Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Usurper

Today's Sunday school class was quite interesting to say the least. Every two years or so I teach this same particular lesson to a different group of third and fourth graders and each time it comes out differently. You may know the story: It's the one about the little boy Joash who became king at the age of seven. You know, the one whose grandmother killed all of her other grandchildren when her son, the king, was murdered by Jehu. Quite an involved and complicated family situation as everyone would agree after reading it in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles. I even made up a chart for each of the kids, drawing a bunch of little stick figures, some with crowns on their heads; some with skirts, some on the northern kingdom side of the page and the rest on the southern side; some with frowns on their faces to show they were evil, etc. etc. Well, let me say that by the end of the lesson, I think my young group was more than a little confused about what they had just learned and I'm not so sure whether my little "chart" was a help or hindrance! At any rate, I decided to extend this lesson for another week as there are some important applications that are yet to be made, particularly concerning Joash who only followed the Lord as long as his uncle, Jehoida the priest, was alive. After his uncle died, his true "colors" became evident and we see that He did not love God for himself. You can imagine where I'm going with that.

For some weird (perhaps twisted) reason, I always have been captivated by this story, particularly byAthaliah, the grandmother. Now that I'm a nanna, the fact that any woman who holds such a status could do any kind of harm to such beloved ones so that she could gain the crown really boggles my mind. But obviously, in her case, they were not beloved. And also obviously, there was nothing or no one more important to her than that crown. But this time, I thought about something else concerning Athaliah: she was a usurper. You see, God had intended that only David's descendants would rule in the southern kingdom. Athaliah was a foreigner, not of the royal line of David. I think the fact that for the seven years that she reigned, Judah had a monarch who was a ursurper really hit me. Perhaps it's because of some issues going on right now in our own country with respect to the constitution and the presidency, that I thought about this. THAT I will not discuss here; you may or may not know about it, but it did make me think about that. Wow. Judah had this usurper on the throne, but the best part of the story is that eventually she was dethroned and a legal king was crowned.

SO, the key to that is there were a handful of people who kept the faith and purposed to do what was right. And one little girl in the class salvaged this weeks lesson with her closing prayer. In her prayer she told God that even though different people may be reigning at different times, HE is the one who is really on the throne! Now, is that ever a wealth of truth coming from the mouth of a nine year old! So it was a good lesson after all!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Blessings

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

I pray that you know Him this holiday season. Christmas blessings are wished for you from my house to yours.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Thou Didst Reign on High

This Christmas song says it all. It tells of the great humility of our King who reigned on high, yet willingly adorned Himself in human flesh and humbled Himself to not only be born in the poorest of circumstances, but to live a lowly life, and die the cruel death at Calvary's cross. It also tells of a victorious conqueror who has returned to His throne on high but will return again to claim His own. Do we not have a Savior worthy of praise? Can we not sing these wonderful words with thankfulness? All may be crumbling around us, but can we not know the truth of the lyrics penned by Emily Elliott over a century ago and know they are just as applicable today?

Emily was a woman after my own heart because of her love for children and teaching them the truths of Scripture. I read that her life was filled with benevolent activities in rescue missions and in the Sunday school movement of her time. Now that's a life worth living! Teach this precious hymn to your children and grandchildren, dear ones. I intend to.

Thou dost reign on high with a kingly crown,
Yet thou camest to earth for me,
And in Bethlehem's home was there found no room
For thy holy nativity:
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for thee.

Heaven's arches rang when the angels sang,
Proclaiming thy royal degree;
But of lowly birth didst thou come to earth,
And in great humility:
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for thee.

The foxes found rest, and the birds their nest,
In the shade of the forest tree;
But thy couch was the sod,
O thou Son of God, in the deserts of Galilee:
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for thee.

Thou camest, O Lord, with the living word
That should set thy people free;
But with mocking scorn, and with crown of thorn,
They bore thee to Calvary:
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
Thy cross is my only plea.

When heav'n's arches shall ring,
And her choirs shall sing,
At thy coming to victory,
Let thy voice call me home,
Saying, "Yet there is room,
There is room at my side for thee."
And my heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus,
When thou comest and callest for me.

~Emily E.S. Elliott

Friday, December 5, 2008

He Became Poor

For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9

For the season that's suddenly come upon us, I thought I'd use my lack of time to make some posts that don't require a lot of thought or preparation. Also, I see everyone decorating their blogs for the holidays, while I don't have time for that either. So, I've decided that I'll be posting my favorite verses and carols which have to do with our Savior's first coming to this sinful world, with a smattering of Christmas images to decorate my blog.

The verse posted here is my favorite; I think I write it on cards and in holiday reflections more than any other. It goes with the hymn/carol that I'm posting next. Can anyone guess which one that will be? Of all the beautiful aspects of the incarnation, this one touches me most: God the Son left all of the riches that were His in glory, to become as one of us, clothed in human flesh, born in the humblest of circumstances. What a Savior.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

And My Portion

Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. Psalm 73:25-26.

Oh how I love these two verses of Scripture. They have been a balm to me for many a year. I have to say that in the world of uncertainty that we find ourselves, these words drive me on. Indeed, that which pertains to this person who is me, will fail, but in the midst of failure, pain, sorrow, confusion, and all else that has or will come to this frail being, He is my strong tower and my portion. Someone else said it so much better than I ever could:

. . .God is not only my rock to defend me from those tempests which assault me, and, thereby, my freedom from evil; but he is also my portion, to supply my necessities, and to give me the fruition of all good. Others, indeed, have their parts on this side the land of promise, but the author of all portions is the matter of my portion. My portion doth not lie in the rubbish and lumber, as theirs doth whose portion is in this life, be they never so large; but my portion containeth him whom the heavens, and heaven of heavens, can never contain. God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever; not for a year, or an age, or a million of ages, but for eternity. . . Without alteration, this God will be my God for ever and ever, my guide and aid unto death; nay, death, which dissolves so many bonds, and unties such close knots, shall never part me and my portion, but give me a perfect and everlasting possession of it. ~ George Swinnock.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Charge Given to Us

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. I Timothy 2: 1-2.

"A charge given to Christians to pray for all men in general, and particularly for all in authority. Paul does not send them any prescribed form of prayer. Paul thought it enough to give them general heads; they, having the scripture to direct them in prayer and the Spirit of prayer poured out upon them, needed not any further directions. The disciples of Christ must be praying people. There must be prayers for ourselves in the first place; this is implied here. We must also pray for all men. See how far the Christian religion was from being a sect, when it taught men this diffusive charity, to pray for all men. Pray for kings (v.2); though the kings at this time were heathens, yet they must pray for them. For kings, and all that are in authority. We must give thanks for them, pray for their welfare and for the welfare of their kingdoms, that in the peace thereof we may have peace. He does not say, "That we may get preferments under them, grow rich, and be in honour and power under them"; no, the summit of the ambition of a good Christian is to lead a quiet and peaceable life. . . Christians are to be men much given to prayer. In our prayers we are to have a generous concern for others as well as for ourselves; we are to pray for all men, and to give thanks for all men. Kings themselves, and those who are in authority, are to be prayed for. They want our prayers, for they have many difficulties to encounter, many snares to which their exalted stations expose them." ~ Matthew Henry

Thank you, Mr. Henry. Thank you for reminding me of a solemn duty which I have as a child of God. It's the desire of my heart that I and my children and their children may lead a quiet and peaceable life. May it be so, Lord Jesus.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vote and Pray

We have the wonderful privilege extended to us once again to vote. Please do so, praying all the while. And when it's all said and done, the political hoopla behind us, we'll keep on trusting in our Savior.

