My first picture book based on the fifth commandment is available on Amazon in Kindle!
It is ideal for ages 2-5 years old. Enjoy it and please leave a review if you’ve bought it. Thank you!
My first picture book based on the fifth commandment is available on Amazon in Kindle!
It is ideal for ages 2-5 years old. Enjoy it and please leave a review if you’ve bought it. Thank you!
‘He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.’ I. Watts
for all my dear single friends – REJOICE – you do not have ‘ this itchy problem’!
My mum came to visit us this year. She had brought knitting wool that I thought would make into a lovely poncho. The minute my mum feels it is an inspirational idea, she is on it. Next thing I know she is already knitting away. A couple of days later, voilà, a sheer piece of art, my new poncho, was ready!
It looked simply stunning. I could not wait to try it, but the minute I did, it felt so itchy. Unbearable to wear! The weather was still sunny and hot. I had a T- shirt on and the wool was rubbing on my bare skin. All I wanted to do is to get rid of it. A Russian wool. It looked the best quality ever…. but at the same time you could not enjoy it. I can’t wear synthetic ‘wool’. Instantly I feel like a Sweaty Betty. All I could do is to laugh through this disappointment. Russia, as a country, is an amazing place, but …… if you have ‘an itchy problem’, you will be tested to the core and you can’t express your ‘weaknesses’ about it. I remember, before I left for California, the missionaries in Moscow were about to lose their place to stay. It was a time of trials in the heart of the winter, the weather outside was -30 C at least, not the best time for moving. … if you have somewhere to move! The doors were slammed in our faces anywhere we tried. I could never forget that feeling when you desperately need help, you wait for it, pray for it, but it doesn’t come soon enough. My prayer partner and I had to go on two-week fast because we weren’t ready to show our ‘weakness’ about it. At times like that people’s character and faith in God are on a ‘wool’s core test’ !
So, this time I wasn’t willing to give in to some insignificant ‘itchy’ problem that this wool caused. Even though often little ‘itchy’ problems in relationships cause great damage. Like those little foxes ruining massive vineyards. I kept taking to friends about this ‘little itchy problem’. A friend suggested I rinse it off with ‘Comfort’. Strangely enough I had a bottle of ‘Comfort’ just sitting in the kitchen. My mother in law kindly gave it to me ( unlike many Californians, in Britain everyone dries their clothes in the fresh air. It saves a fortune on the electricity bill, but it makes your clothes, especially the towels as a ‘sandpaper’). The sheer smell of ‘Comfort’ knocks me off my feet though. No wonder I’ve used it. The deceptive label on the front of ‘clear blue skies and flowers’ only adds fuel to fire my anger. But out of desperation I considered it. I don’t know how I survived this synthetic smell (the whole country does) that seemed to penetrate my entire house! But I love the name, it is 10 out of 10 for the marketing department. This makes me think of the Holy Spirit who alone is effective in eliminating the ‘itchy problem’ in relationships, no wonder he is called a Paraclete (Gr. παράκλητος, Lat. paracletus) meaning an Advocate or a Helper or…. a Comforter!
While I dealt with the ‘itchy problem’, I got thinking about family life. That’s what my every day looks like – time with the family. Thinking while cleaning (that’s one positive point to such a frequent activity) is so useful. I remember having the most profound thought while cleaning the bottom of my wedding dress right after my marriage. It seemed to become a good habit. Having 13 years of marriage behind me now, I had first hand experience of what it feels like for two sinners to be married.
Not so long ago, I’ve noticed that I’m ‘a true daughter of Eve’. It only took me many years of prayer to realize. May be because I was busy having babies. But when I do get enlightened on something specific at long last, it is a BIG BOOM effect. I find it so incredibly hard to admit my faults to others, especially my immediate family. Human sinful nature desires adoration at all cost, so why ruin it with those you see daily? My first reaction, even before I think about it properly, usually was: ‘ No, that was not me. NO, it is not like that. I haven’t said that. No, I haven’t done it.’ When I think about it not being emotionally involved, I’m rather astonished myself. But as two sinners rub on to each other as a wool does on bare skin, it will create a ‘itchy problem’.
