Monday, April 30, 2007

Spring Cold

I’m sorry to say this, but I’m getting sick. My body is being successfully attacked by an acute respiratory infection. In other words, I’m getting a bad cold. I’ve got a bunch of yucky stuff coming in my throat and my nose is starting to stuff up. I was thinking about Selena all night, because I’m almost sure I gave it to her because I was with her all weekend. You’re contagious right before the symptoms start, right? I think that’s how it is. And the culprit who gave this thing to me is undoubtedly my daughter Neesie, who’s just getting over one of these pesky things. Why is it that we always try to figure out who gave us a cold? It’s as if we want to know who to blame. Something left over from Adam and Eve in their garden situation, I think.

Well, cold or no cold, it really is spring here now. The trees are budding, the birds are picking their mates and building their nests, and people are once again mowing their lawns and planting their flowers. Bright sunshine has pushed its way through the persistent cloud cover and everybody feels better now. So we’re all ready for May Day.

April is leaving us and I only talked once about the book for this month. So, all you moms and grandmoms (any dads and granddads reading as well) go check out The Child’s Story Bible to get for your household. As I said before, it’s especially useful for Sunday school teachers, as most of the stories of the Bible are rewritten accurately, biblically and with a heart for Christ. See my previous post about this book if you’d like to find out more, and its picture is on my sidebar.

Have a good day, everyone.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

It is Well With My Soul

It is well…..with my soul….;
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Is it well with your soul? Only in Christ, my friend. Only in Him can it be well with your soul and mine.

I haven’t met a believer yet who does not love this hymn. Maybe there is one out there who doesn’t, but if there is, I haven’t met them. The writer, Horatio Spafford, wrote these beloved words in the face of extreme sorrow. In 1873, his four daughters had drowned in the Atlantic Ocean on a voyage to Europe. Their mother had been miraculously rescued and Mr. Stafford was on his way to Wales to be with his grief-stricken wife. During this journey , and with a broken heart, he passed the approximate spot where his daughters had been swallowed by the waters. It was then that these precious words, a comfort to so many saints in the years following, came forth from his heart and were put to writing. What faith is expressed by them! I thank my dear Lord for this hymn and I would imagine you do too. There is little doubt there is going to come a time in each of our lives that it will bring us comfort.

Here’s the familiar tune at The Cyber Hymnal and here is my favorite stanza from this wonderful hymn:

My sin—O the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more;
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!


Friday, April 27, 2007

ME#3 - We Have a Winner!

Hello there folks. Yes, we do have a winner on our latest riddle! Monica (Mommysmart) was the first person to take a guess and she got it right, just squeaking out Beka by two minutes. You see, even though the answer I had was "a day", I would have been torn about whether to count "birthday" as a correct answer, because technically it is. I hadn't even thought of that! So Beka and Bethany, you were right too. Thanks to others who were brave and took, I must say, very good guesses. Here was my reasoning on this riddle:

There is something that you possess one at a time.

One day at a time!

Your mother has seen it more often than you have.

I would assume that your mother has had more days than you!

Each time you have one, something goes up and then down while it is with you.
Sun rises and sets one time in a twenty-four hour day!

Something else travels in a circle twice by the time it leaves you.

Two twelve hour cycles on your clock or watch!

Monica is a new blogger friend of mine and as I said, she got it right away! Go visit her neat blog called A Day in the Life of Mommysmart. Today there is a very interesting post about our internal alarm clock--very interesting since we happen to be dealing with time here. So, here's my promised award for Monica, for whatever it's worth. You can pick it up and take it with you if you like, Mommysmart, but I'll be displaying it here for you. Good guessing!!

This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Phillie Phantastic

A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Yesterday, my dear hubby was interviewed by a writer who’s working on a historical book about the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team. If you’re wondering why, it’s because when my dh graduated from high school he was signed by the Phillies organization, which was a pretty big deal at the time since he was the first black player to wear that team's uniform. He played third base and was an above average hitter during his time in the minor leagues. He had the opportunity to train with the majors once or twice, but for a variety of reasons, some physical, some obscure, being a major league ball player was not to be.

