Save Jesus Christ alone

When we once moved house, we had an introductory chat with our new neighbours. I was delighted to learn that the whole end of our street were Christians. This was an answer to prayer because I had been hungry for fellowship.

Whilst we were chatting, my new neighbour told me of the people next door. They were of a different denomination to them. She told me they considered their denomination the *only* real church and that they came across as feeling superior to them. She then went on to discuss the other denominations represented in the street who happened to speak in tongues. They too felt superior to other denominations and Christians who didn't have the gift of tongues or the Baptism of the Spirit. In fact in the next 10 months we were there, they didn't even acknowledge us in the street!

In looking for a new place of worship, we discussed her Baptist Church. I felt that I would like to check it out until she mentioned the factions within about introducing charismatic practices. Sadness flooded over me.

Denominations, factions and superiority ought not to be within the Church. Unfortunately, we all know it is... we all have done it at some time or another. No sooner does one learn that one is a Christian than the judgment starts to raise its ugly head.

Christian, Catholic, Baptist, Spirit-filled, Charismatic, speaker of tongues, christened or baptised by immersion all juggle for precedence in our estimation of a Christians' worth and suitability to befriend and have fellowship with. When in fact, all that should matter is that the person is truly born-again and sees Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Him crucified. There has to be a common bond for Christians and that bond is Jesus.

Because judgments of a persons' church and worship preferences so colour our fellowship, I prefer to see myself as a Christian rather than as a Baptist, Protestant, Charismatic or whatever. Without that willingness to accept each other firstly as Christians, we aren't going to have true fellowship! I mentioned that to my new neighbour and she agreed. So there is still the possibility of ongoing fellowship with her.

Judging Christians by their denomination or manner of worship short-circuits all possibility of developing strong bonds in the Body of Christ. If we do not accept each other purely on the basis of what Christ is and has done, we rob ourselves of the opportunity of fellowship and live outside the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:3

Let's choose to see nothing else but Jesus Christ and what He has done for all of us. Surely that would be a very firm foundation to build a friendship on whilst strengthening the Body of Christ. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:2

© Glenys Robyn Hicks 

The verse that comes to mind for this post is simple: Jesus wept. John 11:35

How's your walk with the LORD?

To those of us who love the LORD, we tend to speak of Him among ourselves quite often. Often we talk about our walk with Him and pray for each other. To ask a Christian how their walk with the LORD is going is by no means offensive. Or it shouldn't be.

If you share a cuppa with me, we will be talking about our walk pretty soon into our tea and cake, and to my mind,  as Christians, this is normal. So you can imagine my shock when I inadvertently offended someone who was a professing Christian. 

Sipping on my tea, I casually asked, "So how's your walk with the LORD going?" She immediately recoiled and retorted, "I hate it when people ask me that! I am fine, I have everything I want. I don't need God now!"  Before I could respond, our husbands returned and the conversation died.

The rest of the afternoon, this woman was cold towards me, and I couldn't help reflecting on her spiritual life- or lack of it. Plus, I was worried for her. What will happen when she finds she does in fact, need God? And she will one day. We all do.

As she was a woman who was studying to become a Salvation Army soldier, I took it for granted that she loved the LORD. Or perhaps she did but saw Him as a genie who granted her whatever she desired, to be summoned only when she wanted something from Him. Perhaps this was the result of false teachings.

Certainly if this young woman had made a confession of faith in Christ but had limited understanding of grace and salvation, she would remain saved. Certainly Christ's atoning death would cover her sin if she was born-again but back-slidden.

God certainly would accept her if she in fact was unsaved and if the Holy Spirit brought her to a saving knowledge of Christ. But firstly she would have to see that her promoting herself as Christian and wanting to be in ministry in the spiritual condition she's in presently, is hypocrisy. 

I do think of her a lot, but am unable to approach the subject with her in person. But thankfully, it is not my job to bring her to Christ, or indeed to bring her to repentance. I am not the Holy Spirit. 

My job is to turn my concern for her into prayerful petitions to the Father for her salvation or closer walk with Him. God knows, I have a job making sure I am walking the walk and not just talking the talk!

At least by taking tea with her and asking that innocent question, I am now aware of her need for a deeper walk or a new walk. So I pray for her and leave it with God, and I still sometimes ask others, "How's your walk with the LORD?"

© Glenys Robyn Hicks 

He hath shewed thee, O man, what [is] good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? Micah 6:8

Why I love doonas!

