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.