On the other hand, my husband doesn’t have this particular ‘pride problem’ in a large dose as I do. He says almost straight away: ‘Yes. it was my fault.’ It spoils everything: you can’t further blame him, you can’t argue to find him guilty, you can’t do any further emotional accusations’ that much with the person who plainly admits his fault except praise him and appreciate him in your heart. Such person isn’t ‘itchy’ to be around.
I’m convinced that most couples that I’ve met, both Christians and not, were matched perfectly. They balanced and complimented each other in so many ways. The first couple that comes to mind were my parents. My dad was an extreme introvert and a very private person. My mum knew every neighbor and beyond. She is the one who was on parent’s school committee and everywhere else. Their characters, joined together, were complete. But the ‘itchy problem’ of sin that Satan had created in the garden of Eden (remember Adam and Eve sewing clothing out of fig leaves to cover themselves) never goes away…. until God Himself interfere. It doesn’t matter how well matched and suited couples are. They will suffer with the ‘itchy problem of sin’ cause the enemy will make sure of it. Perhaps He starts his attacks with Christian couples, gets nowhere with some, defeats the others and goes in circles again and again. He is a powerful spiritual being, in fact more powerful than any human. That’s why a perfect character match, physical attraction and even higher intellect is simply not enough to keep the family safe from his attacks. God Himself had to sacrifice an animal and use their skin to cover the first disobedient couple. Universally, in spite of an incredible, unfathomable technological progress, this problem of marriage between two sinners remains just as unsolved outside of Jesus and His sacrifice for the sin.
One gifted counselor noticed something. He had a couple in this office that needed some help in their marriage. The problem seemed serious, but no one was claiming responsibility for it. He said: ‘This is rather fascinating: a big problem and two innocent people. Even I can’t solve it.’
What I believe is helpful is to learn from each other and copy each other good qualities. Ask for forgiveness often. ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ This is the best spiritual daily exercise I know of . So, the first thing you want to know about a person you are about to marry, how is their prayer life? I would. Over time it is only going to get more difficult and complicated with children coming along. It will make a wife stationary for a while in life, will strip her figure for a time or for good, will limit the time a couple has to themselves and the list can go on and on and on….
A very good illustration about copying each other qualities is this. When I was first married I could not stand French brie or Camembert cheese. I didn’t even know if I liked ‘curry’ either. My husband loved Indian food & French cheese. Over the years I fell in love with those two myself. Likewise, what is more important, some of the godly qualities rubbed off on me as well. My husband was so quick to forgive. I loved to sulk. He hated arguments. I loved to prove my point. So, over the years I had a good, opposite example to copy and pray about it. In his turn, my husband became a bit more expressive in his emotions. Early on in marriage, he told me that he could not understand how his mum would cry while watching a film: ‘this is not real at all ?’ I thought to myself:’ Oops. I would do the same if the story was moving!’ He became more compassionate, patient and generous among other things. And that is one of the purposes of marriage I’m sure – to become more like Jesus ‘who is sweeter than a honeycomb‘. There is no better way than rub against someone who will speak ‘truth in love’ to you day in and day out. When we got married we both thought that we loved the Lord and were spiritual people. Only after a short while together, we doubted whether we are Christians at all ?!! I’m sure this doesn’t have to be so intense and dramatic for all couples, but refining fire is not a joke at times. Just have to keep your perspective fresh on what is going to come out of this.
We are both far from perfect yet. But we understand the Lord is still chipping away extra pieces from His masterpiece. He wants to make sure it won’t have a ‘itchy affect’ at all. In fact, no fashion would be necessary. Imagine how much money can be saved?! Hey, who will think about money then. Hard to imagine yet. We love out assets now. Don’t you love the definition of ‘an asset’ = ‘ is a resource controlled by the entity as a result of past events and from which future economic benefits are expected to flow to the entity.’
