Monday, January 29, 2007

Blessed Challenge

Guess what? Selena and her parents come to our church now! This is the latest big and surprising development in our lives. We were not really expecting this and need I say how thankful PopPop, Nanna and Auntie Nee are to our merciful God for bestowing this blessing.

So this means that our grandchild and her special friend are now “members” of the same fold. Our dear friend Beka had Sunday School nursery duty yesterday and took a bunch of pictures, so I’m sharing one of them with you who come to read. In a small group like ours, this has been quite a development to have our infant nursery congregation doubled. (We also have a couple of somewhat regular visitors that come to see us from time to time.)

I was thinking about the blessed challenge God has put before those of us who work the nursery (one we’ve had countless times before)—the beloved task of helping their parents in the training of these little ones in beginning steps leading to God. By the way, I have another book to recommend: it’s called Leading Little Ones to God by Marian M. Schoolland and it’s been another greatly treasured one in this household. You might also want to look into this wonderful book that can be read to your very young children.

Anyway, I hope we can be a help. Maybe we can help teach them the Word of God when we can and under the right circumstances, such as helping them to understand that they must be “kind one to another” when they either snatch or don’t want to share the blocks. Or help them to love the hymns when we sometimes resort to singing, albeit off tune, to distract them or entertain them. Or even help them learn to obey when sin rears its ugly head (and you can be sure it will).

Having been so excited almost five months ago over their births, may the Lord give us joy in serving Him by finding ways in the coming years (hopefully) to begin to teach these two sweet little girls something of the New Birth. Maybe He’ll even send us more sweet little souls. Thank the Lord for giving us such a blessed task!

Gentle Jesus, meek and mild,
Look upon a little child;
Bless me and remember me;
Saviour, let me come to Thee.

Loving Jesus, gentle Lamb,
In Thy gracious hands I am;
Make me, Saviour, what Thou art;
Live Thyself within my heart.

I shall then show forth Thy praise,
Serve Thee all my happy days;
Then the world shall always see
Christ, the holy Child, in me.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Lost and Found Treasures

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

About twenty-three years ago, my husband and I attended a rather small church during what was for us a transitional time in our spiritual lives. Our oldest daughter was three years old then. While we were there, the pastor gave out a little booklet to all of the families who were either members or regularly attended. This was the first that we ever encountered this piece of writing, and let me tell you, it is one of the most precious treasures that we’ve ever had. Actually, it’s an article written by my favorite preacher/writer, J.C. Ryle, who wrote it more than one hundred years ago. Please let me recommend it to all of you mothers, or will be mothers. It’s entitled “The Duties of Parents” and of all the books on parenting that I’ve read, it’s the best. (Well, that’s my opinion anyway.)

A couple of years ago, I bought several extra copies to have on hand and give out. Well, I lost these treasures somewhere in my house. I’ve been searching high and low for them for a couple of weeks now, wanting to give a copy to our daughter who, as you know, has recently ventured into that high calling of motherhood. I have been so frustrated, searching the house like the woman looking for her lost coin in Luke 15. I am happy to report that the search is over. Rejoice with me—I have found my lost treasures! They were packed away in a container in a closet where they had no business being, but that’s another story.

You know how much I love my granddaughter and you know how much I want to see her soul claimed by Jesus, so you shouldn’t be surprised that it’s my intention that her parents will soon be in possession of this precious little masterpiece. Sure, it was written long ago, but its message is timeless. Listen to the conclusion of this booklet, and I’m sure it will whet the appetite of many of you moms and grandmoms. If so, I urge you to get a copy, so that Mr. Ryle’s counsel given long ago will reach your households in this needy century.

“Now the Lord teach you all that sin is that abominable thing which God hateth. Then, I know you will mourn over the sins of your children, and strive to pluck them out as brands from the fire.

“The Lord teach you all how precious Christ is, and what a mighty and complete work He hath done for our salvation. Then, I feel confident you will use every means to bring your children to Jesus, that they may live through Him.

“The Lord teach you all your need of the Holy Spirit, to renew, sanctify, and quicken your souls. Then, I feel sure you will urge your children to pray for Him without ceasing, and never rest till He has come down into their hearts with power, and made them new creatures.

“The Lord grant this, and then I have a good hope that you will indeed train up your children well,--train well for this life, and train well for the life to come; train well for earth and train well for heaven; train them for God, for Christ, and for eternity.”

--John Charles Ryle
(From “ The Duties of Parents”)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Winter Anyone?