"Almighty God, Who has given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech Thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Thy favor and glad to do Thy will. Bless our land with honorable ministry, sound learning, and pure manners...

"In Time of prosperity fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in Thee to fail; all of which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen." ~ Thomas Jefferson

Monday, October 27, 2008

We Rest On Thee

Hello! I'm finally back! I didn't mean to be gone so long, but time got away from me, and well. . . it's a long story.

Yesterday, once again, was a lovely Lord's Day. Actually the whole weekend was a blessing, except for my cold that's been hanging on. It was our annual fall missions conference and our Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday, as well. A precious time of fellowship had by all. The following hymn, which we sang yesterday, ministered to my heart more than anything else the whole weekend. The words of our pastor as he introduced it (we've never sung it before), as well as the lyrics, were needful to me. I think I've mentioned before that I've had a tendency to fret over this election, so I needed to hear these things. He told us that we must remember who our real king is, no matter who becomes President. So, once again, I've been reminded that my king is Jesus, and I will continue to rest in Him, not any man, and no matter what state our union is in.

This beautiful hymn is sung to the same tune as "Be Still My Soul", which is "Finlandia" by Sibelius.

We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender!
We go not forth alone against the foe;
Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender,
We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.
Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender,
We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.

Yes, in Thy Name, O Captain of salvation!
In Thy dear Name, all other names above;
Jesus our Righteousness, our sure Foundation,
Our Prince of glory and our King of love.
Jesus our Righteousness, our sure Foundation,
Our Prince of glory and our King of love.

We go in faith, our own great weakness feeling,
And needing more each day Thy grace to know:
Yet from our hearts a song of triumph pealing,
“We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.”
Yet from our hearts a song of triumph pealing,
“We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.”

We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender!
Thine is the battle, Thine shall be the praise;
When passing through the gates of pearly splendor,
Victors, we rest with Thee, through endless days.
When passing through the gates of pearly splendor,
Victors, we rest with Thee, through endless days.

~ Edith Cherry

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Now Two Granddaughters

God has seen fit to allow the safe arrival of our second granddaughter, Shana Elizabeth, born October 10,2008, at 4:45 pm, weighing in at seven pounds. So now Selena is a big sister and she loves it. Just wanted to tell the good news here at this blog--It's already been announced at my Nanna's Reflections blog.

Those who his gracious cov'nant keep

The Lord will ever bless;

Their children's children shall rejoice

To see his righteousness.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Am I a Samaritan?

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him. And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. Luke 10:33-34

You probably can tell from recent posts that I've been reading in the parables of Jesus these days. This one, so familiar to us all, was my reading today. I just wanted to post a part of what Mr. Ryle said about the Good Samaritan, which hopefully will cause you and me to think about a few important things:

What are we ourselves? Let us not forget to put that question to our hearts. What are we doing, each in our own station, to prove that this mighty parable is one of the rules of our daily life? What are we doing for the heathen, at home and abroad? What are we doing to help those who are troubled in mind, body, or estate? There are many such in this world. There are always some near our own doors. What are we doing for them? Anything, or nothing at all? May God help us to answer these questions!

No more needs to be said, I think.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Love Beyond Degree!

I heard this playing this morning and it blessed me so much, so I'm posting it here. Oh, how I love the hymns! How rich they are with the gospel! How beautifully they express the truths of the Word of God! The tune which I like is here.

Alas! and did my Saviour bleed,
And did my Sovereign die!
Would he devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I!

Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree!
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide,
And shut his glories in,
When Christ, the mighty Maker, died
For man the creature's sin.

Thus might I hide my blushing face
While his dear cross appears;
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt mine eyes in tears.

But drops of grief can ne'er repay
The debt of love I owe;
Here, Lord, I give myself away,
'Tis all that I can do.

~Isaac Watts, 1707

Saturday, September 13, 2008

One Pearl

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. Matthew 13:44-46.

The merchant went looking for pearls (plural) but he only found one. But the pearl that he found was of such quality that he sold all else for it. That's what it is to find Christ. When you do, you forsake all to follow Him. And what else do you do when you find the best treasure that is ever to be found?

"It is not a string of pearls that is discovered; one pearl rewards the seeking of a lifetime, and the one pearl gives perfect satisfaction. Now, brethren, in the Kingdom of our Lord we see what at once recalls to us both parables. No treasure hidden in any field can be more various than the Kingdom's riches. And yet the joy of the Kingdom is just this, that all its riches are treasured up in Christ, and that everything that the heart needs for satisfaction is to be found in Him and Him alone." ` George H. Morrison

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sunday Snippet - The Thought of Jesus

Jesus, the very thought of thee
With sweetness fills my breast;
But sweeter far thy face to see,
And in thy presence rest.

Nor voice can sing, nor heart can frame,
Nor can the mem'ry find,
A sweeter sound than thy blest Name,
O Saviour of mankind.

O Hope of ev'ry contrite heart,
O Joy of all the meek,
To those who fall, how kind thou art!
How good to those who seek!

But what to those who find? Ah, this
Nor tongue nor pen can show:
The love of Jesus, what it is
None but his loved ones know.

Jesus, our only Joy be thou,
As thou our Prize wilt be;
Jesus, be thou our Glory now,
And through eternity.

We took communion at our service tonight, which is always a blessing to the people of God. He knew what He was doing, didn't He, by leaving this ordinance for His church? How quickly we'd get caught up in the things of this world and think too little about all that He's accomplished for us at Calvary. "Do this in remembrance of Me," He said, and so we do, or we would indeed be prone to forget. I'm thankful and privileged each time I can partake with the other saints.

We also sang this hymn during the service. It wasn't one of the ones we would sing in the church I grew up in, but now it has become a favorite of mine. The thought of Jesus--what sweetness that brings to our hearts. Our only Joy, our Prize, our Glory now and through eternity.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Shut In or Shut Out?

Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. Matthew 25:1

There were ten of them. One half of them were wise and one half foolish. You know about these ten, don't you? If not, I would encourage you to read about them in the first thirteen verses of Matthew 25. I've been thinking about them a lot this week, primarily because they were mentioned quite a bit in the sermon we had on Sunday, and partly because this is a favorite parable of mine.

