Aside

Practical out-workings

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The word practical is so moreish, and real-lifey. It sounds really sensible and boring. I like practical people, and practical things. So whenever I come to think along philosophical lines with regards to being a Christian, I like the word to pop up at some point, just to see if the concept will hold true in the real world.

So, with that in mind, what have I been thinking about recently?

I heard a talk on Sunday about the physical evidence of our faith; if we were ‘accused’ of being Christians in court, would there be enough actual evidence to find us guilty? This evidence is sometimes called ‘good works’, which sounds a bit old-fashioned to me, so what does that really mean in real life?

How does that affect me, as a mum who’s trying to live as a Christian?

Well, I thought about it for a bit, and my favourite way of describing ‘good works’ is as visible-to-others responses to faith inside my head/heart. Which is much longer. ha.

Right so let’s make this quick because children all over the country are destroying things as we speak/read…

By definition, this stuff should come naturally to us, so I can’t give you a list for yourselves. And I am top of the list in terms of lazy so I also feel the full weight of guilt because my faith doesn’t show much. Here’s what I was thinking of trying this week…

  1. Reading my actual book-Bible in front of my kiddies, because I want to. My eldest is so used to seeing me on my phone that he wouldn’t ask what I was reading on there. Maybe during quiet time, maybe at the lunch table, not sure which is best yet.

Hm. One’s enough for now!

Do you have any tips? Share them with us, please!

Happy Monday everyone!

Image credit:Rachel Otter
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Children’s eyes

Children’s eyes

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As parents, we need eyes in the back of our heads. Perhaps, as Christians, we need eyes lower down – around knee level. I was thinking last Sunday about this bit,

At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.”

Matt 11:25,26

and this bit,

Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away.

Matt 19:13-15

Jesus seemed to think that children have a unique view on things that adults really find quite hard and mysterious. Perhaps, then, if our Christianity is not working out how we’d like it to, we should lower our perspectives, and not our expectations. I don’t fancy the idea of becoming a parent and suddenly my Christianity has to be less somehow – that’s just going to be disappointing. But if it could be on a different level, equally challenging, then that’s ok with me.

Mum of two and part-time editor Kate Pearce says,

“Mums are busy people. FACT. There are always clothes to be washed, dinners to be cooked, lunchboxes to be made, and the list goes on. To this end, I find myself somewhat time-poor. I no longer find time to do the Bible study that I would like to do and perhaps had the luxury of time to do pre-children. Instead, I try to look at God through the eyes of my children. We read simple Bible stories together and I attempt to answer their questions. I try to see God in the world around us. On a muddy puddle hunt we admire God’s creation. The beauty of the flowers and the buzzing of the bees. At the moment, I may see God at a child’s level, but what an awesome lesson that is. I hope to learn and grow in my knowledge of God along with my children.”

Esther Worboys commented on a previous post saying,

“I know my two are older, but I also find that I often feel closer to God when I see Him through their eyes, when we have conversations about what He has done for us, and their simple trust and belief is quite inspiring.”

Image credit:Rachel Otter
4 Ways to Re-energise your Reading

4 Ways to Re-energise your Reading

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Reading the Bible is tough. If you’re only managing it on Sundays, then join the enormous club! Our free time in the evenings is so precious isn’t it? We need it to hoover, and to puree food, and to catch up with the husband, and to drink wine. So when can we read? All joking aside, I find reading in the evening a big no-no. I’m so tired that I don’t take anything in, and it only irritates me further. So I’m pushing to try and read in spare time during the day – whilst feeding babe 2, or when they’re asleep in the car or something similar. Here’s a lovely numbered list of ideas that have crossed my mind about reading…

1. Buy a new Bible

Nothing is more motivating and exciting than something shiny and new. It’s lovely opening up a new book – maybe a version you haven’t read before, or one with interesting notes. Sticking with an old favourite Bible is great if that works for you, but if you’ve been looking at it recently thinking that you’d rather not open it, then trick your mind with one that looks different. I’ve just got out an old Bible from when I was a teenager (it’s got absurdly large type), and it’s great to read – even the different page layout makes the stories come to life more. I hate to admit that I’m that fickle but hey, why not exploit it to your benefit, if you know it’s true? And why not go ahead a get a lovely new notebook too, because let’s face it, new stationery is fantastic.

2. Get a good Bible app on your phone

This is a cheap version of point 1. I use YouVersion because I like the layout, but any will do. In a later blog I will explore various apps that are available and do some reviews of them, but for now, let’s just get reading! You can even set some of them up to angrily text you if you forget to read one day. We read off our phones a huge amount of the time – at the hairdressers, at the bus station, during nap times. I’ve got my apps colour coded (why?!), so mine is on the third page of my phone – not ideal because I don’t look at it everyday – it would be much better on the home screen.

3. Choose something very specific to read

If you open the Bible in the middle because you don’t know what to read, you will get Psalms. Lovely! However, we probably need to read the rest too. I have started numerous reading planners with very mixed success, as I’m sure you have too. The classic Robert Roberts plan is a bit much to squeeze into snatched minutes, but usually the one that is used for our Sunday readings. So you have to choose between matching up with Sundays for continuity, or doing two reading plans. The YouVersion app has a good plan called ‘Eat this Book’, which reads the Bible in a year, with a daily Psalm added on too. I still find this too much reading at the moment so if you’re in a similar position to me, I think choosing one book/incident/letter is more achievable. That way, you can change the amount you read each day – if it’s a vomit/poo/screaming everywhere day then 1 verse might be the limit. Lets hope its an uplifting one! But on other days like a Saturday for example, you could crack on and get a paragraph read. Don’t be wimpy and choose easy reading sections – we do have to do the hard bits too. How about Esther’s story? Or maybe pick a mum for inspiration like Mary who had to deal with her son being the Messiah, or Hannah who had to give Samuel away.

4. Leave an actual Bible open where you eat breakfast

Not closed! If its closed you won’t open it. If its open, you will automatically read some of it. This trick used to work well pre-kiddies, and before the dining table at breakfast became a porridge-bomb site, granted, but I think the principle still works. if there’s an open book by where you eat, then you will read it without realising.

This week I’m going to try and read off the Bible app on my phone a bit more. Do you have any good tips for motivating yourself to read mid-week?

Image credit: Rachel Otter