Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Psalm Singing.....



I actually found this on a friend's blog, but I liked it so much that I thought I would post it on mine too.

John Kennedy of Dingwall spoke at the 1872 General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland against uninspired hymnody and had this to say about the oft-cited (his day and ours) complaint against the Psalms (notwithstanding Luke 24.44) that the greater light of the New Testament has superseded the Psalter's sufficiency for the Church (quoted by Alexander Auld, The Life of John Kennedy, D.D. (1887), p. 137ff; and by Malcolm H. Watts, God's Hymnbook for the Christian Church (2003), p. 44):



The Lord gave a psalmody of old. True, it was given under the former dispensation; but could not the Lord give then what would be suitable in all ages? Can men uninspired do now better than He did then? Does not its completeness prove that it was not be superseded? What view of God's character is not unfolded in the Psalms? What aspect of His providence is not presented in them? What special dealing with His church, individually or collectively, is not celebrated? What phase of spiritual feeling, from the deepest groan of agony and helplessness to the highest ecstasy of triumphant joy, is not expressed? And have we not in the Psalms the grand facts of redemption in historic form? The coming, the death, the resurrection, the ascension of Christ, are set before us in the form it is meet the New Testament should sing of them. If we have this psalmody from the Lord's own hand, and if it be complete, and if it presents the materials for praise in the form best adapted to our circumstances, what more do we require? This sufficed for the Old Testament church, and with all the light of the New Testament shining upon its songs, it surely ought to suffice for us..."The New Testament has outgrown the Psalms," say some; "her further light puts them out of date." Have you that further light? If so bring it to the Psalms, and use it as a help to sing them with the understanding; and the more you do so, I venture to assure you that you will meet with depths that you cannot sound, and with heights of attainment in faith and feeling which you are weak to climb.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Thoughts From John Calvin.......

I read this excellent book over the summer and thought I would include a section I found very helpful.


" Finally we should note that the Lord commands everyone of us in all the actions of our life to be faithful in our calling. For He knows that the human mind burns with restlessness, that it is swept easily hither and thither, and that it's ambition to embrace many things at once is insatiable.


Therefore to prevent that general confusion being produced by our folly and boldness, He has appointed to everyone his particular duties in the different spheres of life. And that no one may go beyond his limits, He has called such spheres of life vocations, or callings. Every individual's sphere of life therefore, is a post assigned him by the Lord that he may not wander about in uncertainty all the days of his life. And so necessary is this distinction, that in His sight all our actions are measured by it, and often very differently from the judgment of human reason or philosophy.


Our present life, therefore, will be best regulated if we keep always keep our calling in mind. No one will then be tempted by his own boldness to dare to undertake what is not compatible with his own calling, because he will know it is wrong to go beyond his limits. Anyone who is not in the front ranks should be content to accomplish his private task, and should not desert the place where the Lord has put him. It will be no small comfort for his cares, labors, troubles, and other burdens, when a man knows that in all these matters God is his guide.


The magistrate will then carry out his office with greater willingness.


The father of a family will then perform his duties with more courage.


And everyone in his respective sphere of life will show more patience, and will overcome the difficulties, cares, miseries, and anxieties in his path, when he will be convinced that every individual has his task laid upon his shoulders by God.


If we follow our divine calling, we shall receive this unique consolation that there is no work so mean and so sordid that does not look truly respectable and highly important in the sight of God."

Letter To Me, Postmarked 1637

I came across this letter while reading a few weeks ago, and felt like it could have been written to me, especially since there was no name on it!

Mistress,

Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. Though not acquainted, yet at the desire of a Christian brother, I have thought good to write a line unto you, entreating you, in the Lord Jesus, under your trials to keep an ear open to Christ, who can speak for Himself, howbeit your visitations, and your own sense, should dream hard things of His love and favor. Our Lord never gets so kind a look at us, nor our love in such a degree, nor our faith in such a measure of steadfastness, as He gets out of the furnace of our tempting fears and sharp trials. I verily believe (and two sad proofs in me say no less), that if our Lord would grind our lusts into powder, the very ashes of our corruption would take life again, and live and hold us under so much bondage, that may humble us, and make us sad, till we be in that country where we need no physic at all. Oh, what violent means doth our Lord use to gain us to Him, as if indeed we were a prize worthy of His fighting for! And to be sure, if leading would do the turn, He would not use pulling of the hair, and drawing: but the best of us will bide a strong pull of our Lord's right arm ere we follow Him. Yet I say not this, as if our Lord measured afflictions by so many ounce weights, answerable to the grain- weights of our guiltiness. I know that He doth in many (and possibly in you) seek nothing so much as faith, that can endure summer and winter in their extremity. Oh, how precious to the Lord are faith and love, that when threshed, beaten, and chased away as it were by God Himself, doth yet look warm-like, love-like, kind-like, and life-like, home over to Christ, and would be in Him, ill and well as it may be.