The reason why I even mention business here is because I’m still such a novice at it. I haven’t done much business in life. Buying and selling is just not my passion which must drive you to be successful. But when your family grows as dough with the yeast you need to have some assets. After much prayer, I got myself involved in a small business. Naturally, I was worried at first. What was fascinating is that if you stay honest, apply what you know from the Bible through much prayer, you will have the best shot at it. I knew about Christian business people who are doing well, but haven’t expected it to be that easy and straightforward. It is. The rest is just details and having a desire to learn will take you when you need to be. The Bible does give the best advise to do any business successfully. Jesus, Logos, the Word was before any business ever was.itchy
The spiritual definition that I’ve worked out is this: Jesus secured His victory on the cross in the past to bring redemption of mankind in the future for their eternal benefit! Wow!!!
Let’s keep our family fire burning. It spreads warmth, love, hope for the completely victorious future, patience, fitfulness, perseverance, no matter what life and the enemy throws at us towards all. God has overcome the power of sin. So will we by the power of the Holy Spirit. And if the Lord has you single, you life brings glory to Him just as much. At times it feels lonely, but it is ‘not unbearably itchy’ at least! I’ve quoted above a line from Isaac Watts famous hymn ‘Joy to the world!’ He had to remain single all his life, (he felt in love with a poetess, she was naturally very fascinated by his writings, but when she met him, she decided that he wasn’t handsome enough to tempt her as Mr. Darcy puts it), but he had written sweet praise during his whole life to our Eternal, full of love and mercy, God! What a life that counted for Christ that was. Whichever your status in life is, with Christ – it matters even when time ceases!!!
On Saturday as I was driving on a country road, my left eye caught a peculiar sight. A house, just before the bend of the road, had metal trees in the garden. I kept staring at them, nearly swerved the car off the road.
It is awfully convenient to have metal trees in your garden. Hardly any care required. Often, even without realizing it, often I want my life, health, well-being, spirituality to be like those ‘trees’ that don’t need any care or nourishment.
I was on my way to the Saturday market to buy milk. From the start it had not been the best day. I got talking to my mum and lost concentration for just enough time to miss a turning. Consequently, it took us twice as much to finally get to the market. I would not even bother if I didn’t have to pick up milk for a friend. Even though after starting to drink raw milk my teeth back to normal (not being sensitive and unbearable to chew on both sides of my jaw) I still find it hard to make the effort. Often I want my health to be just as a ‘metal tree’. No care, no effort required. Often I just want to sound all healthy and right minus the sacrifice of time and money. I hear people say ‘oh, it is so much easier ‘to do good’ in life. And I can do it myself without anyone’s help.’ I find this incredibly unbelievable. My faith must be too small.
Another thing that I found amusing was about ‘multiple promises’ that we make. Or others make. It caught my attention that Waitrose supermarket starting to partner with Shell company. For years they fought for cleaner water for cleaner fish, but this promise/conviction doesn’t seem relevant once Shell offered them partnership? How does it make you feel? I’m not a Green Peace activist, but still it left me with rather unpleasant feeling. Who is among us doesn’t like when promises are kept? The truth is it is impossible to achievable by human efforts alone. Here is a classic example. I tried to explain to one lady how only God can help anyone to do what is right; the fact that only through Christ and His righteousness we are able to please holy God. After all my explanations, this woman turned around and said: ‘Here is what my father used to say, whom I absolutely adored. ‘ I want to wake up each day and be able to look at my reflection in the mirror.’ Sounds very noble, but who can actually do it? It is just a matter of time before our deepest convictions and earlier made promises compromised or totally broken. What is interesting is that we are looking at the Lord’s Prayers on Sunday mornings at the church. Isn’t peculiar that Jesus could have addressed God : a Holy One, Eternal One or gazillion other names ? Yet, He addressed Him not ‘My Father’ , but as ‘Our Father who are in heaven’ including and sharing Him with all who believe. Not only God is the Father to all who believe, but Jesus calls Him ‘Our’ father which makes it so much more personal. Some of us have fathers we adore, some of us, don’t. But it is only Our heavenly Father who leads us on the path of life in eternity . We must consider Him and what He says. His wisdom stands forever and it is supersedes time. May we read and meditate on our Bibles more often! To do that we all must put some effort, have a desire and time to be consistent with it, have ‘waiting on the Lord period’ for specific prayer answers. That was the most convicting part of the Sunday sermon . I find myself so impatient these days, it is shocking. When Christians stay up late reading their Bible and pray you can tell. You also can tell when they stay and watch YouTube or whatever other entertaining nonsense the Internet offers. This is first of all a challenge for me – to put to practice what I ‘preach regarding my body & soul’. And I thank God that He delivers all the promises that He ever made!