Chris and I love our doona or duvet. We don't worry with a top sheet and because I am in and out of bed during the day, I usually just pull it up as we get in at night. It is allowed to air during the day: as soon as I get out of it, I pull the doona back. Now I find another reason to love my doona. Untidy beds may keep us healthy. House dust mites are linked to asthma. Failing to make your bed in the morning may actually help keep you healthy, scientists believe.

Research suggests that while an unmade bed may look scruffy it is also unappealing to house dust mites thought to cause asthma and other allergies.

A Kingston University study discovered the bugs cannot survive in the warm, dry conditions found in an unmade bed.

The average bed could be home to up to 1.5 million house dust mites.

The bugs, which are less than a millimetre long, feed on scales of human skin and produce allergens which are easily inhaled during sleep.

The warm, damp conditions created in an occupied bed are ideal for the creatures, but they are less likely to thrive when moisture is in shorter supply.

Researcher Dr Stephen Pretlove said: "We know that mites can only survive by taking in water from the atmosphere using small glands on the outside of their body.

"Something as simple as leaving a bed unmade during the day can remove moisture from the sheets and mattress so the mites will dehydrate and eventually die."

In the next stage of their research, the scientists are putting mite pockets into beds in 36 houses around the United Kingdom to test their computer model and will investigate how people's daily routines affect mite populations.

Building features such as heating, ventilation and insulation will also be altered to monitor how the mites cope.

Dr Pretlove said the research had the potential to reduce the £700m spent treating mite-induced illnesses each year in the UK.

"Our findings could help building designers create healthy homes and healthcare workers point out environments most at risk from mites."

Dr Matt Hallsworth, of the charity Asthma UK, said: 'House-dust mite allergen can be an important trigger for many people with asthma, but is notoriously difficult to avoid."

Professor Andrew Wardlaw, of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology, agreed.

He said: "Mites are very important in asthma and allergy and it would be good if ways were found to modifiy the home so that mite concentrations were reduced.

"It is true that mites need humid conditions to thrive and cannot survive in very dry (desert like) conditions. from the BBC

It certainly makes bedmaking easy for us sacrificial homekeepers, isn't it?

© Glenys Robyn Hicks

So teach [usto number our days, that we may apply [our] hearts unto wisdom. Psalm 90:12

The hand of the Almighty is always on you

Over the past few years, I have experienced an almost constant barrage of problems in my life and in the lives of the ones I love. My marriage is my one area of stability and joy, but in all other areas, there have been continuous trials.

Health issues both new and old, my children's personal relationship breakdowns, their work colleagues problems, watching my (now deceased) terminally ill step-father drown in his own fluid, seeing my mother exhausted in caring for him and me not being able to do much to help because of illness, long term unemployment etc have had the potential to overwhelm me daily.

Just when I think I can come up from under the water and breathe, something new crops up and I am plunged down again. I am getting weary and sometimes I feel that I cannot cope with anything else. Yet it continues. Why am I telling you this? Well, not to whine- there is a point other than sympathy mongering.

I think I must be growing in my faith, for once I would have wondered if God still loves me- after all, He could stop these trials coming and work miracles in the lives of loved ones in distress. But I have found that it is times like these, that God is working in my life and the lives of others, and I come to know that He is my only salvation spiritually and in coping with life.

Over the past years, I have built a network of Christian friends both in real life and online who have been wonderful in prayer support and love. I believe with all my heart that the LORD brings these wonderful people into our lives to minister and grow. (It is so true that the Christian cannot live on an island- we need each other.)

I do not know why God allows constant trials to beset some of us, when others seem to sail through life- but I do know that He never leaves us or forsakes us. It is in coming to Him and in prayer with the Body Of Christ, that His love for us is manifested during times of trial.

None of us are immune from hardship, but God has made an escape from the torment through Him- in prayer and reading the Word and being prayed for and having friends pray with you. That to me is love in action. It is the way Christ would want it to be, for He takes no delight in our suffering.

I would encourage those of you who, like me are suffering under various trials, to cling close to God, to His Word- store it in your heart so that it lives there- and seek out Christian faithful prayer warriors. The prayer of a righteous man or woman avails much.

I do not enjoy my trials- I sometimes find it embarrassing to ask for prayer, yet this is the way of Christian love and fellowship. Never be afraid to ask for prayer and ALWAYS pray for those who ask it of you. Sorrow is a part of our lives, but so is God's unending love and concern for us. So don't cave in and don't give up on your faith. Trust that God is working in yours or your loved one's lives and remember that it is often after the miracle that you see that the Hand of the Almighty is always on you.

