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Get up!

Published September 21, 2015 by Laura Crean Author

I believe the Lord has been guiding me to study the book of Acts this last week and I came across a YouTube video that enables you to watch a stunning dramatization of this most inspiring book, whilst following along with your NIV bible.  I encourage anyone who learns in a more visual way and may struggle with reading the bible to watch it.  The other books of the New Testament are also available but it is acts I wanted to focus on at the moment.  I will put the video at the end of this post.

It was quite late already by the time I started watching but I had my Women’s Devotional Bible in front of me to read along, and so I started my journey into Acts.  Unfortunately half way through the film (and the book) I fell asleep!

Skipping a couple of days I opened my bible on the study on page 1293 entitled “A Mother’s Prayer” (Read Acts 1:1-14).  The study sets the scene by talking about a woman called Monica and her constant prayer for her son Augustine, who didn’t follow his mother’s faith and led a sinful life.  He did however eventually wake up to Christ and became, of course, a very famous fourth century Bishop.  All his life his mother prayed for him, confident that God would step in and wake her son from his sinful slumber.

In the bible reading we see how Mary must have struggled when her younger sons didn’t have faith in their older brother Jesus and they must have been constantly foremost in her prayers.  And we see how after Jesus ascends into heaven, his mother is among those in the upper room praying along with Jesus’ brothers.  In fact his brother James is one of the first people Jesus appears to.

I really took hold of this lesson as a mother myself, praying for my children daily that they will be woken up to God’s glory.  But as a mother who has faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and saviour, I am very conscious of the need to be gently encouraging – because children don’t always listen to their parents with an open heart, let’s face it – and I don’t want the opposite to happen and push them further from God.

Now every Sunday I get up and go to church and I wake my children up and tell them I am going to church and if they want to come they have an hour or half an hour (depending on when I wake them) to get up, dressed and with it and come with me.  I am a single mother and the girl’s father has them every other weekend (he doesn’t go to church) so as my children keep telling me: “This is your thing Mum not ours!”  I try not to nag but give them the option of coming with me.  Usually I get a few groans of “No Thanks!”  and they turn over and go back to sleep!  However Last Sunday I suddenly had the urge to change tactics (just the once.  I wasn’t planning on doing it every week, but I felt the Holy Spirit stirring in the house making me bold and spurring me on.)  So I shouted up the stairs: “GET UP!  We’re ALL going out to church this morning!”  The usual moans and groans of teenage angst drifted back down the stairs at me: “Muuuum I’m tired. I really don’t want to go – it’s your thing not mine!”  Then I shouted back up the stairs: “It’s not a thing – it’s an opportunity – now GET UP!  You don’t have to come every week but today we’re ALL going.  As it turned out the morning was really amazing and I was so happy that my children (well 2 of them anyway) had come with me and had actually enjoyed the morning too.

Saturday I opened my devotional bible again to Acts and was quite surprised to find the next study on pg 1304 was entitled “Get up!” (Read Acts 9:1-43)  Obviously this immediately made me think of my struggles to get my children up out of bed on a Sunday morning, so I read on with interest.  The study actually started speaking about parents trying to get teenagers out of bed!  I had to have a little giggle at (what I thought) was God’s sense of humour as a father relating to me as a mother.  Then I read on and the bible study asks you to look at the different ways people were told to “Get up!” in Acts 9.

First in (Acts 9:5-6) Saul is knocked to the ground by the light of Jesus’ presence and blinded on the road to Damascus:

          “Who are you , Lord?” Saul asked.

          “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” He replied.

          “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

Later on in (Acts 9:34-35) Peter comes across a paralyzed man:

          “Aeneas,”  Peter said to him,

          “Jesus Christ heals you.  Get up and roll up your mat.”

Immediately Aeneas got up.  All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.”

Then lastly, in (Acts 9:40) Peter is led to the body of Tabitha (a faithful disciple who always helped the poor and had died):

          Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed.

          Turning towards the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha get up.”

          She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up.”

Well as you can imagine the story spread and many people became believers.

