25 March 2008

Bye Bye Blogzine!

I'm sure this isn't much of a surprise to anyone still visiting/subscribed - but I've decided to shut down Christian Women blogzine. The original idea was to have several writers on board, and me in a mostly organisational role... but it's stayed as me simply writing the vast majority of articles, which doesn't really count as a 'blogzine' at all!

But never fear... I'm sure to come up with other wacky blog ideas. If you're bored or want to know a bit about me personally, have a look at http://nomesquelife.wordpress.com


God bless.

24 January 2008

Practicing the Presence of God - pt 7

Brother Lawrence said that in order to form a habit of conversing with God continually and referring all we do to Him, we must at first apply to Him with some diligence. Then, after a little care, we would find His love inwardly excite us to it without any difficulty.

In other words - at first, this 'practice of the presence of God' takes effort and constant self-reminders. After a while, though, we'll be used to talking and listening to God throughout our days, and wonder how we ever did without it.


11 January 2008

Sex and Marriage

I've been noticing that the most popular articles on this blogzine - by far! - are those about sex. And it's fair enough, too. There's often an unspoken assumption in the christian church that marriage = sex. Young couples are encouraged to stay 'pure' until they marry, to get the best out of life and sex. And while I don't disagree that marriage and sex should go together, it's a very obvious fact that sometimes they don't. So... what to do if the sex is lacking in your marriage?

Step 1: Let go of negative thoughts about your sex life (or lack thereof). In particular, watch for thoughts against your spouse - "she's doing it deliberately" or "he's just lazy". Challenge them. Try thinking, "what can we do about it?" instead. Ask God for help on this step, it can be very hard to change your thought patterns.

Step 2:
Have a look at Lori's article on reasons for loss of desire. Have a good think about possible reasons for the lack of sex in your marriage.

Step 3: Talk to your spouse. Ask for his or her opinion on your sex life, and what they think might be the cause of any problems. Ask what they think the two of you - as a team - can do about it. Allow time for thought, don't expect immediate answers. And try not to get defensive about any answers that sound like attacks.

Step 4: Think about what your spouse said. Did they highlight anything that you hadn't thought of? Are there any changes you could make - and if you could, should you? Pray before deciding this for sure.

Step 5: Together choose a solution or two to implement together. Start small, and commit to doing whatever it is longterm. It might be having a date night once a week, or trying a new position each month, or you mowing the lawn every week and her serving dinner earlier. Whatever. But make sure it's not just one person carrying the burden of change.

Step 6:
Follow through. See how it goes. If it falls down, go back to Step 1 and try again.

05 January 2008

Diary of a Broken Heart

2 days before surgery

Tomorrow - barring urgent cases taking priority over mine, or my surgeon getting sick, or something of the sort - I'm going into hospital for open heart surgery.

Am I nervous? Heck yeah! There's a weird feeling of having been there done that... but I remember nothing (I was 2, last time). I know full well that I need to expect pain, and difficulty, and while I don't feel particularly scared, I'm not particularly looking forward to it, you know? I feel fairly sure that I'll get through it OK, and I figure that if something does happen, God will be looking out for me. That doesn't mean that he'll necessarily stop something bad happening, but I know from experience that he'll be there, and he'll bring me through. Those are the important things. It probably helps that I've been getting so frustrated over my declining health that I'm eager to have the surgery just for the hope of feeling better than this!

02 January 2008

Spice Up Your Love Life (no sex toys required)

Here's an idea for celebrating the New Year.

No matter how good your marriage, it's a sure bet that it could be better. Unless, of course, you're the perfect woman married to the perfect man - in which case, I want to talk to you!

So here's the challenge. It's not a unique idea, mind you, but it's practically guaranteed to change your relationship in some way. Even if it's subtle. First, read this article on Christianity Today about love languages. Then, every day come up with one or two small things to do for your spouse to say "I love you". If you're certain of your spouse's 'love language', then primarily use that category (but use the other ones occasionally as well).

For example:

Day One: love note in his wallet, and a slice of his favourite cake in his briefcase
Day Two: give him a massage while watching CSI together
Day Three: do one of his chores for him
Day Four: play cards, a boardgame or a console game together
Day Five: leave a chocolate on his pillow
Day Six: tell him something you appreciate about his character
Day Seven: organise a romantic picnic (even if it is in the loungeroom)

I hope the above provides some ideas. The concept is really to focus on doing small, loving things regularly to bring a smile to your spouse's face. It's not guaranteed to save a struggling marriage. It may bring absolutely no return from your spouse. If you can, do it with no expectations whatsoever.

If you need more ideas, try subscribing to Lori's Generous Wife mailing list. She sends out daily emails containing ideas for being nice to your husband.


01 January 2008

Practicing the Presence of God - pt 6

Brother Lawrence said to arrive at such resignation as God requires, we should carefully watch over all the passions that mingle in spiritual as well as temporal things. God would give light concerning those passions to those who truly desire to serve Him.

It can be incredibly hard to sort God's will from our own desires at times. In fact, I've sometimes found that the only way I could work it out was to work out what I felt led to do but didn't really want to do - that was generally what God eanted from me! But that's not a fantastic test, especially if we're haunted by ideas of what we should be doing, or being.

