Thursday, March 31, 2011

It's a boy!

 I just now got home from the hospital.....Julian entered the world this evening by Cesarean section. He weighed 6 pounds, 4 oz, and mom and baby are doing well. Congrats to Seth and Tara!

The little guy is so cute.

As is normal at hospitals, we spent a lot of time waiting....which meant faceboooking and texting on phones. Here are some of Julian's ten uncles.

Seth and Josiah at the nursery window. The midwife waiting to go in to Tara.

Again congratulations....and good night! Got to try to get some sleep before tomorrow starts...and before the next baby arrives. Jenny is due anytime now too!

Facing Grief...

"...It is as easy for the Lord to revive as it is to remove your comforts. There is a sweet expression this purpose in Psalm 18:28:

"For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness."

i was so bored that i watched a candle burnFor every comfortable enjoyment, whether it be in relations, estate, health, or friends is a candle lighted by providence for our comfort in this world, and they are but candles, which will not always last: and those that last longest will be consumed and wasted at last; but often it falls out with them as with candles; they are blown out before they are half consumed; yea, almost as soon as lighted up; and then we are in darkness for the present.

It is a dark hour with us, when these comforts are put out; but David's faith did, and ours may, comfort us with this, that He that blew out the candle can light up another. "For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness." That is, the Lord will renew my comforts, alter the present sad estate I am in, and chase away that trouble and darkness which at present lie upon me; only beware of offending Him, at whose beck your lights and comforts come and go.

Hannah waited humbly upon the Lord for the blessing of children, and the Lord remembered her, He enlightened her condition with that comfort when she was a lamp despised. There is no comfort you have lost, but God can restore, yea, double it in kind, if he sees it convenient for you.

from Facing Grief by John Flavel

Today I am linking up at Thought Provoking Thursday 
and at Serenity Now.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

“Pray without ceasing....

I get The Daily Spurgeon on facebook every day and wanted to share this one.

Never give up praying, not even though Satan should suggest to you that it is in vain for you to cry unto God. Pray in his teeth; “pray without ceasing.” If for awhile the heavens are as brass and your prayer only echoes in thunder above your head, pray on; if month after month your prayer appears to have miscarried, and no reply has been vouchsafed to you, yet still continue to draw nigh unto the Lord. Do not abandon the mercy-seat for any reason whatever. If it be a good thing that you have been asking for, and you are sure it is according to the divine will, if the vision tarry wait for it, pray, weep, entreat, wrestle, agonise till you get that which you are praying for. If your heart be cold in prayer, do not restrain prayer until your heart warms, but pray your soul unto heat by the help of the everblessed Spirit who helpeth our infirmities. If the iron be hot then hammer it, and if it be cold hammer it till you heat it.

Never cease prayer for any sort of reason or argument. If the philosopher should tell you that every event is fixed, and, therefore, prayer cannot possibly change anything, and, consequently, must be folly; still, if you cannot answer him and are somewhat puzzled, go on with your supplications notwithstanding all. No difficult problem concerning digestion would prevent your eating, for the result justifies the practice, and so no quibble should make us cease prayer, for the assured success of it commends it to us. You know what your God has told you, and if you cannot reply to every difficulty which man can suggest, resolve to be obedient to the divine will, and still “Pray without ceasing.” Never, never, never renounce the habit of prayer, or your confidence in its power.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "Pray Without Ceasing," delivered March 10, 1872.
From The Daily Spurgeon.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lemon Meringue Dessert

Lemon Meringue Pie

This is a favorite family recipe, and has been very popular every time I've taken it somewhere so I thought I would share the recipe:-)


1 package (1-lb 2.25-oz) pudding-included yellow cake mix
1/2 cup margarine or butter
1 egg

1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
Dash salt
1 3/4 cups water
4 eggs yolks, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
1/2 cup lemon juice

4 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 13 x 9-inch pan. In large bowl, combine cake mix, 1/2 cup margarine and egg; mix at low speed until crumbly. Press mixture in bottom of greased pan.

In medium saucepan, combine 1 1/3 cups sugar, cornstarch and salt. Gradually stir in water; blend until smooth. Cook over medium heat until mixture boils, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir about 1/2 cup of hot mixture into egg yolks; return egg mixture to saucepan. Cook until mixture is bubbly. (Mixture will be very thick.) Remove from heat; stir in 2 tablespoons margarine, and lemon juice. Pour filling over crust.