He was reminiscing about this with me for a while last night, talking a little about his dreams and disappointments of those bygone days. After we had talked a bit, he told me how glad he was that it hadn’t worked out. If it had, he said, he’s sure that he never would have married the wife that he did and had the daughters that he did. See how God orders our steps? I’m sure glad he didn’t end up with the Phillies. I never knew this before, but at the time that his baseball career fell through, one of his sisters said to him, “Sometimes temporary failures are stepping stones to success.” Wow. How true. He may not have been “successful” as a professional athlete, but he certainly has been a faithful servant of Christ, dependable and committed husband, devoted and protective father, and caring and understanding friend. So, as far as I’m concerned, he’s been a success. Actually, that's pretty fantastic in this day and age.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Mind Exerciser #3

Finally! I get to post another riddle. It’s long overdue; one thing after another has prevented me from keeping up with my promised mind exercisers. I hope I do better in the future, because I thoroughly enjoy doing them. I’m still not able to offer any prizes as I see others are doing for various blog activities, but until I have something worthwhile to give, my “prize” will still be publicity for the winner’s blog, if there is one, and if not, I’d love to tell a little about the winning person, if they let me! Also, I now have a “certificate of achievement” to award to people who are the first to guess right on any of the riddles or puzzles. Winners can pick it up and display it, if they want to, on their own blogs (free advertisement for me, of course) and we’ll all be having fun! However, you are under no obligation to display the certificate—I will anyway.

Bear in mind that most of these puzzles and stories are written by me, so forgive me if there are any flaws. The author of this riddle accepts no responsibility to any injury or damage to the brain caused by the reader’s participation therewith.

Okay. Here goes for this time. Remember the rules, first to guess right is the winner. If you see that someone has answered what you think is right, it’s okay to mention that but take another guess anyway, just in case. I want a winner, because if no one guesses, I think it’s a reflection on the riddle and I don’t want to write defective ones! Answer will be posted on Friday.

There is something that you possess one at a time.
Your mother has seen it more often than you have.
Each time you have one, something goes up and then down while it is with you.
Something else travels in a circle twice by the time it leaves you.


Note: I do ask that if you make a guess, that you not give any clues that others could use. Just make the guess, please. WILD GUESSES ACCEPTED!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Sands of Time are Sinking

I thought I’d TRY to say a little about each of the hymns on my Thursday Thirteen list and I hope I can keep this up. I figured that doing this on a Saturday evening would be a good exercise to get me ready for worship the next day. Thinking about it further, I realized that if I posted something each Saturday, it will take me three months to get through them all. At first, I was put off by that, but then decided to give it a try. Who cares if I miss a week here and there (you know how busy Saturdays can be) and who cares if it takes me SIX months to get through them? Hopefully, these posts will be as unto the Lord and I’ll do them as I can and when I can.

So, first on the list: “The Sands of Time are Sinking.” How I love to hear either of my daughters play this on the piano! How the words minister to my pilgrimage wearied heart when we sing it as the people of God! Imagine it: “Glory, glory, dwelleth in Emmanuel’s land.” I don’t know too much about the circumstances of this hymn, written by Anne Ross Cousin, but I do understand that its words were inspired by letters written by Samuel Rutherford, a Scottish pastor. Originally, the poem that makes up this hymn contained nineteen stanzas. Our hymnal contains four, but I’m posting just one of them (my favorite) as a prelude to worship tomorrow. Whenever you can, go to The Cyber Hymnal and sing the beloved words that many of us know so well.

O Christ, he is the fountain,
The deep sweet well of love!
The streams on earth I’ve tasted
More deep I’ll drink above:
There to an ocean fullness
His mercy doth expand,
And glory, glory dwelleth
In Emmanuel’s land.

~ Anne R. Cousin, 1857

Friday, April 20, 2007

Utterly Abandoned

I just had to post today’s poem from Streams in the Desert. If the desires of my heart would even approach the yearnings of the unknown person who penned these wonderful words, I’d be well on my way in the Christian life. Unfortunately, I know that I’m falling far short. This poem is a prayer as far as I’m concerned. I entreat the Lord that He would grant me a measure of what’s being asked of Him here. Maybe then I’d be a better wife to my husband, mother to my children and nanna to my precious little one. Join me in seeking what this writer was asking for, won’t you?

Utterly abandoned to the Holy Ghost!
Seeking all His fulness at whatever cost;
Cutting all the shore-lines, launching in the deep
Of His mighty power--strong to save and keep.

Utterly abandoned to the Holy Ghost!
Oh! the sinking, sinking, until self is lost!
Until the emptied vessel lies broken at His feet;
Waiting till His filling shall make the work complete.

Utterly abandoned to the will of God;
Seeking for no other path than my Master trod;
Leaving ease and pleasure, making Him my choice,
Waiting for His guidance, listening for His voice.

Utterly abandoned! no will of my own;
For time and for eternity, His, and His alone;
All my plans and purposes lost in His sweet will,
Having nothing, yet in Him all things possessing still.