Think it not much that your husband, or the nearest to you in the world, proves to have the bowels and mercy of the ostrich, hard, and rigorous, and cruel; for the Lord takes up such fallen ones as these (When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up. Ps 27:10). I could not wish a sweeter life, or more satisfying expressions of kindness, till I be up at that Prince of kindness, than the Lord's saints find, when the Lord takes up man's refuse, and lodges this world's outlaws, whom no man seeks after. His breath is never so hot, His love never casts such a flame, as when this world, and those who should be the helpers of our joy, cast water on our coal. It is a sweet thing to see them cast out, and God taken in; and to see them throw us away as the refuse of men, and God take us up for His jewels and His treasure. Often He makes gold of dross, as once He made the cast away stone, "The stone rejected by the builders," the head of the corner. The princes of this world would not have our Lord Jesus as a pinning in the wall, or to have any place in the building; but the Lord made Him the master -stone of power and of place. God be thanked, that this world hath not power to cry us down so many pounds, as rulers cry down light gold, or light silver. We shall stand for as much as our master- coiner, Christ, whose coin, arms, and stamp we bear, will have us. Christ has no miscarrying balance. Thank your Lord, who chases your love through two kingdoms, and follows you, and it over sea, to have you for Himself, as He speaks (Hosea 3:3). For God lays up His saints, as the choice of all the world, for Himself, and this is like Christ and His love. Oh, what in Heaven, or out of Heaven is comparable to Christ's love? No, suppose that our Lord would manifest His art, and make 10,000 Heavens of good and glorious things, and of new joys, devised out of the deep of infinite wisdom, He could not make the like of Christ; for Christ is God, and God cannot be made. And therefore, let us hold with Christ, howbeit we may have our choice of a host of other lovers, as many as three heavens could contain.

Oh that He and we were together! Oh when Christ and you shall meet about the utmost march and borders of time, and the entry into eternity, you shall see Heaven in His face, at the first look, and salvation and glory sitting in His countenance, and between His eyes. Faint not; the miles to Heaven are but few and short. He is making a green bed (Song Of Solomon 1:16), for Himself, and you. There are many heads lying in Christ's bosom, but there is room for yours among the rest; and, therefore, go on, and let hope go before you. Sin not in your trials, and the victory is yours. Pray, wrestle, and believe, and you shall overcome and prevail with God, as Jacob did. No bits of clay, no temptations, which are of no longer life than an hour, will then be able to withstand you, when once you have prevailed with God.

Help me then with your prayers, that it would please the Lord to give me house-room again, to speak of His righteousness in the great congregation, if it may seem good in His sight.

Grace, grace be with you.

Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,

S. R.

Keepers At Home




This spring our church started a Keepers At Home group for the girls in the church, basically similar to a Christian girl scouts group, where every month the girls get together and learn a new skill that will be useful in keeping a home someday. The pictures are from their very first meeting in March, and their Keepers At Home Awards Ceremony. I've enjoyed the opportunity to help out some at the meetings.

This past Friday night we had our first annual Keepers At Home Awards Ceremony, where we recognized the girls' accomplishments, enjoyed a slide show of all the meetings, and all the fathers spoke briefly to the girls. I found the whole evening to be such an encouragement, the whole thing was a celebration of Godly womanhood. Too often we are made to feel like we are settling for second best, or wasting our time, when we try to be Biblical women, "keepers at home"! It was really nice to see these girls being helped in this way, and though the evening was for them, I hope all the women there walked away feeling encouraged.

"......That they may teach the younger women...... to be sober, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home....that the word of God may not be blasphemed." Titus 2:4,5

Currently Listening to......


I have been listening to this CD quite a bit lately. It includes Psalms 95, 146, 90, 68, 40, 45, 121,131, and many more. Even my favorite Psalm tune, Hamilton! Listening to Psalm Cds is encouraging, and a great way to memorize Psalms, and to learn new tunes. I have learned so many new ones since moving, favorites, besides Hamilton:-), are Wiltshire, St Lawrence, St Asaph, Effingham, University, Gaerlochside, Salisbury, Contemplation, etc.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Thought for the day.......


"To learn to walk in the steps of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, day by day, moment by moment, in every situation."

This is the motto for the Keeper at Home group, but also a good one for all of us. Watch for more on the Keepers at Home ceremony.......

