Monday, January 31, 2011

Lessons learned....

One more post from Hind's Feet On High Places....


"Think back over the journey you have made," he (the Shepherd) said, "And tell me what lessons you learned along the way."

She was silent for awhile as she reviewed the journey....at last she said softly, "My Lord, I will tell you what I have learned."

"First," said she. "I learned that I must accept with joy all that you allowed to happen to me on the way and everything to which the path led me! That I was never to try to evade it but to accept it and to lay down my own will on the altar and say, 'Behold me, I am thy handmaid, Acceptance-With-Joy.'"

He nodded without speaking, and she went on, "Then I learned that I must bear all that others were allowed to do against me and to forgive with no trace of bitterness and to say to thee, 'Behold me - I am thy handmaiden, Bearing-With-Love.'"
~ Hannah Hurnard


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Psalm 48

"Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness.

Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.

God is known in her palaces for a refuge.

For, lo, the kings were assembled, they passed by together.

They saw it, and so they marvelled; they were troubled, and hasted away.

Fear took hold upon them there, and pain, as of a woman in travail.

Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish with an east wind.

As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD of hosts, in the city of our God: God will establish it for ever. Selah.

We have thought of thy lovingkindness, O God, in the midst of thy temple.

According to thy name, O God, so is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: thy right hand is full of righteousness.

Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad, because of thy judgments.

Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof.

Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following.

For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death."


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Into Thy bottle put my tears....

"Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?  When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me."   
Psalm 56:9-10

Several things David here comforts himself with in the day of his distress and fear ~
 "That God took particular notice of all his grievances and all his griefs, of all the inconveniences of his state: but this comforted him, that God kept a particular account of all his motions, and numbered all the weary steps he took, by night or by day. God takes cognizance of all the afflictions of his people; and he does not cast out from his care and love those whom men have cast out from their acquaintance and converse."


"Of all the impressions thus made upon his spirit. When he was wandering he was often weeping, and therefore prays, "Put thou my tears into thy bottle, to be preserved and looked upon; nay, I know they are in thy book, the book of thy remembrance." God has a bottle and a book for his people's tears, both those for their sins and those for their afflictions. This intimates,that he observes them with compassion and tender concern; he is afflicted in their afflictions, and knows their souls in adversity. As the blood of his saints, and their deaths, are precious in the sight of the Lord, so are their tears, not one of them shall fall to the ground. I have seen thy tears. That he will remember them and review them, as we do the accounts we have booked. God will not forget the sorrows of his people. The tears of God's persecuted people are bottled up and sealed among God's treasures....God will comfort his people according to the time wherein he has afflicted them, and give to those to reap in joy who sowed in tears. What was sown a tear will come up a pearl."


"...this I know, for God is for me, to plead my cause, to protect and deliver me; and, if God be for me, who can be against me so as to prevail?" The saints have God for them; they may know it; and to him they must cry when they are surrounded with enemies; and, if they do this in faith, they shall find a divine power exerted and engaged for them; their enemies shall be made to turn back, their spiritual enemies, against whom we fight best upon our knees."
~ Matthew Henry on Psalm 56

Friday, January 28, 2011

Today's quote -

H

e who communes with God is always at home.
 C.H. Spurgeon

"Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress." 
Psalm 71:3

Difficulties...

R epeatedly I am asked variations of this question: Did the Lord comfort you, or were you sometimes lonely or sad? It is not an either-or thing. If I had not been lonely and sad at times, how could I have needed, received, or appreciated comfort? It is the sick who need the physician, the thirsty who need water. This is why Paul did not deplore his weaknesses, he "gloried" in them for they provided the very occasions for his appropriating divine help and strength.
It was in prison the Joseph knew the strength of the Lord.
It was in the lion's den that Daniel's faith was proved.
It was in the furnace that Daniel's three friends found themselves accompanied by a fourth.
We have plenty of "proof texts" - but in order to experience their truth we have to be placed in "proof contexts". The prison, the lions' den, the furnace are where we are shown the realities, incontestably and forever.
~ A Lamp For My Feet by Elisabeth Elliot


Thursday, January 27, 2011

A favorite poem

"Somebody said that it couldn’t be done,
But, he with a chuckle replied
That "maybe it couldn’t," but he would be one
Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.