© Glenys Robyn Hicks

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Ephesians 6:13

Keeping a home with chronic illness

This is an encouraging letter from a chronically ill woman. Mrs White of Legacy of Home

I have struggled with chronic illness for many years. In 1997, I was diagnosed with cancer and have not been the same since. However, I have many months of seeming perfect health, but then I have periods of total weakness and feeling like an invalid. There are times when I cannot walk and need crutches to support myself.

Most of the time, I "take it" cheerfully. It is like a forced break from all the things I try to do. It is time to sit quietly and enjoy some rest. Yet, I will do it with grace and glamor!

I love the above photograph of Donna Reed. In her day, women kept up their looks even when ill. This morning, I swept my hair up, into a french twist, put on some extra makeup (like the 60's look), and have on my pretty red house-robe. I will rest in style.

I plan to give the children lists of housework to do for me. Someone will take charge of the kitchen. Another will take over laundry. I will also have one of them plan a special supper. If I see them keeping up the house, I will be able to rest content.

My grandmother had multiple sclerosis and, for as long as I can remember, lived in her wheelchair. She also lived with us from the time I was 3 years old until she died when I was 11. She was wonderful! She directed and managed the house, and everyone, from her chair. She had dignity and spunk and knew how to run a house. She also continued to do whatever work she could from that wheelchair. She could sit at the table and work on preparing dough for tortellini. She is my inspiration.

If I am to be an invalid, I will still have a lovely home. I will manage from my chair and I will be grateful even in this trial.

Mrs. White (in gentle tears)

Teaching your children manners

I doubt that there would be a mother among us who has never taught her child manners. From the time our child can grasp something held out to them we have intoned the magical words, "Say thank you!" " ta" "please" But good manners are more than please and thank you!

Good manners include holding doors open for someone, letting the other person go first, excusing oneself after emitting intestinal noises~ahem...It's saying "excuse me" and not pushing someone in the road, it's insisting that the children speak respectfully and a lot more. Manners also includes teaching children to value and respect others' property and home...

I can well remember an incident with my friends' daughters. Sharon, her elder daughter had a hair clip that belonged to Denise, her younger daughter. Now Denise wanted it back. This is not an unreasonable request. However, the hair clip was inside Sharon's makeup bag which was inside her handbag, and Sharon was not at home. It would be a simple matter for her mother to just get the hairclip and give it to Denise. But to my amazement, my friend wouldn't go to Sharon's handbag much to Denise's sorrow!

Quite fascinated, I observed this, taking mental notes. Patiently, Denise's mother explained to her that since Sharon wasn't home, it would be best to use another hairpin. It was not up to anyone except Sharon to go through her stuff to give it to Denise. Denise wailed and was quite upset, but her mother stood firm.

Later on, my friend explained that she was training her children to respect others' property. She didn't want Denise to think it was OK to rummage through her sisters' things because she didn't want to teach her that it would be OK to rummage through *our* things! Likewise, she wouldn't let her children jump on the couch at home because she didn't want them jumping on *our* couches! I took all this on board thinking what a wise woman she was. She was sharp, and she was setting the example.

We must set the rules of behaviour in our own homes. Respect of people, respect of others' property and proper and respectful behaviour in others' homes begins in our own. It is an important task that is sometimes forgotten today in this world where children are allowed free rein at home and in others' homes.

Unruly and ill-mannered children will harm your Christian witness too. We are called to have obedient children. So for the LORD'S sake as well, it is important to give careful and faithful instruction to our children. Not only will it benefit our witness and our children and home, but us also as we find ourselves welcomed at others' homes instead of remaining uninvited because they just can't stand our kids! It's true that manners certainly are far more than just please and thank you!

© Glenys Robyn Hicks

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.  Proverbs 22:6

Making personal hygiene fibro-friendly

I have been ill with fibromyalgia for about twenty years now. In that time, lots of things have changed, and one of them is my personal hygiene routine.

One would think that taking a bath or a shower would be an easy thing to accomplish, but if you suffer from chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, back problems or angina problems like I do, you would realise that it consumes a lot of your spoons. So I had to do a bit of rethinking of my daily routines. I've discovered that one of the places that takes a lot of my spoons is the bathroom.

Because bathing and drying and dressing exhaust me, I varied my time in taking a bath depending on how well I feel. If I have enough energy, I would bathe in the morning, if not I would take a shower before bed as Chris is home and he helps me get dried and into my nightie. (When you are chronically ill, you quickly get over being humbled by needing assistance- you are grateful for any help available.)

I have found that if I take a bath or shower in the morning I am left with no energy for the rest of the day. If I take my shower at night, I have just enough energy afterwards to get myself to bed, which works out much better.