Utterly abandoned! 'tis so sweet to be
Captive in His bonds of love, yet so wondrous free;
Free from sin's entanglements, free from doubt and fear,
Free from every worry, burden, grief or care.

Utterly abandoned! oh, the rest is sweet,
As I tarry, waiting, at His blessed feet;
Waiting for the coming of the Guest divine,
Who my inmost being shall perfectly refine.

Lo! He comes and fills me, Holy Spirit sweet!
I, in Him, am satisfied! I, in Him, complete!
And the light within my soul shall nevermore grow dim
While I keep my covenant--abandoned unto Him!

--Author Unknown

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Oldies But Goodies (TT#2)

I LOVE old hymns. This isn’t news to most of you who know me, and I’ve said it many times here at this blog. Any excuse I have to talk about them or post one, I take advantage of it. So, I thought combining that with a Thursday Thirteen post might be nice. I could name at least fifty favorite hymns, but, of course, I’ll need to name just thirteen on this list.

I’m going to limit today’s list to oldies, but I’m sure that the Lord is using some newer ones as well. Sometimes I’m amazed at the rich biblical truth that is contained in the words. And the stories about the authors and how they came to write what they did—they serve to encourage us too. I’m thinking about doing future posts about the authors and/or stories of my thirteen. We’ll see.

Well, here goes. They are in no particular order; these are the ones that come first to mind:

1. The Sands of Time Are Sinking [Anne R. Cousin]

2. It is Well With My Soul [Horatio G. Spafford]

3. What a Friend We Have in Jesus [Joseph Scriven]

4. There is a Fountain Filled With Blood [William Cowper]

5. O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go [George Matheson]

6. Be Still My Soul [Katharina von Schlegel]

7. Great is Thy Faithfulness [Thomas O. Chisholm]

8. Blessed Assurance [Fanny Crosby]

9. More Love to Thee [Elizabeth Prentiss]

10. All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name [Edward Perronet]

11. We Have Not Known Thee as We Ought [Thomas B. Pollack]

12. Holy, Holy, Holy [Reginald Heber]

13. Jesus, Lover of My Soul [Charles Wesley]

Oh dear, I just thought of some more! Too late—I can’t bring myself to remove any that are already here. Got any you want to add? Feel free. I’d like to hear of some of your favorites!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Sad News

I had made up my mind the other day that I would finally post another riddle on Monday—I’m long overdue. But I can’t, not today. There has been too much sadness on the news today. Flooding here in our area and then the tragedy in Virginia. I was thinking to myself, “What in the world could I possibly say about all this?” The best thing I could say is what we already know--we need prayer. Badly. Our area needs prayer due to the flooding and our nation needs prayer as, once again, we are horrified by senseless violence. A few minutes ago, I got a forwarded message from the Presidential Prayer Team, which I hadn’t heard of before. It was a Prayer Alert about the shootings. They wanted the following prayer forwarded to others. So, instead of posting a riddle, I’ll just copy that prayer here. No need to comment. Let’s just pray. Thanks.

Heavenly Father, come with Your peace to the students, faculty and staff at Virginia Tech, and to the greater community of Blacksburg. Calm their fears and bring Your comforting presence. Give wisdom and strength to the administration of the University as they deal with this crisis. Grant healing and comfort to the injured and wisdom to those treating them.

Bring Your powerful strength and presence to those families who will soon hear the sad news that their loved one has been killed. Send Your ministering spirits to heal and restore the entire community as they seek to recover from this horrendous act of violence.

Call our nation to repentance and righteousness, that You may heal our land from all that troubles us. Amen.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Ah, a Wedding

I’m on my way to a wedding. I want to wish God’s blessings upon the bride and groom, who are to be wed at 5:00 PM today. They are two godly people, both thirty-four years old, who have waited on the Lord for a spouse and have remained faithful to God, in every way, throughout their single years. I am posting this as a tribute to them, though they will probably never view it themselves. The groom is the son of one of my dearest friends and I’ve known him since he was a little boy. I have watched his growth in Christ and seen his faithfulness to his Lord, throughout even his teen years. He has been looking for a godly wife (which he deserves) for about ten years now, knowing that the Lord would do what is best for him. From what I’ve heard, his bride has had a similar experience. Well, God has brought them to each other, and has given them each what is right and fitting.

There is nothing more beautiful than a Christian wedding, which I am sure theirs will be. And there is nothing that shows the love of Christ better than a Christian marriage. I have little doubt that this couple will reflect that well known picture of Christ and His Church.