Soon my granddaughter Selena will be learning about opposites, as young children usually do. She'll learn up/down, over/under, big/little, and so on. I think of this parable as an illustration of two opposites. Only these two opposites are the most important that any of us will ever encounter. You see, these ten virgins all had lamps, but the key factor was the oil that needed to be in the lamps. The five wise had it; the others didn't. The oil represents salvation, or as some refer to it, the Holy Spirit within. So what we have here are five virgins who had true religion burning in their hearts and we have five who had only the outward profession. The latter were hypocrites. Hypocrisy is ever present in the Church at large. That's why this parable should make us look within, as the Apostle Paul exhorts us in 2 Corinthians 13:5.

About opposites, think on these from this parable: Besides wisdom/foolishness, we have oil/ no oil; we have grace/no grace; we have forgiven/unforgiven; we have converted/unconverted, we have mercy/judgment. Shall I go on? But more scary than any of the others--we have shut in and shut out (verses 10-12).

Think about it, please. Your soul depends on it: Is your profession real or are you a hypocrite? Do you have oil in your lamp or is it empty? Are you wise or are you foolish? And finally, when the Lord Jesus comes to claim His own, will you be shut into the marriage feast or will you be shut out for all eternity? It all depends on where you stand with Jesus. Are you really His?

Ahh, I must again quote my dear Mr. Ryle:

"True Christians shall alone be found ready at the second advent. Washed in the blood of atonement, clothed in Christ's righteousness, renewed by the Spirit, they shall meet their Lord with boldness, and sit down at the marriage supper of the Lamb, to go out no more. Surely this is a blessed prospect.

"They shall be with their Lord: with Him who loved them and gave Himself for them; with Him who bore with them, and carried them through their earthly pilgrimage: with Him whom they loved truly and followed faithfully on earth, though with much weakness and many a tear. Surely this is a blessed prospect.

"The door shall be shut at last: shut on all pain and sorrow; shut on an illnatured and wicked world; shut on a tempting devil; shut on all doubts and fears; shut to be opened again no more. Surely we may again say, this is a blessed prospect."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Divine Artificer

For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:14-16

Verse 15. "My substance was not hid from thee, etc. What deeper solitude, what state of concealment more complete, than that of the babe as yet unborn. Yet the Psalmist represents the Almighty as present even there. "My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth." The whole image and train of thought is one of striking beauty. We see the wonderful work of the human body, with all its complex tissue of bones, and joints, and nerves, and veins, and arteries growing up, and fashioned, as it had been a piece of rich and curious embroidery under the hand of the manufacturer. But it is not the work itself that we are now called on to admire. The contexture is indeed fearful and wonderful; but how much more when we reflect that the divine Artificer wrought within the dark and narrow confines of the womb. " ~ Charles Wordsworth

How about that, friends? Do you admire the work of this divine artificer for His magnificent handiwork in the womb? I said do you admire Him rather than the work itself? How anyone can say they know this One whose creative work should bring forth our praise, while at the same time support the destruction of that work is beyond me. I must say, I cannot in good conscience support a candidate to lead this country who would snub his nose at this truth from God's Word. I'll just leave it at that for now.

My friend Vicki has written a thoughtful post. Read her August 18 post here.
As I've said before: May the Lord have mercy on us. We need His mercies, but we still have to vote under His watchful eye.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sweet Friends

Isn't it nice to have friends? Sometimes these friends are people whom we've never met personally but our hearts are knit together in the common bond found in Christ. There are two sister bloggers who fit into that category. Cathy of Melodies and Hymnsongs is one of them. We've gotten to know each other through our blogs and through emails and find we're quite like minded in the things we enjoy and love. Her blog is such a pleasant place to visit, music, art, and helpful links among other things. Visit her please. Then there's my newer friend, Lorie of Encouragement from My Heart, who writes lovely poetry and other posts from her heart. Go there, too, and be blessed by this beautiful woman from Hawaii. Both stopped by today to tell me they were passing on these two awards, and I thank them!

I want to pass these on to those of you who frequent this place and help to make blogging more of a pleasure for me. I wish I had time to post more often, because I enjoy it so, but I have to put first things first in my life. Thanks for your friendship--there are some of you who brighten my countenance as soon as I see the email with your name on it, even before I read the comment itself. Thanks, sisters in the Lord, and also the occasional brother who stops by!

Update: I just found out from Cathy that Crystal, at Memoirs of a Mommy created the lovely Sharing the Love award in Honor of the Donor that saved her precious son, Noah's Life. This makes this award even more special.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A Sister's Departure

It was just on June 20th, a month and a half ago, that I wrote a post about a dear sister who had begun the last leg of her journey heavenward. Well, the Lord has seen fit to shorten that journey and our sister Colleen has reached her glorious destination. I for one will miss her precious, God-glorifying blog posts, while at the same time being happy for her. She is there; she is home; all is well. Some day when you want to be blessed, read some of her posts at the family Prayer Basket blog.

Now the day drew on, that Christiana must be gone. So the Road was full of people, to see her take her Journey. But behold all the banks beyond the River were full of horses and chariots, which were come down from above, to accompany her to the City Gate. So she came forth, and entered the River, with a beckon of farewell, to those that followed her to the River-side. The last word she was heard to say, here, was I come, Lord, to be with thee, and bless thee.

So her children and friends returned to their place, for that those that waited for Christiana had carried her out of their sight. So she went and called, and entered in at the Gate with all the ceremonies of Joy . . .

At her departure her children wept, but Mr. Great-heart and Mr. Valiant play'd upon the well tuned cymbal and harp for Joy. . .

From The Pilgrim's Progress, The Second Part, by John Bunyan

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sunday Snippet: Zimbabwe

And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day . . . Isaiah 58:10

Have you or your children ever been hungry? I mean really hungry? This child does know what it's like to be hungry--in the true sense of the word. He lives in Zimbabwe, where there is a severe food shortage. We've heard a lot about the political struggles there, but not as much about the severe hunger problems.

This youngster is receiving a life-saving, daily ration of a corn-soybean-blend cereal from World Vision. I would imagine that he's thankful to receive it. Please don't mind my saying this, but I think it would be good for our children in our households to look at pictures like this one from time to time. I wonder would it help to settle some of the issues we have with them over picky habits about what is set before them. Maybe it would be helpful to pray for the starving children of our world at our dinner tables, children who are thankful for a daily ration like the one above and for children who don't even receive that. Maybe it would be helpful to all of us if we changed some of our ways so that we had less to throw out in the garbage, using the money we save to send to organizations like World Vision, who are trying to feed and help hungry people in many places, including Zimbabwe. Believe me, folks, I am preaching to myself as well.

Anyway, I picked Zimbabwe to talk about because it's special to us at our church. We have a special relationship with a church in New York which is supporting ministry work over there. In fact, their pastor and his wife are there now. And not only that, but one of our dear pastors is headed over there tomorrow to help out with that work. Needless to say, even though Pastor A and the others will be trying to do what they can about the physical needs, they will be focusing on another kind of food. The nourishment of God's Word will be their primary emphasis, particularly what it offers the hungry soul: salvation through Christ Jesus, the Bread of Life.

