Thursday, December 20, 2007

Our Jesus, Our Emmanuel


And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet , saying, Behold a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Matthew 1: 21-23

The baby born that night was called "Jesus." That was His mission; that's why He came. To save a people unto Himself. To bear their sins and give them a place in heaven. To cleanse them by His own blood. This name of Jesus is a precious name to all of us who know Him as our own. It is our only hope in a weary, sin-cursed world.

The baby born that night was to be called "Emmanuel." That was His Person; He's God with us. He is God in the flesh, a union of two natures, divine and human. He is perfect God and perfect man. He had a nature like our own, yet without sin. He can identify with our pain and sorrows. But then again, He is Almighty God. He has all power in heaven and earth and no one can pluck us out of His hand.

In the words of my dear "friend", J.C. Ryle: "This is glad tidings. This is indeed good news. Let us feed on these truths in our hearts by faith with thanksgiving." Amen.

From my house to yours this Christmas season:
Rejoice with me in the first coming of the Lord Jesus, our Savior, Our Emmanuel. May you and yours be blessed by Him this season.
With love and best wishes,
Maxine

Monday, December 10, 2007

I Need a Break!

Hi Friends! I've decided to take a short break. I need to for more reasons than one. The number one reason is that the wireless connection on my laptop is acting up and trying to drive me insane. I will not go into all the gory details partly because I am sick of thinking about it. For another thing, the desktop in the kitchen is having issues of its own too. Then, I have so many writing projects at different stages which I am not getting to because I am too busy on the internet, or TRYING to get on! So......I think the Lord is telling me to take a break. For the next week or more I plan to work on the editing and writing that should be taking my attention at this point. AND finish with some Christmas shopping and wrapping.

So if you don't hear from me you know where I am!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Sunday Snippet - Mary, the Servant


Then Mary said "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word," And the angel departed from her. Luke 1:38

Once again, I have been encouraged in my Christian walk by the simple faith of Mary, who completely surrendered to the will of the Lord. This was our sermon tonight. We looked at her personal situation, her noble heavenly visitor and his message, and her response to that message. It's her response that touched me once again, as it has so many times before. She acknowledged God as the master, and that she was His servant. As Pastor D. said, she made a complete surrender, knowing that she was about to go through something difficult. But as he said, she chose to be esteemed by God, rather than by men. Should we do any less?

This young Jewish girl is an example to us all. We don't worship her, but we certainly should follow in the footsteps of her simple faith.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Seasons


A quick note to encourage you to visit my friend Connie and read her most recent post. Food for the soul, especially now. Blessings.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A Time to Pray?

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. Daniel 6:10

As you know, I sometimes post about and request pray for countries where the gospel is restricted and for the persecuted brethren. I've often felt that it won't be too long before I need to talk more about the persecuted church in America, but then I often contend that unfortunately, the church here is too weak to be persecuted. Heaven forbid that any of the "Christians" in this country should have to suffer for our faith here on our own soil.

I wonder, though, if there are not hopeful signs. Some may view it the other way around. I just read a news article about a small group of women here in our home town who responded in a strange way to an incident in September. Someone fired shots at an elementary school and a fourth grade classroom window was shattered. I don't think they've ever found out who did it.

In response to that, a few moms who take their kids to one of the other elementary schools have started gathering together somewhere on school grounds to pray for the safety and well being of the children inside. How dare they do that. Other parents complained and the other day, the principal (without speaking to these moms first), called the police who shooed them away. .The moms say they have never been loud or disorderly.

Now I'm sure there are facts that I don't know and perhaps it would be better if they found a more obscure place such as a car, but from some of the things I've been hearing about the goings on at schools, instead of calling the police maybe it would have been a better idea for the principal to come outside and join them! BTW, if I ever get kicked out of a place, I wouldn't mind if it would be for praying.

I started this post a while ago and have since found out that the moms have said they will be coming back. My husband and younger daughter have just finished having a heated discussion about this. What do you think--if they come back and pray on the school property in an orderly and quiet manner, are they being like Daniel and obeying God rather than men, or are they causing a disturbance such as people often do in protests, showing a lack of respect for authority and the rights of others? Remember, we are living in a day of "rights."

I do know that I pray, with the help of the Lord, that we will have more opportunities to take up our cross and follow the Savior who willingly and lovingly took up the cross to bear our sins. May He help us not to continue to sit in our comfortable places and live a life unto ourselves. Mr. Ryle and I are now traveling through the book of Luke together and I'll close with his words concerning chapter 9, verses 23-27:

"We ought to be on our guard, like soldiers in an enemy's country. We ought to fight a daily battle, and war a daily warfare. The command of our Master is clear and plain: "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me."

~J.C. Ryle

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Sunday Snippet - Morbus Sabbaticus


Morbus Sabbaticus, or Sunday sickness, is a disease peculiar to church members.
  • The symptoms vary, but it never interferes with the appetite.

  • It never lasts more than twenty-four hours.

  • No physician is ever called.

  • It always proves fatal in the end--to the soul!

  • It is becoming fearfully prevalent, and is destroying thousands every year.

The attack comes on suddenly every Sunday. No symptoms are felt on Saturday night; the patient sleeps well and wakes feeling well and eats a hearty breakfast. But about church time the attack comes on and continues until services are over for the morning. Then the patient feels easy and eats a hearty dinner. In the afternoon he feels much better, and is able to take a walk and read the Sunday papers; and afterwards eats a hearty supper. But about church time he has another attack and stays at home. He wakes up Monday morning refreshed and able to go to work.


~Source Unknown

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Being Real

I was making a keepsake book week before last, which took me on a quest for quotes to put in it. I found all kinds of neat sayings and quotes in various places in my house and ran across the following excerpt from The Velveteen Rabbit, which you probably know is a beloved children's classic. I found this on a page of various quotations about marriage, believe it or not, and when I think about it, it does apply. But then I believe that it would also apply to parenthood and friendship. See what you think. This was a conversation which took place in the nursery between Rabbit and Skin Horse. You may know that Skin Horse was the oldest resident in the nursery and his age and experience had made him very wise. I once heard a pastor read this same excerpt during a sermon to mothers, and when he finished, my eyes were dripping with tears. The pastor himself was choking back tears as he read it to the moms in his congregation.

"What is Real? asked the Velveteen Rabbit one day.

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."
-The Velveteen Rabbit by Marjorie Williams

Please read this precious little story to your children and grandchildren. And remember: be real.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Love Offering

In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. I John 4:9-10

Dearest Heavenly Father,

Of all the riches that I could possess while dwelling here on earth, your love is the most precious. Oh, how I pray that you will keep my heart so that it will desire nothing above your love, which you have so abundantly provided in Christ. He is a treasure beyond measure. He is more precious than anything that money can buy. As Mary poured out her spikenard love offering upon our Lord, so you poured out your love offering in the sacrifice of our Saviour. Above all that I am thankful for this season, your love surpasses all else. Thank you, Lord--I am blessed.