Hot baths or showers leave me too exhausted and give me angina pain, so I take showers with only warm or tepid water. While I would prefer to shower every day, showering is best done every other day for me to avoid flare-ups of pain, fatigue and soreness. I have decided on some new course of action to make time in my bathroom more fibro-friendly.

One of the first things I changed was how I take a shower, or rather, the position in which I shower: sitting. Here I find those telephone type showers are useful. When I get out of the shower, I sit down to dry off.

I can no longer blow dry my hair so by necessity my hairstyle has been wash and air dry for years now. Time in front of the sink brushing my teeth or washing my face has been modified by resting one foot on a stool while standing. Because of spinal problems and being a short person, I have a glass in my bathroom which I fill with water and use for rinsing and cleaning my toothbrush without straining to reach the tap.

I no longer wear makeup, the standing in front of the mirror and the use of my hands in holding the various tools of the task, is now limited to special occasions only; it is too painful a task to do on a daily basis. Also, my face is so sensitive that it breaks out in red welts at the slightest pressure... which includes smearing on foundation. This is called dermagraphia.

The bottom line is taking a shower is a real workout now. In addition to modifying how I take a shower, I am going to follow these 3 rules: I will only take a shower at night, I will only take warm water showers and I will only take a shower every other day. With the employment of a good deodorant after each shower and a fresh change of underwear each night and morning, I have found that I don't offend anyone and remain feminine and dainty.

Life with chronic illness is complicated, but at least I manage to stay clean while living it!

© Glenys Robyn Hicks

teach [us] to number our days, that we may apply [our] hearts unto wisdom. Psalm 90:12

It only comes once

The most precious part of a person's life is undoubtedly their childhood. It is in the first 7 years particularly of a child's life that their character is forming. It is in these years that it is most crucial that children have a close relationship to their parents or career. As well as training and learning, a vital part of childhood is playing. This is where what is observed is put into practice.

It is important that a child have fun in their life, stability, direction and love. The best thing we can give our child for a happy childhood is a happy marriage, a peaceful home and our loving guidance and attention shown at times in playing with them. This will delight a child no end. The memories of childhood games especially with Mother and Father, will last a life-time.

A happy childhood, I believe, prepares a child for adult life and is a once-off- we only have one chance to be a child! I believe that a happy child grows into a confident adult. Life is tackled more confidently than the adult who has had an unhappy childhood. To be denied a happy childhood often makes an adult resentful and can cause some people to be 'Peter Pans' who never grow up. They live life in a constant state of dramas and dependency on their parents or others.

Take time to play and read to your children, give them a routine so that they can know what is expected in their lives, and treat them gently and kindly. Expect them to make messes, cry at your discipline, get cranky when tired or sick and even embarrass you sometimes. They are, after all, children. Let them be loved and know it- tell them often. They need to hear it.

I had never heard my mother say "I love you"- she just couldn't seem to say it. It grieves me that I was 65 when at her last dying words, I ever heard those words from her. I 'knew' she loved me, but I would have loved to hear those words. So from someone who's been there- tell your child often that you love him or her.

Childhood is a growing time, physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually. Make your child's childhood special…let them learn to trust in you and their father and then to learn to trust God. Make it your goal as a parent to give your child a happy childhood. Because it only comes once.

© Glenys Robyn Hicks

And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4 

Finding comfort in Gods' Order

You may remember the post I wrote about Gods' Umbrella Of Protection. It is a great comfort to me as a Sacrificial HomeKeeper who often wonders just where she fits in Gods' Big Plan for her life.

When I had been ill when my children were young, I used to fret that I couldn't go to certain places like footy matches to watch them play or participate in Mothers' Clubs at the local school.

I used to obsess that I should be doing more in the house as I endured six months of glandular fever that wouldn't go away. I would do some housework in my dressing gown only to break out in a sweat and retreat again to my bed, where I would read to my children until I fell asleep with my glasses on and the book over my face. And my mother would take over in the afternoon shift leading to tea time.

Depression would kick in and probably in hindsight, helped my disease linger so long. And I really needn't have been so depressed. Because a lot of that was a feeling of false guilt and wondering where I was in Gods' plan. Well, I was right where He wanted me to be!

"You mean, He wanted you flat on your back too tired to breathe?" you ask. No, but I was exactly in Gods' Order... in spite of that!

I was first and foremost a child of God. I was a faithful albeit sick wife, and a loving mother to my four little ones: four children under five at the time. And I was still mistress of my home. My (then) husband and mother would consult me on matters pertaining to the home, and I kept a watchful eye on what was going on. So all in all, I was very much under Gods' Umbrella of Protection.