Pray please for the people of Zimbabwe--for their hunger needs, both body and soul. And please pray also for those servants I've just told you about, who are trying to be used of God, as best they can, to help supply provisions for these needs.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Does Jesus Care?

On the sidebar you will see a feature I've had for a while now, called "A Post That Will Touch You." I do hope that you have the time to check out the post called "Hello, Little One" by a very close friend of mine. These posts are self-explanatory. Since she's been making updates after I started writing this a couple of days ago, maybe you might want a link to the blog itself, where you will surely be blessed by this young mother's letters to her unborn child. Pray for my friends Mark and Beka, please. Some time ago I posted a poem that Beka wrote and many of you who come here are familiar with her blog.

Also, our church is currently trying to minister to a family which recently started attending our services. They are a dear family, who have quickly become comfortable with our people and with our ministry. This week Mr. A. went to his mother's home and found her dead--she had died a couple of days before. Needless to say, this sudden death is a shock to him and his wife and their children. They, too, are seeing dark days right now and need prayer. Pray for our congregation as many of us have to drop other less important things to try to help them conduct a funeral service.

I wanted to dedicate something to these two families today, so I looked for a hymn. The following is the one that spoke to me as the one I should give them. What are you going through today, dear reader? Whatever it may be, if you are a child of God through faith in His Son, Jesus, these words hold true for you, too:

Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
Too deeply for mirth or song,
As the burdens press, and the cares distress
And the way grows weary and long?

Does Jesus care when my way is dark
With a nameless dread and fear?
As the daylight fades into deep night shades,
Does He care enough to be near?

Does Jesus care when I’ve tried and failed
To resist some temptation strong;
When for my deep grief there is no relief,
Though my tears flow all the night long?

Does Jesus care when I’ve said “goodbye”
To the dearest on earth to me,
And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks,
Is it aught to Him? Does He see?

Oh yes, He cares, I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,
I know my Savior cares.

~Frank E. Graeff

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Invasion of Maggie

Who points the clouds their course,
When winds and seas obey,
He shall direct thy wand'ring feet,
He shall prepare the way.
~~P. Gerhardt

A young man whom I know pretty well is going through hard times of loneliness and uncertainty. A few months ago, his engagement was broken off by his fiance. This was a situation where wedding plans were well under way--invitations hadn't been sent yet, but a wedding that was to take place in June was called off in March, so you can imagine how far along in the preparations they had gone. I don't know many details, and I don't need to know them, but it's quite obvious to most of his family and friends that it has been, and still is, a painful experience.

He's been reaching out to a few of us, almost like a wounded animal, but it's hard to know how to apply the healing ointment needed in his case. Actually, Christ must do that. He's a Christian young man, so we try to minister first from the Word of God.

Once again, it's been a long interval since my last post on Aunt Jane's Hero. It seemed appropriate to bring in a bit of a correlation between the loneliness that Horace felt after many unfortunate events in his life and the struggles of my friend. But in Chapter 7, as in Chapter 6, I once again see Providence accomplishing the will of God in the life of the story's hero. It was the Almighty who intruded Horace's life, even invading his mind on the way to the heart. God was at work providing for his need. Mrs. Prentiss skillfully relayed the employments of the heart of her fictional character, but our real God can do the same in the life of a real young man. I hope the day comes when He does this for our needy friend.

I love this chapter. God weaving His purposes into the affections of Horace is a precious thing. I still say this book is a masterpiece and a must read for not only young single women in the later teen years and up, but a sure benefit for many a single guy. I don't have the nerve to recommend it to my friend yet, but maybe someday I will.

Hopefully, I'll do my usual digging into the narrative next time. This time I just wanted to reflect on these things.

Monday, July 7, 2008



Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. Ephesians 6:16

As the Chinese government prepares for the arrival of athletes from all over the world, they are apparently on a campaign to make sure that "troublemakers" are kept away. At the VOM Persecution Blog, you can gather more information about these troublemakers and how they are being dealt with in order to keep them as far from the games as possible. This is just another face of the persecution poured out on believers of the Lord Jesus throughout all time. More pain, suffering, and tears for the people of God.

God's people have always been "troublemakers" to one group of people or another. This is very clear as I read the daily entries in the book The One Year Christian History that I was privileged to receive this Christmas. The afflictions suffered take on various forms, but it has been and continues to be a part of the Christian faith.

Troublemakers tend to get into fights. Is the Christian life a fight? What do you think? I say it is. It's a fight against the world, the flesh, and the devil. I've often spoken of this--that we're soldiers and that this is warfare. We make trouble for those who hold the banner of error and falsehood. We make trouble by preaching and teaching truth. A sharp sword indeed. Put on all your armor, you troublemakers! Got on your shield? You really do need it in this day of battle! The brethren in China are wearing theirs, are you wearing yours?

Would anyone fight the fight of a Christian soldier successfully and prosperously? Let him pray for a continual increase of faith. Let him abide in Christ, get closer to Christ, tighten his hold on Christ every day that he lives. Let his daily prayer be that of the disciples: 'Lord, increase my faith' (Luke 17:5). Watch jealously over your faith, if you have any. It is the citadel of the Christian character, on which the safety of the whole fortress depends. It is the point which Satan loves to assail. All lies at his mercy if faith is overthrown. . . J. C. Ryle

I'm in a fight and I have my shield. I guess that makes me a troublemaker.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Lovely Apparel

A passage of Scripture which has always been dear to me tells of some beautiful clothing which we can and should be wearing. Certainly it's apparel that should be a part of each of our wardrobes:

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Colossians 3:12-15

Friday, June 20, 2008

A Sister's Summons

For a couple of years or so, I have been touched by the blog of a woman and her family. I heard about her battle with ovarian cancer at her daughter Amber's website and have been following her story ever since. I have never met Colleen personally, but oh my, what an inspiration she has been. I'm sure I am not the only one who would attest to that. Her original diagnosis was in September of 2005 and after treatment, she regained some of her strength and vigor, only to find out in April of 2007 that the cancer had returned. It has been quite a battle for Colleen since then. Through it all, you never saw a sweeter spirit and a more trusting saint. She writes beautifully, bringing the reader to a dearer and nearer walk with the Savior. Sometimes as I read her posts, I have to remind myself that this is someone who is suffering.

Lately, the blog post came that I always worried would come when I would go visit her. Her last two posts will explain. I thought of Christiana from Pilgrim's Progress when she received her summons. On June 2nd Colleen wrote: "it appears that I have begun my journey Home." Her situation now is much like that of Christiana when she received her summons:

. . .So inquiry was made for her, and the house was found out where she was, so the post presented her with a letter: The contents whereof were, Hail good woman! I bring thee tidings, that the Master calleth for thee, and expecteth that thou shouldest stand in his Presence, in clothes of Immortality. . .When he had read this letter to her, he gave her therewith a true token that he was a true messenger, and was come to bid her make haste to be gone. The token was, an Arrow with a point sharpened with Love, let easily into her heart, which by degrees wrought so effectually with her, that at the time appointed she must be gone.

