Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Mother's Words

"Mother keeps saying I spend too much time in brooding over my sorrow. As for her, she seems to live in heaven. Not that she has long prosy talks about it, but little words that she lets drop now and then show where her thoughts are and where she would like to be. She seems to think everybody is as eager to go there as she is. For my part, I am not eager at all. I can't make myself feel that it will be nice to sit in rows, all the time singing, fond as I am of music. And when I say to myself, 'Of course we shall not always sit in rows singing,' then I fancy a multitude of shadowy, phantomlike beings, dressed in white, moving to and fro in golden streets, doing nothing in particular, and having a dreary time, without anything to look forward to.

"I told Mother so. She said earnestly and yet in her sweetest, tenderest way, 'Oh, my darling Katy! What you need is such a living, personal love of Christ to make the thought of being where He is so delightful as to fill your mind with the single thought!"

"What is 'personal love of Christ?'"

~Katy's entry for December 14, 1831~Stepping Heavenward, Elizabeth Prentiss

I have to tell you that Katy's mother is one of my favorite literary characters. I first read the book many years ago, but this particular entry really struck me at the time, and has been a favorite since. I wish I would respond to my daughters the way that this woman, who "seemed to live in heaven," normally did to hers. And note, these words "personal love of Christ" came back to Katy to grab her heart as she neared what was no doubt the latter part of her life, as she lay on her sick bed. I wonder what words will we speak that will be embraced by our children in their later years. I wonder will we speak words that will be with them in times of trial when we're no longer with them in the flesh.

Friday, May 25, 2007

My New Notebook

I would like to announce that this Nanna is now the proud owner of a Toshiba Satellite 15.4" Widescreen Notebook PC #A135-S4527. In other words, I have a laptop. I've never owned one before, but the Lord has graciously allowed Speakable Gifts, with household help, to purchase this "notebook" for me to use in my writing projects. The sales guy was trying to help me make the best choice (which I had thought about for weeks), so he asked what I would be using it for. I hesitantly said to him "Well, I'm trying to be a writer." I don't know why I answered that way. Why didn't I say "I'm a writer" rather than that I'm "trying" to be one? Who knows.

So, I have an electronic "notebook." For almost everything I write, I scribble out a rough draft in my spiral notebook, while sitting on my couch or some other quiet place. I don't think most writers do that. Usually, from what I hear, they sit at their desks or on their couches or wherever and type out their rough copies on their laptops. Maybe I'll try doing it that way now that I don't need to sit at our desktop computer which in the kitchen, where there's so much activity during the day. Well, we'll see.

Just pray that this new piece of equipment in our home will be used to work on projects and even make blog posts and comments that will be from meditations of my heart that are acceptable in His sight, who is my strength and my Redeemer.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Jesus is Mine

Fade, fade, each earthly joy--Jesus is mine;
Break, ev'ry tender tie--Jesus is mine.
Dark is the wilderness;
Earth has no resting place;
Jesus alone can bless--Jesus is mine.

Tempt not my soul away--Jesus is mine;
Here would I ever stay--Jesus is mine.
Perishing things of clay,
Born but for one brief day,
Pass from my heart away--Jesus is mine.
~Jane C. Bonar

I wanted to post tonight, but time has run out. I must needs go to bed. These words of Jane, wife of Horatius, will need to suffice. Suffice? These words far exceed anything that I could possibly have said. That they will be the expression of my heart!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Sow Your Seed

Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. Give a serving to seven, and also to eight, for you do not know what evil will be on the earth. If the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth; and if a tree falls to the south or the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie. He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap. As you do not know what is the way of the wind, or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, so you do not know the works of God who makes everything. In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good. Ecclesiastes 11:1-6

I've mentioned before about my journey through the book of Matthew with J.C. Ryle as my companion, or escort is more like it. We are going slowly and diligently and I'm enjoying the excursion immensely. This morning, we arrived at the beginning of the thirteenth chapter and I read, for perhaps the five hundredth time, the parable of the sower. You've probably had the same experience--it seems that no matter how often you read it, there are fresh new truths. We've often talked about the seed (God's Word)), about the sower, and about the hearers. Mr. Ryle had quite a bit to say about those who sow, and most of his comments were directed to those in the ministry.

But my thoughts went to mothers. Especially young mothers. As he wrote his words concerning ministers of the gospel, I was applying them to those who are sowing the seeds of God's Word in the hearts of their precious children. Ryle mentioned a portion of the above passage, which I meditated on often when my oldest daughter was small. It was a comfort to me when I became weary. It was an encouragement when I worried about the future. It was a reminder that the results were not mine to accomplish. I just needed to sow. So all you moms, listen to what Bishop Ryle said of preachers, and apply it to yourself and your children:

"Like the sower, the preacher cannot give life. He can scatter the seed committed to his charge, but he cannot command it to grow: he may offer the word of truth to a people, but he cannot make them receive it and bear fruit. To give life is God's solemn prerogative: 'It is the Spirit that quickeneth.' God alone can 'give the increase.'"

