Monthly Archives: January 2012

A Week Before School Starts

It is a week before school starts,
So the cogs are slowly winding up,
Gearing up for the business/busyness
that is a “school year”.
“Curricula,” check.
“Course Outlines” (nearly) check.
“Resources”, always looking.
“Class lists”, check.
“Ah! ‘X’ is in my class.
That will interesting for him
and me.
 
The time table,
Yard duty,
The marking,
The discipline,
Those annoying sports days and 
assemblies …
and parent meetings.
Diaries and homeroom. 
Uniforms and chewing gum.
 
Is that what the new school year is about?
Or is it …
mentoring and example,
words of encouragement 
and correction;
Growth and matuity
for both student and teacher.
Discovering gifts, talents and purpose 
and crucially,
a destiny.
 
In all,
revealing our place
in God’s kingdom
and under His rule.
Categories: christian, Christianity, Education, Faith, Poem, poetry, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Funeral

We had mum’s funeral yesterday.

The emotions were conflicted. The over whelming thought is that of joy. Joy that suffering and pain has gone and that she is now with Jesus – renewed. The cemetery manager actually commented how encouraging it was to have a “born again” funeral. (His words).

Yet mum was my/our mum someone important in our lives. We have a history together – an important history. So that is where the pain lies for us – the pain of loss. But even that pain will only be temporary. The time will come, when, before the throne of God we will be united.

Finally it was a privilege to conduct the committal and funeral. Because of the strong family presence it seemed, to me, like a special family gathering.

Categories: christian, Christianity, Education, Faith | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

That Last Step

This journey
as long as it seems,
is only a pilgrimage.
We can try
to set our roots
deep in the ground
and hold fast
and tight.
 
The tighter we hold
the greater the wrench
when the journey
continues
into the
eternal future
of heaven
or hell.
 
If we journey
with a new
Christ bought
future life,
as a vision before us,
that last step on earth
will be far more gentle,
more hope filled,
and glorious.
 
Categories: christian, Christianity, Devotional, Faith, Poem, poetry, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Geertrui Sophia Stok 13-11-1922 – 11-01-2012

On Wednesday the Lord took to Himself  “Truus” Stok (nee: van Meggelen). Mum had been a loving wife, mother and grandmother and faithfully loved the Lord throughout her 89 years.

Since the early 1970s she struggled with MS but it was a sign of her character that she took up this struggle resolutely and determinedly.

Mum had been through the “Great Depression”, war and then moved to a new land in the early 1950s with a young family. In all that time her life was characterised by diligence and hard work. Most of all, in everything she did, her desire was to do it in a way that honoured God.

We will miss her, but our joy is that she is now without pain and suffering in the presence of her God and King.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving 
   and his courts with praise; 
   give thanks to him and praise his name. 
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; 
   his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:4&5
 
Categories: Devotional, Family | 11 Comments

Romans 12: 1& 2 Without Comment

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

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From Generation to Generation

I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. Gen 7:17

I’m still perusing photos. I came across one of my parents the other day and remembered that when I was a lot younger, I thought that they already seemed so old in this photo. Then the daunting reality hit me that now I am now a lot older than they were at the time of the photo. Generations come and go. My children are part of the coming generation and I am definitely part of the going one.

For God generations have an important task. They have the awesome responsibility of preserving and passing on His promises. We see a hint of that in God’s promise to Abraham in the text above.

As a parent or grandparent, you have no greater responsibility or privilege than passing on, in a living, loving and authentic manner, the promises of God to your children and grand children. That is your foremost and most (eternal) life giving task.

Too often I have seen parents so obsessed with the present, getting money, house, job success and so on, that they have neglected eternity. Their children know how to acquire and succeed, as they have learned well from their parents, but the children have failed to grasp and live faith.The patterns of life have already been set in their children. I have seen many older parents in tears because they have come to this understanding too late.

So parents, above all else, teach, show and live faith before your children. Other things may be important, but nothing, nothing at all, is more important than this.

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Photos and Memories

Leafing through photos
jolts the memory
of past pleasures and friends,
even family from
times before my time.
The snap brings
fleeting sparks
of jumbled feelings and
uncertain emotions:
yearning and longing.
 
Old friends,
Long gone family,
Special moments,
Celebrated occasions
all swirl about
in sepia, black, white and faded colour.
 
But I can’t live there.
That land is beyond reach.
Today and tomorrow
beckon and demand.
Work, appointments,
even celebrations call.
All fodder for
future memories
of past pleasures.
Categories: Family, Life, Poem, poetry | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Journeys Past

The picture (left) was taken 58 years ago on the “Johan van Oldenbarnevelt” as I travelled to Australia with my parents. I was three and half years old at the time (and quite cute). It was a five week journey that took us from Amsterdam, via the Suez to Australia. The JvO made this journey many times as it delivered migrants seeking a new life. There have been moments when I wondered what my life would have been like if my family had not emigrated. But really, that is an empty exercise.

I have also wondered what drove my parents and the many others to seek this new life. Air travel and telephone communication were expensive. Keeping contact with loved ones would not be easy. For both my parents it meant that they would never see their own parents again. I know that for my father, he desired a future for himself and his family. Living in a cramped attic in post war Rotterdam and struggling to find work encouraged him to seek an alternative life.

I have been grateful for his restlessness as I have enjoyed the life and the opportunities that it has spawned. One regret is that my dad didn’t live long enough to see how his granddaughters took these opportunities to a new level.

The one constant for our family then, and my own family now, is that we both had a heavenly dad whose plans and purposes over-arched any petty plans that we may have had- big or small.

So as I blunder into 2012, I for one know that whatever my decisions and actions, there is a heavenly father who cares for me and my loved ones with an eternal perspective.

Categories: christian, Christianity, Devotional, Faith, Family, History | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

School Days 2012

 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deut 6: 4-9

 

In a few short weeks the Australian school year will commence. Already, teachers are planning and plotting the new year. For a Christian teacher there can be no better starting point than the passage above in order to revitalise one’s orientation.

It begins with the famous “Shema”, “Hear O Isreal,” and then it continues with one of the most profound yet simple explanations of what a faithful education looks like. In short, it encompasses life and involves the community of faith. All of life is the arena for teaching and learning – nothing is left out. A child is to grow up with a worldview that is anchored in the faith of the community.

The heart of education is to be a relationship with God. Love God with “all” heart, soul and strength is at its core. Then from this relationship springs an understanding of God’s world – a world ordered and organised by God’s “commands”. These are not to be offered to the child as an “option”. A concept popular with today’s parents. “When the child is older they can make up their own mind.” We don’t do that with food or health, so why faith? Impress them on your children – there is an urgency.

Life is the school room. At home, in the community and bedtime are opportunities not to miss. Our actions (hands) and our thinking (heads) are to be shaped by our relationship with God. So whether in your own home (doorframes)  or venturing into the world (gates) we are to walk, talk and be, a living representative of God’s family. That is what we are training our children into.

So to my fellow pedagogues, whether professional or home schoolers, may this passage be an impetus for the task in 2012. And in case you feel left out, every Christian is part of the training of our children. Your word and example is to be a central aspect of the world of their education.

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He Calls Them Each by Name

He determines the number of the stars 
   and calls them each by name.

Psalm 147:4

The "Dish" at Parkes N.S.W.

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