Friday, 30 December 2016

FIBROMYALGIA IS REAL!



When I read a blog post (Fibromyalgia Negative Press) – citing a newspaper columnist’s remark about people with Fibro who want to collect a government check and pop pills (Random Nonsense) — I thought: I’m glad I live with multiple sclerosis!

After several weeks of deep pain and fatigue, I’m actually grateful to live with a disease that people believe exists. I mean, I could have fibromyalgia or CFS! Not only would I have these miserable symptoms but people would doubt me. Worse they might label me lazy or crazy.

When I told my neurologist about the recent “flare” in symptoms, she suggested an MRI to see if there might be new MS activity. Because it’s MS and there are tests that show disease, I can be confident that my healthcare providers all agree on this point.

But my client withfFibromyalgia, who is a senior executive, finds that although her rheumatology doctor fully supports her, her other physicians seem sceptical about the diagnosis. And she never mentions it to her colleagues because of the odd reactions she’s gotten.

I’m tired of the demeaning remarks about people with Fibromyalgia. The common thinking is that this isn’t a ‘real illness’. I’ve heard all kinds of people say that fibromyalgia people are depressed, difficult, even a little crazy. I’ve heard healthcare professionals say that Fibro patients are their toughest. Others say that there’s a “Fibro” type who doesn’t seem to want to help her/him self.

What’s up with this? Maybe it’s a chicken and egg thing. If you haven’t lived with invisible, unpredictable and waxing & waning chronic illness -pain, fatigue, mental issues – you don’t know how crazy making it can make even the sanest person.

When I’m not well, I’m not the same person that I am when I am well (just ask my husband, my kids, the people who work for me!). When I have symptoms that don’t improve quickly, I can lose hope and feel depressed. When I see a doctor who tells me that I’m difficult to treat because I don’t get better quickly, I want to scream. I know I become a more irritable and difficult patient.

I imagine I’m better able to manage my responses better than most, due to my training and what I do for a living. But my symptoms derive from ‘recognized’ diseases with objective findings. It would be that much more difficult to confront a world that doesn’t believe my symptoms are “real”.

As it happens, for some completely inexplicable reason (certainly not due to a change in wet weather), I woke up two days ago feeling much better. The back pain is still there but improving and the fatigue and heaviness are gone. I’m grateful both to feel better and to know that no one doubted that my symptoms were due to some underlying disease state. At least, not that they said :)

What do you do when you face the sceptic? Have you experienced people at work who think you’re trying to get out of work by “faking” it or making a big deal out of nothing? Or who don’t even believe that what you’re living with is “real”? Share it. by Rosalinde Joffe

Bravo!Well done!

Blessings, Glenys

"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ". Galatians 6:2

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

ESTABLISHED IN THE FAITH



Eunice

Then came [Paul] to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. Him would Paul have to go forth with him...And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily. Acts 16:1-5

When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. 2 Timothy 1:5

THE STORY IN THE PAINTING

This painting depicts Eunice, the mother of the New Testament disciple, Timothy, a Jewess who believed in Christ (see Acts 16:1) and nurtured her son in that faith. Eunice is extolled, along with Timonthy's grandmother, Lois, as a mother possessing "unfeigned faith" (2 Timothy 1:5). It is this faith which Eunice passes on and first "established" (see Acts 16:5) in Timothy, thus laying the foundation for her son and any blessed through his own missionary efforts, to "[fight] a good fight...[finish the] course..[and keep] the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7). Likewise all righteous women who strengthen their familiies and raise children in the faith leave indellible legacies of faith for all generations to follow.

Eunice is an example of of parents who teach their children to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God...baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands...to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord. Such mothers and fathers establish the foundations of faith in their children, allowing faithful leaders, like the Apostle Paul, to build on the testimonies they planted in the home. Such foundations also enable their posterity to "be not...ashamed of the testimony of our Lord" (2 Timothy 1:8), and to "Hold fast...in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 1:13).

Eunice was able to engender this reliance on and trust in Christ "in" her son (see 2 Timothy 1:5), despite the "wholly Gentile and pagan culture" in which her homeland was steeped and a husband who, presumably, did not share her faith (see Acts 16:1). This remarkable mother's "unfeigned faith" nurtured her child to become what one Bible Dictionary describes as "Paul's most trusted and capable assistant"

The fact that Eunice's faith enabled her to raise her son in such protective righteousness gives hope to each of us that, amidst the backdrop of secularism and aethism in which we find ourselves, we too can raise a posterity who is true to the faith.

SYMBOLISM OR SIGNIFICANT ELEMENTS IN THE PAINTING

Eunice's home, Lystra, was a city within a Roman colony in present-day Turkey; one in which, according to one Biblical scholar, "Paul was unable to assume that his audience had any knowledge of the true God" (Zondervan 332). Within this painting, Eunice is, therefore, compositionally surrounded by architectural elements which represent her culture. The seemingly informidable stone architecture is a visual reminder of the political, social, and religious circumstances in which she would have to endeavor to raise a righteous family.

Symbolically, the only pure light visible in the image is found touching her person. It does not extend to the elements represnting the culture of the world. The brilliant white hightlights bathing her hair in beauty represents the light with which faith in Christ bathes the possessor of it. It is this light which enlivens her being, just as the light of Christ enlivens all who have their eye on Gods' glory.

