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