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


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.