The color of the Roman-style "palla" draped about her shoulders was produced anciently by using a dye extracted from the madder root. Here, this reddish color is intended to remind the viewer of the atoning blood of Christ, which enables those obedient to His commandments to be clothed with purity, even with the robe of righteousness, even when he or she may be surrounded by the threatening influences of the world. The gold embroidery visible on her palla was fashionable in Rome prior to Eunice's day.by Elspeth Young


Blessings, Glenys

Monday, 26 December 2016

LET'S TALK HOSPITALITY





Just recently I was invited to a friend's home. I came home feeling sad and I had to work out why. I reflected on the visit and realised that my friend just wasn't a people person- she was more interested in things than people. It started at the front door just under the "Welcome Friends" sign- another sign demanding that I remove my shoes. OK I thought, as I took them off, I don't want to trample any dirt inside- I can live with that!

I was greeted by my friend who I noted had already checked that I was in stocking feet. She ushered me into the immaculate kitchen which smelt slightly of bleach. (I must confess I was hoping to smell cake or coffee though) We exchanged greetings, launched into some conversation whilst she wiped her shining sink, shaking her dishcloth in her hand as she emphasised a point in the conversation. After my friend made a drink for us, I started to relax- until she started wiping up around me. It was hard to make eye contact with her as she was washing the cups and wiping round her white kettle. But I guess the clincher came when I had finished using her bathroom. She went in after me, wiping down the few drops of water on the hand basin and straightening her embroidered towels.

I started to feel unwanted and decided to make tracks for home. But before that, I was taken for a grand tour of her spotless home- which was indeed not lacking any thing- except the love and friendship shown through hospitality. As I pondered on these things, I resolved that our next visit would be at my home.

She could take her shoes off if she wishes, I will have a cake waiting for her and I will give her my full attention whilst I serve her coffee in my lived-in lounge room. She can leave a few drops of water in the hand basin after she uses my bathroom and if she wishes she can have a look at my home- beds pulled up hastily, cushions squashed slightly from where we sat on the couch, cups waiting on the sink counter to be washed after she left and most of all- a feeling that she mattered more than my things do to me. Isn't that what it's all about after all?

Hospitality doesn't die through imperfect housekeeping but cannot exist in sterile surroundings lacking love and friendship. My friend's heart was choked with things and far from me.. I resolve to never be like that. I relaxed and started to plan our next visit as I sought out my cookery book. She likes banana cake I recall.

© Glenys Robyn Hicks


"For as he thinketh in his heart, so [is] he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart [is] not with thee." Proverbs 23:7

Saturday, 24 December 2016

FOR THY LIGHT HAS COME



Chris and I pray you and your family have the most peaceful Christmas and God's blessings for the New Year.

Monday, 19 December 2016

HOME'S AN INDELIBLE INK ON THE HEART



What image does "home" conjure up in your mind? Most times, it will be a sweet memory, for home is such a strong part of our lives that it etches itself in our heart in an indelible ink that creates a deep longing. Irregardless of whether home was troubled or not, there is always a part of us that finds it is a refuge. It is that place where we first learnt to interact with people and form family bonds.

At home can just be ourselves and let our hair down as we unwind. Here we not only rest and recoup from the rages and trials of the world, but it is in and of itself, a place of solace and comfort.

Home will draw us back in times of grief as well as joy, for it is written on the human heart in indelible ink, that creates a longing that only it can quell. A good home will give us foresight and hunger for our eternal Home with God...

 © Glenys Robyn Hicks

And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. Luke 9:16

Saturday, 17 December 2016

THE REASON FOR THE SEASON



He came from the glories of Heaven
To reach out and touch us.
He loved us with the love of God,
And cared for us in every way.
He saw our humanity,
Our infirmities and our sin,
Touching His heart deeply...

We reached out to Him,
Stripping Him of dignity and life,
Daring to cruelly handle Deity itself,
Touching His loving heart with our hate.
And yet as He hung on the cross dying,
His heart still reached out to us
For He touched us who believed
With the blessing of eternal life.

  © Glenys Robyn Hicks

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. Isaiah 60:1

Friday, 16 December 2016

WHAT IS A HOME?


"What Is A Home?"

A home is a haven and a place of rest,

A sanctuary where love and acceptance

Go hand and hand with the teachings of Christ,

Where He is invited to dwell by His Spirit,

And rule as rightful Head.

A home is the solid earthly foundation

For God’s Word to be lived out daily

Even in small things.

Home is a place of worship

Where true expressions of faith

And love for God

Can be expressed in the most intimate

Of relationships, the family.

A home is a blessing from the Lord.

May you find the peace and love of God

In your home.



© Glenys Robyn Hicks


                "The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked, but he blesses the habitation of the just" Proverbs 3:33


Thursday, 15 December 2016

SHE WORKETH WILLINGLY WITH HER HANDS



Lydia
And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither. And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. Acts 16:13-14

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies...She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She ariseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates. Proverbs 31:10-31

For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:27-29

THE STORY IN THE PAINTING

Lydia, the first recorded European convert to Christianity (see Harper 586), is depicted in this image as a model of the "virtuous woman" described in Proverbs 31. Such a woman is extolled as one who "worketh willingly" with strength, provides for the needy, and clothes herself and her family with "silk and purple." She is wise, her "merchandise is good" and is "like the merchants' ships." She "maketh fine linen and selleth it" (see Proverbs 31). Surely such descriptions are apt for the disciple Lydia, whose "heart the Lord opened" (see Acts 16:14) to hear the word of the Lord, and whose household also accepted the gospel. The painting, therefore, seeks to visually combine the attributes of the "virtuous woman" and the Biblical heroine, Lydia.