I don’t know if any of you have read Aunt Jane’s Hero, by Elizabeth Prentiss. What a wonderful book! Every single young person, eighteen and over, who contemplates marriage should read this book! (We sell it at Speakable Gifts.) I’ve written a companion to this book, but for reasons which I don’t need to go into here, it’s on hold for a while. The principals, Horace and Maggie, and Maggie’s sister Annie and Tom, were married in Chapter 10. Here is an excerpt from my summary prior to the questions for that chapter:

“It 's now that we do indeed cross the threshold with these two couples into a new abode—that blessed estate of matrimony. This estate, while often not revered by man, is highly revered by God. We particularly follow Horace and Maggie in the early days of their formation of a new home, a new family. Let us hope that they learn. . . that it is not their love which must keep their marriage dwelling intact, but it is the marriage itself, and their commitment to it, that must sustain their love. And don’t we all know Who must sustain the marriage?”

~Maxine A. Randall, Companion to Aunt Jane’s Hero.

This is indeed my desire and prayer for my two friends being wed today. Congratulations and best wishes – Fran and DeJay!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Applaud, Please

Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven… Matthew 5:12

May I have everyone’s attention please? I have an announcement to make. Ready? I have COMPLETED the income taxes. I repeat. I have COMPLETED the income taxes. Not only do I feel that I deserve applause, but that a standing ovation would be in order. Not once did I scream at the computer, calculator, or 1040 forms. Not once did I stay awake at night over this or that problem that had me befuddled. Nor did I ever, the entire time, throw any of my papers across the room. No headaches, tears, or stiff necks. Aren’t you proud of me? I hear the applause and the cheers. Thanks, guys.

On a much more serious note, however, it has come to my attention what other Christians have been going through while I’ve been making such a big thing over this one small irritant in my life. Here are a few of those situations:

1. Pastor Wang Weiliang remains in prison, having been there for over 250 days. His primary crime was that he was preaching the gospel.

2. Five Christians were charged with blasphemy in Pakistan. They are living under threat of attack because of their faith in Christ.

3. A letter written by a member of the underground church in Romania has been smuggled out. It speaks about Christians bearing willingly the cross for Christ’s glory.

4. The Iranian government tried to force some Christians there to deny Christ. These believers have suffered various attacks.

These are hardships being reported at Persecution Blog this week, but I’m sure there are many more. PRAY, sisters and brothers. They need our prayers.

At the present time, I’ve been traveling through the book of Matthew during personal devotions, with J. C. Ryle as a much appreciated companion. I’ve journeyed with him many times before—he’s one of my favorite comrades. Last week, our feet landed on Matthew 5:10-12. Listen to what Mr. Ryle had to say about that:

“…the Lord Jesus calls these “blessed” who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. He means those who are laughed at, mocked, despised, and ill used, because they endeavor to live as true Christians. Blessed are all such! They drink of the same cup which their Master drank. They are now confessing Him before men, and He will confess them before His Father and the angels at the last day. “Great is their reward.”

I have to bring the persecuted ones before us periodically. I don’t know about you, but for me they are vivid reminders of our risen Lord. They help me not to forget that Christianity is true and real. In China, the gospel is rapidly spreading, even though its leaders may be imprisoned; there are still Christians living their faith in Pakistan; in Romania, even though they have to go “underground”, believers speak of living lives that are Christlike; and our brothers and sisters in Iran refuse to deny their Savior.

I’m thankful for them and I hope you are too. If it were appropriate, they are the ones who deserve a standing ovation.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Sunday School Lessons

Speaking of Sunday school classes, yesterday’s lesson on sharing went somewhat unheeded by the darlings of our church. This picture is one of the better moments of the day for these two students. Their teacher for this month is Beka, one of my former students, who was kind enough to encourage me on my last post. Now she’s got her hands full with these two almost-toddlers. (Remember them from prior posts?) I think she’s having fun, though, and for anyone who thinks this age is just for babysitting duty, just ask Beka. They are learning!

In case any of you don’t know, the one on the left is my granddaughter. But both of these little princesses are special to the whole church body.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Sunday School Times

For the past twenty-five years at least, one of the things that has been closest to my heart has been teaching Sunday school. I currently have the smallest class ever-- two precious students, little girls, who I’m tickled pink to sit down with every Sunday.

This past week’s lesson was a difficult one for me to teach, though. It was about the fall of Judah and it spanned several chapters in II Kings, II Chronicles and Jeremiah. “How can I do this?” I thought. “How can I simplify all this information into one forty-five minute lesson, incorporating all of those kings with strange names (especially the king of Babylon) and the entire goings on in and around Jerusalem? How can I do this in a way that these eight and nine year old twenty-first century princesses can process it?”

