church now and in the future. It is our hope that we will still be welcomed as adherents throughout the year and that the relationships we have garnered will continue. We look forward to many years of attending and visiting, albeit on a less consistent schedule.'

It took several drafts to choose the words that expressed our love for the people while stating our reason for leaving. When we handed the letter in, we were told that we were not welcome to return even for visiting. That just blew us away. Not welcome!

Even when we came to accept this odd response from the leadership, we did not know how to take the reaction from those who called us friends. They still attend the church and have never even addressed the way in which we were treated. Does this mean that they are in agreement and also do not welcome us as visitors?

They say not. They say it is an aberration of God's house. They still have not said anything within the church circle.

Don't rock the boat. Don't upset the person in the next pew. Live in hypocrisy.

It is the Lord and the word He shows me that has kept my heart from turning completely to stone:

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 1 Peter 7

Even David went through this:

For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him:

But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.

We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.

Psalm 55