Somebody scoffed: "Oh, you’ll never do that;
At least no one has done it";
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.



There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle it in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
That "couldn’t be done," and you’ll do it."
 ~ Edgar A Guest



Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A good name...

The importance of a good name, a good reputation has been brought to my attention in this past week. I want to live a life that's pleasing to the Lord, and have others see that in what I do, the choices I make, the things I say, even in what I post here and on facebook. It's something that is very important to me, and probably to you all as well. Here are a few Bible verses and some thoughts from Matthew Henry on the subject, and last of all is consolation for when we get a bad name for doing what is right.

"A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold."
Proverbs 22:1

Here are two things which are more valuable and which we should covet more than great riches: To be well spoken of: A name (that is, a good name, a name for good things with God and good people) is rather to be chosen than great riches; that is, we should be more careful to do that by which we may get and keep a good name than that by which we may raise and increase a great estate.....To be well beloved, to have an interest in the esteem and affections of all about us; this is better than silver and gold. Christ has neither silver nor gold, but he grew in favour with God and man. This should teach us to look with a holy contempt upon the wealth of this world, not to set our hearts upon that, but with all possible care to think of those things that are lovely and of good report.



"Blessed be thou of the Lord, my daughter: for thou hast showed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman."
Ruth 3:10-11
He commended her, spoke kindly to her, called her his daughter, and spoke honorably of her, as a woman of eminent virtue. She had shown in this instance more kindness to her mother-in-law, and to the family into which she had matched, than in any instance yet. It was very kind to leave her own country and come along with her mother to the land of Israel, to dwell with her, and help to maintain her. For this he had blessed her.


"A good name is better than precious ointment."
 Ecclesiastes 7:1
That the honor of virtue is really more valuable and desirable than all the wealth and pleasure in this world. A good name is before good ointment (so it may be read); it is preferable to it, and will be rather chosen by all that are wise. Good ointment is here put for all the profits of the earth (among the products of which oil was reckoned one of the most valuable), for all the delights of sense (for ointment and perfume which rejoice the heart, and it is called the oil of gladness), and for the highest titles of honour with which men are dignified, for kings are anointed. A good name is better than all riches, that is, a name for wisdom and goodness with those that are wise and good—the memory of the just; this is a good that will bring a more grateful pleasure to the mind, will give a man a larger opportunity of usefulness, and will go further, and last longer, than the most precious box of ointment; for Christ paid Mary for her ointment with a good name, a name in the gospels, and we are sure he always pays with advantage.


"Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation."
1 Peter 2:12
He exhorts them further to adorn their profession by an honest conversation. Their conversation in every turn, every instance, and every action of their lives, ought to be honest; that is, good, lovely, decent, amiable, and without blame: and that because they lived among the Gentiles, people of another religion, and who were inveterate enemies to them, who did already slander them and constantly spoke evil of them as of evil-doers. "A clean, just, good conversation may not only stop their mouths, but may possibly be a means to bring them to glorify God, and turn to you, when they shall see you excel all others in good works. They now call you evil-doers; vindicate yourselves by good works, this is the way to convince them.


"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil."
1 Thessalonians 5;21-22
When we are satisfied that any thing is right, and true, and good, we must hold it fast, and not let it go, whatever opposition or whatever persecution we meet with for the sake thereof... We should therefore abstain from evil, and all appearances of evil, from sin, and that which looks like sin, leads to it, and borders upon it. He who is not shy of the appearances of sin, who shuns not the occasions of sin, and who avoids not the temptations and approaches to sin, will not long abstain from the actual commission of sin.



"Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets."
Luke 6:22-23
Such usage as this seems hard; but blessed are you when you are so used. It is so far from depriving you of your happiness that it will greatly add to it. It is an honor to you, as it is to a brave hero to be employed in the wars, in the service of his prince; and therefore rejoice you in that day, and leap for joy. Do not only bear it, but triumph in it. For, "You are hereby highly dignified in the kingdom of grace, for you are treated as the prophets were before you, and therefore not only need not be ashamed of it, but may justly rejoice in it, for it will be an evidence for you that you walk in the same spirit, and in the same steps, are engaged in the same cause, and employed in the same service, with them. "You will for this be abundantly recompensed in the kingdom of glory; not only your services for Christ, but your sufferings will come into the account: Your reward is great in heaven. Venture upon your sufferings, in a full belief that the glory of heaven will abundantly countervail all these hardships; so that, though you may be losers for Christ, you shall not be losers by him in the end."