In small bowl, beat egg whites at medium speed until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, beating at high speed until stiff peaks form and sugar is dissolved. Spread meringue over hot filling. Bake at 350°F. for 25 to 30 minutes or until meringue is golden brown. Cool 1 hour. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Cut into squares. Enjoy:-)

Today I'm linking up at  -

Tempt my Tummy Tuesdays


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Monday, March 28, 2011

Flowers and prayers...

Holding Daisy
"What a comfort is this; when Satan is tempting, Christ is praying! This works for good. Christ’s prayer takes away the sins of our prayers. 

'As a child, says Ambrose, that is willing to present his father with a posy, goes into the garden, and there gathers some flowers and some weeds together, but coming to his mother, she picks out the weeds and binds the flowers, and so it is presented to the father: thus when we have put up our prayers, Christ comes, and picks away the weeds, the sin of our prayer, and presents nothing but flowers to His Father, which are a sweet-smelling savor.' "
All Things For Good Thomas Watson

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Psalm 56

"Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me.

Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O thou most High.

What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.

In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.

Every day they wrest my words: all their thoughts are against me for evil.

They gather themselves together, they hide themselves, they mark my steps, when they wait for my soul.

Shall they escape by iniquity? in thine anger cast down the people, O God.

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.

In God will I praise his word: in the LORD will I praise his word.

In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.

Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee.

For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?"

Saturday, March 26, 2011

"If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."

I needed to read this today. This morning I came home from working full of plans for all I wanted to accomplish......but due to circumstances beyond my control I realized my day was going to be different than I had planned so.....I must 'take up my cross', or in other words, get to work! Another major opportunity for sanctification.

The Lord Is Good

Jesus asks us to take up the cross - to take it up daily. What does this mean? Surely it is the quiet acceptance of disappointments, the willing performance of some hard task we'd prefer to avoid or some small duty which is distasteful to us. It is forgiveness to that one who has deeply wronged us and not apologized (the Lord tells us to forgive those who trespass, not only those who apologize!)

The cross is offered to us every day in some form, at times comparatively trivial, at other times real suffering, but it is always something which slashes straight across our human nature, for the cross was an instrument of torture. Paul knew far more about crosses than most of us will ever know. He said,
"..being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day." 
1 Corinthians 4:13

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." 
Galatians 2:20

~ Elisabeth Elliot

Today I'm linking up at the Weekend Wander.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Providence and promises....

God is to be trusted when His providences seem to run contrary to His promise. God promised David to give him the crown, to make him king; but providence turns contrary to His promise; David was pursued by Saul, was in danger of His life; but all this while it was David's duty to trust God. The Lord does oftentimes, by cross providence, bring to pass His promise. God promised Paul the lives of all that were with Him in the ship, but now the providence of God seems to run quite contrary to His promises, the winds blow; the ship splits and breaks in pieces; and thus God fulfilled His promise; upon the broken pieces of the ship, they all come safely to shore. Trust God when Providences seem to run quite contrary to promises."
Thomas Watson

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Being thankful..

Today I am thankful for a few different things....first of all my church. Our Pastor was too sick to preach last night, but it was a blessing to see a number of us gather anyway for a time of prayer and singing. While I missed having a sermon, it was the most interesting, or maybe I should say different, prayer meeting we have had since this one.

Also on my mind is this verse we sang from Psalm 37 last night.

"The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way"

I find these verses on God delighting in us hard to grasp and believe, yet am thankful to know it's true.

"He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me."
Psalm 18:19

"The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save;
      He will rejoice over you with gladness,  He will quiet you with His love,
      He will rejoice over you with singing.” 
Zephaniah 3:17

Last of all I'm thankful to report that our Pastor's son, whom I asked you all to pray for a week or so ago, came through his surgeries well and is steadily improving. Please do continue to keep them in your prayers as he has a long road of recovery ahead of him

I hope everyone has a good day!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Thy word I in my heart have hid....

Yesterday I picked up Mine Is the Night by Liz Curtis Higgs at the library. Her Thorn In My Heart series is some of my favorite Christian fiction so I've been looking forward to reading a new one by her. One thing I enjoy about reading her stories, set in the 1700s in Scotland, is the references to Psalm singing, to makes me wonder how many people who read the books have experienced what she is talking about - I'm blessed to have myself:-). Anyway I enjoyed this section that I'm sharing below as I could relate to the way she felt about the Psalms. It's a blessing to have them buried inside you, as the author puts it.