So, dear mothers, knowing that the outcome belongs to their Creator: keep sowing.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Remember Their Chains

Oscar had been whining and crying for a few hours I would say. He'd been chained up out back and no one had come out to check on him. You see, Oscar's the dog in the back of us, and when I went down to the fence, I saw that his chain had gotten wrapped around a bundle of sticks that were nearby, and he was "stuck" in a particular spot. I have to be honest; I have a lot of trouble with people who leave a dog tied up for long periods without at least making sure all is well. Especially when he's howling like this one was. But don't go by me, because I'm a little too sentimental about animals. I feel sorry for any one of them who has a plight. So I took a walk around the block (which I needed anyway) and told one of Oscar's young owners, who was playing ball in the street, to go rescue him. He was happy to do so; you know how young boys are when they're playing--he didn't mean any harm, he had just forgotten about him.

...And most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Phil. 1:14

Actually, the dog in the back of me doesn't have it that bad. They came and got him and all is quiet now. His sufferings are not as bad as they are for many Christians throughtout the world. For some strange reason, his whines made me think of our persecuted brethren and my thoughts went to the words I've often read in the VOM newsletter: "Remember their chains." This week, my thoughts go to Christians in India, after reading the article at the Christian Persecution Blog about their courage and faithfulness to Christ amidst intense sufferings. Reading such things pricks me; hopefully, it will be a goad for all of us. Perhaps it will give us an increased determination to glorify our Lord where we are. Sometimes I'm sad that I'm called to do so little for Him. But praying for our brothers and sisters in India, Pakistan, Malaysia, and other places is something important we can do. Some have recently been beheaded and had their throats slit for loving Jesus. This is real, folks. And I for one am determined not to forget about what it means to take up our cross and follow Him. So basically I'm saying that for me Oscar was another reminder of those who are in chains.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day Notes

Wisdom has built her house, She has hewn out her seven pillars. (Proverbs 9:1)

Well, we've had another Mother's Day, a day which since childhood has always touched the core of my heart. This is so partly because my own mom was always so precious to me and partly because it was such an important day in the culture and church which I grew up in. It was one of the biggest days of the year in church attendance and mothers of all ages came arrayed in the finest attire. I loved it then.

Those days are behind me now, the holiday is celebrated in a different culture and church, and my mom is gone to Jesus. So, now I'm the mom who's been especially honored, not just by two sweet and caring daughters, but also, for the first time, by a granddaughter who has no clue as to what's going on. In morning worship, a sermon was preached about our need for wisdom as women and for evening worship, I had infant nursery duty. Only one baby showed up tonight and guess who that was? You're right: my granddaughter. So the evening closed out with just the two of us spending those final quiet moments of the busy day together. Now, how special can a day be? Thank you, Lord.

My favorite portion of today's sermom: "Beauty is power, but wisdom is beauty and wisdom is given to those in Christ Jesus." Get it?

Christ is all the beauty we desire.
( whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:3)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Valley of Humility

Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty, and before honor is humility. Proverbs 18:12

Humility is one of my favorite topics. Not that I have it. I just know that I need to seek it. And, of course, there's only one Source. I hope this is the first of many posts about the subject. Hopefully, I'll post about it from different sources and perspectives.

In Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyon, Faithful told Christian about his being assaulted by Discontent in the Valley of Humility. Discontent unsuccessfully tried to persuade Faithful to go back rather than wade through such a valley, and by doing so, turn against his friends Pride, Arrogancy, Self-conceit, and Worldly-glory. Well friends, I hope I'll be able to answer Discontent as Faithful did:

"I told him that although all these that he named might claim kindred of me, and that rightly (for indeed they were my relations according to the flesh), yet since I became a pilgrim they have disowned me, as I also have rejected them..."

As to Discontent's claim that the valley was without honour, Faithful let it be known that THAT was a misrepresentation of the thing, since "before honour is humility, and a haughty spirit before a fall."

I hope I'll be able to put Discontent in his place. He would like me to embrace my "friends" as he calls them. I need to be careful of them, because they love to sneak in and try to pull pilgrims back in. Methinks Worldly-glory could try grabbing hold of those of us who love to blog and write.

Oh Lord, may it be that this pilgrim not seek
the glory that the world gives, but only the glory of Christ.

Speaking of valleys, our lilies of the valley started blooming today. Don't you just love perennials? Such a reminder of the workings of an Almighty Creator.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Mama's Headgear

Wearing several hats in the course of one day does present a challenge for the person who always would "rather be writing." As I don my teacher's bonnet in our homeschool, I'm often called away to put on the big, floppy chef's cap. Today was no exception. I don't know what kind of headdress a bookkeeper would adorn herself with, but I certainly wore it for a good bit of today while doing the family and business finances. Then the role which calls for the little janitorial cap was getting neglected a bit more than I'd like to admit, so I couldn't let too much time slip by without tossing that one on for a moment or two. There are more, but you get the idea.