Lydia shows her faith through her willingness to be baptized and through her gracious hospitality. Luke describes it in these words: "And when [Lydia] was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us" (Acts 16:15). Both she and the Shunnamite (see 2 Kings chapter 4), are described as "constraining" God's servant to share her home, and then seeing to his needs and wants.

Lydia's faith is made active through her works. Therefore, the painting shows Lydia doing something. She is not eating "the bread of idleness." She is working "willingly with her hands," hands which have stretched out in kindness to Paul and Luke, providing shelter for them, and, as inferred by Acts 6:40, for her fellow saints as well. In addition to faith and industry, she evidenced humility through the "openness" of her heart (see Acts 16:14).

Lydia's humility is evident in the composition of the painting. Not only is she working, she is doing so without looking toward the viewer, not drawing attention to herself. She is, apparently, not even doing anything worthy of notice. She is humbly looking to the "ways of her household," focused on the "fruit of her hands" (see Proverbs 31). The composition of the image invites the viewer to focus on her work, not herself. Nothing about her is showy or ostentatious. Instead, she radiates the beauty which comes from faith, humility, and quiet selflessness.

SYMBOLISM OR SIGNIFICANT ELEMENTS IN THE PAINTING

Lydia worked as a "seller of purple" in the Roman colony of Philippi, a place for Roman veterans (Zondervan 335). Though some recent Biblical scholars dispute the nature of the purple dye Lydia was selling and, therefore, the social standing of this woman, the artist has chosen to depict Lydia as a woman of "means and social status" selling costly "Tyrian purple" coveted by the Roman elite (see Zondervan 383 and Klinckt 110). Such purple was produced by crushing shells of the Murex snail (see Barber, 113-114 and Sebesta 69) and was extremely precious because each snail contained only one drop of the dye. Hundreds of snails were required to create enough purple for just one piece of cloth (see Barber 114, 210). Two or three of these murex snails are visible in the painting at the bottom right, nestled among the logs in the copper vat. Purple was perceived by the Roman people of Lydia's day as a symbol of royal blood (Sebasta 47)--in fact, only the emperor of Rome could wear a completely purple garment (Barber 210).

The two pieces of purple cloth within the image, therefore, are symbolic on several levels. First, they remind the viewer of Lydia's work, in a literal sense, as a seller of purple. More importantly, however, the purple indicates Lydia's divine worth as an individual and her "royal" rights as one of the seed of Abraham. Gentile though Lydia was, she was baptized and "adopted" into the chosen people. In the words of the Apostle Paul, those that are baptized, be they Jew or Gentile, "have put on Christ" (Galatians 3:27). Paul teaches that previous ideas about race requirements were no longer prerequisite to salvation--only accepting the ordinances and covenants of the gospel of Jesus Christ were (and are) required. He continues, "There is neither Jew nor Greek . . . bond nor free . . . male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Galatians 3:28-29). The purple, therefore, symbolizes her status as an "heir according to the promise." The purple silk at Lydia's throat is also meant to indicate her worthiness as a "virtuous woman;" one whose "clothing is silk and purple."

The flowers at the lower left of the painting are Euphorbia milii, known as "Crown of Thorns" or "Christ plant." The woody stem on which these flowers grow are traditionally believed to be the material used in the crown of thorns made by Roman soldiers during the Savior's crucifixion, when they "plaited a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and . . . put on him a purple robe" (John 19:2). The white blossoms depicted here, therefore, are meant to symbolize Lydia and her household as heirs of the kingdom of God.

The Savior's sacrifice enables those, like Lydia, who believe on His name and follow His example, to be cleansed of sin--to be as pure as the white fabric she holds in her hands. The cotton-like material Lydia is working with (fabric known to Rome--see Sebesta 68) represents the Lord's promise as recorded by the Prophet Isaiah that: "though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isaiah 1:18). She Worketh Willingly With Her Hands by Elspeth Young

Blessings, Glenys

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY: ONE SHADE OF WHITE


There has been a lot of publication of the trilogy "50 Shades of Grey".  It seems every woman is immersed in  it and most have bought all three books.  Even my daughter, who is not an avid reader, has it on her iPhone.

Everyone seems to be reading this trash. However, I won't be reading them.  What I have gleaned from comments and hearsay is that it is basically "Mummy porn"  A tale of  demeaning sex and sado-masochism.  But most of the young mothers I know are digesting every filthy word of it and jokes abound that by book three, most husbands will be very happy men with an excess of sexual favours in all kinds of manner!

Why won't I read it? you ask.  I won't read it because I value my God and my marriage too much, and  I have self-respect. As a married woman, I owe it to Chris to keep my thoughts and impulses for him alone.  I would hate to be intimate with him and be imagining Christian (or any other man).... Jesus Himself has warned us against this, saying that to look lustfully at someone not your spouse, is adultery in the heart.  He meant this for women as well...