All my love,

Maxine

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Rose for My Friends


A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance. Ecclesiastes 3:4

Hi there. I ask forgiveness for not having been by to see most of you lately. My mind and time have been occupied with friends. I've been sharing their joys and sorrows this past week. I've found myself quite busy preparing for the joyous occasion of a bridal shower in preparation for the wedding of two dear young friends. But on the other hand, I've been sharing and grieving with two other dear friends who lost their nineteen year old son in a car crash this week.

A couple of days ago, I discovered this lovely rose in my graphics library. It's going to become a part of the keepsake book that we're making for the young couple taking this huge step into matrimony. But I'm also posting it in memory of Ben, the young son of my friends, whose birth I vividly remember and who once sat in my Sunday school class as an eight/nine year old. My only prayer is that he is seeing the face of Jesus now.

Blessings to you all. Hope to be back next week, maybe late Sunday. Hope you are well.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

International Day of Prayer


Will you and your family pray in a special way today? Our brethren in all parts of the world are being persecuted every day. We'll pray now and we'll keep on praying together. May the Lord give these dear ones strength in the face of their trials, comfort in their sorrows, and help to carry their many burdens. They and we have received a promise:

"And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. " Rev. 21:4

Hallelujah. Go here to read A Prayer for the Persecuted Church based on Psalm 46.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

God Tugging at the Heartstrings


Teach me, O Lord, thy way of truth,
And from it I will not depart;
That I may steadfastly obey,
Give me an understanding heart.
~~From Psalm 119:33-40

Oh my goodness--I am long overdue for the next Aunt Jane's Hero post! I don't want to let this series go by the wayside and for anyone who may have been enjoying it, my apologies. Chapter 4 is next up and since time is short, this summary may need to be short. The title that I gave to this chapter in the companion explains what I believe to be its essence. God was having dealings with someone and if you've been following along, you know that someone would be Horace. The chapter begins with a description of his moving about in society after the Georgiana situation--dancing parties, threatricals, music festivals and so on. But in the midst of observing him in these settings we are told this: "But he went home from these gay scenes out of spirits, and in spite of himself had his hours of reflection, when there came to him uncomfortable intimations that he was not living the true life for which he was born." Ahh, stirrings in his heart. Where might they have come from?

Soon after these words came an important paragraph:

"Now there was a man of a sorrowful countenance and of a sorrowful spirit away off in a little country-town, praying for his only son at these very moments, and his prayers were going to prevail. . . And ever and anon when he was pleading for his son with strong crying and tears, there would surge up in the soul of that son unwelcome, painful thoughts; recollections of his mother and his mother's teachings, faint yearnings for a faith and a practice like hers. He wist not whence they came. . ."

Obviously, the man who was praying was Horace's father. If you will recall, his mother had passed away. After reading this, I was struck by the truth of the words of James 5:16 that the "effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." This is a promise that we parents should cling to. I think it's a promise that should give impetus to the prayers of parents whose children are not at the place they wish them to be. Perhaps, these children will some day experience "faint yearnings" for more faith, a life that's different. These yearnings, even if they are weak, would probably come from God, and could it be that He would have been sent to your children by your prayers?

Many of us are thankful for where our children seem to be in the Lord. But certainly that is no reason for us to ease up with our prayers. I like what Stormie Omartian said in her book The Power of a Praying Parent. She said:

"All that needs to happen in our lives and the lives of our children cannot happen without the presence and power of God. Prayer invites and ignites both."

Moms and dads, shall we not persist in prayer?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Sunday Snippet - Good Affliction

It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn Thy statutes. Psalm 119:71


"To be larded by prosperity is not good for the proud; but for the truth to be learned by adversity is good for the humble. Very little is to be learned without affliction. If we would be scholars, we must be sufferers. God's commands are best read by eyes wet with tears."


Charles H. Spurgeon, from The Treasury of David

Thursday, November 1, 2007

About Time


Sonnet 60
William Shakespeare

Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore,
So do our minutes hasten to their end;
Each changing place with that which goes before,
In sequent toil all forwards do contend.
Nativity, once in the main of light,
Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crown'd,
Crooked eclipses 'gainst his glory fight,
And Time that gave doth now his gift confound.
Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth
And delves the parallels in beauty's brow,
Feeds on the rarities of nature's truth,
And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow:
And yet to times in hope my verse shall stand,
Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand.

Some thoughts came to me during yesterday morning's prayer time: "Another week has already reached the halfway point; another month is now ending; another year is almost at its end. It seems to have just started." Time is passing, so quickly now. It's as if Time is on a journey, and it's swiftly traveling through my life. I thought about the days when I'd go horseback riding and how the horse always would speed up when he neared home. So it is with Time on its journey, it seems. And so it is with us all, to some measure. Hope that doesn't sound gloomy; I don't mean it to.

Then I needed to grade this sonnet that my daughter had to memorize as her latest poetry selection in her English class. And it seems to mirror so many of the thoughts which I had about Time. I knew little Shakespeare in my younger years, so I can't say I understand his writings very well. I remember doing a paper once on Othello and understanding that okay, but little else. At my high school, I got little encouragement to appreciate literature; it's only now in my later years that I'm enjoying it more.

At any rate, I wish you would read this beautiful little sonnet and tell me if you see it as a hopeful one. I do. It seems that Time is the cruel one. But it seems to me that "Praising thy worth" could refer to God, who reigns over Time. Any Shakespearian scholars out there that can tell me if that's a legitimate assessment? Do any of you see it as I'm seeing it, or have something different to offer?

All I know for sure is that whether Shakespeare was trying to say it or not, eventually Time will bring death, but death has been swallowed up in victory by and through our Lord Jesus.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunday Snippet - Old Age?


The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree,
He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Those who are planted in the house of the LORD
Shall flourish in the courts of our God.
They shall still bear fruit in old age;
They shall be fresh and flourishing.
Psalm 92:12-14

After I reached a certain age, this passage of Scripture became an inspiration. And this weekend I met a couple of people who are living these verses in a way that made me all the more ready to press on for as long as the Lord allows. We had a short Bible Conference at our church this weekend and our special guests were a man and his wife who worked as missionaries in the middle east from the years 1955-2000. Before that he was an archaeologist. Through the years, he's done extensive work translating and teaching the arabic language. Dr. K. told us that he left his work in the middle east when he was seventy years old. The way I compute this, he's now seventy-seven, and his wife must be close behind since they met in college.

His wife was with him yesterday as he led the conference sessions; both of them were all about among the people getting to know young and old alike. Today he came alone while she "covered" for both of them at something that was happening at their church. Tomorrow, he's headed to New York to take care of some business for a Christian organization of which he's just been made chairman. Whew. You had to be there to see all of the energy and enthusiasm these two folks have for the work of the Lord.