Well, Catherine Vos to the rescue. I always like to make sure that the Bible is open before me and my students and that it’s clear to them that this, the Word of God, is why we’re there. Not a quarterly, not another book, but the Holy Scriptures. But every now and then, this book, The Child’s Story Bible, helps a flustered teacher put it all together in a way that will make sense to them.

The Child’s Story Bible by Catherine E. Vos is a retelling of the stories of the Bible in a sweetly expressed and concise way for our children. In the preface to the revised edition, Mrs. Vos’s daughter tells how this book was the labor of many years, her mother day after day going to the upstairs porch with her Bible, notebook and pencil. What a testimony about an “ordinary” housewife. The first copyright date was in 1935, with several editions following.

I would say that this beloved work is a must for any Sunday school, but also for any home where there are children. When I recommend it to you, I’m doing so both as a teacher of the Bible and as a parent/grandparent. I’ll probably have more to say about it as the month goes by.

So, last Sunday I read the story to the girls from this helpful classic, with our Bibles open before us to point out selected verses. The fall of Judah was covered thoroughly, accurately and clearly for their young minds. They were able to do their activity pages with few problems. This coming Sunday, we’ll just use our Bibles, open to the most wonderful story ever told—the death and resurrection of our Savior. We probably won’t read the Vos book this time, but I’ll just share here what she said at the conclusion of one of her chapters covering the resurrection:

“We may go to this same Jesus today with all our sorrows, and all our problems, and all our sins. He sees us, and hears us, and loves us. If we trust and love Him, we have new life—a joyous, happy life. For He takes away all our burdens.

“Shall we not love and serve this wonderful Jesus, who finished the work of our salvation, on the cross?”

~ Catherine E. Vos, The Child’s Story Bible

May you have a blessed and joyful Easter.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Now, My Five

Yesterday, I got a sweet surprise that uplifted my spirits and encouraged me to press on. I was tagged. When I was growing up, “tagged” was something you did with your hand to touch another person in a way that meant they were “it” for whatever the requirements of the game were. I am just getting used to what it means to get tagged in the blogging world. A young lady named Elise was sweet enough to name this blog as one which has made her “think” and I want to thank her for that. I consider that an honor coming from her. I have enjoyed going to her place, A Path Made Straight, to hear her words of wisdom for a few months now, but since she got me first, I suppose she can’t be on my list. Also, by daughter Bev is taking one of the other ones I would have named.

I’m super busy right today, but thought I better do this now or I’ll never get to it. My understanding is that I should post my “awards” to five bloggers who have made me think along my cyber journey:

1. Vicki, whose blog is called Windows to My Soul, is a must on my list. Anyone who lifts my thoughts to God has my vote! And this is what Vicki does for me. She often posts quotes by Spurgeon, Ryle and other men whose words provoke us heavenward. She and her family are going through some difficulties right now, but she still inspires the rest of us with posts like this one.

2. Next, I’ll tag Lori, whose blog is called Lori’s Lines. I came across this dear lady on a CWO random click when she was going through the adoption process to bring home her daughter Sonja from Guatemala. Because my daughters are also adopted, I was particularly touched by this post some time ago. I consider Lori a friend now and rejoice with her as Sonja is now home. If you go to her blog, you’ll see lots of pictures of her really cute kids!

3. I have a sweet teenager friend and I can’t have a list of notable blogs without hers. Sara has been a caring older friend to my younger daughter Neesie. She has encouraged Neesie in the faith and does the same for others on her blog called “Princess” for her name. She posts cute pictures as well as Scriptures and hymns. It’s very refreshing to see a girl her age have a desire for the things of God. She’s at Xanga, so everyone may not be able to get to her, but here is one of my favorites that she posted.

4. One of my first blogging friends was Donna at Devotionals for Donna. At the very beginning, she gave me helpful advice at a Yahoo group we both belong to. She probably doesn’t even remember that. So every now and then, I stop by to see Donna to see what treasures she has for me that day. I enjoyed her February 20th post, but for some reason can't link directly to it. Go to her site and scroll down to read it.

5. Recently, I discovered another blog which is becoming a frequent place that I visit. She hasn’t known I exist, but she is a sister who also blogs for the persecuted church. I can see that we are likeminded in many ways so I think I will continue to go visit Barbara at Tidbits and Treasures often. Her post for Monday of this week is worth your reading.

So the way I understand it, these bloggers are tagged to do what I've done. I consider them friends I have made along my blogging journey. As others have said, there are more folks I like to visit and who have worthwhile things to say. You can see some of them on my sidebar, but there are even more.

Thanks again, Elise! You blessed this lady’s heart yesterday!