He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Just imagine you are a fly, sitting on the wall, listening to this couple conversation in the morning. A husband shots his bullet first:
‘Why my tea is so weak? You know that I like it strong. Two sugars. You can’t even prepare this right. You are so selfish. And lazy! What are you doing all day long at home anyway? My family will not be impressed. Women expected to be perfect housewives in Australia. You will find it hard there.’ Yes, that’s right the traditions of some cultures follow you even as far as Australia!
If you are a Western woman and you think that your life is generally hard and limited, you can’t be further from the truth. Becoming friends with a young woman from Iraq had been an eye opener. It seems the more she talks to me about their customs, the highers my eyebrows fly.
‘The women do not swim publicly. We step in to the water with her clothes on to cool down.’
‘After your marriage had been arranged and you got engaged, you can’t talk to any other man before the wedding. If you do, the whole family and every relative you have, will cut you off. They will consider you as a harlot.’
‘ A country woman might as well be a brain of Iraq, but it is unlikely she will be able to go to University. She is expected to give birth to the children and look after the house.’
All women in Iraq are in the same boat regardless their spiritual convictions. The influence of Islam and ancient traditions are still as strong as death upon all.
After a few conversations with this lady I felt as I came not just from another country, but another planet.
Can a woman be that suppressed in society? Yes, no doubt. I think people who believe that Christianity has not done anything to liberate women, are misinformed. The privileges of women around the world are varied like weather.
But what kind of role and power God entrusted a Christian woman with? That is an excellent question to investigate.
There is a controversial understanding in Christian circles about head covering. If you want to know my honest opinion, this is simply a diversion from Satan. He wants to take women’s eyes from the real source of power that lies in her heart, will & mind, not on her head necessarily.
My husband thought that the children brushed their teeth. I told him that they didn’t: ”Touch their toothbrushes and see if they are wet or dry.’ ‘Yes, Sherlock.’ He was impressed. I love watching detective stories or FBI involved thrillers. To have an attitude of a detective towards spiritual reality could be even more fun.
A lot of factors form a person: personality and genes, upbringing and education, in what part of the world the Lord Sovereignty placed her, whether she is married or not. We know that. And once you are married, you life changes more than it ever will. The spouses have so much influence on each other it is unreal, Christian even more so.
From the start, the Bible teaches that Adam was created first, he is the head and a woman was created to be his helpmate. It might give you an impression that man is with more power here. Hmmm, may be more authority for sure. Do you think a Man would be the same man spiritually whether a Woman had incessantly prayed for him or if she didn’t? Whether she was respectful in public to him, but painfully honest in her prayers and in conversations, when the Lord gave an opportunity? What If she was busy most days, organizing the market, teaching her children, travelling here and there? I know, as a fact, that the more I take on, the less I have time to pray for my husband. So the best advise I could give to a Woman is to be completely committed to her husband in every way. The biggest mistake a Christian woman can make is to stop taking God’s strength and sufficiency to stay honest with him even if it isn’t welcomed while taking care of the children mostly. Thank God for single women, widows, young and unmarried yet in the church who are praying during all those moments. Western men, more so Christian men could be just as bad as that young man from Iraq, except they have no foolish traditions to back them up. Phew!