Need I say more? I just wanted to tell you about them so you might be encouraged--especially you--my fellow nannas, poppops, grammies, grandmoms, grandpas, etc., etc., etc.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Prayer Request


Please pray for the people of Southern California. I'm sure most of you are praying already, but I'm making a special request for our bloggy friend Mishel and her family. Her husband is a firefighter and her daughter is about to give birth. You can go over to her blog for more details about what's happening with them. Please include them in your prayers.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sunday Snippet - My Cup Runneth Over


Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Psalm 23:5


He, my Lord, prepared a table before me this Lord's Day. The blessings that filled my cup were too bountiful for me to even begin to lay them out before you all. Suffice it to say that God has abundantly supplied: Two nourishing sermons were supplemented by the pouring out of generous portions of other various refreshments for my soul. Truly my cup overflows.

Friday, October 19, 2007

But God


But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)...Ephesians 2:4-5

Most of my family and close friends know that I hate caterpillars. Actually, I'm afraid of them. They are, in my opinion, the most horrible creatures on the face of the earth. Yes, worse than snakes and spiders. Look, though, at what lovely and glorious creatures they become by and by. God does that.

The above short passage contains two of the most beautiful words in Scripture. I already talked about how much I love the word "but" in God's Word. Usually, it's a wonderful word only because of what follows. The word "God" follows it in this passage, and for those of us who are Christians, it reminds us that He is rich in mercy and that His love is great towards us. (It's all the better because of what immediately precedes these two words. ) And because of this great love and mercy, even though we were once dead in sins, we're now alive. God does that, and it's even more remarkable and wonderful than the butterfly.

I hope that you can identify with these precious two verses out of the Word of God. If not, know this: God makes dead sinners alive in Christ. That means if you repent and believe the gospel, you too can rejoice in these two words, "But God."

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday Snippet - Greatest Preacher

And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall . . .talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up. Deuteronomy 6:6-7

This week's Sunday Snippet is found in this book. I don't know how familiar you are with Elizabeth George, but she's a prolific writer. She's a modern day devotional writer whom I look up to. I found a little tidbit in her A Mom After God's Own Heart, which I've been reading lately. As she exhorts us as moms to talk about God to our children, Elizabeth tells about renowned and eloquent preacher Dr. G. Campbell Morgan who had four sons who followed in their father's footsteps and became ministers as well. At some point, someone asked one of the sons which Morgan was the greatest preacher. Guess what the son's answer was? "Mother," was his reply.

Wow. It seems that here was a mother who not only spoke to her children about the Lord, but they had recognized her important role in their lives. And it appears that God had blessed this woman's words to her sons' hearts. I hope this is an encouragement to you, because it sure is to me.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thank You


I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now. Philippians 1:3-5

I am very thankful. I have been given another opportunity to tell my friends who visit here how grateful I am to have met you all. Since my tentative steps in April when I began this blog, there have been more and more people who have come into my blogging life who have been encouragers in the faith and have given every indication of being true disciples of the same Savior who I am trying to serve here at this little corner of the internet.

Well, Kathy at Sumballo, one of those true disciples, has been a dear and passed on to me the Mathetes Award, which originated at Management by God. It is given to those acting in the role of a disciple of Christ. Kathy serves God by doing helpful and in depth Bible studies, as well as sweet and reflective devotionals which will touch your heart. I appreciate her so much and she's one of the reasons I enjoy blogging so much. Thanks so much, Kathy.

And I must say that those of you who have been so faithful to the little "ministry" going on here are also on my list of blessings. So, I am not going to NAME people to pass this award to as I am supposed to. You might be interested in reading my response to the award last week when it was given at my other blog. That helps to explain things. So, ALL of you sweet sisters who come by from time to time are hereby awarded this badge from me. EACH of you deserves it! In every visit I make to your respective corners, I see proof of your discipleship, which is evident in a way that is peculiar to YOU. I cannot bring it into my heart to just pick out just five of you. (Hopefully, someday I'll have a few brothers to add on too.) I love you all and appreciate each one of you and hope we can keep visiting each other this way!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Sunday Snippet - Up To Jerusalem


Now they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was going before them; and they were amazed. And as they followed they were afraid. Then He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them the things that would happen to Him. Mark 10:32

Some of you may remember that I made a post with a similar title three weeks ago on September 16th. That time, I was thinking about the willingness of the Apostle Paul to go to Jerusalem even though he knew it was dangerous to do so. This time, you can see that the person who was heading to that city was Jesus.

"Up To Jerusalem" was our morning sermon and the above verse was a portion of the text. As this verse was being read today, it gripped my heart. In the two verses following that one, Jesus explained to His twelve disciples exactly what was going to happen when He got there. Oh-my-goodness. Just think about it, fellow saints. Our Savior knew what suffering He was going to endure when He got to that place, yet He steadily and unwaveringly continued on. Picture Him making His way towards Jerusalem, with others fearfully following behind Him. Knowing that He would be betrayed, and condemned, and delivered over to the Romans, and mocked, and scourged, and spit upon, and then killed, did not stop Him. Love propelled Him onward--He had to go.

So, when you consider His journey to Jerusalem, can't you understand better why Paul wouldn't hesitate to go there too? I wonder what He wants you and me to do.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Letter From a Martyr

How are you feeling right now? Discouraged with life? Anxious? Worried? Or is all well? No matter how you might answer these questions, I want you to go read a precious letter that was just posted on the Persecution Blog. Please take a few minutes to read it--I guarantee that it will strengthen you in the faith. On my other blog, I recently posted the hymn "Am I a Soldier of the Cross" in honor of a couple of people I know who were slain. These words "Soldier of the Cross" have been echoing in my mind ever since. So I thought of this as I read this letter from yet another fallen soldier. It's precious--it's all about what it means to forsake all and follow Him.

This is also a request for prayer for this man's family.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sunday Snippet - God's Intention


Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures. James 1:18

This was our sermon text tonight. That was it, the one verse. And not only that, but Brother M, a member of our church who is preaching from James when he helps out in the pulpit, is going to need to finish the verse next time. Anyway, what a reminder this was. As our brother said, "Of His own will," is just getting the point across that those who are saved are saved because it is God's will that they be saved. Maybe as a writer I shouldn't have that same word (saved) so many times in one sentence, but that's intentional. God is the source of our salvation--He did it all. It's all of Christ and thankfully, didn't depend on me. One point our brother made that was really amusing, but really hit home, was that most of us can't even make a New Year's resolution and keep it until February, so how could we do anything to save ourselves from the wretched state we're in apart from Christ? No, God did it all and if you're saved, it's because it was "of His own will."