"I remember Thee upon my bed, and meditate on Thee in the night watches.." Since last winter she'd consumed the Psalms and fed on them till the words had become her daily bread, feeding her soul, nourishing her mind. When the family Bible was out of reach, or the firelight dim, she could draw upon His holy truth buried inside of her.
The words came swiftly, silently, yet surely.
"My soul followeth hard after Thee.." Her heart stirred at the thought. The Lord had led her here...of that she was certain. Now came the harder task: resting in the knowledge that He'd brought her here for some good purpose.
"Thy right hand upholdeth me.." If the Almighty supported her, might she not support others?"

By the way the rest of the book has been good too, though there hasn't been time to finish it yet. If you enjoy historical fiction you should check it out!

Today I'm linking up at ~

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Monday, March 21, 2011

He will find a place....

Uncertainty is surely, for most of us, one of the the harder lessons in faith. We look ahead and see only darkness, or what may seem more frightening - possibilities we're convinced we can't cope with.

This is where I am this morning as I write - the possibilities of what may happen are daunting. Asking the Lord for some help in resting my case with Him I found these words:

" the wilderness where you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a man carries his son, in all the way that you went until you came to this place.’ Yet, for all that, you did not believe the LORD your God, who went in the way before you to search out a place for you to pitch your tents, to show you the way you should go.."
Deuteronomy 1:31-33

Has He, in fact, carried me all the way to this place? Of course He has.

Did He look after my needs as attentively as a father looks after his son's? Of course He did.

Have I reason to doubt that He is even now going ahead of me on my journey to find a place for me?
No reason whatever.

Shall I trust Him then? Lord, forgive my fears. I will trust and not be afraid. The place you find will certainly be a place of peace.

~ Elisabeth Elliot

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Psalm 55

"Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication.

Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise;

Because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked: for they cast iniquity upon me, and in wrath they hate me.

My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me.

Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me.

And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.

Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah.

I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.

Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues: for I have seen violence and strife in the city.

Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof: mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it.

Wickedness is in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her streets.

For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him:

But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.

We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.

Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.

As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me.

Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.

He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me.

God shall hear, and afflict them, even he that abideth of old. Selah. Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God.

He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him: he hath broken his covenant.

The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords.

Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee."

Saturday, March 19, 2011

"He knoweth the way that I take....

"For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me.."
Job 23:14

The plan of God extends to every detail in my life. There are several important things that can be said of it:

1. The plan is perfect. Everything God does is perfect. It may not appear to me at times to be perfect but it is, because it will ultimately lead to the greater glory of God.

2. The plan is exhaustive. It includes everything. It is worked out in a situation where everything is under the control of God. It extends to the smallest and most casual things. 'The very hairs of your head are all numbered.' (Matthew 10:30).

3. The plan is for my ultimate good. God alone knows what is going to happen in advance because He has purposed it all. Every detail is fixed before I was born. God hides it from me until it happens. I discover it day by day as the plan unfolds. This is the unfolding of His secret will for my life.

"Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.
Psalm 107:43

From Behind A Frowning Providence by John J Murray

Today I am linking up at Serenity Now.

Friday, March 18, 2011

"Cast thy burden upon the Lord.....

"Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee:
he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved."

~Psalm 55:22

"To cast our burden upon God,
is to rest upon his providence and promise.
And if we do so, he will carry us in the arms of his power,
as a nurse carries a child; and will strengthen our spirits by his Spirit,
so that they shall sustain the trial.
He will never suffer the righteous to be moved;
to be so shaken by any troubles,
as to quit their duty to God, or their comfort in him.
He will not suffer them to be utterly cast down.
He, who bore the burden of our sorrows,
desires us to leave to him to bear the burden of our cares,
that, as he knows what is best for us, he may provide it accordingly.
Why do not we trust Christ to govern the world which he redeemed?"
~ Matthew Henry
(shared by my dear sister/friend, Ariel on facebook yesterday)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"Because of this my heart is glad......

Today I am thankful for the promises of God. I have loved ones and friends going through hard times now and I'm  hurting for them, and wishing there was more I could do to help. Then last night in prayer meeting we sang Psalm 16 and I was helped and comforted by the promises there so wanted to share it on here. Below are some verses from Psalm 16, and a couple quotes that were on my mind. One is on the promises, the other is a reminder that in hard times we need to look to Christ for help and comfort.