I have really been inspired and encouraged this week by all these examples in the book of Acts and it spoke to me of just how different all our journeys are.  As it points out in the bible study, we are all on different journeys, you may need God to knock you off your horse, heal you or resurrect you depending on where you are spiritually.   Which brings me to the end of the week.  Friday I had a lovely catch up with a very dear friend of mine, who has been with me on my journey and who I know has been constantly praying for me.  Somehow she had double booked her morning and another friend of hers also turned up, and the 3 of us had a wonderful morning chatting, eating a lovely lunch prepared by my friend and sharing our testimonies.  It was then that I told my new friend about the day I met our mutual friend and how amazing my encounter with God was that day.  In a way it reminded me of Saul’s encounter (although obviously not as dramatic!) But i was literally stopped in my tracks as I hurried to pass the church and the rather exuberant pastor sitting outside happily inviting people in to join in with a family event taking place.  I was offended by his intrusion into my day and I politely declined with some excuse and hurried across the road.  My eldest daughter, just 4 years old at the time, cried and carried on and on about how she wanted her face painted.  I tried to take her into the local corner shop, thinking to bribe her with sweets to stop her winging.  Well – it was at that point, standing in the middle of a very quiet coastal village, with nobody around me, that “someone” whispered quite calmly, gently but in a demanding way in my ear:

“Turn around!” – which I did.  I turned around in the street to see who it was whispering in my ear and there was nobody there!  My little heart started pounding, I can tell you, at the sudden realization that it had been God!  God had just caught me trying to bribe my 4 year old with sweets NOT to go to church.  I was so stunned and ashamed that I immediately went back to the church, where I met, amongst others, the dear friend I was visiting on Friday.

I would love to tell you that after that amazing encounter with God in the very quiet coastal village of Pevensey Bay, I was a loyal and faithful Christian – I’d be lying!  That was just one small step on my journey to being woken up by God and thankfully he never gave up on me, throughout all my backsliding, and neither did those who continued to pray for me through darker times.  Now I know Jesus was always with me, gently shaking me until I woke up, opened my heart and heard him again.  It’s funny how children have ‘selective hearing’ isn’t it?  Sometimes it isn’t until the circumstances and context of the situation are just right that they suddenly hear what you are trying to say, don’t you think?  It is the same when God is trying to talk to us.

I am happy to report that one of my daughters was given a little shake last Sunday and yesterday (This Sunday) I had no problem getting her up – it seems she wants to be more involved with the church and was very excited to talk to the young visiting preacher who spoke about being a “lighthouse”.

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Feeling Blessed and appreciating my Church Family

Published July 5, 2015 by Laura Crean Author

Just felt like sharing what a wonderful day I had today  with my church family. Fantastic message about restoring calm by the Pastor and also a heart warming message from his wife about how she was stirred by a book she is reading. I really felt God working in me and the rest of the church today. House of prayer this evening – WONDERFUL – God Bless everyone at New Hope Baptist Church – I love you all – fellowship with you guys is like going home for a party every week.  Thank you God for new and old friends alike.  Worshipping you with my friends is such a beautiful blessing.  Thank you Jesus.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

WHY should I label myself a CHRISTIAN?

Published May 6, 2015 by Laura Crean Author

Right now I feel like I am having to fight for my right to call myself a Christian. I feel God speaking to me recently through my interactions with others, so I am sharing.  Some people both Christians AND non Christians may not like it, but to be honest I don’t care. I am trying to get on with my own spiritual journey and I have had trouble over the years BELIEVE me trying to justify to MYSELF why I would want to be called a Christian; and so whilst I have been trying to explain my point of view to other people just lately – I feel it has just been God speaking to ME. Why should I label myself a Christian? This is what I have to say…