Friday, September 28, 2007

Wait, My Soul

I have a dear young friend who has recently been through some deep trials. God, as God does, has been sustaining her, and she is still waiting on Him, resting in Him, trusting in Him, praying to Him, and rejoicing in Him. Recently, she sent me a note in which she included a precious poem that she had written in the midst of her difficult times. I like it so much that I asked her if I could share it with my friends here. I told her that I hope that someday someone will write music for it and then she'll be a hymnwriter! You can visit Beka over at her blog called "More Love to Thee" and read some of her other sweet blog posts, especially if you like hymns and poems as much as I do. I hope these words minister to you as they do to me.

Wait, my soul, wait patiently--
Thy Father's hand, it works in thee.
Though blessing full He may delay,
A song He'll give at break of day.

Rest, my soul, rest quietly--
Thy Father's arms, they shelter thee.
Though storm clouds round about thee roll.
Sweet comfort He shall give thy soul.

Trust, my soul, trust childishly--
Thy Father knows what's best for thee.
Though all looks black as night e'er could,
His hand is working all for good.

Pray, my soul, pray fervently--
Thy Father's ear, it heareth thee.
Though feebly weak thy words may seem,
The Spirit gives them heav'nly gleam.

Rejoice, my soul, rejoice gladly--
Thy Father's always good to thee.
Now wait and trust, and rest and pray;
He will not fail--He'll lead thy way.

© Rebekah W., 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Bruised Horace


How shall the young direct their way?
What light shall be their perfect guide?
Thy Word,O Lord, will safely lead,
If in its wisdom they confide.
~~From Psalm 119:9-6

"Horace Wheeler had stood up years before, in the little village church, and confessed Christ before men. He was then not much more than a boy, and had very indefinite notions as to what this step implied and involved." These are the opening words of the third chapter, where Mrs. Prentiss slowly and carefully unfolds the character of the principal figure of this captivating novel. You'll understand Horace better now; You'll get a better "feel" for him. You'll learn that his godly mother has died and that his father, "a grave, hard, good man, prayed for, but rarely wrote to him." You'll also learn that he was an only child. Alone in New York, trying to establish himself in his law profession, you'll understand why his deceased mother's close friend, Aunt Jane, is almost a mother to him.

When you read this episode of the book, I have little doubt that you'll be amused by Horace's reaction to the outcome of his "proposal" encounter with Georgiana. You also will be quite interested in his thought processes when he comes upon a group of girls at Aunt Jane's the following evening.

As you and I reflect on Horace's views of life and of young women, it becomes rather clear where his views originated. I was struck by his lack of understanding of true Christianity, and in particular his neglect of Scriptures, so that "all he knew of religion was what his own meagre experience had taught him, and all he knew of young women he had learned in society." So, as a sneak preview, you might guess what happened. He ran into a truly godly girl at Aunt Jane's that night and not only didn't recognize her as such, but he had no clue of its significance. Unfortunately, he had no knowledge of what to look for in a girl--at least in a biblical sense. So he missed out, at least at this point.

What can we learn from this? I would say that this is an encouragement (or warning) to us to encourage our children in the Word of God, especially if they're still in our home and under our authority. How many woes we may be sparing them if we do!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday Snippet - Father of Lights

Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; not one is missing. Isaiah 40:26
The above verse was mentioned in our sermon tonight. We were learning from the book of James (1:17) that each and every good gift is from God, not from man but from God. He is the Father of lights, the Creator of all things, even the stars, which light the heavens and which He calls all by name. I hope this doesn't offend anybody, but from what I read in this verse it seems to me that the stars already have names. It also would seem that if our Heavenly Father calls them by name, we don't need to spend our money to give them another one.

Anyway, even if you don't have a star named after you, you still can count your many other blessings. Remember: having God as our God is the best blessing.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday Snippet - To Jerusalem


Now when we heard these things, both we and those from that place pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, "What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." So when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying,"The will of the Lord be done." And after those days we packed and went up to Jerusalem.`Acts 21:12-15

How many of us can say we are ready to "die at Jerusalem" for the sake of Christ? There are some who have that special calling from God, you know. They will go to a place or do a thing knowing that their lives are at stake. But that fact doesn't deter them--they go nonetheless. They count the cost and choose the work of the gospel over even that which most of us consider to be most precious. Today some folks from my church were talking about a sermon they just heard about this passage. It made them think, they said. I guess it should make all of us "think." Maybe we're not being called to go to some dangerous place, but are we willing to do anything or leave anything or give up anything for His sake? Like others I talked to today, I'm going to spend more time thinking about it--what about you?

Friday, September 14, 2007

But


Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-19

I wish I had a dime for every time I've gone to this passage to remind myself of this important truth: this life we are living, with all that goes with it, is but temporary. We all have our favorite passages and favorite books of the Bible, and for me, I would say that Second Corinthians ranks high near the top. I have a favorite word in Scripture; it's the word "but." You see it often , but I'd say especially in this epistle. Usually, we are blessed by what comes after the "but." Also, the Apostle Paul seemed to have a lot of "yet's" in this epistle, as well as quite a few paradoxes. I think I'll talk about some of those paradoxes soon, but for now I'll just focus on this particular "but", which reminds us that we should be careful not to focus our attention on the temporary things we are seeing here and now, BUT on eternal things. Amen.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Sunday Snippet - So Send I You


So send I you to labor unrewarded,
To serve unpaid, unloved, unsought, unknown,
To bear rebuke, to suffer scorn and scoffing,
So send I you to toil for Me alone.

~~Edith Margaret Clarkson

This was our closing hymn at the evening service, a very befitting hymn for the occasion. Tomorrow one of our pastors and the son of another pastor are leaving for Zimbabwe to minister there for awhile. So even though, in another part of the world, we have recently suffered the loss of two servants that we knew well, I am happy to report that more laborers are headed out to toil in the field. So the kingdom work goes on.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

No Other


Look to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.

I have sworn by Myself; the word has gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall take an oath.

He shall say, surely in the Lord I have righteousness and strength. To Him men shall come, and all shall be ashamed who are incensed against Him.

In the Lord all the descendants of Israel shall be justified, and shall glory.

Isaiah 45:22-25

I love this passage and several others in Isaiah. Do you know why? Because passages like this put us in our place. Every person, every religion, every nation, every group, every false god, is set straight. Any living person on the face of this earth who is to be saved will find salvation in no other but God Jehovah. He has sworn by Himself because there is no one greater. What He says, stands. Everyone will bow before Him whether they like it or not. He will shame all His enemies. Justification only comes through Him by the means He has appointed in the gospel. Those who belong to Him SHALL be justified.

I glory in this God and in His Son Jesus. I hope all who read this blog love Him too. If you happened by and do not, I have only one thing to say: Look to Him and be saved. He is kind and merciful, not willing that any should perish. If you leave behind what has held you back, whatever it may be--even a false god, He will pardon and receive you as His own. This He has promised. Isn't that wonderful?