"I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."
Psalm 16:8-11

"The titles of God are virtually promises, when he is called a sun, a shield, a strong tower, a hiding place, a portion. The titles of Christ: light of the world, bread of life, the way, the truth, and life; the titles of the Spirit: the Spirit of truth, of holiness, of glory, of grace, of supplication, the sealing, witnessing spirit - faith may conclude as much out of these as the promises."
David Clarkson

"When God lays men upon their backs, then they look up to Heaven."
Thomas Watson

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Take up your cross....

"....The world must be shown. There has to be some living proof that some men and women love God and will do exactly what He says. My husband and I have been in India, China, Mongolia, and many other countries, In each country we meet people, who because of the story of five American missionaries killed by the Aucas, have committed themselves unreservedly to while we live and work the world must be shown clearly, uncompromisingly, unapologetically as Daniel, Paul, and five young missionaries, and Jesus Himself demonstrated - that we love God and will by His grace obey.

For most of us it will not mean lion's dens, or Auca's spears, or imprisonment, but it will mean a daily, faithful, humble, glad obedience to the same Lord who has held steady all those who commit themselves to Him. It will mean the choice between faith and unbelief, between being honest on your income tax or cheating just a little, between keeping your virginity till marriage or giving it away to someone you aren't married to. It will mean the willingness to stand against what everybody is doing and what everybody says is ok. It will mean the surrender of what the world calls safety, and the acceptance of whatever sacrifice and suffering God may choose to send. He is not finished with any of us. He assigns me new lessons every day. When I have disobeyed it has led to misery. When I have obeyed it has brought me joy. The story is God's story. The end will be glorious beyond our wildest dreams - for those who put their trust in Him. ...Do it! Deny yourself, take up the cross and follow Him - the world must see in us a discernible, visible, startling difference.

Put your trust in Him. Not in people or circumstances, or programs, or dreams or plans. Not in any human notion of what will or won't happen, but in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, of Daniel, and of all the others - the God whose Son went through the darkest valleys so that you and I might be saved. If somebody was willing to give his life for you would you trust him? Of course you would. Jesus loved you then, He loves you now. He'll be loving you every minute of every day of the rest of your life, and no matter what happens nothing can separate you from that love. I know it's true. I have found a sure and steadfast refuge in my Lord and Savior - the only real safety - the Everlasting Arms. I've walked with God a long time. I know He keeps His promises."

~  Elisabeth Elliot.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How can we show love?

Love will make us stoop to the meanest offices. Love is a humble grace, it does not walk abroad in state, it will creep upon its hands, it will stoop and submit to anything whereby it may be serviceable to Christ. As we see in Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus, both of them honourable persons, yet one takes down Christ’s body with his own hands, and the other embalms it with sweet odours. It might seem much for persons of their rank to be employed in that service, but love made them do it. If we love God, we shall not think any work too low for us, by which we may be helpful to Christ’s members. Love is not squeamish; it will visit the sick, relieve the poor, wash the saints' wounds. The mother that loves her child is not coy and nice; she will do those things for her child which others would scorn to do. He who loves God will humble himself to the lowest job out of love to Christ and His members.These are of  the fruits of love to God. Happy are they who can find these fruits so foreign to their natures, growing in their souls.
~ This comes from A Divine Cordial, or All Things for Good by Thomas Watson.
To read more go here.

Today I'm joining in at Titus 2 Days.

Monday, March 14, 2011

My Daybook

For Today -  March 14th

Outside my window......a pretty spring day

I am thinking......about my Pastor's family, see yesterday's post. They are in our prayers. As I write this, I just got the news that he is out of his second surgery which went well, however they are having trouble managing his pain. Poor guy...

I am thankful for.......after a very busy weekend I'm glad that tomorrow is a quiet day at home.

I am wearing....a jean skirt and brown shirt.

Remembering.....Yesterday I went with the Es to visit a friend in the hospital after church. We parked next to the emergency helicopter and saw it take off. That was cool - I'd never seen anything like that! Realizing why they were leaving put a bit of a damper on it though. I hate going to hospitals, but they are a good reminder of how much we have to be thankful for.

Listening brothers in the next room.

I am make a couple phone calls, take a walk, either pull out my knitting or sewing for awhile, then read before going to bed.

