Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Lord knows.....


"God takes notice of every step we take, every right step and every by-step. He is acquainted with all our ways, intimately acquainted with them; he knows what rule we walk by, what end we walk towards, what company we walk with. "Thou knowest me in all my retirements; thou knowest my lying down; when I am withdrawn from all company, and am reflecting upon what has passed all day and composing myself to rest, thou knowest what I have in my heart and with what thought I go to bed." "Thou knowest me, and all I say : There is not a word in my tongue, not a vain word, nor a good word, but thou knowest it altogether, knowest what it meant, from what thought it came, and with what design it was uttered. There is not a word at my tongue's end, ready to be spoken, yet checked and kept in, but thou knowest it."....for thoughts are words to God."Thou knowest me in every part of me: Thou hast beset me behind and before, so that, go which way I will, I am under thy eye and cannot possibly escape it. Thou hast laid thy hand upon me, and I can not run away from thee." Wherever we are we are under the eye and hand of God. All his saints are in his hand."

Matthew Henry






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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Reaching out...

Letting Go // Reaching Out
"He came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them." 
Mark 1:31

"Blessed Lord Jesus, very many of Your poor, despondent, downcast children are at this moment holding out their fevered hands to You, that Your Divine and gracious act, here recorded, may be repeated in their experience! Your compassions were not exhausted on this case. Your sympathy did not expend itself in this one effort of love. You are able and willing now, as then, to work Your miracles of grace and healing on mind as well as body. Oh, that we could bless You as we ought for Your unfailing mercy!"

The depths of despondency and darkness, to which a soul may descend even while Your everlasting arms are underneath it—are known only to You. It may be forced to cry out, with Jonah, "The depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head." A sense of desertion may even be permitted to oppress the spirit, and Satan will not miss this opportunity to vex and harass the tried believer. But You, O compassionate Redeemer, will never forsake a trembling one whose only hope is in You! Blessed be Your Name, there are no depths deep enough to "separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

How often has it been with me as it was with the poor woman of whom it was written, "She could by no means lift up herself;" and is not this true of you also, dear reader? The struggle has been long and wearisome—the result unsuccessful and disappointing. No human power, from without or from within, can raise a prostrate soul out of the "miry clay" into which unbelief has dragged it. Our own exertions are of no avail; nay, they do but sink us more deeply than before, and weaken us to no purpose.

But Your hand, precious Savior, can work prompt deliverance; it takes You but an instant to accomplish that which has baffled all our best efforts. It needs a mighty leverage to raise so dead a weight as a heavy heart—but in Your wounded hand there lies hidden the power (Habak. 3:4) which created all things, and which the love of Your heart places freely at the service of a helpless sinner. Touched by the strength of its sweet uplifting—what a gracious change comes over my heart and life! No longer bowed down by a sense of guilt and helplessness—no longer the miserable target for Satan's innuendoes and accusations—no longer weak, and doubting, and downcast—that touch has wrought a miracle of grace in me. Not only am I restored, but I can rise and "minister unto others."

Ah! thank God that the joy of uplifting, compensates so richly for the sorrow of a season of discouragement. The Valley of Humiliation is not always a barren place; God's "forget-me-nots" are growing there, and are always to be found by those who know how to search for them; and the purple tassels of the Amarantus ("love-lies-bleeding") flourish abundantly in its shady groves. Do not let us dread any sorrow which the Lord may bring upon us; it is only when, by our own sin or willfulness, we fall into grief, that we need fear the consequences; for when our Lord casts us down, or lifts us up, both experiences are blessings—the one in grim disguise, the other in all the brightness of revealed love and pity.

What a distrustful heart must mine be, dear Lord, when, after so much mercy in the past, I dare for a moment to doubt the loving purpose of Your present dispensations! As I think of the unequaled union of love and power which meet in the person of my Divine Redeemer, I am indeed ashamed of the unbelief which so often steals away my joys.

It is the beginning of a glad uplifting when we realize that there is nothing impossible to our God, and that, however low we may be brought, His saving love is more than equal to the task of reaching and restoring us.

There was a healed and happy woman in Capernaum that day; and the same Lord still waits to be gracious to you, dear reader, and to me. O downcast soul, be no longer faithless and distressed! One stands beside you, who knows all your faintness and feebleness; and presently He will "make all His goodness pass before You," will lift you up, put strength into you, and so graciously deliver you, that you shall praise and glorify His dear Name "while life and breath remain."

Monday, November 28, 2011

Because the Lord your God loved you....