I can quickly take a few minutes to blog (my great love), but only a few. Maybe, if I'm a good girl, I can throw off all those headpieces I've been wearing and grab a few more precious moments before bed to finish some revision work.

I wouldn't trade any of these hats though, they are each an indication of the Lord's blessings to this grateful homemaker, even while trying to be a writer.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

The Gift of Joy

But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. John 17:13

This morning's sermon was about Christian Joy, with the above verse text. Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling very joyous when I first began listening to the message. I had a groggy head from this cold I've been battling all week, and to tell you the truth, I was feeling a bit grumpy. But I warmed up as the preaching continued on. How could I not, while considering the joy that Jesus gives us. How could I not feel better while being reminded that we can have this joy while we're in this world and that the world can't take it away from us, even in the midst of disappointments, worries and other ills.

One of the brothers was praying during our prayer time tonight and used this term "The Gift of Joy." I want to remember it that way. Also, I went away from the morning message savoring one of the most important points made by our pastor. He said if we've lost our joy and have gone low, not to go and try to cling to joy itself to get it back; no, we're to go to Christ and cling to Him. Seek first Him, His kingdom, and all these things will be added. So the gift of joy comes from Jesus.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Being Public

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:17
I guess it's been ten days ago that I started this new little venture in the blogging world. I've kept it private because I wasn't sure exactly how I wanted to proceed with it; I needed to be clear in my own mind as to what it is that this is all about. I do believe I like the idea of having a blog that is mostly devotional, with thoughts about serving the Lord in written words and publications. So I've decided to go ahead with it. This is my tenth post: a good place to start sharing with others. I hope it will be what I want it to be--an offering to my God. I hope that anybody who happens by, will see little bits of His glory.

Welcome, if this is the first post that you read. I would like friends to come often, whether or not they leave a comment at a given visit. I just want folks to read and if any blessings come from that, I'll be satisfied. And if so, then to God be the glory!

Friday, May 4, 2007


I was thinking this morning...

For personal devotions, I'm going through the book of Matthew with Ryle's commentary on it close by my side. I'm about to finish up Chapter 10, and I've encountered three typos in the book so far. I hadn't noticed that before. Do you think these typos have had any effect on the usefulness of this commentary? The publisher is the Banner of Truth Trust, which puts out nothing but quality works. Anyway, I was thinking about these "mistakes" that I have run into so far and how they have not in the least taken away from the preciousness of the words that Mr. Ryle has written to touch our hearts with the Savior of mankind. The fact that I happened to notice that the word "everbody" was printed instead of "everybody" made no difference whatsoever.

The reason I noticed it this time is because I am doing so much revising and editing of my own writing lately and seeing mistakes all over the place. I guess I'm a little too paranoid about something getting published with a typo. We'll do our best that there be as few as possible, but most of us know that seldom do you read a published book that you don't find at least one error in it somewhere. So, I said all that to say that I was encouraged by those typos. They matter some, especially if there are too many, but one or two here and there could serve to remind us that what people are looking for isn't perfection, but words of wisdom, encouragement, comfort or laughter that speak to them where they are.

I hope that the words I write will speak to others of the love of God, and will be acceptable to Him.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14

Thursday, May 3, 2007

It is Well With My Soul

The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:7

Each week at my Nanna's Reflection blog, I've begun pondering, or focusing on, a favorite old hymn. It all started with a Thursday Thirteen post naming a selected few of them, and I'm going to let it spill over to this place as well. It makes sense that I would reflect on such beloved words here. Of course, the title of this post indicates our selection for this week. The words, under such circumstances as they were written--that speak of peace in our sorrow, a Savior in our helplessness, our sin nailed on a cross, and our faith becoming what is actually seen--can only feed our souls.

I just discovered another account of the writing of this hymn at the site. Read the telling of the story and then click the link to listen and pray awhile. I'm going over now to do that. There are a few people I know of who need this peace passing all understanding in the time of trial.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Choose No Evil

I have a short and concise quote by Spurgeon that I want to share tonight. In fact, I like this one so much that for a few months now, it's been the quote that's been posted for children's responses on the Speakable Gifts website. Tell me if you don't agree that these are words of particular wisdom, especially for young folks.

Of two evils, choose neither.

~~C. H. Spurgeon

How powerful. How necessary that we teach this to our children in this day and age. They are going to be presented with wickedness every day. May we teach them to never choose "the lesser of two evils," but to choose neither. How I pray that this new generation would have more who will rise up and stand for right, whatever the cost!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Fruit Bearing

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,
To declare that the Lord is upright;
He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

Psalm 92:12-15

How I pray that this would be true of me. As my hair gets more gray, my eyes get more dim, my muscles and bones get more stiff. That I might still bear fruit and declare His goodness.