I believe that well being of a husband, pastor, leader of any significant ministry is in the hands of the women. Only because he does all the jobs up front and they behind close doors, doesn’t mean they are less powerful. A wife must provide healthy and nutritious meals, kick him out towards the gym, swimming, walking, cycling if need be – any activity is better than work 24/7 or sitting in front of a TV; must intercede for him through constant prayer, remain spiritual, in active relationships with the Lord herself. In one of the thrillers about an FBI agents work, a wife of one of them could not handle his job and walked out on him with a baby. She got tired of criminal cases that devoured his personal life as much. On the other hand, he felt that he was destined to catch those mad men: how could he rest while they are killing the innocent, unsuspected citizens? Even though he remained at his job, he appeared to be a wounded man. I’m sure in real life it is worst drama.
Who is here with all the power, who really needs to be a strong helpmate ready to go and do whatever the Lord has her to do in order to make her husband bulletproof ? The woman. After all, when Eve took an initiative and offered the forbidden fruit to Adam, she changed the course of entire humanity. Does that sounds like a suppressed weak creature? From that moment on, the Woman, more so a Christian one, still remained in a place of great influence over men, either for better or for worst.
That’s why the only advise I could of gave to my young, newly married Christian friend from Iraq, is to pray for her husband until God answers her. Pray for herself at the same time.Carry on reading the Bible. ‘I wish I could stop lashing out when he talks so negatively about me.’ ‘Yes. The only solutions – self-control. One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.‘ No one is out of God’s reach. It is only a matter of time. Even world ruler do exactly as He pleases.
Once, in early days of acquaintance with Susanna, Spurgeon asked her: ‘Do you pray for your husband somewhere in the world?’ That was his plea as a preacher that people would pray for him as much as they could. No wonder he was titled ‘the Prince of Preachers.’ Today I find his writings still the most inspirational by the Holy Spirit.
But there are mature, deeply spiritual Christian women as they seem to be, are out there who think they can afford not to intercede for their husbands. The interest and eagerness to support what he does is lost. And it doesn’t worry them or others. Simply shocking. Perhaps they got tired to be sacrificial on the back stage. May be they are not strong or wise enough to confront a deep pain that a husband caused at one point. I certainly struggle with ‘being sacrificial whenever it needed’ from time to time. I read some of the stories about female missionaries and think to myself: ‘She can’t be human.’ But I also know that anybody could be weak and apathetic. It takes effort and will to remain spiritual. Let’s be encouraged, not forfeiting God entrusted power to create better households with husbands who are imitators of Christ – how powerful that is….
‘A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?‘ Einstein
At first glance, such statement might sound as an expression of arrogance. In reality this is exactly right. What you are doing makes complete sense, but to others ‘you are weird’ to say the least. And what the other do, you find hard to understand: ‘ Why would they do that?!!’
A teacher in my daughter’s school was going on and on about GMO food, how advantageous & superior it is. I read that it is harmful. If a child fed for five year strictly GMO, he would surely die.
Dangers to our lives are all around these days. The danger number one is massive unbelief in the truth. I will never get tired of repeating how millions don’t have a problem believing a lie that ‘ nothing created everything out of nothing.’ Do you get now how crazy this sounds when you put it on paper?
But also our lives becoming extremely shorter. For example, mobile phones and obscene amount of minutes you get with it. There is already has been done research that some children spent too much time talking on the phone & ended with brain tumors. That’s why no one is too young to learn the truth today!
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said something along those lines: ‘ The morality of society is judged by the way it treats the children.’
I’m a mum who stays home to take care of the family. It would be difficult for me to go places & participate in protests or demonstrations, but there are so many things that you can do from your home. I can control what my children watch, eat & do. Surely. One boy turned up on the school trip away with a suitcase full of sweets. The cost of it was about 25 pounds. He shared with others, fortunate for him personality! But another girl brought lots of sweets & she ate them the first day all by herself. What most parents do not understand that sugar is responsible for a lot of diseases. The worst part it is addictive as a drug & widely available, there is no way your child can voluntarily resist it. That’s where you come in and teach them and restrict the amounts. Once my son visited a friend. I knew from his mother that he had to pull a few teeth out. My son said that he could not believe what he saw: the packets of sweets were lying on the floor and the kids were so full, they didn’t even paid attention to them any more.