I think you are just focusing on that word far too much, you are worrying about it, obsessing over it. yes it is a label, it is a NAME – but it is just a word to describe the body of Christ – his people and – how you see yourself. You ARE you and God made you YOU, the individual. He gave you an individual fingerprint and an individual personality and he stamped HIS LOVE for YOU, your individuality on your heart. He died for YOU. And he wants YOU to come to him “just as you are” – as YOU are – he doesn’t want a carbon copy “Christian” He wants YOU with all your individual quirks and lovely self – but he wants you also to be a part of HIS “body” which is his people, his church – his “CHRISTIAN” people – a label WE give for the BODY AND BRIDE of CHRIST that sets us apart as his most special, beautiful people that he has called INDIVIDUALLY through each of our hearts. We need to have a name to link us to God and what better name than that of the one who gave his life so that you might live forever! I am pouring all of this out of my heart and I feel like it is God writing this right now. I feel maybe he would be afraid that you are missing the point! The point is Jesus. We are not Jews, we are not Muslims, we are not Buddhists, we are not New-~Age crystal worshippers – we might understand about where some of this stuff is coming from but we can see it as being a part of the stuff that goes on in the physical world that God says – yes it’s all real, it’s all valid as in symbolic for certain things but don’t worship it – worship me through my son who I have given for YOU so that you will know how special YOU are to me. We are not all those other groups – those labels – we are CHRISTIANS because we are in CHRIST we are re-born in his image. I can’t keep going round and round trying to make you see through my eyes – I want that label – I WANT to be a Christian; I don’t want to be a Jew like my Mum’s family, I don’t want to be a Buddhist BUT I understand where my Mum is coming from because the old ways LED to the new ways, the NEW testament – that Jesus is the way, the truth, the LIFE. I understand the ways of Buddha and I think Jesus did too; so I meditate as I have always done, but now I meditate with scripture in my heart so that I can close my eyes and meet God in that quiet place, really go inside myself and come into his presence. I understand about the UFO and alien culture and I follow what’s going on there because I believe it is leading to the end days and they are part of the angelic battle – but I don’t worship them, I worship Jesus for saving us from the devil’s plan! To lead us away from God! So I call myself a Christian – a name Jesus would not have called himself – he was a Jew but he said the old ways were DEAD which is why he had to die, to bring us a new way THROUGH HIM and yes we probably could have labelled that Jesus movement in any way – but WE – his church, his BODY labelled it after his name so that we would always remember that through CHRIST EVERYTHING is possible and only through him can we live FOREVER! If you don’t believe that then I’m just spitting words into your face and not into your heart and I can do no more to say how I feel about it. This is how I feel and how I feel GOD is talking to me and through me for YOU. But if you don’t want to label yourself as Christian that is STILL YOUR choice – nobody is going to hate you for it – I love you, God loves you, stop worrying about a LABEL a WORD and get on with getting to know HIM.

“I Know There’s Something More…” – Nick Vujicic – An inspirational figure for our times

Published April 30, 2015 by Laura Crean Author

If there is anyone in the world today that should be an inspiration to all people, be they young or old, with a physical disability or an emotional one – or not; even if you feel you are doing pretty good in the world today and don’t really have many worries.  But perhaps you strive to do better, you would like to aim higher in life, maybe you think, you know, others may have it better than you and you feel you are lacking…think again – here is a man who really has a reason to be in despair, to give up and just say the world has won.  But does he give up?  Does he live in despair?  No he doesn’t.  Watch his amazing story unfold, be INSPIRED and remember what Nick says: “I know there’s something more…”

An introduction…

Nick is an inspirational speaker.  He speaks from the heart about how God has changed his life.  There are many videos of Nick speaking but here are a couple that really spoke to me…

This one had me laughing like a loony and crying like a baby…

If you don’t take anything else away from Nick’s inspirational messages – remember what he says when he says: If you don’t get a miracle – BE the miracle for someone else!  How awesome is that?  And perhaps give away a few hugs today…

 

Building the Future – NaPoWriMo Day 25

Published April 25, 2015 by Laura Crean Author

building the future

I watch my daughter hard at play.

My youngest child, in her own world,

her imagination fired

as she creates a realm out of building bricks.

It’s been this way with children

since children learnt

to stack one brick on top of another,

and another, and another.

This is a recognized stage

in the development of children.

But children grow and become adults,

and adults build societies,

which build nations.

And nations build ages

through the generations.

Each age looks back at the last

and thinks how childish their actions.

Children learn through play.

They develop all areas of their brains,

and cognitive development takes many forms.

They learn physical skills,

how to use hand-eye coordination,

how their muscles and bodies work

in their space.

They learn the rules of society,

how to ‘be social’,

how to play fair,

how to share.

They learn about their emotions,

how to comfort their playmates,

when they are in pain or distress – building relationships.

A simple game of building bricks? You may ask.

Can it do so much for a child?

And what of humanity?

If it doesn’t sit with its playmates

and learn to build together,

how then will the next age look?