But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. Matthew 5:28

As in cyber sex, and sexy chat room relationships, reading porn stirs the carnal side and weakens the intimacy and trust in the marriage union and pervades into our relationship with Christ. Sadly, many Christian women are getting caught up in this sin. And it is not only the married but the single woman.  Goodness knows, remaining sexually pure and unstained in this world is hard enough without igniting flames that should not be kindled until marriage..

I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake [my] love, till he please. Songs 2:7

Anything that lures ones' mind away from God or ones' spouse creates an opportunity for sinful behaviour.  The formula for sin begins in one's thought life...A thought = a decision =  an action = sin.  I know if Chris was thinking lustfully about another woman, that it would upset me.  He wouldn't do it to me. Likewise, I won't do it to him.

Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. James 1:15 

As a born-again Christian who is redeemed and cleansed by the Blood of Christ, I have too much self-respect- or really, I should say respect of Christ living in me, that I refuse to dwell on sinful things. We are a holy people and have been called to be separate from the world.  

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you,  2 Corninthians 6:17

I do not want to waste my energies on thinking about licentiousness. Being human means that occasionally one may have a sinful thought- we won't be perfect until we meet the LORD, but that doesn't mean that we should dwell on rubbish. I prefer to dwell on things of Christ.  However, should we dwell on things not worthy of our Saviour,  then we are instructed to train our thoughts away and bring them in line with God and His Word.

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;  2 Corinthians 10:5

It is my hope that any Sisters here will bypass these books and any other distractions that take us away from our most important raison d'etre.  Our life is to keep ourselves spiritually pure as we await our Saviour.   So many world events point to His coming soon. We have to stay strong.  In faith. In purity. In Spirit. In prayer.  For we are the Bride of Christ.

For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

Just as you hopefully would keep yourself pure for your husband, how much more so do we need to keep ourselves pure for Him?  We must guard our hearts carefully at all times,  for out of our heart, comes our life.  

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:24

Don't let the world tell you that reading "Mummy porn" is not sin: it is. Our standard for living is not the world's, but God's.   And before you take offence at my words, please know that I too must bring my thoughts into the captivity of Christ.  I don't feed my spirit on garbage. Therefore I won't read 50 Shades of grey or see the movie.

What manner of people ought we to be then?

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;  Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now [are ye] light in the Lord: walk as children of light:  (For the fruit of the Spirit [is] in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)  Ephesians 5:3-9

As the Bride of  Christ, when the Bridegroom comes, I don't want Him to find me being wanton, licentious and lewd. I want to be holy and pure for Him.  He deserves that.  

There may be fifty shades of grey, but there is only one shade of white. I choose white!

© Glenys Robyn Hicks

Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.  Revelation 3:4

Monday, 12 December 2016

BLESSINGS OF THE BREASTS




It is sad that there is a growing trend in our society to bottle feed our babies. If they are breast fed at all, it's just for a few days...and society seems to want it that way... It is almost as if there is a victimisation of the nursing mother. In most places there is little consideration for her and she is often forced to feed her child in a rest room or changing room.

Society is so obsessed with breast feeding's offensiveness that women have been asked to leave a restaurant or public place so as not to upset patrons... it should not be so... There is a way a mother can breast feed her child modestly, but even so, breast feeding seems to bring out a manifestation of disgust that is obsessive and ridiculous...

Why is it so? you ask. It is so because like everything else in society, breasts have been sexualised so much that there is no distinction between a woman nourishing her child and a woman flaunting her breasts for sexual provocation..

In past days, a nursing child drew loving nostalgic glances from women who themselves breastfed their own child, and little girls often mimicked their mothers, holding their dollies to their chest.... Today, it is with disbelief that the same aged child learns that babies can in fact, get their nourishment from their mothers and not only from a bottle...

It is ridiculous, really, because science has proven that the breastfed baby receives the best milk nature has to offer... yet such is the sway of society that these little ones will be fed on formula..
God has provided the best for His children... from the womb... yet like everything else God has said is good- Satan has twisted and changed to become something society disapproves of...

Let's see what God thinks of breasts...

Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: Genesis 49 25

O that thou wert as my brother, that sucked the breasts of my mother! when I should find thee without, I would kiss thee; yea, I should not be despised. Song of Solomon 8:1

But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts. Psalm 22:9

Give them. O LORD: what wilt thou give? give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts. Hosea 9:14

And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.  Luke 11:27

What could be better than an infant being fed from it's mother as God intended?

© Glenys Robyn Hicks

Sunday, 11 December 2016

A HOME NURTURES A WOMAN


Many a woman can testify to the way her home ministers its comfort to her when she comes home after a day's shopping or visiting. Or for the working woman, when she comes home from a day's work. It is not unusual for a woman to come home during her lunch break, taking most of her break up in travelling, yet ministered to so deeply by the comfort of being home that she just spends 10 minutes there before returning to work.

This is how God has ordained a home to be... He says that a home should be a peaceful place, and a place of quiet rest. Obviously, it is not always possible to have a quiet home, but what is meant here is a place of peace that quiets the nerves and soul and that is set apart as an oasis of calm in an often turbulent world...