While my dentist and I agree on the harm of sweets, she mentioned to me recently: ‘I can’t imagine having children just yet.’ That’s because she doesn’t read the Bible where it says: ‘Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.’
Two of my children already revolutionized my life nutritionally. My daughter had eczema and because of that we had to rethink what we eat. My oldest son lactose intolerant, but he has no problem drinking raw dairy. Because of him we will be so much healthier. Pasteurized milk should be labeled ‘a lactose water’ because that’s all it has to offer to us. Homogenized milk should be labeled : ‘harmful for your health’. Of course if our government was honest with us. But this is probably too much to ask of them. At the same time they expect me to spend my money for products like that?No,
thank you! And I’m indeed thankful that even though they tell farmers to put a warning on raw milk that it could be harmful, we still have freedom to buy it. Praise God of High Heavens for that !!!
My advise that really worked for me : ‘Do the thinking yourself, don’t let anyone do it for you!’
Recently a travelling circus happened to pitch its tent not far from our house. I intended to drop the older one’s at the circus & come back for them later, while the little one’s went home. I didn’t think they would last there for two hours. At the entrance I explained to the circus worker what I’m doing.
‘I don’t think the little one’s will last.’
‘Oh, most children are.’ His voice was full of confidence and pride in what he does. It moved me so much that I went and bought tickets for all of us. Their performance truly was spectacular: the girl turning up near the ceiling on the long scarf; the man eating fire,the acrobats,the clowns spilling water&popcorn all over you, the janglers.
For some time I could not forget the way this circus performer felt about his occupation in life. I’m sure there is nothing easy about his lifestyle. They live as gypsies: in caravans, traveling from place to place, not very highly paid, denying themselves in modern comfortable lifestyle, constantly practicing & perfecting their acts. If it is not for the passion, that he feels about what he does & immense pride that his job is important, he would not last on the road even a few months.
That made me think how I feel about being a Christian. If I’m not ready to separate myself from the world and its pleasures, if I’m not willing to suffer for His honor (if need be), I would find it extremely challenging & difficult to do. That’s why so many show great interest, but late they can’t do it. As one of the young man puts it: ‘Your whole life revolves around Christ. I don’t think I can do it.’ So true. God is not interested in our weak efforts. He gave His whole life in its prime. He laid His divine, eternal glory aside for a time. We need to feel honored by it. Another young man went to Uni and he found friends who had interesting hobbies. He thought it was so much fun to be with them that he had no more time for the church. Later he told his mother : ‘I don’t think I was a true believer. I just followed you & dad.’ Perhaps. At the same time, he has fears that he can’t overcome. He doesn’t even drive a car because he saw two horrible car crashes. What about fear of eternal death? Who besides Jesus is capable to overcome it for us? That is the final question.
I was reading from Spurgeon for my devotional life. I don’t think any other writer can be so effective to bring a point across. As a Christian of many years, I was so challenged. Here what he said on verse in Hosea 7:8 ‘ Ephraim is a flat cake not turned over.’
‘ A cake not turned over is uncooked on one side. Thus, in many respects Ephraim was untouched by God’s divine grace. Though there was partial obedience, a great deal of rebelliousness remained.
Dear soul, I ask if this is true in your case as well? Are you thoroughly obedient in the things of God? Has His grace so permeated the very core of your being that it flows through & divinely affects all your strengths, your actions, your words & your thoughts? You goal & prayer should be to become fully sanctified in spirit,soul,and body. And although your sanctification may not yet be perfect, the process should be affecting every area of your life in equal degrees. There should not be the appearance of holiness in one area while sin continues to reign supreme in another, or else you will be a ‘cake turned over.’
As believers, we don’t have to display beyond average abilities & constant work to stay fit that the circus still hired us, all we have to do is to come to the Lord daily for His amazing, divine, surpassing understanding grace, to stay fit spiritually.
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