From my reading last night in A Basket of Summer Fruit by Susannah Spurgeon:


Fruitful Summer



"The Lord your God turned the curse into a blessing unto you, because the Lord your God loved you." 
Deuteronomy 23:5

Here, my soul, in this most sweet assurance, you will find your Lord's one reason for all His dealings with you, whether tender or severe. In this earthly pilgrimage, you do meet with so many experiences and providences that are inexplicable and mysterious, that you are apt to say, "Why this trial, Lord?" "Why this affliction?" "Why this disappointment of all my hopes and plans?"

Blessed be the Name of the Lord for such a full and amazing answer as is this precious verse—to all the questions with which a doubting heart or a feeble faith can vex me! It must needs be that my finite mind fails to understand the ways of God; but if I can believe that He loves me, this is faith's sufficiency.

My heart, until you have learned the lesson of perfect trust—doubts and misgivings are sure to arise, and cloud your fairest prospects. The darkness looks impenetrable when you do try to peer into it—the rough places seem impassable when your weary feet stumble over the big stones in the pathway—the mountains of difficulty appear inaccessible when the mists of unbelief veil their true proportions. Truly, the Lord is a God who hides Himself; and, oftentimes, His purposes are carried out on our behalf under cover of the thick clouds, in which He enwraps Himself.

But what a bright star amidst the darkness, what a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path, are the blessed words of this Divinely-illuminated text, "Because the Lord your God loved you!" It completely solves all doubts, it wipes away all tears, it is a remedy for every fear, a refuge from every distress! No sweeter assurance could fill my trembling heart with joy, no softer resting-place could be found for a weary, heavy-laden sinner.

To know, of a surety, that all God's dealings with me are those of a loving Father towards a dear and well-beloved child; to be absolutely certain that every sorrow conceals a blessing, because He has appointed it; to look upon pain, and trial, and bitter experiences as the outcome of a love which is so infinite that I cannot fathom it—this is to live in "the secret place of the Most High," this is to "abide under the shadow of the Almighty!"

If we would but meet every affliction, be it small or great, with a brave confidence in our Lord's mighty love to us, and an unquenchable faith in His power—our trials would either vanish altogether, or be transformed into triumphs which would bring honor to our King!





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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Psalm 87


"His foundation is in the holy mountains.
The LORD loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
 Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah.
 I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me: behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this man was born there.
 And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her.
 The LORD shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah.
 As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: all my springs are in thee."


Stop by and visit my friend Jenny's blog, A Mother's Heritage, where she also shares a beautiful Psalm each Lord's day.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksliving...



Give Thanks
"Thanksgiving is good, but thanksliving is better."

"The more we taste of the loving-kindness of God in every providence the more will our hearts be enlarged to love him and live to him, and that will be the life of our spirit. Thus our souls live, and they shall praise him."

Matthew Henry

Sharing with Gratitude Challenge,30 Days of Thankfulness, and Becoming A Strong Woman of God, 


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Friday, November 25, 2011

His Banqueting Table....

Books

I wanted to quickly share a link for an ebook I've been reading and enjoying this afternoon, His Banqueting Table.  Go here for a free download. The book is made up entirely of Puritan quotes by men such as John Own, John Flavel, William Gurnell, Thomas Brooks, Thomas Watson, Charles Spurgeon, and many more Puritans. Below I shared a couple quotes I liked.


"How unkind and unthankful, upon every dark
and black trial and temptation, to think He would
desert us, whose love was such as He would not
do it when He Himself was to be deserted and
made a curse [for us upon the cross]."
John Owen


"God has other ways of expressing His love to
His people than by the smiles of His providence
upon them."
John Flavel


"If ever you hope to enjoy sweet repose and rest
of a Christian in evil times, you must resolve
whatever your eyes do see, or your senses report,
to hold fast this as a most sure conclusion: God is
faithful and His Word is sure, and that although
'clouds and darkness be round about Him yet
righteousness and judgment are the habitation of
His throne.' "
John Flavel


"His love to you passeth all creature-love, so let
yours to Him be a matchless love."
John Flavel




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Thanksgiving memories...

How did it get to be Friday already? It seems like the week flew by and tonight, Lord willing, I'll be back on the train, this time heading home to SC. But before I go, here are a few pictures from my Thanksgiving - thanks to Adri for taking them. She documented the day for her sister who is now living in Ireland, and I took advantage of her photography:-). We had a very nice day as you can probably tell.....

Caleb made us biscuits and sausage for breakfast.
I'm not sure I should publicly admit to doing this on my blog....but Adri and I painted their dog Betty's nails pink.  You never know what the two of us are going to get up to, but she enjoyed it - she's a girly dog - it gave us some good laughs, and I promise, it's a one time thing:-) I keep threatening to kidnap Betty and bring her back to SC with me. She's the sweetest, funniest little dog:-)



Mrs. G  (one of my adopted moms:-) and I cooking - she, Adri, and I cooked all morning!


Onions for the onion casserole which was my contribution to the meal.

