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,


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.