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Sunday Snippet - True Greatness


Thanks for your birthday wishes for my granddaughter. Her birthday party was enjoyable, and as is usual for many guests of honor who are turning one, she had no clue what was going on. As far as a one year old can reason it out, she probably was wishing that we'd all go home. But she did enjoy her cake!

It was good to meet today with the people of God , to once again praise our God, as well as share in our grief over our slain friends (see last post), who we've in times past been pleased to have come to our church to minister, whose prayer letters we've read for many years, and whose niece and nephew are members of our body. Many embraces and tears were shared with them today.

These two dear saints whose passing we mourn, would fit into a description of greatness by J.C. Ryle which I've read time and again. Indeed, I would include their names in the list of those given by Mr. Ryle in his commentary on Mark 10:35-45. Friends, these are the people whom I look to as heroes:

"...true greatness does not consist in being an admiral, or a general,--a statesman, or an artist. It consists in devoting ourselves, body, and soul, and spirit to the blessed work of making our fellow men more holy and more happy. It is those who exert themselves by the use of Scripture means to lessen the sorrow, and increase the joy, of all around them,--the Howards, the Wilberforces, the Martyns, the Judsons of a country,--who are truly great in the sight of God. While they live they are laughed at, mocked, ridiculed, and often persecuted. But their memorial is on high. Their names are written in heaven. Their praise endureth for ever. Let us remember these things, and while we have time do good unto all men, and be servants of all for Christ's sake. Let us strive to leave the world better, holier, happier than it was when we were born. A life spent in this way is truly Christlike, and brings its own reward."

So today's snippet is a tribute to these two well spent lives.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Joy and Sorrow


Our hearts and minds have been filled these days with a joyous occasion--my granddaughter's first birthday party. Then along came sorrow-the horrible news last night of the death of two beloved people whom we know. This pastor and his wife were killed (murdered) in another country and we are having loads of conflicting reports about what happened. Many of their family members are friends of ours. So the ongoing problems with finding time to post, especially the Aunt Jane's Hero one that I've been trying to get to, continue.

I appreciate your comments on my last post. They were so encouraging to me and I want you all to know that. Bear with me a bit longer and especially if I haven't been to your blog in a while. Pray for us.

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance..

Ecclesiastes 3:4

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sunday Snippet

This is something new. I've been contemplating a few things lately, especially the issue of my time. Tomorrow is the first day of our new homeschool year. I now have a high school student to look after, as we are beginning ninth grade. I wish I could say that I'm happy that summer is over and school is starting up again, but that's another story. Let's just say that I am thankful for the fact that God is still allowing us to have school here in our home. But it does mean that I may again have less time for fun things like blogging.

So back to what's new. I knew when I made the decision to take on another blog that time was an issue. But when I made the decision, one of the reasons that I thought I could do it was that this blog was to be made up of short posts of a devotional nature, as well as a forum to discuss my writing projects. Typical of the type of person that I am, I've noticed that my posts have been getting more and more wordy and some have been such that I've pondered a while on what to say, hence it gets time consuming. I'll still be doing more intensive posts from time to time, but in order to keep things flowing around here, I'll be doing this weekly feature of words from other sources, with few or none from me. At least it will insure that things aren't stagnant and also that the original intent for the blog is maintained.

With all that said (see, I even made that a long explanation), here is the first week's Sunday Snippet. We sang this as our hymn during Sunday opening time, and it touched the heart of me and another teacher as we sang it with the children.

Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
Calling for you and for me;
See, on the portals he's waiting and watching,
Watching for you and for me.

Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading,
Pleading for you and for me?
Why should we linger and heed not his mercies,
Mercies for you and for me?

Time is now fleeting the moments are passing,
Passing from you and from me;
Shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming,
Coming for you and for me.

Oh! for the wonderful love he has promised,
Promised for you and for me;
Though we have sinned, he has mercy and pardon,
Pardon for you and for me.

Come home, come home,
Ye who are weary, come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling,O sinner, come home!
~Will L. Thompson, 1847-1909

What a wonderful Savior who calls sinners to Himself. I hope He's your Savior.

Monday, August 20, 2007

A Consolation in Suffering


For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:18

What a God-honoring thing to see a struggling, sorrowing child of earth cleave fast to God, calmly trusting in Him, happy and at rest in the midst of storm and suffering! What a spectacle for the hosts of heaven! Now is the time for the saints to give glory to the Lord their God. Let them prize affliction as the very time and opportunity for doing so most of all. Let them use such a season well. And what consolation to think that affliction is really such a season!

Horatius Bonar
When God's Children Suffer

Sorry to have not kept my promise about the next Aunt Jane's Hero segment, but because of some events going on around me, I felt hindered. Instead, I want to once again address the trials of this life. I would recommend the above book by Mr. Bonar to anyone going through affliction or difficulties. What I wrote here was from his chapter on the consolation in suffering, found in the above verse from Romans. But there are even more reasons why we can say that it is good to be afflicted. He gives eleven, and it is from the sixth one, "Affliction is our fullest opportunity for glorifying God," that I've taken this quote.


I see some folks who are living examples of what Mr. Bonar is saying. Some are close friends; some are persecuted saints facing hatred, captivity and/or imprisonment. Some are bloggers that I don't even know. To them, and to all of us, I give the final words of the chapter:


Our joys were all of grace--pure grace--much more our sorrows.It is out of the "exceeding riches of the grace of God" that trial comes.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Praise and a Prompt

I'm sure you are as thankful as I am for the release of two of the South Korean Missionaries who have been held hostage by the Taliban. Praise the Lord for His merciful dealings in the life of these two women. But this is a prompt that we not give up praying for the nineteen others still in the clutches of their captors. Yesterday's report from Citizen Link was a spur for me--to keep praying fervently for our brethren. You may or may not have the same opinion with regard to the article's position on pressuring the state department, but I'm sure you, like me, will heartily agree with this statement by the director of international government affairs for Focus on the Family:

“We need to systematically pray for them," he told Family News in Focus. "Remember, when one part of the body of Christ suffers, the entire body suffers with that part. So, their suffering is our suffering.”

So, we keep praying, friends, remembering those who suffer for the sake of a Savior who suffered. You may be familiar with the touching hymn " O Sacred Head, Now Wounded" --it grips the heart when you hear it, especially immediately prior to taking the Lord's Supper. As we sing these powerful words, how can our hearts not overflow with praise? I'll just post this one stanza of what was a VERY long poem when written, but these are words we need to remember if we are His children, and if anyone reads this who isn't, I implore you to search out what Christ accomplished for needy sinners like you and me, and you'll better understand why there are people all over the world who willingly lay down their lives for His sake. The good news of the gospel is that you can know Him too.

What thou, my Lord, hast suffered
Was all for sinners' gain:
Mine, mine was the transgression,
But thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Saviour!
'Tis I deserve thy place;
Look on me with thy favor,
Vouchsafe to me thy grace.