Monday, January 24, 2011

Abraham

Yesterday I was able to spend the evening with friends and we watched this movie on Abraham that I had been wanting to see. While the producers do take a couple liberties with the story, overall it was really good and I would recommend it. It got me thinking of just how hard what he was called to do was - his faith was amazing!
I wasn't able to upload the first part of the movie, this is actually part three, but if you go to the link you'll find the first one. This would be a great choice for a Lord's day movie.



"By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
 Through faith also Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. 
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son."
Hebrews 11:8-17

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Psalm 47

"O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.


For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth.


He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet.


He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. Selah.


God is gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.


Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises.


For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.


God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness.


The princes of the people are gathered together, even the people of the God of Abraham: for the shields of the earth belong unto God: he is greatly exalted."




Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Valley of Loss

I wanted to share some more from my reading in Hind's Feet On High Places; as I said in an earlier post this story is an allegory similar to Pilgrim's Progress, about a young woman making a journey to the High Places. I can relate so much to the trials in this story and hope that maybe they will be a help to others as well.

"...one day on turning a corner, they found themselves looking down into a deep valley. To their surprise their path actually plunged straight down the mountainside towards it, actually as it had in the beginning of the journey....all three halted and looked at one another, then down into the valley, and across to the other side. There the ascent was as steep and even higher than the precipe that had just climbed, and they saw that to go down, and then up again would not only require an immense amount of strength and effort, but also would take a very long time.

Much-Afraid stood and stared and at that moment experienced the sharpest and keenest test she had yet encountered on the journey. Was she to be turned aside once again, but in an even more terrible way than ever before? Indeed if only the path were to ascend they could not doubt that they would soon be approaching the High Places...

Now instead of that the path was leading down into a valley as low as the Valley of Humiliation itself. All the height which they had gained after their long and toilsome journey must now be lost and they would have to begin all over again, just as though they had never made a start so long ago and endured so many difficulties and tests.

As she looked down into the depths of the valley, the heart of Much-Afraid went numb. For the first time on the journey she asked herself if her relatives had been right, and she had not ought to have attempted to follow the Shepherd. How could one follow a person who asked so much, who required such impossible things, who took away everything? If she went down there, as far as getting to the High Places was concerned she must lose everything she had gained on the journey so far. She would be no nearer receiving the promise than when she had started out from the Valley of Humiliation.

For one black awful moment Much-Afraid actually considered the possibility of following the Shepherd no longer, of turning back....She had been following this path with the two companions (Sorrow and Suffering) as guides simply because it was the Shepherd's choice for her. It was not the way which she naturally wanted to go....Her sorrow and suffering could be ended at once, and she could plan her life in the way which she liked best, without the Shepherd.

During that awful moment or two it actually seemed that she was looking into an abyss of horror, into an existence in which there was no Shepherd to follow, or to trust, or to love - no Shepherd at all, nothing but her own horrible self. Ever after it seemed that she had looked straight down into hell. At then end of that moment Much-Afraid cried.

"Shepherd," she cried. "Shepherd! help me! Where are you? Don't leave me!" Next instant she was clinging to him, trembling from head to foot, and sobbing, "You may do anything - ask anything, only don't let me turn back.Oh my Lord, don't let me leave you. Entreat me not to leave thee, nor to return from following after thee."

He lifter her up, supported her, and wiped her tears away, then said, "There is no question of your turning back, Much-Afraid. No one, not even your own shrinking heart, can pluck you out of my hand. Don't you remember what I told you before? 'This delay is not unto death, but for the glory of God.' You haven't forgotten already the lesson you have been learning have you?"

"It is no less true now that 'what I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter.' 'My sheep hear my voice and they follow me.' It is perfectly safe for you to go on in this way even though it looks so wrong, and now I give you another promise: 'Thine ears shall a hear a word behind thee saying, this is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand or to the left." Then he went on, "Will you bear this too, Much-Afraid?...Will you still trust and love me?"

She was still clinging to him and now repeated with all her heart the words of another woman tested long ago, "Entreat me not to leave thee, nor return from following after thee: for whither thou goest I will go; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God." She paused and faltered a moment, then went on in a whisper, "And where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also if anything but death part thee and me."