So it is with our sister Colleen. She doesn't have an exact time appointed yet, but has been told that it is near. But then we all have an appointed time, don't we? However, as she said, some of us have a better idea of our arrival time to our Destination. This is a difficult, I'm sure, yet blessed time for Colleen and her family. Pray for her, please.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sunday Snippet - Primary II Class

Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. Proverbs 14:34

I have a new toy and already it's a blessing. Tuesday will be my birthday and my husband has gifted me with a digital camera! Until recently, I've been afraid to get one because I'm not good at taking pictures but this one has been actually pretty easy to use. I just started using it today and have been enjoying it except for the fact that the very first thing I did was to set the language and somehow I managed to set it at German! Then nobody could help me figure out how to get it to English because we couldn't understand the directions on the screen. Finally my daughter Bev came to the rescue and figured it out.

The above is my Sunday school class, which were the first pictures ever taken with my new camera.(Forgive the shadows--we forgot the flash.) That's me on the back right and the lovely young lady on the back left is my substitute Sara. Below is a closer picture of the four children who make up the class this year. Aren't they cute? Kris, the only boy in the bunch holds up pretty well--I don't think he minds his minority position too much. He's a sweetie and I love having him. I love the little girlies, too, of course. Currently, we're in the book of Judges in our survey of the Old Testament and the kids are learning quite a bit. Today Sara took the class and the lesson was about Gideon.
Next to writing for them, teaching children is one of my greatest joys and blessings on this side of heaven. There have been countless precious moments from my Lord over the years with many children whom I grow to love in a special way during the two years or so they spend in this class. The earlier ones are adults now, and it breaks my heart when I hear of those who have gone astray. But it's cause for thanksgiving hearing of the ones who are walking with the Lord. Last year, sadly, one of them passed on to eternity in a car accident at age nineteen. I can only hope he's with the Savior.

The verse I posted is the class memory verse this week. This is a familiar verse to most of us and is it ever appropriate for the time we're in right now. It's a good one to spur us to pray, wouldn't you agree? Blessings as we begin a new week!

Monday, June 9, 2008

He'll be Here Tomorrow

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8

This is a verse we all have to hold before us. It seems a good one to remind myself of right now, since of late there are times that little worries creep in about the tomorrows that are coming: Little worries about what the tomorrows will bring regarding health issues; what they will bring for our children and grandchildren; what they will bring to our country; what they will bring in certain financial situations; what they will bring to the Church; and more. I certainly don't want the little worries to turn into big ones, do I? This verse helps. It helps because it reinforces the wonderful truth that the God who brought us through the yesterdays will never change, not today nor tomorrow, nor the days after tomorrow. He was here yesterday; He's here today; and so He'll be here tomorrow. So, dear friends, let's all ponder this precious verse of just nine words. A lot is packed into those nine words for the current and future worries.

Today's poem from Streams in the Desert fits perfectly right now. It was a curative to me; hope it is for you too if you're worrying about the future.

"There's a stream of trouble across my path;
It is black and deep and wide.
Bitter the hour the future hath
When I cross its swelling tide.
But I smile and sing and say:
'I will hope and trust alway;
I'll bear the sorrow that comes tomorrow,
But I'll borrow none today.'

"Tomorrow's bridge is a dangerous thing;
I dare not cross it now.
I can see its timbers sway and swing,
And its arches reel and bow.
O heart, you must hope alway;
You must sing and trust and say:
'I'll bear the sorrow that comes tomorrow,
But I'll borrow none today."'

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

God's Order for Marriage

. . .Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Matthew 19:4-5

One man and one woman makes a marriage. Aside from the union of Christ and the believer, there is no better union on earth. A man and a woman. This is God's order.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Key Called Promise

I've been wanting to make this post ever since Sunday night's sermon, but I'm just getting to it. As you probably already know, next to the Bible, The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan is the most widely read book in the English language. Not only has it been translated into over two hundred languages, but it's still alive and quite well after having been first published in 1678. It has never gone out of print. Isn't that remarkable? If you've never read it, I urge you to do so and to introduce it to your children. There are versions for the younger folks, you know, and there are tapes that can be gotten.

You may also be familiar with the part of the story where Christian unfortunately leads his friend Hopeful out the the way by attempting an easier path, a poor choice, where they find themselves in all kinds of difficulties, last of which is on the grounds of Doubting Castle, owned by Giant Despair. The old giant was, of course, determined to do them in and they were at their wit's end when on Saturday about midnight they began to pray and continued to do so until almost dawn. It is here that Mr. Bunyan ingeniously weaves in a truth that we all must remember:

Now a little before it was day, good Christian, as one half amazed, brake out in this passionate speech: What a fool, quoth he, am I thus to lie in a stinking dungeon, when I may as well walk at liberty! I have a key in my bosom called Promise, that will, I am persuaded, open any lock in Doubting Castle. Then said Hopeful, That's good news; good brother, pluck it out of thy bosom and try.

And so Christian did pull it out of his bosom and he tried and opened every door so that they eventually escaped from that horrible place and made it back to the King's highway and were safely away from the giant's jurisdiction. All of us have that key, you know, and it doesn't matter what the circumstances might be.

This has been a week of sad news. Actually, every week we'll hear of sad news. My point here is that I hope those undergoing trials will remember this key. As believers, we have it in our bosoms, and it will unlock the doors that close us into despair and doubts. For some it's particularly difficult--the many saints who are being persecuted as well as those who are going through trials. How easy it would be for the Christians in Myanmar and China to despair right now. The pain and grief inflicted on the Chapman family at this time could bring doubts of the goodness of God. I hope these and the many others who are groping in dark times will read the many promises given by our God in His Word--there is the key that will unlock any doors that would keep them from finding the way of faith.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Life In a Jar

Did you know about this woman? I didn't. Her name is Irena Sendlerowa and she died this morning in Poland at the age of 98. As I write about this, it's not that she and I shared the same religious affiliation and beliefs. I really don't want to get into that at all with this post, but I was captivated by her story when I read it this morning. Apparently, very few people knew about her accomplishments in Nazi Poland during World War II until 1999, when a high school teacher assigned her life as a project from which the students created a play called "Life In a Jar"based on their findings. Have any of you seen or heard of this play? Apparently it's been performed in many places in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. I notice that they just produced a DVD, which I'm thinking about ordering. If it seems like a worthwhile investment, I'll put it in my Amazon Listmania and do a post on my other blog.

Irena S. seems to have been a woman who had a spirit of courage and valor, similar to Corrie Ten Boom and Amy Carmichael, evangelical Christians who were loved by all of us. We can do little harm to let our daughters and granddaughters know that women like these existed, and hopefully still exist, in a world of hate, cruelty and evil. I hope it will spur them in the direction of the character qualities possessed by women such as these. Maybe the circumstances won't be as horrific as those known by Amy, Corrie, and Irena, but if they ever are going to be mothers and raise children to love Christ in the days that are coming, my take on it is that they will be rescuing children from evil. And they certainly need courage and valor for that.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

My Mother's Hands

My Mother's Hands

Such beautiful, beautiful hands!
They're neither white nor small;
And you, I know, would scarcely think
That they are fair at all.
I've looked on hands whose form and hue
A sculptor's dream might be;
Yet are those aged, wrinkled hands
More beautiful to me.