~ Bermard of Clairvauz, 1091-1158

(For more words and to listen to the tune, go here. Of course, it's at Cyber Hymnal also, but I prefer it played more slowly. BTW, will get to my Aunt Jane's Hero post next time.)

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Truthfulness


Hello Friends. Isn't this little guy a sweetie? I just put him here to brighten the day for anyone who stops by. I haven't been around much of late, I know. There have been quite a few things going on this summer and this week it's VBS. Oppressive heat here in our area hasn't helped matters much either, so I haven't had a lot of get up and go you could say. I miss getting over to see some of you as much as I'd like, but hopefully this is temporary. Trusting you are all well.

I wanted to share something with you. I ran across a few words in my reading today that I read and reread. My husband and I have always been parents who place a high value on honesty in our children. Some of the most severe disciplines came when this virtue was violated. So this one sentence got my attention:

Our truthfulness towards our children is as high a duty as theirs towards us.
~Dr. H.W.J. Thiersch

I hope you and I will spend as much time working on this character trait in ourselves as we do in our children. And hopefully, they'll do the same and pass it on.

Talk to you soon!

Friday, August 3, 2007

The Fruit of Longsuffering

Charity suffereth long....I Corin. 13:4

Years ago at a gift exchange, I received a book that has come to be close to my heart. The book is Charity and Its Fruits by Jonathan Edwards. You know how some of the old writers are, they're not always the easiest reading, at least not for me, but they usually pack in so much meaningful stuff, its worth it to dig and plow because there will certainly be a harvest in one way or another. It just takes a little time. In this work, I particularly have been ministered to by the section on longsuffering.

Our suffering is so minimal. Someone says something to offend us. Someone wrongs us in the way they treat us on a particular issue. Very little physical suffering. But think of those who are being persecuted around the world: some severely, some imprisoned, some losing their lives. Big in the news right now are the South Korean hostages being held by the Taliban. There are many more.

After giving the examples of David, Stephen, and Paul, Mr. Edwards says this:

And not only do we have these records respecting inspired men; but we have accounts in uninspired and mere human history, of the remarkable heroism and long-suffering of martyrs and other Christians, under the most unreasonable and wicked treatment and injuries received from men: all of which should lead us to the same meek and long-suffering spirit.

So, the next time we want to take offense for "wrongs" against us, let's remember these words.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Horace and Georgiana


We have not known thee as we ought,
Nor learned thy wisdom, grace and pow'r
The things of earth have filled our thought,
And trifles of the passing hour.

~T. B. Pollack

In the second chapter, Mrs. Prentiss takes us right over to meet this young lady to whom Horace is so intent upon proposing, and when we meet her, we're able to understand Aunt Jane's distress over it. The young lady, Georgiana, is the antithesis of what any of us would hope that any of our sons would give us as a daughter-in-law. I don't have a son, but if I did, I'd hope he would look for a girl who exemplifies, or at least is striving for, those character traits of the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31. They don't start developing after marriage, now do they?* So hopefully a godly young man would be looking for these virtues when choosing a mate. Not Horace. But then, the question arises as to whether or not he is a godly young man.

Of Georgiana Fitzsimmons we read:

. . .Miss Georgiana's idea of a father was of a man who spent his life in making money for her to spend--of a mother, as a woman who looked after the servants, ordered good dinners, and kept out of her way on all desirable occasions. . .She found it quite agreeable to have lovers; it was out of the question to go into society with such a figure of a man as papa, who, as she often assured him, only knew enough to sell calico, and it was convenient to have fine looking young men like Horace Wheeler attend her when she went out. . .

Such was Horace's choice. Poor fellow. It doesn't take long in the story to realize that the "things of earth have filled his thought" rather than God's requirements. He has determined that he must have this "glorious creature":

. . .At last he bethought him of a ring of some value, that had been his mother's. He could put this ring upon her finger, and at the same time whisper some words that would reveal that to one human being only could he entrust this sacred relic. Georgiana would shed tears,half accept and half refuse it; he should then in this tender moment speak of his hopeless love--hopeless, because of his poverty and her position, and she should throw herself into his arms, declaring that a cottage with him., etc., etc.

This was Horace's plan, but was it God's? Those of you who've read this book know what happened by chapter's end. Not wanting to give away too much of the story, I won't go into detail about that, but I will ask you to reflect on this statement: "Sometimes God brings judgment by giving us what we want; other times He shows His mercy by withholding our wants from us." What would you want for your son in this situation, God's judgment or His mercy?

This chapter made me reflect on God's mercies and judgments and the various ways they come to us. It also made me think of the qualities of character I would hope that a son would look for in a prospective wife, and that I would want to see in my daughters. If you have a daughter who ever reads this book, you may want to encourage her to ask herself this question: "Is there any of Georgiana in me?" In fact, I don't think it's ever too late to ask ourselves this question.

And finally, I took note that Aunt Jane did not make a personal appearance in this chapter. But she was there. Somewhere unseen, she was praying. We can have little doubt that these prayers had something to do with the outcome. Such will be the case with our loved ones. Are they off somewhere doing whatever it is they do? Are they married? Away in college? At work? Who knows what kind of situations will come up in their lives. I just hope that even when we're not seen we'll be praying.
*(Note: My daughter brought something to my attention after I had posted this. I hope no one construes my statement in the first paragraph to mean that a woman CANNOT develop virtuous qualities after marriage. Someone can be saved after marriage for sure, and God can certainly do works of grace in any area of a person's life at any time. My point is that virtues that a godly man desires in a woman are most often there before the wedding. It's that old warning that a person in love should not think he or she can change the other person who does not really have a heart for God, but should choose wisely.)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Morning's Guest


Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. Psalm 30:5

Just a quick post for those who are in a period of weeping. This verse is so in my heart today that I am writing about it here and at my other place too. But because this is Scraps, and my original intent was to only do small bits and pieces anyway, let me just give you this MARVELOUS quote about this verse:

In the second half of the verse weeping is personified, and represented by the figure of a wanderer, who leaves in the morning the lodging, into which he had entered the preceding evening. After him another guest arrives, namely, joy. E. W. Hengstenberg.

May the promise of the coming morning's visitor bring you much consolation thoughout the evening hours and especially at midnight.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

My Times are in Thy Hand

My times are in thy hand... Psalm 31:15a
I hate to say this, but I think my brain is in standby mode. My computer is easy to wake up when its on standby, but not so when it's in hibernation, so maybe it's the latter with me right now. I haven't been in the mood for reading any books and the various writing projects which are waiting, all in different stages of development--well, none have been touched all summer. Soon it will be August and you know what that means: time to start getting ready for the next school year. I wasn't the happiest when the UPS guy brought the ABeka books for the coming year. All four boxes are sitting in the sunroom staring at me! Back in June when we finished up with last year, I had a list a mile long of all that I was going to accomplish before the next one.