Considering how steep it was the descent into the valley seemed surprisingly easy, but perhaps that was because Much-Afraid desired with her whole will to make it in away that pleased the Shepherd. The awful glimpse down into an abyss of an existence without him had so appalled her heart that she felt she could never be quite the same again. However it had opened her eyes to the fact that right down to the depths of her own heart she had but one passionate desire, not for the things which the Shepherd had promised, but for the Shepherd himself. All she wanted was to be allowed to follow him forever."
~ Hannah Hurnard


From my reading this morning...

"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
1 Corinthians 10:13

"The trials of common Christians are but common trials: others have the like burdens and the like temptations; what they bear up under, and break through, we may also. God is faithful. Though Satan be a deceiver, God is true. Men may be false, and the world may be false; but God is faithful, and our strength and security are in him. He keepeth his covenant, and will never disappoint the filial hope and trust of his children.

He is wise as well as faithful, and will proportion our burden to our strength. He will not suffer us to be tempted above what we are able. He knows what we can bear, and what we can bear up against; and he will, in his wise providence, either proportion our temptations to our strength or make us able to grapple with them. He will take care that we be not overcome, if we rely upon him, and resolve to approve ourselves faithful to him. We need not perplex ourselves with the difficulties in our way when God will take care that they shall not be too great for us to encounter.....He will make a way to escape, either the trial itself, or at least the mischief of it. There is no valley so dark but he can find a way through it, no affliction so grievous but he can prevent, or remove, or enable us to support it, and in the end overrule it to our advantage."
~ Matthew Henry on 1 Corinthians 10:13


Friday, January 21, 2011

Meekness

The art of being a Christian is very largely the art of managing the corruptions of our souls. It is such a daunting task that God, who alone knows what it is in man, describes it as more difficult and skillful labor than that of statesmen or military generals. 'He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty: and he that ruleth his spirit better than he who taketh a city.' Proverbs 16:32

The real Christ is the meekest man who ever lived. Consider that the Lord of glory, showed on earth a meekness under every form of ill treatment which mystified even the brutal Pilate. No man ever governed his own spirit as did the Lord Jesus Christ. Though scrutinized daily by a thousand enemies, he never betrayed, even momentarily, the faintest trace of selfishness, impatience, or unjustifiable anger."
~ The Thought of God by Maurice Roberts


Blessed are the meek. The meek are those who quietly submit themselves to God, to his word and to his rod, who follow his directions, and comply with his designs, and are gentle towards all men (Tit. iii. 2); who can bear provocation without being inflamed by it; are either silent, or return a soft answer; and who can show their displeasure when there is occasion for it, without being transported into any indecencies; who can be cool when others are hot; and in their patience keep possession of their own souls, when they can scarcely keep possession of any thing else. They are the meek, who are rarely and hardly provoked, but quickly and easily pacified; and who would rather forgive twenty injuries than revenge one, having the rule of their own spirits."
~ Matthew Henry on Matthew 5

Thursday, January 20, 2011

This and that....

I realized recently that I left everyone 'hanging'  after all my updates on being snowed in last week....the good news is most of the snow is gone, and we were all able to make it to church for communion on the Lord's day. This was my 7th communion season since moving to Greenville, time does fly by! That was a reminder of how much I have to be thankful for. No matter how hard things are, I'm so blessed to have had my prayers for a good church to worship at answered. The verses below have been on my mind a lot today as I've been thinking about the Lord's working in my life. It's  comforting to know these promises are true, even though I often may think that something else would be good for me, the Lord does know best and is giving me just what I need.

"Yea, the LORD shall give that which is good." 
Psalm 85:12

"...the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly."
Psalm 84:11

Below are some pictures of my room that I recently took. Being the only woman in a house with four guys (my brothers!), I'm thankful to have a place of my own that I can keep the way I want it:-). It's still a work in progress, for instance I have a dresser and chair that I plan to paint once the weather warms up, but I've enjoyed working on it slowly.

I painted this bookcase that was given to me by friends. It hold my fiction, craft books, cookbooks, CDs etc.

My second bookcase holds commentaries, Puritans, Christian books....

Some of my favorite books:-)

More books, these ones are on my nightstand that I'm reading.