Such beautiful, beautiful hands!
Though heart were weary and sad,
Those patient hands kept toiling on,
That children might be glad.
I always weep, as, looking back
To childhood's distant day,
I think how those hands rested not
When mine were at their play.

Such beautiful, beautiful hands!
They're growing feeble now,
For time and pain have left their mark
On hands and heart and brow.
Alas! alas! the nearing time,
And the sad, sad day to me,
When 'neath the daisies, out of sight,
These hands will folded be.

But oh! beyond this shadow land,
Where all is bright and fair;
I know full well these dear old hands
Will palms of victory bear;
Where crystal streams through endless years
Flow over golden sands,
And where the old grow young again,
I'll clasp my mother's hands.

~G. P. Morris

That sad, sad day has come for me, but I'm looking ahead to those endless years (through tears as I type). A blessed Mother's Day to all. May you lovingly clasp the hands of your mother now and those of your children.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

National Day of Prayer

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped." Psalm 28:7

Well, that certainly is true and it's true of all of life, even for our country in this time of uncertainty and for me, confusion. I wrote a post about this a few weeks ago, and I still need to remind myself that my Lord is my hope for the future, not any political candidate. If my hope were in any of the candidates at this time, I would be most miserable.

I notice that this year's theme for the National Day of Prayer is "Prayer! America's Strength and Shield," taken from the above psalm. I wish that were true. For some reason, reading the President's proclamation did not bring any comfort to me. We were a Christian nation at one time and now I wonder if we can still lay claim to that. I think we want to be a country where "all religions" feel comfortable and I'm wondering what our triune God intends to do about it. We were a country at one time wherein the principles of God's Word were at the foundation of what we did in our homes, schools, and elsewhere. I think now anything goes and it's not what God thinks that's governs us, but the wants of the individual, no matter how immoral that may be. I wonder how long our holy God will endure it.

Well, saints, we can pray for this, our beloved country. We can pray on this National Day of Prayer and we should be praying during the many days ahead, especially between now and November. Who knows that He may spare us for the sake of ten righteous within the city.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Andrew Duncan's Will

There have been so many blessings that have come to me in my reading of the One Year Christian History devotional that I told you about on another post. Lately, the blessing was in the form of a Last Will and Testament of a godly man named Andrew Duncan, dated April 14, 1626. Wow. His thinking in his will is along the lines that all of us should want to have about ourselves, our children, and our possessions.

About himself, he said:

". . . First, as touching myself, body and soul; my soul I leave to Christ Jesus, who gave it, and when it was lost, redeemed it, that He may send His holy angels to transport it to the bosom of Abraham, there to enjoy all happiness and contentment; and as for this frail body, I commend it to the grave, there to sleep and rest, as in a sweet bed, until the day of refreshment, when it shall be reunited to the soul . . ."

How's that for the right perspective about ourselves? I love the view of life and death that was realized by these old saints of long ago.

About his children, he said:

"As for the children whom God hath given me, for which I thank His Majesty, I leave them to His providence, to be governed and cared for by Him, beseeching Him to be the tutor, curator, and agent, in all their adoes, yea, and a father; and that He would lead them by His gracious Spirit, through this evil world; that they be profitable instruments . . . holding their course to heaven, and comforting themselves with the glorious and fair-to-look-on heritage, which Christ hath conquered for them, and for all that love Him . . ."

Beautiful! Are we raising our children in such a way that we can have the assurance that Mr. Duncan seemed to have, that we are leaving them to the care of their heavenly Father? And are we making the choices for them now that will give us hope that He will be their tutor, curator, and agent, after we've gone?

Of his possessions, he said:

"As concerning my temporal goods, the baggage and blathrie of the earth, as I have gotten them in the world off God's liberal hand, so I leave them behind me in the world; giving most humble and hearty thanks unto my heavenly Father for so long and comfortable loan of the same."

What can I say? Our early possessions are at the best "baggage" for the journey, but this is a reminder that we will not be taking them with us when we leave here. So, they all should be held with a loose hand, at best, while being thankful to the Lord for them. (I don't know what the word "blathrie" means and couldn't find it in the dictionary. Do you know? Maybe it's some old English word, or some spelling difference.)

Folks, this Last Will and Testament is a prayer. Would it be that we all would have a perspective like Mr. Duncan when we make out our wills.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Teenage Rebellion

Our copy of this book arrived today and my daughter and I are excited. In case you don't know about it, I thought a quick post was in order. The title is Do Hard Things and it's by Alex and Brett Harris, sons of Gregg Harris, whose writings helped a lot of homeschoolers in the early nineties. The subtitle is "A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations." I got off on the right foot after reading the presentation page:

To our parents, Gregg and Sono Harris.
This book is the message of your lives.
Our triumph is your triumph. We love you.

Wow. How blessed Gregg and Sono are to have such a tribute written to them by their two sons. Alex and Brett are twins, and I think they are nineteen or so. I'm thankful to see a couple of young men who are stepping out in faith and DOING something to help the teens of this day and culture. I particularly like the cover of this book--it has a great color and style for this age group and guys as well as girls will like that.

My daughter (fifteen) and I are reading it separately and she's loving it. From what I've gotten so far, these boys have a lot to say and they can say these things and receive many more listening ears than we older folks ever could. Thank You, Lord, for giving them this vision.

Graduation time is coming, so keep this book in mind. Moms and grandmoms with teens, please think about getting it. I think even the struggling ones will read this, but not only that, I think they just might listen, given the source.

Note: There is more information on this over at the authors' blog. We got our copy from Amazon.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Our Children's Children

Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children. Psalm 128:6

There is a new little bean that is due to sprout this coming October. This little bean is my second grandchild, another kind benefit from my heavenly Father. Truly there is no greater blessing in the latter years of our journey, as all you grands know firsthand. A little while ago, I found this nice quote about this verse, a prayer, in Spurgeon's Treasury of David and thought it was appropriate for now:

Lord, let thy blessing so accompany my endeavours in their breedings, that all my sons may be Benaiahs, the Lord's building, and then they will all be Abners, their father's light; and that all my daughters may be Bethias, the Lord's daughters, and then they will all be Abigails, their father's joy.--George Swinnock

I like this prayer. Even if we don't see it happening yet, maybe it will someday if we keep praying. And this prayer should extend down for our children's children as well.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

An Eventful Train Ride

While Providence supports,
Let saints securely dwell;
That hand, which bears all nature up,
Shall guide his children well.
~~Philip Doddridge

An encounter. Maybe that would have been a better title for Chapter 6. But the title I gave to the companion's corresponding chapter will do well enough, since it was an encounter that made the train ride eventful. We saw Horace get wonderfully saved in the last episode and at the beginning of this one, he had regained most of his strength and vitality after his affliction. He had become both fatherless and motherless upon the death of his father, and was returning home on a train after that event. It is here that the author introduced two of the principals of this story: Annie and Maggie. I love the way Mrs. Prentiss wove these two young ladies into Horace's consciousness as he sat near them on his ride home. Actually, there were four young ladies sitting together and chatting at first, but from the mind of our young hero, we watched while two of them got off at the stop before his, and we also took note that he was relieved to see which two remained. We also had opportunity to see his chivalry and then experienced his befuddlement when one of the remaining two young ladies recognized him from some time in the past:

"Who is she? Where can I have met her?" he vainly asked himself. But he had presence of mind enough not to ask her, and he did not pretend to conceal that he was glad to see her, trusting soon to learn, in conversation, who she really was.