For some reason, the Lord has not given me the heart for reading and writing right now. I don't know why. But I have been thinking about the above hymn all day, which would, of course, lead me to the verse in Psalm 31. I went to see what Spurgeon had to say about it in The Treasury of David and found the following quote from our friend, Matthew Henry:

When David had Saul at his mercy in the cave, those about him said, This is the time in which God will deliver thee. 1Sa 24:4. No, saith David, the time is not come for my deliverance till it can be wrought without sin, and I will wait for that time; for it is God's time, and that is the best time. Matthew Henry.

I like that one, don't you? If God brought this hymn and verse to my mind, then it was because He wants me to remember that His time is the best time. The day will come when I'll plunge full force into whatever He has for me to do, because He'll give me the heart to do it.

Maybe there is some aspect of your life where this lesson is being impressed upon you, too, as this verse can be applied in many ways. If we sing the first stanza together, then perhaps we'll both feel better. ( The remaining lyrics and the tune are here.)

My times are in thy hand;

My God, I wish them there;

My life, my friends, my soul, I leave

Entirely to thy care.

~William F. Lloyd, 1824

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Blogger Reflection Award

In April of this year I made what was then a tentative decision to start a third blog. Not being sure about it for several reasons, including time constraints, I kept it private for a while. I wanted this blog to be mostly devotional in nature, as well as being a forum for discussing my writing projects, hopes and dreams. After a bit, I decided I'd go ahead with it and make it public, even if just a few people would read it.

It was through and because of this venture that I have "met" some of the sweetest folks that one could hope to encounter on a journey of any kind. I have received more encouragement from these ladies than I've ever had in anything I've written. One of these ladies, Mishel at Seasons of Life has honored me here at Scraps with a Blogger Reflection Award. I want to thank her for this award, but then turn around and give one to her for being one of those special people I just spoke about. As she said, we haven't known each other long, but she's one of those bloggy folks whom I wish I could someday meet personally.

The same would hold true for each of the following ladies. There is something in their spirits when they comment that lets me know theirs are kindred with mine. I see in each of them a love for God and a selfless desire to help another sister along the way. Thank you ladies. This award is for your encouragements to me and I'm sure to others.

1. Cami at Lindenville Devotions - Like me, Cami is a lover of devotional writings and she does it well over at her place. She is a wife and mother who loves her family and God. She owns the Lindenville Cafe blogring, which she takes seriously while showing heartfelt care and concern for each of its members. She's very supportive of us all. I'm sure everyone in the ring feels the same.

2. Carol at Musings from Down Under - Talk about talent--this lady has it. If you want to be refreshed and renewed by poetry that touches you in the inner man, then visit Carol often. She's quite popular with her writings, and understandably so. Most of the poems are short and sweet, but packed with so much meaning! Most of us know that poetry can express something in a unique way that prose never can. Carol has a gift for doing just that. Go there and be blessed.

3. Jodi at The Deputy Domain - Who of us does not like beauty? This is one lady who gives us beautiful portraits, music and writings. She puts them all together in a way that makes her blog an absolute pleasure to visit. As a wife and mother of five, I am always amazed that she has the time to put together such a charming, cozy and God-glorifying site. I would imagine that her home is the same way!

4. Kathy at Sumballo - This is a lady whose blog is worth visiting if you hunger and thirst for a deeper walk with God. Her knowledge of the Word is consistent and biblical and she humbly shares it with all of us. She recently has started a weekly feature which others can do with her to dive deeper into Scriptures, with "tools" to help accomplish this. She knows what she's doing, and does it well, at a level which most of us can understand. She's just getting started with this, so go over and check it out when you can.

5. Patty at Beside Still Waters - Yes, I know Mishel awarded her already, but my list would not be complete without her. Her blog is absolutely lovely. It caught my eye when I randomly went there one day and we've been bloggy friends since. She has such sweet quotes and little devotions that touch the heart. Like me, she is a wife, mom and grandmom and loves home. She also has another blog where you can go and find tasty recipes! Hope you can visit her because you won't find a nicer lady anywhere.

(Honorable mention: I know this is cheating, but I do want to thank my daughter Beverly and our friend Beka for often coming here to encourage their mama/friend.)

Also, I believe I'm supposed to mention in this post that this Blogger Reflection Award is to be awarded to five other bloggers and that it originated here, where you may find more information about it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

In Defiance


O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of Your possessions--Psalm 104:24

The above creature is a dragonfly. If you were to study the intricate and sophisticated system that is built into its design, you would agree with the video that I saw on Sunday morning. This creature, and many others, defy evolution. The earth is full of them. The earthworm, the elephant, the beaver, the giraffe, the woodpecker, the hippo, the lowly sparrow, and on and on--they are all incredible. Their structures are just remarkable. And how could they live for one minute without all of the components being fully functional at the same time? How did these intricate designs come to be? By chance? Random process? Naah!!! You have to come up with something better than that! I choose to believe the only logical explanation.

My granddaughter is learning the first question to the children's catechism. Who made you? it asks. I'm very thankful that she's learning the only rational answer: God. What else could it be?
Next she'll learn the second question: What else did God make? And the answer to that one is also the only reasonable one: God made all things. May she someday know it and believe it.

So, folks, I present to you the dragonfly. He defies evolution.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Meet Aunt Jane and Horace


Jesus calls us: o'er the tumult
Of our life's wild, restless sea,
Day by day his sweet voice soundeth,
Saying, "Christian, follow me."

Jesus does call us, you know, and He does call us day by day. "Follow Me," He says. "Don't listen to the sounds of this corrupt world trying to suck you in. Listen to Me, Christian--only Me."

In the first chapter of Aunt Jane's Hero, Jesus was making this plea to a young man named Horace. But attention was not given; the Voice was not heard. The Voice wasn't an audible one in the midst of some dream or vision or similar phenomenon. It came via someone who loved Horace, an older saint whom he called "Aunt Jane." Mrs. Prentiss opened this story with a conversation and through this conversation, we are introduced to these two principals.

We learn from their discourse--we are given more than a glimpse into the character and disposition of each of the participants. We become aware of Horace's neediness while listening to his declaration of having fallen in love with a certain young lady; we discover as well the extreme concern this brought to his godly friend. Eventually, we realize that there are clues given as to why this particular woman had an almost filial attachment to this young man who was not related to her by blood. It is a perfect introduction to what follows.

But what stands out most for me as we gather evidence regarding the state of affairs of Horace's life at that time, is the godly counsel he received during that conversation. From the time I first read this opening chapter, I've wanted to be like Aunt Jane. If someone I love comes to me in the same state as Horace did, I hope I would give to them what she gave to him that evening. His response was realistic. What we have to say won't always be received well. But my hope for myself, and for you, is that we'll give them what is true and loving: righteous guidance, whatever the response. And then add prayer when they've gone.