My desk, computer, more books, scrapbooks......last time I was away my brothers put together a puzzle there and it hasn't been moved yet.

Pictures of loved ones, family, friends...

My brother, Caleb, made me this to hold jewelry and headbands. It's so pretty!

A favorite verse hanging on my wall.

Another favorite verse.

Last of all, not taken in my room, but a picture of Katie and I.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Verses for today....

"Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall.

My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me.

This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.

It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.

The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.

It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.

He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him.

He putteth his mouth in the dust; if so be there may be hope.

He giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him: he is filled full with reproach.

For the LORD will not cast off for ever:

But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies.

For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men." 
~ Lamentations 3:19-33

Monday, January 17, 2011

A prayer that is on my mind today...


"O merciful God, be Thou unto me
A strong Tower of defense,
I humbly entreat Thee.
Give me grace to await Thy leisure,
And patiently to bear
   What Thou doest unto me;
Nothing doubting or mistrusting
Thy goodness towards me;
For Thou knowest what is good for me
Better than I do.
Therefore do with me in all things
What Thou wilt;
Only arm me, I beseech Thee,
With Thine armor,
That I may stand fast;
Above all things taking to me
The shield of faith;
Praying always that I may
Refer myself wholly to Thy will,
Abiding Thy pleasure, and comforting myself
In those troubles which it shall please Thee
To send me, seeing such troubles are
Profitable for me; and I am
Assuredly persuaded that all Thou doest
Cannot but be well; and unto Thee
Be all honor and glory. 
Amen."
~Lady Jane Gray
(a beautiful prayer shared with me by my friend/sister, Ariel - thanks:-)


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Psalm 46

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.

God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.

The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.

The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth.

He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah."


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Today's quote

G

 race gets over the greatest difficulties and disadvantages....When God's grace will work what can hinder it?

~ Matthew Henry


Friday, January 14, 2011

The way up is down....

Today's post is from my reading in Hinds' Feet On High Places, an allegory similar to Pilgrim's Progress, but rather than the the story of man named Christian, this shares the story of a girl, Much-Afraid as she journeys to the High Places.This section really struck me when I read it, probably a lot of us can relate to what Much-Afraid is feeling, to her fears, and to her struggle to trust and follow when she can't understand, "why", but I love the response she ultimately gives.


"....then one day the path turned a corner and to her amazement and consternation she saw a great plain spread out beneath them. As far as the eye could see there appeared to be nothing but desert....to the horror of Much-Afraid her guides prepared to take the steep path downward.

"I can't go down there," panted Much-Afraid, sick with shock and fear. "He can never mean that - never! He called me up to the High Places and this is an absolute contradiction of all that He has promised."..."Shepherd," she said despairingly. "I can't understand this, the guides you gave me say that we must go down there into that desert, turning right away from the High Places altogether. You don't mean that, do you? You can't contradict yourself. Tell them that we are not to go there, and show us another way. Make a way for us, Shepherd, as you promised."

He looked at her and answered very gently, "That is the way, Much-Afraid, and you are to go down there."

"Oh, no," she cried. "You can't mean it. You said if I would trust you, you would bring me to the High Places, and that path leads right away from them. It contradicts all that you promised."

"No," said the Shepherd. "It is not a contradiction, only postponement for the best to become possible."

Much-Afraid felt as if he had stabbed her to the heart. "You mean," she said incredulously, "you really meant that I am to follow that path down and down into that wilderness, and then over that desert, away from the mountains indefinitely? Why (and there was a sob of anguish in her voice) it may be months, or even years before that path leads back to the mountains again. Oh Shepherd, do you mean it is indefinite postponement?"

He bowed his head silently, and Much-Afraid sank to her knees at his feet, almost overwhelmed. He was leading her away from her heart's desire altogether and gave no promise at all as to when he would bring her back. As she looked out over what seemed like an endless desert, the only path she could see led farther from the High Places, and it was all desert.

Then he answered very quietly, "Much-Afraid, do you love me enough to accept the postponement, and apparent contraction of the promise, and to go down there with me into the desert?"