© Glenys Robyn Hicks


And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places; Isaiah 32:18

Saturday, 10 December 2016

STAY AT HOME WIFE



“So, what do you do?” The question is posed relentlessly. In other words, "What label have you given yourself to prove to the rest of the world that you are not a drain on society?"
During my single years I had a lot of creative answers to that question: “I am a ballet teacher.” “I work at an old and rare bookstore.” “I am a student.” “I teach piano lessons.” Those years were ripe with opportunities to invest in other lives, to develop skills for the future, and to discover the calling for which God had uniquely designed me. During my five-month engagement, I quipped lightly, “Why, I am a bride!” Most people were amused by that, but I was serious. I saw it as a calling, and a very sweet one, at that.

I was spending every waking hour preparing, not just for my wedding, but for my husband. There was painting to be done and flowers to be planted at my new home where we were planning to hold the reception. There were the invitations to address and the endless decisions about cakes and bouquets and bridesmaids dresses, and although I had been mentally planning my wedding from the time that I was sixteen, I still had a lot to do. But far more important than any of that, I was getting ready to be a wife, and the vocation was so appealing and precious that tears would spring to my eyes at the very thought, and I would sometimes call Philip at the office with a little whispered entreaty: “Can’t we just elope…today? Right now?”

We had been married only six months or so when we attended a wedding of one of my husband’s friends. I found myself sitting at a table with an old acquaintance of his, a young single man. I awaited the inevitable. When the question finally came, I smiled brightly and squeezed my husband’s hand. “I am Philip’s wife,” I said, with all the pride in the world. His eyes widened, but not with the censure I had anticipated. He shook his head in a dumbfounded manner, and said, “Well, then Philip is a lucky man.”

I knew from the very beginning that Philip would love for his wife to be at home—not that he would require it, but that he would revere it, and that knowledge only solidified my unswerving conviction that he was the one God had for me. He had thought about it, and that was what he was looking for. But what man, in his inmost heart, wouldn’t admit that it would be nice to come home at the end of a long day to a good, hot meal; a pretty, clean house; and a woman who has given a little attention to her appearance? I realize that I am generalizing a bit, but if I am, it is on matters that basic biblical principles presuppose. “But let the older women teach the younger women to…love their husbands…to be keepers at home…” (Titus 2:4,5).

According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, the word "keeper" means literally a guard, a stayer at home, one who is domestically inclined. We women are gatekeepers—no matter what battles are raging in our culture, we have been entrusted with the culture of our own homes, a culture within which tremendous ministry can take place, both to our families as well as the ones God brings into our lives. And for me, even though He has not blessed us with children yet, that is a full-time job. Once people have regained consciousness after I tell them that I am a stay-at-home wife, they usually say something like, “I wish that I could afford to do that,” or “What on earth do you do all day?”

There is no reply that will satisfy those who have already made up their minds that I am throwing away my life, or at least any potential for significance. But I was once asked by an older woman who was a stay-at-home mother of 11, “What do your days look like?” which is a much more intuitive question. She did not assume for a moment that just because I had no children at home my days were not filled with meaningful tasks.

We ladies need to reassess our motives in what we do. All that we do—from the housewife who is so occupied with her children that her husband goes to work with buttons missing off of his shirt, to the newly-married career woman who feeds her man on frozen dinners and take-out food. We were created by God to be a helper suitable. In other words, we are designed by God to be precisely what that man—that we have vowed before Him to love, honour, cherish and obey—needs. Such an understanding of the glowing realities beneath the surface of life exalts tasks like ironing his pants and packing his lunch and making his home beautiful to a place of honour, as far removed from the idea of subservience as the sacred from the profane.

I think that it is a shame that the old-fashioned custom of a wife being called by her husband’s name has gone by the wayside. What a symbol of pride and possessiveness—I am his! Mrs. Philip Ivester—he has given me his name, in very much the same way as our Lord has given us His. We are Christians—"little Christs"—not just people who believe in Him, but people who belong to Him. We don’t lose our identity in assuming such a handle; we accept it gratefully, joyously, knowing the new life within us for which it stands.

God often changed people’s names in the Old Testament as an outward sign of His ownership of them. They were not less themselves, but more—in all the abundance and freedom of God’s calling. If we are wives, it is a symbol of the fullness of our womanhood to be so named. I have been approached on two separate occasions by widows who thanked me most earnestly for addressing a letter to them using their husband’s name. These women were still proud to be identified with their men—and touched deeply that someone had proclaimed it in such a simple, commonplace way.

I am not a homemaker because I had too little ambition or education to make anything else of myself. No—I am a homemaker because God has given me the infinite honour of being a wife, and I delight in employing every ability that He has equipped me with in this glad career. I love being home. I love being intimately familiar with each creaking floorboard and each pattern that the sun makes upon the walls as it travels across the backyard. I love making bread and tending my garden and caring for a small menagerie of cats and chickens and a dog who thinks he’s human. But most of all, I love the happy look that I see on my husband’s tired face when he comes in at the end of the day. And I cherish the fulfillment that the Lord gives me in all of these things. Indeed, “my borders enclose a pleasant land”. (Psalm 16:6)