Pumpkin and apple pies.

We snacked on pumpkin bread, French bread, and brie while we worked.

I'm watching the guys inject the turkeys to fry them.

One of the three turkys going into boiling oil. These are the best turkeys you will ever eat!

Caleb carving turkey.
We posed for some pictures before we ate. The G family. I love these people:-)

CalAdri. Love them too!

Caleb, Adri, and I.

I love this fun picture of Caleb and I being silly:-)
 ♥ sisters ♥
Gathered around the table - thankful for so many blessings.

A feast....





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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Source: google.com via Renee on Pinterest


"Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations."
Psalm 100:4-5





"....Meditate upon His mercies to you from birth. Look at the dangers you have been delivered from, the journeys you have been protected on, the seasonable help He has sent you, the suitable support He has afforded you in distress, the counsel He has given you in doubts, and the comforts He has provided you in sorrow and darkness.....Every breath in your life is a gift of mercy. Do not forget the former favors bestowed on you and your family. An empty perfume bottle still smells when the perfume is gone. Meditate on your present mercies. How many do you enjoy? Your house, family, body, and soul are full of blessings. Think of them particularly, spread them out like jewels to your view. Meditate on how freely they are bestowed, on their fullness and greatness. Your whole life is a bundle of mercies. These stir us up to bless the Giver."



           Happy Thanksgiving everyone! 
This Thanksgiving I'm especially thankful for the family the Lord has given me....'real family', family added by marriage, and adopted family - I love you all and am thankful for each one of you!


Sharing with Gratitude Challenge,  30 Days of Thankfulness,  and Becoming A Strong Woman of God.


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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving thanks that God is in the darkness.....

Sunset Peeking Through the Storm
“O God I believe that in the darkness Thou
art brewing light, that in the storm-clouds Thou art gathering sunshine, that
in the deep mines Thou art fashioning diamonds, and in the beds of the sea
Thou art making pearls. I believe that however unfathomable may be thy
designs, yet they have a bottom. Though it is in the wirlwind and in the
storm, Thou hast a way, and that way is good and righteous altogether. I
would not have thee alter one atom of thy dispensations; it shall be just as
thou wilt. I bow before thee, and I give my ignorance the word to hold its
tongue, and to be silenced while Thy wisdom speaketh words of right.”


Sharing with Gratitude Challenge,  30 Days of Thankfulness,  and Becoming A Strong Woman of God.


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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tea time.....

Today I'm thankful for the B family. They're part of my church family, are very good friends, and have been blessing to me in many ways. I'm glad the Lord brought them to our church and brought us together! For my birthday Mrs. B sent Adri and I to a local tea room - neither of us had ever been to one so we had a lot of fun with this special gift....and of course got pictures.......Thank you so much Mrs. B  ♥.




The menu.

Our tea came in a blue and white teapot! 


The china and spoons were so pretty.


Me.


Adri.

Our waitress kindly took a picture of the two of us together. We had so much fun:-)



Sharing with Gratitude Challenge,  30 Days of Thankfulness,  and Becoming A Strong Woman of God.




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Monday, November 21, 2011

Thankfulness....

Psalm 100
"Are you very thankful? You know the difference between gladness and thankfulness. Gladness looks at the kindness and take it all, but thankfulness looks at the giver and loves Him for it all."
Andrew Bonar

Sharing with Gratitude Challenge,  30 Days of Thankfulness,  and Becoming A Strong Woman of God.


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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Psalm 86

"Bow down thine ear, O LORD, hear me: for I am poor and needy.

Preserve my soul; for I am holy: O thou my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee.
 Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily.
 Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
 For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.
 Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications.
 In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me.
 Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works.
 All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name.
 For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone.
 Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.
 I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore.
 For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.
 O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul; and have not set thee before them.
 But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.
 O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; give thy strength unto thy servant, and save the son of thine handmaid.
 Shew me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, LORD, hast holpen me, and comforted me."


Stop by and visit my friend Jenny's blog, A Mother's Heritage, where she also shares a beautiful Psalm each Lord's day.



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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Birthday pictures....




              Adri made delicious chicken gyros for dinner. I had never had Greek food before and really liked it!
She set a very pretty table.
The wonderful dark chocolate cheesecake she made me. I've had cheesecake for my birthday  every year as far back as I can remember.....

Caleb and I. We were born on the same day, but five years apart!
Some of my friends and Caleb and Adri plotted to surprise me with this lovely chest Caleb built for me.....Isn't it beautiful? And now you all know what I look like when I've been up for over 24 hours! I had just arrived after a night on the train.


Special Godiva Chocolates box
The Es gave me Godiva chocolates........:-)

The Psalm journal is from my friend Mrs. B, and the wooden box with Psalms from Adri. I love them both!









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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