She was still crouching at his feet, sobbing as if her heart would break, but now she looked up through her tears, caught his hand in hers, and said, trembling, "I do love you, you know that I love you. Oh, forgive me because I can't help my tears. I will go down with you into the wilderness, right away from the promise if you really wish it. Even if you cannot tell me why it has to be, I will go with you, for you know I do love you, and you have the right to choose for me anything that you please."
~ Hannah Hurnard

Thursday, January 13, 2011

High Places

 I've gotten in the habit this week of beginning my post with updates - so for anyone who is interested....the snow is still here. I'm still at the Es. At this point I could probably get out, Mr. E has safely made it to work (all main roads), but I don't have a vehicle here, and I don't feel comfortable asking someone to drive me. The route back is hilly, curvy, and parts of it are shaded which means - ice. If anything happened to someone, while driving me I would feel terrible, so am staying put for now. It was disappointing church got canceled last night due to icy roads, and I'm now trying to figure out a way to get to the Communion Preparatory service on Saturday - am hoping to make it.....In the meantime we're hanging in there fighting off cabin fever.....and being sanctified:-).


And now for the real blog post - from my reading yesterday. I picked Hind's Feet On High Places again and wanted to share this section from the introduction that I found really good,



"Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. "
Habakkuk 3:18-19

"How deeply we who love the Lord and desire to follow Him long for the power to surmount all difficulties and tests and conflicts in life in the same exultant and triumphant way.....We feel we would give anything if only we could, in actual experience, live on the High Places of love and victory here on this earth and during this life - able to always react to evil, tribulation, sorrow, pain, and every wrong thing in such a way that they would be overcome and transformed into something to the praise and glory of God forever.

As Christians we know, in theory at least, that in the the life of a child of God there are no second causes, that even the most unjust and cruel things, as well as all seemingly pointless and undeserved sufferings, have been permitted by God as a glorious opportunity for us to react to them in such a way that our Lord and Savior is able to produce in us, little by little His own lovely character.

The Song Of Solomon expresses the desire implanted in every Christian's heart, to be with God Himself, and to know perfect and unbroken union with Him. He has made us for Himself, and our hearts can never know rest or perfect satisfaction until they find it in Him.

It is God's will that some of His children should learn this deep union with Himself through the perfect flowering of natural human love in marriage. For others it is equally His will that the same perfect union should be leaned through the experience of learning to lay down completely this natural and instinctive desire for marriage and parenthood, and accept the circumstances of life which deny them this experience. This instinct for love, so firmly implanted in the human heart, is the supreme way by which we learn to desire and love God Himself above all else.

But the High places of union and victory with Christ can not be reached by any mental reckoning of self to be dead to sin, or by seeking to devise some way or discipline by which the will can be crucified. The only way is by learning to accept, day by day, the actual conditions and tests permitted by God, by a continually repeated laying down of our own will and acceptance of His as it is presented to us in the form of the people with whom we have to live and work, and in the things which happen to us. Every acceptance of His will becomes an altar of sacrifice, and every such surrender and abandonment of ourselves to His will is a means of furthering us on the way to the High Places.

The lessons of accepting and triumphing over evil, of becoming acquainted with grief, and pain, and, ultimately, of finding them transformed into something incomparably precious, of learning through constant surrender to know the Lord Himself in a new way - these are the lessons of the allegory of this book. The High Places and hinds feet do not refer to heavenly places after death, but are meant to be the experiences of God's children here and now, following the paths that He chooses for them.

Perhaps the Lord will use it to speak comfort to some of His loved ones who are finding themselves forced to keep company with Sorrow and Suffering, or who walk in darkness and have no light, or feel themselves tossed with tempest and not comforted. It may help them to understand a new meaning in what is happening, for the experiences through which they are passing are all part of the wonderful process by which the Lord is making real in their lives the same experience which made David and Habakkuk cry out, "The Lord maketh my feet like hind's feet and setteth me on my high places." (Psalm 18;33, Habakkuk 3:19)
~ Hannah Hurnard


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Voices From The Past

I'm still snowed in today, but holding a lot of hope that we'll make it in to church tonight. The sun is out, the high for the day is 33, and cars are driving by pretty regularly, though slowly. In the meantime, I'm tired of snow, tired of looking at it, tired of talking about it......so thought that today I would blog on a completely different subject -

I wanted to share a little from the devotional I'm using this year. Its completely made up of writing from the Puritans, extracts from many different books. So far I really like it and I shared one day's reading below.