I am not saying that no married woman should supplement her husband’s income. I am only urging that she be sure of her calling. Too many women jump to some rather unfortunate conclusions when it comes to the concept of homemaking. They seem to associate it solely with child-raising, forgetting that in his divine order the Lord calls us to be wives before He calls us to be mothers. It is a wonderful thing to encourage women to be at home with their children, and I applaud those who have made sacrifices of their careers in order to invest in eternity. But we should be promoting the vocation of wife just as much, if not more, for the marriage relationship is the foundation of all family life. For the childless woman, home can still be a fulfilling place, as I have learned in waiting on God to bless us with little ones. To be sure, there may be less time for the tending of roses, but I think that the nursing of little rosebuds will be a fair exchange. by Lanier Ivester


I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. Psalm 101:2

Friday, 9 December 2016

A NECESSARY EVIL



Whilst I know there are some women who do like housework, the majority of us don't.  To be honest, we often have to psyche ourselves up to do it, and then it is often with a heavy heart, if not a bad attitude. At times like these, we have to reconsider what exactly housework means to us and our family...and to remember that it a God-given responsibility to be good stewards of all He has given us. Maintaining and cleaning our home is part of that responsibility...


Let's see what Cheryl Mendelson, Home Comforts: The Art & Science of Keeping House says:

"Housework  really  does work to  increase  the  feeling  of  having  a home and  its comforts  .  Housekeeping  creates cleanliness,   order,  regularity, beauty,  the conditions  for  health and safety, and a good place to do and feel all the things you wish and need to do and feel in your home.
Whether you live alone or with a spouse,  parents, and  ten children, it is your housekeeping   that makes your home alive, that turns it into a small society in its own right, a vital place with its own ways and rhythms, the place where you can be more yourself than you can be anywhere else".
So whether we love or loathe housework,  it really is a necessary evil if we want a godly and comfortable home. Failure to do our God-given task could see our home eventually turn out to be a rubbish tip..

© Glenys Robyn Hicks


By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through.  Ecclesiastes 10:18


Thursday, 8 December 2016

JESUS CHRIST THE RIGHTEOUS



There are so many dear Sisters who are being buffeted about with not only physical hardships, but emotional- They are going through many storms that Life throws at them... and we pray for them... 

But today, I want you to know that we have Jesus Christ the Advocate Who Himself prays for us... No need to take anyone into your confidence, no need to wonder if you are alone or unseen, no need to worry about guilt, or grief that is too deep to bear- He. Knows. He. Sees. He. Prays. For you. For me. 

Let that sink into our spirit today... we have The Creator God- our Advocate praying for us... 

Thank You Father for giving us Your Son Who intercedes for evermore for us. Blessings, power and honour to You. Amen.

© Glenys Robyn Hicks

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 1 John 2:1

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

WE ARE STRONG IN THE LORD




When we are chronically ill, we can feel that we are rendered useless in the Kingdom of God. Often when the troubles of this life overtake us, we feel that we are defenceless and helpless against the tidal wave that swamps us... Coupled with coping with our illness, we can feel like we are drowning and that all our dreams, hopes and plans are coming to nought.  But nothing could be further from the truth for the believer...even the chronically ill or disabled Christian...

We are strong in the LORD

because..

We have inherited strength from our God.

God gives power to the weak. And to those who have no might, He increases strength. Isaiah 40:29

We have power to run in the Spirit Who strengthens our body and our mind..

that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, Ephesians 3:16

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. Ephesians 3: 16-18

Our bodies may be feeble, but our spirits aren't...

Christ has made me a king and priest to God. God will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed. 1 Samuel 2:10

We can run the race with confidence, because in God's Kingdom the first is last...

And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, "If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all." Mark 9:35

We can serve God as faithfully as the able bodied Christian...

I am strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Ephesians 6:10

yes...

We are strong in the LORD..

© Glenys Robyn Hicks

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

LOVE IS ETERNAL



 This love I have for you today

Rests firmly in my heart,

It promises to remain

And never to depart.


For love is ever faithful

And suffers not in vain,

It endures throughout the sunshine

And lingers in the rain.


Love fills the living in our day

And quells the void of night,

Love is quick to forgive

And overlook the slight.


Love helps us overlook ourselves

And put our loved one first,

Love soothes the pain of loneliness

As water does for thirst.


True love itself will never die

Though death or distance may part us-

Through love we live eternally

In the hearts of those who love us.


© Glenys Robyn Hicks


The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot   Proverbs 10:7

Monday, 5 December 2016

BUILDING OUR HOUSE



The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Titus 2:3-4

Here, and in many other passages, the scriptures reveal the Lord's priority for the home in His kingdom, and the importance of a woman's role in the home. A woman who aspires to follow God's design for her role as a "keeper at home" finds herself on an enriching, yet challenging pilgrimage. Now more than ever, young women need the older women to come alongside, disciple and encourage, in the spirit of Titus 2.

Thankfully, the Lord has blessed us with many such "Mothers in Israel" who ease our journeys and faithfully point us to the basis of their wisdom, the only infallible rule of human conduct: the Divinely inspired word of God. And there we must turn, for in the absence of the anchor of Biblical convictions, we will be carried about by the winds of culture.