But he didn't find out who she was. He only pretended to know and that was a blunder on his part. By the time the chapter ended, with all three of them getting off at the same stop, they all parted with Horace bewildered and confused. You'll have to read it to see it all unfold. It's really quite amusing, I'd say.

But what did I see in this chapter? More than anything else, I see the providence of our God. Not only in the encounter itself, but also in all that led up to it. I see God ordering the steps of this young man who had just recently returned to Him from captivity by the world. And even though it ends with Horace in a state of bewilderment, we leave it knowing that we had been given just a taste of big things to come.

What do you know of God's providence in your life? Is He ordering your steps, even in times of confusion and uncertainty? We'll see what He does in the life of our hero as the plot progresses. His life, albeit fictitious, has been written in this precious little book, authored by one who knew firsthand of the workings of a loving Savior in the life of His children. Our lives have been written out by this same Savior and we should face our futures knowing that all that He ordains is right, and He holds our books in His hand.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Quality of Mercy

Sometimes blessings come in unusual ways and at unusual times. I received one of those today while grading my daughter's poem she'd learned. I was touched by the beauty of the poem "Silver" by Walter de la Mare which I was grading (she got a 100 on it), but even more so when I read the poem she's currently working on. It's another Shakespeare writing--you may remember I had one posted before. I've always struggled to understand the words of this great poet, but often it's worth the exercise of the mind that we have to put into it. I was somewhat excited today, though, because I understood what was being said in this excerpt from The Merchant of Venice. What beauty are in these words! I'm sure you'll see it too:

The Quality of Mercy
from The Merchant of Venice
William Shakespeare

The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless'd;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes;
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His scepter shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptered sway,
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute of God himself,
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice.

Wow. Do you get what's being said here about kings? And about God?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Easter Thoughts

Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: and they shall scourge him, and put him to death, and the third day he shall rise again. Luke 18:31-33

Even though it's early this year (it really sneaked up on me), Easter has been filling the thoughts of most folks this week. Some are thinking about jelly beans, bunnies, coconut eggs, colored eggs, baby chicks, baskets, new clothes, colored "grass", and many other pretty things. Today is the first day of spring, and this is the holiday that brings us to the thoughts and pleasures of the season. (You may like this YouTube video that was made by a member of one of my Yahoo groups. I must say they did a fantastic job of bringing this all home. Try this link:

But I choose to bring my thoughts captive to the Passion of my Lord. We as Christians like to read about His life. The gospel accounts are lively and interesting as we read about His journey here on earth. We enjoy learning about His miracles and the accounts about the many encounters with His enemies. We see Him as our Prophet and King. But one of the reasons I like Easter so much is that it's the time when we particularly focus on His office as our Priest, making the ultimate sacrifice for us: Himself. Some months back, I wrote a post reflecting on His determined journey to Jerusalem. We all have our favorite posts that we wrote, and that was one of my mine. Please read it if you ever get a chance; it's here.

At any rate, when the above verses were included in my daily readings one day a couple of weeks ago, my mind was directed to Jerusalem as it was before. Once again, I have a quote by Ryle on this passage:

The love of our Lord Jesus Christ towards sinners is strikingly shown in His steady purpose of heart to die for them. All through His life He knew that He was about to be crucified. There was nothing in His cross and passion which He did not foresee distinctly, even to the minutest particular, long before it came upon Him. He tasted all the well-known bitterness of anticipated suffering. Yet He never swerved from His path for a moment. He was straitened in spirit till He had finished the work He came to do. Such love passeth knowledge. It is unspeakable, unsearchable. We may rest on that love without fear. If Christ so loved us before we thought of Him, He will surely not cease to love us after we have believed. ~ J.C. Ryle

What a Savior. And He is alive. May these wonderful truths about Him fill your thoughts during this Easter season and always. Have blessed holiday weekend, friends.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Our Refuge in This Election

God is our refuge and strength. A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea . . .
Psalm 46:1-2

I don't know about you, but I've been a bit distressful over this election. "What in the world are we going to do?" I've been saying. "What's going to happen to our country?" This beloved psalm is just what I needed for these times. Even though I still know that it's possible that our country may be on the verge of judgment for its increasing ungodliness, it comforts me to remember that it is our God Himself who is our hope, not a president.

"He is my refuge and strength." Do not forget the fact that God is our refuge just now, in the immediate present, as truly as when David penned the word. God alone is our all in all. All other refuges are refuges of lies. All other strength is weakness, for power belongeth unto God: but as God is all sufficient, our defence and might are equal to all emergencies. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

A little nugget from The Treasury of David by Spurgeon:

A sure stronghold our God is He,
A timely shield and weapon;
Our help He'll be, and set us free
From every ill can happen.

And were the world with devils filled,
All eager to devour us,
Our souls to fear shall little yield,
They cannot overpower us.

Chew on that, dear friends, between now and November and beyond.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Sunday Snippet - Not Far Enough

Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." Mark 12:34

This morning's sermon was about the scribe who came to Jesus to ask Him which commandment was the greatest. This is the scribe who agreed with Jesus when the Lord replied that we must love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves. This same scribe even agreed with the Scriptures that teach that God wants our hearts more than outward sacrifices. Think about how far this man had gone in religion, which we can think of as a good thing, but the sad part is that he had not gone far enough. As Pastor John said, not far from is not good enough. God didn't come back and give us indication that this scribe, who had come so far, had eventually repented and believed the whole gospel of Christ. It's sad to think that someone who had come so near had not entered in. Pastor reminded us that greatly mistaken and slightly mistaken are both tragic.