Quotes From The Letters Of Samuel Rutherford

I am currently reading The Letters Of Samuel Rutherford, and I have to say, I think everyone should read this book! These are my favorite quotes, so far...................


"Lay all your loads and your weights by faith upon Christ. Ease yourself, and let Him bear all. He can, He does, He will bear for you."

"Glorify the Lord in your sufferings, and take His banner of love, and spread it over you, Others will follow you, if they see you strong in the Lord; their courage shall take life from your Christian carriage."

"Let not the Lord's dealings seem harsh, rough, or unfatherly, because it is unpleasant. When the Lord's blessed will bloweth cross your desires, it is best in humility to strike sail to Him and to be willing to be laid any way the Lord pleaseth: it is a point of denial to yourself, to be as if ye had not a will, but had made free disposition of it to God, and had sold it over to Him; and to make use of His will for your own is both true holiness, and your ease and peace."

"Ye know not what the Lord is working out of this, but ye shall know it hereafter."

"I find Christ the most steadable friend and companion to me now: the need and usefulness of Christ is best seen in trials. O, if He be not well worthy of His room! Lodge Him in house and heart."

"God knoweth that ye are His own. Wrestle, fight, go forward, watch, fear, believe, pray; and then ye shall have the infallible symptoms of one of the elect of Christ within you."

"Because I am His own (God be thanked!) He may use me as He pleases."

"Among many marks that we are on the journey, and under sail toward heaven, this is one, when the love of God so filleth our hearts that we forget to love and care too much for the having or wanting of other things; as one extreme heat burneth out another."

"Give Him leave to take his own way of dispensation with you; and though it be rough, forgive Him; He defieth you to have as much patience to him, as he hath borne to you..........When His people can not have a providence of silk and roses, they must be content with such a one as He carves out for them."

"For your afflictions are not eternal; time will end them, and so shall you at length see the Lord's salvation. His love sleeps not, but is still working for you. His salvation will not tarry or linger; and suffering for Him is the noblest cross that is out of Heaven. Your Lord hath the the choice of ten thousand other crosses besides this to excercise you withall; but his wisdom and his love have selected this one for you besides them all; and take it as a choice one and make use of it....."


"Since Christ looked upon me, my heart is not my own; He has run away to heaven with it."


When ye are come to the other side of the water, and have set down your foot on the shore of glorious eternity, and look back again to the waters and to your wearisome journey, and shall see, in that clear glass of endless glory, nearer to the bottom of God's wisdom, ye shall then be forced to say, 'If God had done otherwise with me than He hath done, I had never come to the enjoying of this crown of glory'. It is your part now to believe, and suffer, and hope, and wait on; for I protest, in the presence of that all-discerning eye, who knows what I write and what I think, that I would not want the sweet experience of the consolations of God for all the bitterness of affliction. Nay, whether God come to His children with a rod or a crown, if He come Himself with it, it is well. Welcome, welcome, Jesus, what way soever Thou come, if we can get a sight of Thee!"
-Letter XI to Lady Kenmure, 1630

"But let me, my very dear and worthy Lord, most humbly beseech you, by the mercies of God, by the consolation of his Spirit, by the dear blood and wounds of your Redeemer, by the salvation of your soul, by the compearance before the awful face of a sin-revenging and dreadful Judge, not to set in comparison together your soul's peace, Christ's love, and His Kingly honor now called in question, with your place, honor, house, or ease, that an inch of time will make out of the way. I verily believe that Christ is begging a testimony of you, and is saying, "And will you also leave me?" It is possible that the wind will not blow so fair for you all your life, for coming out and appearing before others to back and countenance Christ, the fairest among the sons of men, the Prince of the kings of the earth. "Fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be afraid of their revilings: for the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool."
-Letter CLXXIV

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sammy

Meet little Sammy:-), the cutest baby ever!
I have the privilege of taking care of this little guy
at church. This picture is from April - he is twice that
size now!


Little Sammy


A typical "Sammy face", he's such a quiet
serious little guy!



Samuel Rutherford McCurley


He's so cute:-)

Introducing my church, Greenville Presbyterian Church

"One thing I of the Lord desired, and will seek to obtain, that all days of my life I may within God's house remain. That I the beauty of the Lord behold may and admire, and that I in His holy place may reverently enquire." Psalm 27:4
Now I would like to talk a little about my church...............in my opinion I am a member of one of the best, if not the best, church in this country. If it wasn't for GPC I would not be living in South Carolina! I feel so blessed to be part of a church that sings the Psalms, where we
have pure and simple worship, good preaching, and where the people love one another.