But my daughter doesn’t play

with wooden bricks or coloured plastic

that needs to be felt, manipulated, balanced,

fitted together carefully;

judged by touch, shape, weight, space.

She doesn’t have a friend sitting next to her

sharing the bricks in a pile on the floor in front of them,

playfully sharing the space,

knocking down each other’s towers

and laughing about it,

helping each other build it up again,

seeing who can build the highest,

crying when a friend accidentally

pokes the other in the eye with a brick

and being reprimanded by an adult

for not being careful.

Comforting the victim

with soft sorrys and a gentle hug;

as it has always been

with children at play.

But she doesn’t build a tower and see a castle – no!

Her play space is an electronic screen.

The bricks are animated.

Her playmates chat happily enough to her

through cyber space – from the other side of the world,

into her ear-piece.

They laugh together,

tell jokes,

invite each other into each other’s brick-built worlds.

But they aren’t just building towers.

They are mining the minerals.

Crafting the raw elements into substances of real value

and building real cities – with purpose – with vision!

The world she creates is incredibly complex,

her architecture revolutionary!

But what has she lost?

Is she indifferent to her playmates feelings

when she can’t see him

or touch his hand as he reaches for one of her bricks?

Can she empathise with him?

These children when they play together at such a distance

sound so angry!

They make selfish moves,

‘kicking’ each other out of each other’s games

if the other upsets them.

They swear at each other through the headsets,

killing their avatars with computerised swords and axes

and then laugh about it with each other.

When did building become war?

Or has it always been so?

Has their innocent game become corrupted?

How easy it has become to put weapons in the arms of babies!

© Laura Crean 25th April 2015

“Freedom Fire” dream of last night 17/04/2015 and Psalm 23

Published April 18, 2015 by Laura Crean Author

OK How to start this post because I’m so “Fired up” right now.  I had a dream (actually this morning) and I’m so excited I don’t know where to start.  Last night I watched quite a few videos like I usually do on YouTube on a Friday and Saturday night and I really went to sleep feeling excited about the message and the music and the whole vibe of it all and then had a dream that gave me a little add on.  So I will post the dream and then the 2 videos that I think God is highlighting for me (incidentally – the first video I am posting is the first one I watched at the beginning of the night at about 10.30pm and then the second video was the last one I watched at about 1am this morning – the dream came at about 7.30 am) AND an extra message I nearly missed at the end – which is AMAZING – I’m so freaked out about it still.

THE DREAM

I was dreaming that I was dreaming.  And in the dream I was on holiday somewhere in America and I came across a church that were meeting in a large open space like a park or something.  It was under a big marquee.  The Pastor was really loud and he was organizing everyone.  There was a woman there who was also visiting for the first time and she had written a song and the Pastor wanted everyone to sing it – so he was organizing everyone, telling each where to stand so that each of their voices could be heard better.  Then he asked the woman to sing the song to show everyone how it went so we could sing it.  She started to sing it (but I can’t remember the words) but he stopped her and quite forcefully corrected her to tell her how it should go.  She was really upset and stormed off.  She was walking away from the tent with some remark on her lips (can’t remember what).  Everyone was standing there looking all around upset that she had gone and none more so than the Pastor who was like: “I didn’t mean to offend her.  I just wanted her to get it right so that we could share her song.”  So I ran after her and quietly asked her not to go.  I told her I was nobody, just an English girl on holiday, but I understood how she felt because I was the quiet, stay out of the way, kind of girl too and he came across as really loud and could seem a bit controlling but he really did just want her to get it right so EVERYONE could hear her message.  She came back to the meeting and everyone celebrated and sang her song and then had a great social – like a picnic or something…Then in my dream I woke up thinking “FREEDOM FIRE CHURCH” and the Preacher’s name (which I can’t remember – but I had a clear memory of his face) And I think now but not in the dream at the time, that it was the American preacher I was watching last night on You Tube.  So in the dream I wrote down Freedom Fire Church and my ex husband, who was with me in the dream for some reason looked the preacher up on the internet and his face came up on a game. and he said: “Oh he’s a game show host!”  and I said: “No he isn’t he’s a preacher.”  So he looked again and found him and the church,  And I was like “”Yeah!  That’s him!”  For some reason my ex husband handed me a CD Rom of the game and said “This looks good – but a bit cheesy!”  But when i took it off of him it was broken inside the case and I said: “Oh no it’s broken – that’s no use!” and left it on the side.  Then i really woke up.  Actually I think there was much more to this dream but that’s all I have conscious memory of.  Now normally I would give an interpretation of the dream – and I’m excited about this one – BUT it’s so self evident after you watch the following videos and read the Psalm that I am not going to do that – because I don’t want to colour what God might want to say to you in your own heart.