As I have mentioned before, being a faithful Christian woman is not about about how fast you spin your wheel. It is about your heart attitude. Indeed, you are not in control of your illness but you are in control of your attitude and where you are in Gods' Order.

God understands that you can't be participating in Mothers' Clubs (PTA) meetings, church or prayer meetings: indeed these are secondary to where He wants you to be. And if you are His child, faithfully married and overseeing the care of your home and children from your sick bed, then that is where He wants you to be for a season- however short or long that may be.

Knowing this helps me now, but how I wish I had seen that forty years ago! Let me encourage you in this, and may you derive comfort from knowing you are exactly where you should be at this time: under Gods' Umbrella of Protection! That comfort could very well help you recover sooner: Gods' Ways are always good!

© Glenys Robyn Hicks

He hath shewed thee, O man, what [is] good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? Micah 6:8

Let him lead

God created man directly under Him with a wife equal in value but in submission to her husband. Where there are two heads in a marriage, wherein the man is not allowed to be responsible under God for his decisions, there is the distinct possibility that he will feel emasculated. 

Submission is not understood. Mainly because we think that our men will take advantage of us and rule the roost without any desire to know how we feel or think about something. 

A man who loves his wife will consult with her and value her insight and will then make a decision that they are both in agreement with. If not, he is out of line in the Divine Order. 

We talk things through, evaluate the best way to go then we allow our husband to make the final decision. He is responsible under God for his decisions, ours is to pray and support him. 

God has decreed that we wives allow our husbands to lead. He is to be head of our home, even if he is unsaved. He is to treated with respect! As long as our husband is not asking us to sin, he is to be obeyed.

In no way are we meant to be treated as doormats. That is not what God wants in a Christian marriage either. We are equal to our husband yet we have distinctly separate roles. These roles are in keeping with how we are created, and they actually enhance our femininity whilst bolstering our husband's masculinity.

If we submit to our husband, we will be staying within God's Umbrella of Protection in the Divine Order.

A man yearns to be respected, a woman yearns to be loved. If we emasculate our husband by usurping his God-given role, he will resent us. Respect will bring out his better qualities, and he will feel that he can love a woman who highly regards him. 

We love God, therefore we submit to our husband because of that love. Let him lead.

© Glenys Robyn Hicks

For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so [let] the wives [be] to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. Ephesians 5:23-30

Anxiety isn't sin: it's an emotion

Panic attacks and anxiety make us fearful of everything. Even of God. 

We can be the most trusting of Christians, but sometimes our bodies create too much cortisol and not enough seretonin, and we can find ourselves, against our own belief and trust in Christ, becoming overwrought and anxious. 

We can find ourselves teetering on the edge of panic and the Pit Of Despair is beckoning. We feel guilty for being anxious, but we can't seem to stop it.

We know we are told to not be anxious and not to fear, but here it is: anxiety has raised its' ugly head again. Is there no hope for us? Oh yes, our hope as always is in the compassion of Christ! 

In times like this, we can find ourselves doubting that God loves us and we are totally miserable. But it is at this time that we need to hang on to Jesus's hem and stay still. In spite of our feelings, He is still there with us.

Our accuser, Satan is anything but stupid and if he can get us to feel guilty about being anxious, then he has succeeded in causing us further pain. 

Jesus never makes us feel guilty: the Holy Spirit will convict us of sin and with true repentance, comes freedom. 

Satan is the accuser who leaves no room for repentance or mercy or grace or forgiveness. 

Guilt is a nail through the heart, conviction is a softening of the heart. 

By taking hold of God's promises by reading scriptures of hope you can climb out of the Pit. 

Please don't feel guilty for being down or anxious with panic attacks. It is what it is. But it's not a sin. It's a chemical imbalance. And it's an emotion. 

© Glenys Robyn Hicks

"For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. " Isaiah 41:13

No fear in death

sick man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to leave the examination room and said, 'Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side..' Very quietly, the doctor said, 'I don't know..''You don't know? You're, a Christian man, and don't know what's on the other side?' 
The doctor was holding the handle of the door; on the other side came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.
Turning to the patient, the doctor said, 'Did you notice my dog? He's never been in this room before. He didn't know what was inside.. He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door opened, he sprang in without fear.  I know little of what is on the other side of death, but I do know one thing... I know my Master is there and that is enough.'   author unknown

I know that is how I faced the fear of death with my heart problems and misdiagnosis of a terminal illness.. I reasoned that as long as Christ was there, that was all that mattered!

© Glenys Robyn Hicks

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:John 25:11
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