"It must be comfortable to have such faith in one's own prayers," he said, thoughtlessly.

Her eyes filled with tears.

"It is not faith in my prayers, but faith in Him who dictates them," she said. "Dear Horace, don't stay away so long again; bear with my little sermons for the sake of my love to you."

"I will," he said, "but you will never make me feel as you do."

So it may be that the conversation ends like this one. But you and I know the power of prayer, don't we?

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Help Beyond the Gate


Now I saw in my dream, that he spake many good words unto them, whereby they were greatly gladded. He also had them up to the top of the gate, and showed them by what deed they were saved, and told them withal that that sight they would have again as they went along in the way, to their comfort.

I have heard of much sickness, sorrow, and pain of late. Not on my part for the present, but on the part of others I read or hear about. No promises have been made at any time that this pilgrimage would be an easy one.

The above quote is from Pilgrim's Progress; it occurred quite soon after Christiana and Mercy were given entrance by the Keeper of the gate into the way leading to the Celestial City . I love the account about their entrances through the gate. Take special notice that they were helped. In the case of Christiana, whose children came with her, he took her by the hand, and led her in. Shortly after, Mercy's access was accomplished when , after taking her hand and bidding her arise after she fainted outside the gate, the Keeper took her again by the hand, and led her gently in. Do you see, dear friends? Bunyon understood it well. In His love and tenderness, Jesus brought us in. And not just that, He brought us in gently. This stirring account, written so long ago, reminds me once again how thankful I am for the Savior, who guided this poor, helpless sinner through the narrow passageway. I would have horribly gashed myself trying to get through on my own.

So as we travel through the shadows, won't He continue to gently lead us? And won't He continue to show us by what deed He fetched us? And won't He continue to speak many good words to us, to gladden our hearts? Yes, beloved ones, we'll keep receiving help beyond the gate.

Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. Hebrews 13:12-14

Saturday, June 30, 2007

A Gem and Some Nuggets


There is a book that is a choice gem to me, with many nuggets of riches in its pages. From my standpoint, its author is like a lily among thorns in the rankings of female writers of any century. Aunt Jane's Hero is the gem and Elizabeth Prentiss is the one who produced the nuggets. Not as well known as her other great work, Stepping Heavenward, this nineteenth century narrative is a distinct and profound ministry to those who are waiting for God's will in marriage, those soon to be married, and those who have recently married. I know of none other like it.

I've written a companion to this book, and must admit that I've struggled with this project more than any other. Someday I hope to again offer it to the public, but for some reason I'm vaguely unsettled about this and that, so it's currently undergoing more revisions. It's so much a part of me; perhaps I hate to let it go. Pray for me about this, please.

I wanted to explain all that as an introduction to what I'm about to do here at Scraps. I'd like to take each of the twenty chapters of the AJH book (and of the corresponding companion) and do a post expressing what I see as the primary nugget in that chapter. I'll title each post to coincide with the chapter title in my companion. I can't really say how often I'll do this, but it will probably take us at least well into the fall is my guess. (After all, it's not the only topic I want to be talking about .) I hope this undertaking will whet the appetite of other folks for the Prentiss book and maybe even help me to pull everything together in my own mind.

I've been married for thirty-six years, but the words spoken by the principals of this story still prick, lift, and gently touch my heart. I think they would yours too.

So, as a foretaste of other valuable chunks to follow, here is a piece from the preface of the AJH book. It's a brief glimpse at a portrait of a Christ-centered home; indeed, it's a glance at the Christian life.

They were living to themselves: self, with its hopes, and promises, and dreams, still had hold of them; but the Lord began to fulfill their prayers. They had asked for contrition, and He sent them sorrow; they had asked for purity, and He sent them thrilling anguish; they had asked to be meek, and He had broken their hearts; they had asked to be dead to the world, and he slew all their living hopes; they had asked to be made like unto Him, and He placed them in the furnace, sitting by "as a refiner of silver," till they should reflect His image; they had asked to lay hold of His cross, and when He reached it to them, it lacerated their hands. They had asked they knew not what, nor how; but He had taken them at their word, and granted them all their petitions...

Monday, June 25, 2007

He Adored God in Both

"...Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD."
Job 1:21


I didn't admit it verbally, but yesterday morning I was a bit grumbly in the inner man when the teacher for the Sunday school class above mine called me to ask me to take his class, because he had been up sick with a stomach bug during the night. Now, my first thought should have been concern for him and gratefulness for the opportunity to help a fellow saint (and extra children), but I'm sorry to say it wasn't. My first thought was irritation over the fact that the nice little lesson I had planned for the two sweet girls in my third and fourth grade class was being disrupted by these "older" kids, all of whom I'd previously taught. The lesson for the day was from the book of Job, chapters 1, 2 and 42. I had made up a nice little worksheet, specifically designed with my two girls in mind, and now I was also going to have five other students!

Well, need I say that our dear Lord showed me, once again, that He knows exactly what He's doing. Without going into too many details, suffice it to say that I was blessed yesterday. The story of Job once again touched my heart, and I do think it did the hearts of certain of the older students as well. I could tell. And one of my younger girls--I believe there were certain aspects that did hit home with her. I know that this teacher was affected, remembering those lessons from Job once again.

We all learned or relearned two crucial facts from that patriarch: God allows both good and bad things to happen in our lives; like Job, we have to trust in His providential workings in them all. We also learned that God can sovereignly restore blessings after they've been taken away.

I didn't get terribly deep with the children, but Matthew Henry did minister to my heart with his comments about the above verse (the second half is their memory verse this week). Referring to Job's response to the loss of all possessions, including his children, Mr. Henry said:

"He acknowledged the hand of God both in the mercies he had formerly enjoyed and in the afflictions he was now exercised with: 'The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away.' The same that gave hath taken away; and may he not do what he will with his own? See how Job looks above instruments, and keeps his eye upon the first Cause.

"He adored God in both. When all was gone he fell down and worshipped..."

Will you and I be able to do the same? And I am thankful for His forgiveness for my initial reaction yesterday morning.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Thy Presence


Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? Psalm 139:7

Praise the Lord for the negative answers to both these questions. I use the New king James Version these days, but for certain Scriptures, especially those precious ones hidden in the heart for so long, it has to be the old Authorized Version for me. The "thees" and "thous" and so forth cause my heart to have that sense of honor and worship so much more. But don't take it the wrong way. I don't believe that there is only worth in this one translation. I just happen to love it with a special love.

So, for this beloved verse, read what thus saith one John Mason concerning the words "thy presence":

The presence of God's glory is in heaven; the presence of his power on earth; the presence of his justice in hell; and the presence of his grace with his people. If he deny us his powerful presence, we fall into nothing; if he deny us his gracious presence, we fall into sin; if he deny us his merciful presence, we fall into hell.—John Mason.

Now, what saith thou to that?