Noticing that....I have a lot of little eyes on me. A friend told me that I may have a bigger sphere of influence on more young ones than I would if I were a mom. I don't know if that's true, and it's not where I want to be forever, but it's something to think about. It's a big responsibility.

I am currently Bible, Matthew Henry's commentary on 2 Chronicles, and all Things For Good by Thomas Watson.

I am hoping......for different things....

On my mind......something I read in Matthew Henry recently about one of the kings who did what was right, but his heart was not perfect with God, that reminded me of our sermon from a couple weeks ago about the two prayers of the pharisee and the tax collector. Pastor said that today, on the outside, the pharisee would look like the perfect Presbyterian who was doing everything right. It's a scary thought....

Pondering these words....."It is one heart quieting consideration in all the afflictions that befall us, that God has a special hand in them: "The Almighty hath afflicted me." Instruments can no more stir till God gives them a commission, than the axe can cut by itself without a hand. Job eyed God in his affliction: therefore as Augustine observes, he does not say, "The Lord gave and the devil took away," but "The Lord hath taken away."
~Thomas Watson.

Around the house.....a desperate need for a major housecleaning....but I'm too tired to even think about it till tomorrow.

One of my favorite things~ last week Hannah gave me a hug and said, "I love you, Miss Stefanie." - it's special when a little one says that, I love them too!

A few plans for the rest of the week .....I'm working on Mon, Wed, and Fri, church on Wed, Lord willing a birthday party on Saturday, and I'm not sure what else....

From my photo journal ~ I don't have any new pictures to share today so thought I'd post a video instead. this song has been in my head since I watched Miss Potter about a week ago with friends. The movie was good by the way.

For more Daybooks...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Please pray....

Please be praying for my Pastor's family. Yesterday, in a trampoline accident, one of the children fell and broke his wrist and elbow, a very bad compound fracture injury. He's in the hospital now and safely come through surgery, but is in a  lot of pain. A big concern is infection, and he'll be going through another surgery tomorrow. As you can imagine this has been stressful and scary, but we've all been blessed to see how the church family has pulled together - we've had people helping at the house with the children, taking turns staying at the's wonderful to see the body of Christ loving and helping one another.
Please keep him and his family in your prayers.
I hope everyone has had a blessed Lord's day.

Psalm 54

"Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me by thy strength.
Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth.
 For strangers are risen up against me, and oppressors seek after my soul: they have not set God before them. Selah.
 Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul.
 He shall reward evil unto mine enemies: cut them off in thy truth.
 I will freely sacrifice unto thee: I will praise thy name, O LORD; for it is good.
 For he hath delivered me out of all trouble: and mine eye hath seen his desire upon mine enemies."

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Maybe this year......?

Let me begin by saying that I did not want to publish this. I read it awhile back and maybe you know what I mean when I say it was one of those things you read that makes you go, "ouch". So it's been sitting in my drafts folder waiting for a couple months. But then I thought, maybe I shouldn't just post things that are encouraging, but should sometimes share the harder things too..... I know it's hard to wait patiently, when you want something badly, to trust that what the Lord is doing is best, not to feel forgotten. Yet I know He is working all things for good. This post reminded me of something I read the other day in Matthew Henry on 1 Samuel 1.

"Our sorrow upon any account is sinful and inordinate when it diverts us from our duty to God and embitters our comfort in him, when it makes us unthankful for the mercies we enjoy and distrustful of the goodness of God to us in further mercies, when it casts a damp upon our joy in Christ, and hinders us from doing the duty and taking the comfort of our particular relations. We ought to take notice of our comforts, to keep us from grieving excessively for our crosses; for our crosses we deserve, but our comforts we have forfeited. If we would keep the balance even, we must look at that which is for us, as well as at that which is against us, else we are unjust to Providence and unkind to ourselves. God hath set the one over-against the other (Eccl. vii. 14) and so should we."

"I hardly know where to start," a letter begins. "My story is not one involving men. That's the problem. Male companionship seems not to be found.....The problem is I want a relationship. I have this overwhelming desire....."

Someone else said to me, "I fell deeply in love. He fell deeply in love too -- with someone else."

Another letter tells of the agonizing desire of one couple for a child. Since God had not removed the desire, they ask, may we not conclude that He wants us to use any viable means we can to have a child?