Never before have women, Godly mothers in particular, been besieged with so many conflicting expectations. In confusion we cry, "I wish God would tell me what He wants me to do!" In the counsel of scripture, we find that this is precisely what He did for the first woman - He directly instructed her in His will for her life. We would do well to consider His counsel to Eve. We usually think first of what God instructed Eve not to do, and there is surely a lesson for us in that. But first, let's look at what He designed her and instructed her to do: To be a helpmeet to her husband in fulfillment of God's command to "...be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it." (Genesis 1:28)

God desired for His magnificent creation to be brought to order, and designed for His purposes to be brought to fruition, through the family. God's perfect design still applies to us today. Still, a woman glorifies God best when she serves Him through her family, as a keeper at home.

How important is a woman's ministry in her home? It is so crucial that Satan's first line of attack was to turn Eve's heart away from trusting God's word - to deceive "the mother of all living" into doubting God's boundaries for her. This ancient ruse is still among the adversary's most effective deceits! What was the very first lie? That somewhere out there, beyond God's express will for us, is something more desirable and fulfilling.

When Eve reached for that beguiling "something", she began a turn of events which brought about the destruction of all her heritage. So potent was this lie that the fallen culture that resulted yet prevails, still beckoning Eve's daughters with the same delusion of greater fulfillment outside our calling as "keepers at home." But whenever we grasp beyond God's designs for us, we will ultimately come away with flawed fruit and a fallen heritage.

Perhaps Solomon was mindful of Eve reaching into the forbidden tree when he penned Proverbs 14:1: "Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands." Just as Eve jeopardized her heritage by plucking down forbidden fruit, and thus overstepping God's boundaries, so all her daughters to the present day are vulnerable to the same foolish temptation. Mercifully, this Proverb also points us to the wiser alternative. The Hebrew word for "house" in this verse carries the ideas of a house, a home, a temple, and a heritage. Building these things is at the heart of God's purpose for a woman's life.

Surely God has given us His best design, and boundaries within which we will bear our best fruit. If a woman is wise, she will build her house into a home, a temple for her family, and establish a strong family heritage for God's glory. And only in that labor of love will she give her best service to the Lord. Let's explore some of the ways a woman can glorify God through "building her house."

'Building a house' suggests the need to bring structure to the place where family life is centered. God commanded the first homesteaders to subdue their environment - to bring order to it. We may therefore infer that in the absence of their diligence to His command, the Divinely intended state of order would not naturally occur. Thus it is with our homes! I'll be the first to confess a bit of a weak spot here - a peek under my unfolded laundry will usually reveal a stash of books and papers that beg for my mental priority. And after years of homemaking, I still often feel curiously surprised by the five o'clock shock that I must make yet another meal materialize!

But despite such natures, we are called to reflect our Creator, who is a God of order. Consider how He built the great house of the universe: in the first three days, He created 1) light, 2) sea and sky, and 3) dry land and vegetation. Then, in the second three days, He cycled back to the beginning and created 1) heavenly bodies for the light to inhabit, 2) creatures to inhabit the sea and sky, and 3) creatures to inhabit the dry land and eat the vegetation. Herein is a valuable lesson in bringing order to our own homes from the example of the Creator: we are most efficient when we plan our tasks, and cycle through them with reasoned and predictable repetition. When we are orderly and efficient, we may even have time to take a day of rest!

God is the consummate and original artist. He furnished the first home with exquisite beauty, surrounding Adam and Eve with the glorious abundance of His own garden. This suggests that our homes should not only encourage in our spirits the peace that comes from orderliness, but feed the souls of those we love with the inspiration of beauty as well. Beautiful things in our homes elevate our spirits, and bring to remembrance the Creator of all beauty.

The further we look into even the most microscopic realms of God's creation, the more order and beauty we find. God knew His children would thrive best in a world of order and beauty, and so we should provide for our loved ones a predictable and lovely home where they may thrive. by Lynn Pyles Bruce

Sunday, 4 December 2016

CLEANING HOUSE MY WAY


When it comes to doing household chores, there is often more than one way to do it. The creative sacrificial home keeper will improvise or modify in order to do a job with the least amount of energy and pain.

I have modified scrubbing my kitchen floor and cleaning my bath and shower. I cannot extend much energy because of bringing on an angina attack or causing my muscles to cramp on me, and because of spinal problems, kneeling is impossible. So I have come up with a rather unorthodox method of doing them.

For my kitchen floor, I get a bucket of hot water with floor cleaning agent in it. I dip my kitchen broom into the water, shake the excess water off and use that to scrub. If something is stubborn, I splash some extra water onto it and move on to another area. After a minute or so, I return to that spot and it usually lifts off easily. When I am satisfied that an area is clean, I grab an old towel, throw it on the floor and walk on it, soaking up the water as I walk. Unorthodox, yes, but very effective!

For my bath, I fill it with about 3 inches of water to which I add some washing detergent. I swish around the edges with my (washed) kitchen broom and allow it to soak for a few minutes. The broom then becomes a long-handled scrubbing brush as I scrub the bath and edges, dipping it in the soapy water as I go. It is then an easy matter to rinse it down with a jug of water. The bath gleams and I am not even puffing with the effort bringing on an asthma or angina attack!

If you have enough energy and feel like it, you can wet your shower stall and use the broom to scrub the glass doors etc, taking care not to slip! Then you can just spray them down. Also, another easy way to maintain a glass shower stall is to give it a quick wash down with shampoo whist you are in the shower: shampoo acts on the soap scum and is a pleasant way to clean. At least it doesn't effect your breathing: breathing in harsh cleaners is never fun especially for the asthmatic!