Brother Lawrence's advice needs to be taken in the context of his overall theme - continuous conversation with God. Let him lead in little ways, and the big things will grow from there. Noticing the lonely-looking person over there, and feel a tug towards them? That's probably God. Remembering an acquaintance with financial issues? That might well be God pointing you toward doing something for them. Don't worry so much about achieving the big stuff... preaching up a storm, being renowned for your work amongst a minority group, whatever. That sort of thing typically happens while someone is focused on obeying God every minute. And it happens because God orchestrates it, not because his servant does.


29 December 2007

The Road to Emmaus

Very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, carrying the spices that they had prepared. When they found the stone rolled away from the entrance, they went in. But they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus, and they did not know what to think. Suddenly two men in shining white clothes stood beside them. The women were afraid and bowed to the ground. But the men said, "Why are you looking in the place of the dead for someone who is alive? Jesus isn't here! He has been raised from death. Remember that while he was still in Galilee, he told you, 'The Son of Man will be handed over to sinners who will nail him to a cross. But three days later he will rise to life.' " Then they remembered what Jesus had said.

Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and some other women were the ones who had gone to the tomb. When they returned, they told the eleven apostles and the others what had happened. The apostles thought it was all nonsense, and they would not believe. But Peter ran to the tomb. And when he stooped down and looked in, he saw only the burial clothes. Then he returned, wondering what had happened.

That same day two of Jesus' disciples were going to the village of Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. As they were talking and thinking about what had happened, Jesus came near and started walking along beside them. But they did not know who he was.

Jesus asked them, "What were you talking about as you walked along?"

The two of them stood there looking sad and gloomy. Then the one named Cleopas asked Jesus, "Are you the only person from Jerusalem who didn't know what was happening there these last few days?"

"What do you mean?" Jesus asked.

They answered: Those things that happened to Jesus from Nazareth. By what he did and said he showed that he was a powerful prophet, who pleased God and all the people. Then the chief priests and our leaders had him arrested and sentenced to die on a cross. We had hoped that he would be the one to set Israel free! But it has already been three days since all this happened. Some women in our group surprised us. They had gone to the tomb early in the morning, but did not find the body of Jesus. They came back, saying that they had seen a vision of angels who told them that he is alive. Some men from our group went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said. But they didn't see Jesus either.

Then Jesus asked the two disciples, "Why can't you understand? How can you be so slow to believe all that the prophets said? Didn't you know that the Messiah would have to suffer before he was given his glory?" Jesus then explained everything written about himself in the Scriptures, beginning with the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets.

When the two of them came near the village where they were going, Jesus seemed to be going farther. They begged him, "Stay with us! It's already late, and the sun is going down." So Jesus went into the house to stay with them. After Jesus sat down to eat, he took some bread. He blessed it and broke it. Then he gave it to them. At once they knew who he was, but he disappeared.

They said to each other, "When he talked with us along the road and explained the Scriptures to us, didn't it warm our hearts?" So they got right up and returned to Jerusalem. The two disciples found the eleven apostles and the others gathered together.
Luke 24:1-33 (bolding mine)

At first glance, these guys seem a bit clueless. But stop and think about it:
  • They'd never seen anything like this before
  • Everyone else expected the same things
  • They were living in the physical world, and subject to the same problem almost everyone who lives here suffers - a tendency to expect physical results
Do you think maybe you suffer from the exact same tendency? I know I do. I pray for healing and feel sad that my cold is still with me - and miss that God's healed me of a years-old hurt that was affecting how I reacted to everyone. I pray for a new job and get upset that God hasn't delivered the one I want, ignoring that he's given me a new ministry. I consistently get confused between the short-lived physical world and the far more important, eternal world. My values get hopelessly mixed up.

So what do we do if we do suffer the same tendencies as those disciples heading for Emmaus?

How about talking to Jesus, and asking for an eye-opener?


28 December 2007


Christmas has been a good opportunity to slow down, relax, and think a bit.

I hope you're managing something similar. Bless you! :-)


20 December 2007

Not Very Feminine?

Do you ever feel as though you're not very feminine? Have you ever been told that this is a problem - either biblically, or relationally, or just because it's not right? Do you think this is right? What is God's idea of femininity?

The Creation

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27

The Job Description
An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all." Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.
Proverbs 31:10-31

Women Around Jesus
There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.
Matthew 27:55-56

Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.
Luke 8:1-3

I think it's important to note that the bible actually says very little about 'femininity'. I can think of no attributes given to christian women that are not also given to christian men and/or Jesus himself. The inner 'feminine' and 'masculine' attributes we hear today were largely created in the western world during the Renaissance and Industrial Revolution, when the physical differences between men and women became less important (financially) than they had been in previous generations.

Are there cultural standards of masculinity and femininity? Yes, although they're rapidly disintegrating. Are there biblical standards of masculinity and femininity? Perhaps - but these have very little to do with dress code, social etiquette (aka 'acting like a lady') and personality traits.


18 December 2007

Recipe - Christmas Cookies


1 cup of brown sugar
250g of margarine (I use Nuttelex)
2 cups of plain flour
1 tsp of baking powder
1/2 cup of chocolate chips (I use dark chocolate - Aldi have some lovely no-dairy dark chocolate chips at the moment, which are as rare as hen's teeth!)
1/2 cup of glace cherries, chopped (red and green for the 'proper' festive touch)
1 tsp of vanilla essence
1 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
1/2 tsp of cloves (finely ground)


Cream the margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add everything else and mix thoroughly. Either roll out to about 1cm thick and cut shapes, or roll into balls and flatten with hands to about 1cm thick. Widely space on a baking tray (greased or covered in baking paper) and bake for 10-15 minutes at 200C (until golden brown on top).