God's not having taken away a perfectly normal human desire does not by any means mean we are free to pursue its fulfillment in any way we choose. A woman who had, after years of struggles, quickly lost sixty pounds told me she had been expecting God to take away her appetite. When she realized He did not intend to (she had been asking for the removal of the God given protection from starvation!), she stopped gratifying that appetite in the wrong ways.

Will the young woman find a mate? Will the couple have a child? Maybe this year will be the year of the desire fulfilled. Perhaps, on the other hand, it will be the year of the desire being radically transformed, the year of finding, as we have not yet truly found, Christ to be the All-Sufficient One.

"Why won't God let someone into my life? I feel left out, abandoned. When will it be my turn?" The letter goes on. "I feel deprived. Will He deny me the one small desire of my heart? Is is too big a treasure to ask? I sit in torture and dismay."

Life is likely to hold many forms of torture and dismay for that unhappy person, and for all who refuse to receive with thanksgiving instead of complaint the life God has chosen for them. The torture is self inflicted, for God has not rejected their prayers. He knows better than any of us do what furthers our salvation. Our true happiness is to be realized precisely through His refusals, which are always mercies.

In Moses' review of God's leading the children of Israel he said,

"And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.  Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee. For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass." 
~ Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 5, 7-9

The cause of our discontent; we simply do not believe God. The wilderness experience leads to the Promised land. It is the path God chose for us. His word is established forever, and He tells us in a thousand ways that His will is our peace, His choices for us will lead to fulfillment and joy, the way of transgressors is hard. Do we suppose that we could find a better way than His? Instead of seeing His everlasting love, tenderly bending down to our humanness, we sometimes think of Him as indifferent, inaccessible, or just plain unfair.

The worst pains we experience are not those of the sufferings itself but of our stubborn resistance to it, our resolute insistence on our own independence. To be "crucified with Christ" means what Oswald Chambers called "breaking the husk" of that independence. "Has that break come?" he asks. "All the rest is pious fraud." And you and I know, in our heart of hearts, that that sword thrust is the straight truth.

Here is the opportunity offered. Be patient. Wait on the Lord for whatever He appoints, wait quietly, wait trustingly. He holds every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every month of every year in His hands. Thank Him in advance for what the future holds, for he is already there. "The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot." (Psalm 16:5). Shall we not gladly say, "I'll take it, Lord. I'll trust you for everything."
~ Elisabeth Elliot, from Keep A Quiet Heart

Friday, March 11, 2011

"lead me to the rock that is higher than I......."

Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.  From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings."
Psalm 61:1-4

In these verses we may observe,
Though my heart is overwhelmed, it is not so sunk, so burdened, but that it may be lifted up to God in prayer; if it is not capable of being thus raised, it is certainly too much cast down. Nay, because my heart is ready to be overwhelmed, therefore I will cry unto thee, for by that means it will be supported and relived." Weeping must quicken praying, and not deaden it. Is any afflicted? Let him pray.

The particular petition he put up to God when his heart was overwhelmed and he was ready to sink: Lead me to the rock that is higher than I;  that is, 1. "To the rock which is too high for me to get up to unless thou help me to it. Lord, give me such an assurance and satisfaction of my own safety as I can never attain to but by thy special grace working such a faith in me." 2. "To the rock on the top of which I shall be set further out of the reach of my troubles, and nearer the serene and quiet region, than I can be by any power or wisdom of my own." God's power and promise are a rock that is higher than we. This rock is Christ; those are safe that are in him. We cannot get upon this rock unless God by his power lead us. I will put thee in the cleft of the rock. We should therefore by faith and prayer put ourselves under the divine management, that we may be taken under the divine protection.

The ground of this expectation, and the plea he uses to enforce his petition: "Thou hast been a shelter for me; I have found in thee a rock higher than I: therefore I trust thou wilt still lead me to that rock." Past experiences of the benefit of trusting in God, as they should engage us still to keep close to him, so they should encourage us to hope that it will not be in vain. "Thou hast been my strong tower from the enemy, and thou art as strong a ever, and thy name is as much a refuge to the righteous as ever it was.

His resolution to continue in the way of duty to God and dependence on him. The service of God shall be his constant work and business. All those must make it so who expect to find God their shelter and strong tower: none but his menial servants have the benefit of his protection. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever.

Matthew Henry

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Looking back, and ahead....