Updated note in my dream diary – after the dream post – I just looked at the videos I was watching last night and the preacher in my dream looked like Chris Tomlin but sounded like and had the personality of Carl Lentz.  So if you watch the two videos of Chris Tomlin singing “God’s Great Dance Floor” live at some place called Red Rock and also the video of Carl Lentz at the Hillsong Conference 2014 (you need to watch it ALL the way through – trust me it’s powerful stuff) and read Psalm 23 (which I will post after the videos – you will get a feel (hopefully) for the context for this dream and why I’m so EXCITED.)

I just have to say thank you Jesus that you are the Good Shepherd and you gently steer me back to the flock when I am so quick to wander.  Interestingly I wrote a poem when I was 14 called the Shepherd – I’ll post that later.

Psalm 23 (From The King James Bible) http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Psalms-Chapter-23/

1 (A Psalm of David.) The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

OH! And GUESS WHAT?

I Googled ‘Freedom Fire’ and there’s a FREEDOM FIRE MINISTRIES based right here in the United Kingdom – Dorset!!!!

Do you think God wants me to go on holiday????  I’ll have to pray for the funds to go.

Apparently there’s a HEALING MARQUEE EVENT 28th – 30th July “The New Forest Show 2015”

I KID YOU NOT

And guess what the tag line was that came up on the screen – well there was 2 but this one hit me first:

Re-opening ancient wells with Freedom Fire

and

FREEDOM FIRE MINISTRIES

let the fire of God bring a new heart and freedom to your life

Now you know why I write my dreams down LOL

http://www.freedomfireministries.com/

Walkin the Walk

Published March 27, 2015 by Laura Crean Author

WALKIN THE WALK POEM

This poem is for my 3 gorgeous daughters.  This is their year of changes.  All of them are stepping up to the next level of their journey.  My youngest daughter Alice is moving up from junior school (year 6) to high school (year 7).  This is a big year for her, she’s in that pre-teen period where she is no longer a baby but will always be my baby girl.  Soon the hard work starts as she embraces that journey towards GCSEs and puberty.  She is steppin onto a path both her sisters have walked, in a good school that I know will nurture her, push her forward to work hard and find her path, so many paths she could take in her young life.  My middle daughter Shannon is coming out of that period and moving on up to College, leaving year 11 and onto training in her chosen career – the Performing Arts.  She is such a bright and driven young lady and her shoes are steppin out onto the stage of her young adult life.  My eldest daughter Ellenor is steppin out on the next big challenge.  She’s leaving college and entering University.  She is full of ideas and ready to push forward and really run for that degree in her chosen subject in 3D art, her journey is exciting and the hard work is just beginning.  And as for me – I’m still on that journey and everyone’s path is different, everyone’s shoes are different.  I was sitting on the bus yesterday and I just noticed out of the window, people’s shoes.  All different, distinct and right for each individual, carefully chosen or subconsciously chosen to match their personalities.  And as I watched those shoes walking around town I wondered about each of their attitudes to their chosen paths through life.  That’s when the poem began to live inside me.  I looked at my comfortable, sensible shoes and I wondered what they said about me and my journey.  I need comfortable shoes because I still have a long walk ahead of me, but I’m ready for it and I’m now going to embrace it and I want my children to step out on their journeys and be ready too – with shoes that fit, have style and say – let’s do it – let’s walk this walk.  I couldn’t be prouder of all of them.  And in my mind’s eye I can see one more pair of shoes walking alongside my family, a pair of well-worn sandals.  And I know that he is smiling and keeping pace with every step we take, ready to lift us up on his shoulders every time the walk gets too hard.  He will make sure we don’t get left behind as long as we need him to but then he will put us back down and give us the strength to run as fast as we can to the finish line.

What shoes are you putting on in the morning?

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