Saturday, December 12, 2009
Stepping Heavenward, by Elizabeth Prentiss
Written in the form of a personal journal, this is truly a unique work of fiction. Although the story takes place in the 1800's, the main character, Katherine Mortimer, faces many of the same issues that we face today: honoring our parents, loving God, controlling a quick temper, keeping our emotions in check, applying God's Word to every area of life, trusting God through difficulties, and surrendering to God's will. Kate's "journal" chronicles her struggles, triumphs, discoveries, losses, and joys, from her sixteenth birthday through her forty-third year. When I finished the last page of this book, I felt almost as if I had lost my best friend. I say almost, because the lessons learned from this friend are valuable, inspiring, personal, and - I hope - lasting.
I read this book years ago, and again this summer........and copied down these thoughts that Katherine's pastor wrote to her in a letter, to save for myself......
"It has been said that a fixed inflexible will is a great assistance in a Holy life."
"You can will to choose for your associates those who are the most devout and holy."
"You can will to read books that will stimulate you in your Christian life, rather than those that merely amuse."
"You can will to use every means of grace appointed by God."
"You can will to spend much time in prayer, without regard to your frame at the moment."
"You can will to prefer a religion of principle to one of mere feeling; in other words to obey the will of God when no comfortable glow of emotion accompanies your obedience."
"You cannot will to possess the Spirit of Christ, that must come as His gift, but you can choose to study His life and imitate it. This will infallibly lead to such self denying works as visiting the poor, nursing the sick, and giving of your time...."
"If the thought of such self denial is repugnant to you, remember that it is enough for the disciple to be as His Lord. And let me assure you as you penetrate the labyrinth of life in pursuit of Christian duty, you will often be surprised by meeting your Master Himself amidst its windings and turnings......or, rather I should say, you will always meet Him, wherever you go."
"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."
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