To edit this post a bit later - I just got an email telling me that church has been canceled tonight due to the weather - looks like I'm snowed in for even longer than I had originally expected.



So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

"This life is not to be valued but as it yields opportunities to glorify God. We were not sent into the world to live for ourselves, but
for God. If we could make ourselves, then we could live for ourselves. If we could be our own first cause, then we might be our own end. But God made us for himself, and sent us into the world for himself. It is not our duty to glorify God in heaven only, but also here on earth in the midst of difficulties and temptations. No one is sent into the world to be idle, or to bring forth fruit to themselves, but God’s glory must be our chief work and aim while we are here upon earth. We must not promote merely our own interests. Every man, besides his general calling, has his own work and course of service where he might glorify and honor God; ‘I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do’ (John 17:4). In a great house one has one employment, one another: so God has designed for every man the work he has to do; some in one calling, and some in another; but all have their service and work given them for God’s glory. Every morning we should revive the sense of this upon our hearts. This day I am going to live with God. When a Christian leaves home in the morning, he must remember he is at Christ’s disposal; he is not to do as he pleases, but to be guided by rule, and for God’s glory. Not only in our duties or immediate conversation with God, but in our sports, business, and recreation. What is it to do things in the name of Christ?—But to do it according to Christ’s will and command! In discharge of this work, we must do it all for God’s glory. We can do nothing without him. If we have anything to do for God, wemust do it in his own strength, in every word and every deed."

Thomas Manton

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snowed in....

The adventure continues...we are still snowed in, and we still have power. Last night as I got in my warm bed I felt very thankful thinking of the many people who are without power - heat, hot water, and the many other daily conveniences of life tend to get taken for granted until we have bad weather.

South Carolina has been declared under a state of emergency and with highs forecasted to be around freezing for the next few days this could last for awhile. Around here we don't have snow plows - we just wait for it to melt.

After spending 48 hours being snowed in with a crowd I feel qualified to share some suggestions for what to be prepared with before a storm - #1 - a sense of humor! Patience doesn't hurt, or a willing attitude....all three of these come in handy for instance when you spend half an hour dressing the children to go outside - then five minutes later they're back in because, 'it's too cold.' :-). An mp3 player loaded with music helps,  it never hurts to have headphones to put in when things get loud, then a Netflix account with lots of instant play movies is a plus......add in chocolate, hot chocolate, and plenty of snacks and everyone should be reasonably happy!

I'm hoping that we will be able to get out to go to church tomorrow, but until then praying that everyone stays safe, warm, and dry!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow!


On Saturday I found out that Laurens county was supposed to get 12 inches of snow through the day Monday. I normally help out at the Es on Mondays, and I don't drive in snow, so made arrangements to go back from church with them and spend the night. Anyways a little thought made me quickly decide that if there was a choice between getting snowed in at my brothers' or the Es - the Es won out, they had a woodstove to provide heat and make coffee if we lost power....priorities:-). It became more of an adventure, when Jenny's parents, sister, and her five children also decided that this would be a better place to get snowed in.....for the same reasons I think....or at least the first reason! I figured after all of us being so prepared, we wouldn't get anything and would be left laughing at ourselves, but no, woke to six inches this morning - which by the way is a lot for SC (though I've seen much bigger storms in VA). We've had a fun and interesting day - a little different than my normal workday......movies, hot chocolate, dressing children to play in the snow, cooking lots of food, and cuddling the baby in between loads of laundry.......and enjoying being warm and out of the weather. As I write this snow has changed to sleet, and the power lines are iced over so we may end up enjoying quite a bit of togetherness  camping by the woodstove tonight. As long as I have power I'll try to update on here....
 Below are a number of pictures taken by Jenny and I.

The view we woke to this morning.

Since we've no place to go...let it snow! Nobody went into work today.

I tried to capture the falling snow, but this doesn't show it very clearly.



Fairview road.




I have to admit I had no desire to go outside and get cold and wet - but the children had fun.

"Fair Oaks"

Snow days are good for naps...

I made a huge post of beef stew, and Patti mixed up a hot fudge cake with Hannah, our little helper.

Dinner for 17.

We stocked up on plenty of food.

chocolate makes everything better......

...wine and chocolate - even better:-)

It was providential that the woodstove just go installed - no danger of us freezing!

Plenty more wood......try to stay warm and dry everybody!


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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