If you make it a habit to swish your toilet bowl each morning or more frequently if required, it never really needs deep- down, heavy -duty, heart-stopping, back-breaking scrubbing. And a quick swish to get tooth paste out of hand basins and from around tap fittings doesn't take much energy or time: and it saves heaps on both further down the track. Most times my home is company ready and basically clean where it counts the most.

By using my Cleaning Schedule, I find it saves me from having to think and plan too much- the planning has already been done. I find this most helpful when I have a fibromyalgia brain fog day or when my tablets are causing me to feel like I am thinking with a brain made of cotton wool.

We sacrificial home keepers have to try to keep the home fires burning: if we use unorthodox methods, what does it matter? As long as we can manage and the job gets done, I don't see a problem! I pray some of these things may be of help to you and I hope that if you have any tips (no matter how unorthodox) that you will please share them with us. 

© Glenys Robyn Hicks


So teach [us] to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.  Psalm 90:12

Saturday, 3 December 2016

LOVING THE SINNER NOT THE SIN


Visiting hour had come at the large Melbourne hospital where I lay recovering from heart surgery to clear my main heart arteries with 3 stents. 

Waiting for Chris, I noticed a tall man with an overnight bag enter the ward and make his way to a man in the bed opposite mine. The patient who was awaiting a heart valve replacement, broke into a grin. Awkwardly, the men glanced over to my bed. I feigned interest in watching the overhead TV.  One of my interests is to watch people, and real life is far more interesting than the rubbish on TV! 

Being in a shared room of 6, there is no way one can really have a private conversation, so I was privy to a touching scene of love and care wrapped in a package of homosexuality.  I realised that when I saw the men kissing and the visitor holding the patient's hand.

The love between the two men was tangible. Even the conversation was typical of a hetero-sexual couple, indeed it was the general stuff of making sure your partner had clean nightwear and taking the laundry home. I later became friendly with Patient Man and even his partner In fact, I liked them.

Once again, I was faced with the dilemma of how to interact with  homosexuals as Christ would.  I have come to believe that responding to them with the love of Christ is how He would treat them.  It is a path I take. 

Make no mistake, homosexuality is a sin, and one which Christ does not condone.  Neither do I, but like Jesus, I love the sinner and not the sin. Homosexuality is not normal, no matter how much they try to indoctrinate us with their beliefs.  

Do I believe in same-sex marriage? you ask.  No. Marriage from the very beginning was the union between a man and a woman. God Himself performed the first marriage in the Garden of Eden and then told Adam and Eve to multiply and be fruitful. If it were to include same-sex marriage, He would have told us so...

I expect that I will cop some flack for posting that I actually like the homosexuals who have come my way. That's OK. Jesus wasn't homophobic and neither am I. But in saying that, I am compelled to add, that nevertheless, homosexuality is not godly or normal.... but in all cases, we are called to love the sinner not the sin..

Homosexuality can be forgiven if the life-style is abandoned and of course, after repentance. If we don't bring Christian love to them, how are they ever going to feel acceptable?  If they can't feel acceptable in society, they can't feel bold enough to approach the Throne of Grace and be cleansed of their sin!

Let's not act as a pharisee and walk on the other side of the street if one approaches, but let us treat homosexuals as any other people of the world. With compassion. With respect. With Christian love.  We are to imitate Christ and walk in His shoes. And pray-For a change of heart of the homosexuals. For our government to stand firm against same-sex marriage. For our schools to stop trying to teach our children that homosexuality is just a life-style choice. 

But let's also pray for ourselves to have a godly Christian response to homosexuals. We can do nothing else but emulate our Saviour and love the sinner, not the sin.

© Glenys Robyn Hicks


Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw [it], he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman [this is] that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. Luke 7:39

Thursday, 1 December 2016

USING THE 'IF' WORD


Most of us have expressed regret with how our lives have turned out and how if we had done something differently, it would have panned out better...

We can all be wise in hindsight; it takes wisdom to walk circumspectly and learn to work with what God has given into your hand now...

It may have well been better if we hadn't gone bankrupt and now can't buy a home, or if we married someone else, or if we had not gotten pregnant or if we had chosen another career to follow... if if if- it's the shortest but most powerful word in the English language...

If can be the most challenging word we will face- indeed it was when Christ was challenged to throw Himself off the cliff to prove He was the Son of God... but for most of us, the challenge we face today is to handle the if's of life and put them in their proper place..

Where is the proper place for the if's? you ask. In the memory banks. In the learning curves and in the motivation to go forward in spite of their sometimes negative connotations..

If's can-  Depress. Restrain. Confuse. Anger. Discourage...  but

If's can- Motivate. Release. Challenge. Direct. Encourage... if used in a positive way..

Instead of allowing the if's in your life to paralyse and arrest your momentum and forward growth, use them to learn and reach up, overcome and fulfil your dreams...

Make the IF Word work for you, not against you. If's not the shortest most powerful word for no reason and it can work for you... if you use it wisely and positively..


© Glenys Robyn Hicks


Do not say, "Why were the former days better than these?"  For you do not inquire wisely concerning this. Ecclesiastes 7:10
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