Mrs Lisa Vaatstra has agreed to take over the
oversight of this page. Lisa's address is 9 Benhar St, Dunedin
and you can write to her with suggested contributions.
The attribute of God most needful for our sanctification in our daily lives, as an antidote to the confusion and clamour of the world, is that of His Holiness demonstrated by His orderliness. In the Psalms and Ecclesiastes we can see that the restlessness and striving of mankind is answered by God's gracious revelation of His divine order and purpose in creation and in His dealings with His creatures. Thus we need to create a haven in our homes where that attribute of our Father is reflected. Without a place of refuge, rest and peace, the members of our families have no respite from daily striving. If we read 1 Kings 19: 3-9, we can see God's remedy for exhaustion and world weariness. Sleep, food and drink are essential if we are to labour profitably.
The desert may not seem a good analogy for our homes but it is its separation from the world and its stark purity that is the main attraction for the refuge seeker. Neither is the desert necessarily ugly; think where travellers and pilgrims go to seek respite from the rat race. The desert is not a place where people go for worldly pleasure but to 'find themselves', or to get back to basics in an echoing of the desire to be purified and get 'right with God'. For the unbeliever it can be an endless and fruitless quest unless their eyes and ears are opened.
Our homes can be like the desert as a place of respite and refreshment especially for our family. Notice how God kindly ministers to Elijah. Not only does God provide the food and drink but He also presents it ready to be partaken of. What a great lesson in ministry! It is a temptation to think that the only worthwhile ministries are those in the public eye, that those of us busy at home are not fully using our gifts and abilities. Are we just 'marking time ' until we are free to pursue 'real' Kingdom work? Surely the home is a place where our work has eternal consequences. Training covenant children, caring for the world weary, nurturing the weak in the faith, practising hospitality etc. are all commanded by our Father. To do these tasks in the way that would please Christ is no small or unimportant matter.
One very overlooked area of family ministry is caring for the one who is sick, not necessarily dramatically or chemically ill but has the 'flu or tummy bug. In this impatient age we tend to expect the common ills to be instantly overcome with a few pills. We also have little sympathy for the sufferer and perhaps expect them to 'soldier on'. Often I've seen sick folk in the work place, at school or at Church when clearly they should have been at home in bed. This is not only for their sake but also for those around them, to prevent the spread of infection. Has life become so ruthless and routines so punishing that children have no time to be in the haven of their home when ill? Equally important is the need for time to convalesce after even a minor illness. Sadly there is a very thoroughly entrenched idea that to take too much notice of illness, especially in children, is to encourage malingering and weakness. Like the Spartans of old, we want our children to be tough as the world is tough, lest the children can't compete 'out there'.
Edith Schaeffer points out in her book 'What is a Family?' the great possibilities for tremendous blessing when God allows sickness to visit the family. In response to complaints about the waste of time sickness causes, she graciously illustrates how sickness provides opportunities to do good to the 'least of Jesus' brethren' and to remind family members that home is a haven. For children to grow up with memories of selfless, loving tending and care whilst they were ill (or in any circumstances), helps establish the tone of the households of the next generation.
There are so many opportunities to do this great and consequential
work. Particularly as mothers we can be like the Proverbial wise
woman and 'build our house' or we can be like the foolish one
and tear it down, This winter when the inevitable flus, coughs
and colds make life miserable for the sufferers, it would
raise our eyes to Heaven to remember that we too can 'wash feet'.
Mrs Lisa Vaatstra (Dunedin).
TREASURES OF ENCOURAGEMENT
WOMEN HELPING WOMEN IN THE CHURCH
by Sharon W Betters
In her book, Sharon Betters shows us that when Christ is in us, we have the treasures of His encouragement at our fingertips, and when we obey the encouragement mandate, the treasures we give are multiplied in our own lives.
Sharon uses both personal experience and real life examples to illustrate the power of encouragement. With clear Biblical teaching, her readers are challenged to experience God's life-changing power themselves.
Each chapter comprehensively covers an aspect of encouragement and includes six daily devotions.
Treasures of Encouragement is published by
P&R Publishing Co and is available from Geneva Books for $16.00.
Mrs Moana Leenders
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Faith in Focus /NZ Reformed Church / firstname.lastname@example.org / revised August 97 / Copyright 1997