I hope no one reading this post has stopped short of the kingdom. I hope no one is just almost persuaded, like King Agrippa. If you've not gone far enough, see Jesus whose atoning blood was spilled at Calvary for sinners. Embrace this Jesus, repenting and believing in His glorious gospel, being fully persuaded and you will have entered into the kingdom. Nothing can be better than that.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Christian Heroes

This past Christmas, our pastor gave this book to many of us who have served in our church in some capacity. Actually, I think just about every household ended up with one. The title is The One Year Christian History, a daily glimpse into God's powerful work, by Mike and Sharon Rusten. It's a devotional book, with a two page spread for each day of the year. Each day, some event or person is spotlighted, according to the date of some some occurrence in history. The earliest date is in 763 B.C. and the latest is in the year 2000. The 366 devotions can be started any time in the year.
This book is a blessing. You may want to get one for your family. I'm sure you, too, will be blessed. The publisher is Tyndale House, but Amazon and others have it. I've been captivated by some of the stories about people whom I can only refer to as Christian Heroes. It's mind-boggling how many martyrs there have been, some at the hands of other so-called Christians. It did strike me that all persecutors have not been Communists, Muslims or Hindus, but many have been burned at the stake and endured horrible atrocities at the hands of the particular orthodoxy of a time and place. Wow. You'll read about courage that you may not have known existed in the hearts of men and women. My heart has been touched reading these stories. I think yours would be too.

By the way, I've had a series going at the business blog called "Christian Heroes." Maybe you'd like to check those out from time to time and talk to your children about some of the heroes of our faith. I often link to "Glimpses for Kids", a very good site for children, which has all kinds of facts from Christian history. I think it's impotant for our children and grandchildren to know about these things, as it might encourage their young hearts towards greatness.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Remember the Apostle Paul

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 1 Timothy 1:15
From time to time, as many of you know, I feel constrained to write a post about those of Christ's church who are persecuted for their faith. But a post that Stacy Harp made yesterday at the persecution blog made me think. I don't pray enough for the persecutors. If you can, read Stacy's post--it's real food for thought.

I know it may be difficult to hear about some of the horrible atrocities that are committed against Christians and then turn around and pray for God's mercy and grace towards the perpetrators, but I do agree that the Apostle Paul, former persecutor and blasphemer, is a reminder that there is no category of man which is outside of the grace of our God.

Do you pray for the persecutor as well as the persecuted? My confession: I don't. At least not often enough. So as Stacy is reminding us, Paul teaches us a lesson about this.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Great Gain in Great Loss

Jesus, my all in all thou art;
My rest in toil, my ease in pain,
The medicine of my broken heart,
In war my peace, in loss my gain...
~~Charles Wesley

I looked back and couldn't believe my last Aunt Jane's Hero post was on November 8th. Imagine that. To think that last July I had grand intentions that this would be a weekly series on this blog, one I even thought could be finished by now. I hate to say this, but sometimes I have expectations which come far short of reality. Well, enough of that--I've beaten up on myself sufficiently. I go forward with new resolve to be more diligent, even if I don't meet my initial goals. Now for Chapter 5 . . .

". . .The Young Men's Christian Association opened its arms to him; he became interested in the once-despised Mission School, and once or twice his voice was heard at the weekly prayer-meeting which he never used to attend. He felt, at times, that he had gained through loss; that he was a happier, better man; and yet a voice often whispered in his ear; that next to the love of God he needed the love of a Christian woman."

Horace? Is this speaking of Horace? Yes, a different Horace as you can clearly see. These final lines of the chapter are evidence that the most wonderful thing that could possibly happen to any wandering young man had occurred--he had been brought back to his God. In Horace's case, it had happened as a result of the heavy hand of divine providence. The episode is a stirring account of how our young hero, in the midst of great loss, came into possession of great gain, even Christ. We stand in awe, as if this fictional character were someone we knew.

Last night, during prayer time at our church, someone asked prayer for their wayward son. At that point I took a mental excursion around the room and counted four families who have either a son or a daughter who has strayed. As I thought about them, I thought of Horace and what happened to him in this chapter. I don't wish on any of these young people that they'd experience a loss such as the one Horace endured; but, oh, I pray they'll lay hold of his gain. Then, my thoughts went even further to ponder whether any of these parents would just as soon see God have hard dealings with their wandering ones if it's the only way. It's a tough call--to an area of prayer where any parent would tread with trepidation.

Note: I've intentionally not mentioned what Horace's great loss was. Remember, these posts are little prods to get you to read the book!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Sunday Snippet - The Greatest Wonder

I am rejoicing in the mercies of my God today. His kindnesses to this poor weary saint have been manifold. A good study with my Sunday school children this morning, two good sermons today, wonderful hymns at each service,the Lord's Supper, and a precious time of prayer tonight have left me ready to face another week. We heard about the "Seven Wonders of God" tonight as Pastor R. finished off with the greatest wonder of all: That God loves us. For those of us who have come to Him through His Son, we can be assured that He loves us. That indeed is a wonder and wonderful. The final words of the sermon:

I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus the Nazarene,
And wonder how He could love me,
A sinner, condemned, unclean.

Wishing God's blessings to all my fellow pilgrims throughout this week.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Treasured Moments

"Up, Nanna," says my little toddler granddaughter as she lifts up her arms for me to pick her up. These are moments that I treasure here on this side of glory. There is no amount of money that anyone could give me in return for them. I had small children once, as many of you have now, so I know how special it is to have any of our sons or daughters (of any age, really) hold out their arms to be held in ours. But I tell you, there is something indescribable about being reached for by a grandchild. You grandparents can identify.

I need to think more about the preciousness of such moments when my heart is feeling a bit low. I need to reach up to my God at those times. He loves me even more than I love that sweet little girl, so I would imagine it would give Him pleasure. I need to regress from self-pity and gloominess and have Him lift me up. This, I'm sorry to say, is not what I do often enough. I'll try to let Selena remind me of that the next time I hear her say those wonderful words, "Up, Nanna."

Friday, January 18, 2008

Are You Rich?

Every day you hear and read of more Christians who are persecuted. Anytime you want to feel sorry for yourself and get anxious about the cares and worries of this life, just pop over to the Voice of the Martyrs site and read about what's going on around the world. Many dear saints live in huts and have to work hard in fields from morning until night for a meal of rice and beans. Some struggle with disease, tumults, and calamities. If anytime you stress over some lack or wish for something that you can't afford of this world's many goods, or struggle with a broken appliance or a physical affirmity or some petty grievance, try looking around the World Vision site for awhile. Some of us are, indeed, going through extremely difficult circumstances or life threatening illnesses ourselves. For all Christians here and abroad, under whatever condition of life, and without regard to their financial situation, I would say that if they are true saints, they are rich. This is a quote that I wish I could give to every suffering saint in the world to remind them of their true state of wealth:

When can it be said of a man, that he is rich towards God? Never till he is rich in grace, and rich in faith, and rich in good works! Never till he has applied to Jesus Christ, and bought of him gold tried in the fire. (Rev. 3:18) Never till he has a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens! Never till he has a name inscribed in the book of life, and is an heir of God and a joint heir with Christ! Such a man is truly rich. His teasure is incorruptible. His bank never breaks. His inheritance fadeth not away. Man cannot deprive him of it. Death cannot snatch it out of his hands. All things are his already,--life, death, things present, and things to come. (I Cor. 3:23) And best of all, what he has now is nothing to what he will have hereafter. ~ J.C. Ryle

Any sinner who repents and believes the gospel, trusting the Lord Jesus as Savior, can have these riches. So, are you rich?