Today, something exciting happened in our region, folks. It snowed. Yes, we got our first snowfall of the season. Want to know how much? I’d say about one half inch or so. A quarter inch might be more like it. Well, I have to say, I was happy to see it, as it was an assurance that it is winter after all. This isn’t true of other areas in the country, but around here it’s been so mild that at times we go out and forget our coats. After needing one for about six to seven years, I finally got a new dress coat and haven’t felt like wearing it. It just hasn’t been cold enough on Sundays in my estimation.

The really funny thing is my husband. Last year, he bought a snow blower. It’s a beautiful one and he was pretty excited when he got it in November of 2005. This may not be totally accurate, but I think he’s used it once. The sad thing is that when we had that one huge snowstorm last winter, my poor hubby had some kind of physical ailment and some neighbors were kind enough to do the shoveling for us. So he missed his big opportunity! You know how our men folk are when they get a “new toy” of some sort. I get so amused when I see that almost spanking new blower sitting unused in the garage. I got so “tickled” today when I got this funny little picture in my mind of the poor man out there blowing the half inch of snow in a desperate attempt to make use of his investment. (This didn’t really happen. At least not yet.)

I guess everybody can figure it out that I have too much idle time on my hands tonight. The picture above is in honor of winter. The one we haven’t been having so far. Well, January isn’t over yet and there’s still February.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


So…finally!! After at least a month of looking hungrily at other folks stuffing food into their mouths, Selena at last got to eat something (cereal) from a spoon. Last night was her first experience, and from the reports I’m getting, does she love it! If she’s like the rest of her family (on both sides), she’s GOT to love to eat and so far it seems that she’s following in the footsteps of the rest of us.

So, here she is, eating her first breakfast of what we call “solids.” Yum Yum. Now for a lifetime of all kinds of good stuff! Wait until she gets to the steak and potatoes and collard greens and roast pork and potato chips and apple cake and watermelon and so on. I know, I named all of her nanna’s favorites. But I’m sure she’ll love these things just as much as the rest of us. (I guess I should feel guilty for not naming more of the really good choices, like oatmeal, beans and carrots. But I’m expecting better things for her in those categories.) Anyway, enjoy, Selena!

On the wall of our kitchen, is a hanging from my cross-stitching days.
Maybe someday I'll hear this poem from the lips of our little granddaughter:

God is great. God is good.
We thank Him for this food.
By His hand, we are fed,
Give us, Lord, our daily bread.

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year, Old Hymns

Well, the year 2006 is all done and gone. The new year is here. May it be a blessed one for you and your family.

Yesterday at church we spent the whole day focusing on the hymns of the Church of Christ. We thought about the rich inheritance that we have in them, learned the Scriptures that apply to them, and heard many interesting facts about many of their authors. Then, last night, we had a precious time singing many of them at our pastor’s home as we closed out the old year. I’m sure it’s well known to many folks about my love for the hymns and that next to the Word of God, they are the dearest writings to me. So yesterday was an especially blessed day for me.

Our pastor made up a little booklet which we’re each going to keep with us this coming year and it contains selected hymns that we as a congregation are hoping to incorporate into our hearts. It is called “Hymns for 2007 – A Rich Heritage of Hymns for the People of God” for our church family. It contains 27 of them that he has selected for us. But these are just a sampling of thousands that have enriched God’s Church.

If you are like me and love hymns, think about memorizing some words from these treasures from God. Most of those who wrote them are long gone to glory, but they have left us riches that we can sow into the hearts of others, especially our children. Let’s use these words given by our Lord to people like Isaac Watts, Fanny Crosby, Charles Wesley, Frances Havergal, and countless others to glorify His name. (And as we were reminded, there are a few modern day authors, such as James Montgomery Boice that are also worth our attention.) Let’s use their words to give us comfort, joy, hope, repentance, and so much more. Let’s pass them on here and abroad!

I thought it would be nice to start off the year with the first hymn in our little booklet, which is one of the two which we will be singing in January. I hope it is an expression of your joy in our wonderful Lord:

Come we that love the Lord,
And let our joys be known;
Join in a song of sweet accord,
And thus surround the throne.

Let those refuse to sing,
Who never knew our God;
But children of the heavenly King,
May speak their joys abroad.

The men of grace have found,
Glory begun below;
Celestial fruits on earthly ground,
From faith and hope may grow.

The hill of Zion yields
A thousand sacred sweets,
Before we reach the heavenly fields
Or walk the golden streets.

Then let our songs abound,
And every tear be dry;
We’re marching through Immanuel’s ground
To fairer worlds on high.

~ Isaac Watts, 1707