Two years ago this morning I packed up my things, said goodbye to my family and moved to South Carolina. Milestone days like these are always emotional ones for me as I look back and remember. But I also think it is helpful to look back sometimes and remember all God has done for us, to count all of our mercies.

"It may be of good use to Christians to preserve in writing an account of the providences of God concerning them, the constant series of mercies they have experienced, especially those turns and changes which made some days of their lives more remarkable. Our memories need this help.....that we may 'remember the way which the Lord our God has led us in the wilderness.'"
Matthew Henry
Below is something I read recently that I wanted to share ~

Persisting to the end will be the burr under your saddle, the thorn in your flesh when the road ahead seems endless and your soul begs an early discharge. It weighs down every other difficulty of your calling....This persevering is hard work! Taking up the cross daily, praying always, watching night and day, and never laying aside our armor to indulge ourselves, sends many sorrowful away from Christ. Yet this is your calling, to make the Christian faith your daily work, without any vacation from one end of the year to the other.

As part of Christ's army you march in the ranks of valiant spirits. Every one of your fellow soldiers is the child of a King. Some, like you, are in the midst of battle, besieged on every side by affliction and temptation. Others after many assaults, repulses, and rallyings of their faith, are already standing upon the walls of heaven as conquerors. From there they look down and urge you, their comrades on earth, to march up the hill after them. This is their cry, "Fight to the death and the city is your own, as it is now ours! For the waging of a few days conflict, you will be rewarded with heaven's glory. One moment of this celestial joy will dry up all your tears, heal all your wounds, and erase the sharpness of the fight with the joy of your permanent victory."
The Christian in Complete Armor by William Gurnall

I also want to wish my little brother, Zechariah a happy birthday. He turns 14 today, maybe I shouldn't call him little anymore.......he is much taller than me:-). I hope everyone has a good day!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Snapshots of favorite books...

Today I am participating in Snapshots of Favorite Books over at Young Ladies Christian Fellowship which happens to be one of my favorite websites, and at In The Bookcase, where we are sharing favorites from our bookshelves.Of course books are one of my favorite topics, so this should be fun!

March of Books 2011 at ylcf.orgSharing Our Bookshelves @ In the Bookcase

I'm supposed to share my favorite how do I choose just one...? Belle is probably my favorite Disney princess - I can relate to how much she loves books (I just love the scene when the Beast gives her his library -  that would be a good clue that he was 'the one':-) Love this conversation -
"Bookseller:] Ah, Belle.
[Belle:] Good Morning. I've come to return the book I borrowed.
[Bookseller:] Finished already?
...[Belle:] Oh, I couldn't put it down. Have you got anything new?
[Bookseller:] Ha Ha! Not since yesterday.
[Belle:] That's all right. I'll borrow . . . . . this one!
[Bookseller:] That one? But you've read it twice!
[Belle:] Well, it's my favorite!"

As I said I really don't know how to choose a favorite, but everyone who reads my blog will know how much I love Matthew Henry, and how blessed I have been as I have been reading my way through him over the past 14 months.
Another book that has been a blessing to me recently is this one. It reminded me a bit of Pilgrim's Progress as it is also an allegory about a person following Christ, only in this story we have a young woman named Much-Afraid, rather than Bunyan's Christian. In the story, main character, Much-Afraid, takes a journey up a rocky mountainside for which she must develop “hinds’ feet” to reach the “high places.” She is encouraged on her way by the Chief Shepherd, who comes to her aid whenever she calls, and is accompanied by the companions he chose for her, Sorrow and Suffering. The theme of this book is crucifying your own will for that of your Lord.  Every acceptance of His will is an altar of sacrifice to Him, and each abandoning of her desires and will brings her closer to the High Places. I could relate to so much of this book. 
Lastly how could I do a post on favorite books without including the Psalms? I love the Psalms; they are probably my favorite part of the Bible (where I find myself the most anyway), and am so thankful to be in a church that sings them. Truly as John Calvin said, 'they are an anatomy of the soul.'
I could share so many more that I've read and enjoyed - books by Elisabeth Elliot, many different ones by the Puritans, I think especially of The Letters of Samuel Rutherford,  The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, and The Mystery of Providence, then there is favorite Christian fiction such as The Mark of The Lion Trilogy by Francine Rivers, and The Thorn in My Heart series by Liz Higgs, and old favorites, like The Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, Anne of Green Gables, and more.......but this post is long enough.....


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Intense Debate Comments

"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