"We are a Presbyterian church meeting in the center of Greenville, and bearing witness to the glorious gospel of Christ crucified. Our church upholds the centrality of preaching, and follows the simple and reverent pattern of worship which the Reformation recovered from the Bible, with each element of the service authorized by the Word of God. We unreservedly adhere to the 17th century version of the Westminster Confession and Catechisms.
We belong to the Free Church Of Scotland (Continuing), and to its Presbytery for North America. The Free Church traces its roots back to the Protestant Reformation in Scotland, which began in 1650. At the Disruption of 1843, under the leadership of Dr Thomas Chalmers, a large portion of the Church of Scotland withdrew to form the Free Church Of Scotland, and thereby carried forth the same Biblical truths and spiritual identity of their Reformed fathers. That same testimony is being maintained today." (Thanks to the GPC facebook group for this information)

Our Pastor, Pastor Rob McCurley

Part of the church family after a Friday night
Psalm Sing.

"God doth the solitary set in families....." Psalm 68:6

Meet the Ervins! They gave me a home for my first two
months in Greenville, and are very special friends. I don't
live with them anymore, but am frequently over there
visiting, babysitting, or helping out wherever I can.


I love this picture of the children!

Children Say The Funniest Things!



Putting Hannah in her car seat as we were leaving for church Wed night, I commented, "Wow, you are getting big!"


Big smile from Hannah, "I know, soon I will be as tall as you, and that is really big!" Those of you who know I am only 5 foot 2" will laugh at that:-)


I replied, "I know, but I think you are cute just the way you are."


Hannah looks worried, "But, Miss Stefanie, won't I still be cute when I am big?"

I had to laugh, Hannah is so cute!

Guests

For those of you who are new here, my first few posts are mostly going to be a look back in time over the past few months.............pictured below are a number of photos from when my friends came down from PA to visit us. My first real experience as a hostess, and I had 1o people over for a week! We had a great time though, and actually spent little time at the house. A lot of sightseeing took place, we went to Stone Mountain, GA, they visited King's Mountain, NC, and Bob Jones University, and we all went to Energy world, and the beautiful Clemson Botantical Gardens here in SC .To me one of the best parts of our visit was the late night talks, being silly in the living room with popcorn, or the night we got chocolate cravings, and went to Food Lion for ice cream and brownie mixes at 11:00 (Joshua was amazed by our spontaneousness!)



Still I would like to think I have learned more about guests since then..........and I should, it's a running joke between us that Joshua keeps track of every person to visit us. I believe we are up to 51 (and if I'm wrong J will be sure to correct this:-)! Our guest from farthest away was A from Vermont, but we have also had people from VA, NC, and PA. Our most surprise guests were the E family when the power went out at their place and we threw chili makings in the van and cooked here........all good memories though!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Random Pictures from our week with the Pheros and Einwechters

Hannah Grace

Sarah and Dorothy


Trying to look like we are having a caual conversation!





It was fun having a baby in the house all week!



Taking a break at Chick fil A




Dinner at the Ervins






Me!








Trip To Stone Mountain Georgia

Posing in front of the welcome sign!


.......and now we are in Georgia...

Relaxing on the plantation house front porch.

Karen and I decided we would like to live here!




Stone Mountain made us think of what it would

be like to hike on the surface of the moon!




Abigail and me:-)




Carving of the Conferderate Genenrals on

the mountain.



We had such a fun day last June visiting Stone Mountain with the Einwechters and Pheros. Their visit was my first chance to do sightseeing in the southeast. We had such a fun week together!







Home Sweet Home.......pictures of our home.

Joshua and I talking with guests in the living room.

Conversation........


Dinnertime, and a look at the kitchen!



Dinner for 12 - chicken, potatoes, salad,

and cookies.




Another view of the kitchen!






Taking a walk out on our road.





Looking down our driveway from the road.









Ok, so I must begin this blog with a confession.......I have always thought people who blog were a little crazy, then my life had an abrupt change six months ago and I found myself hundreds of miles from my family. Suddenly blogging to keep them updated on my life seemed a great idea! In addition I made some friends who were bloggers, enjoyed reading their blogs, and thought it looked like fun. So welcome to my blog
The name of my blog comes from a favorite Psalm verse from Psalm 16 "The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage" I can truly say that, I am very happy to be in my new home and part of my new church here in South Carolina!

I plan to begin by putting up pictures of our new home,and some of our summer activities, so this will start with a look back in time......Here is a picture of me with Joshua. I'm now living with Joshua and keeping house for him.

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"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
Isaiah 55:6,8-1