Saturday, June 30, 2007

Great is Thy Faithfulness


It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him. Lamentations 3:22-24

Out of the weeping heart of the prophet Jeremiah come these words of encouragement and comfort to believers. And these are the words which were the inspiration for Thomas Chisholm when he wrote the hymn for this week. No tragic occurrence led to its writing as has been the case with many others; it was written as a testimony of its author's day by day experience with his Savior. Is it your experience? I hope so; I hope we all can testify that we have a faithful God.

It's another of the hymns of the church that has quite a "following." I know of several folks, some who are quite young, who would name it as their favorite. There is little that gives me more joy than hearing a congregation standing and singing it together with voices lifted and projected. It's not given it's just due when it's sung half-heartedly. Sing it as a family; sing it in the shower; sing it while doing the dishes. Our God is faithful!!!!

Go to Cyber Hymnal to get a general idea of its tune. It sounds a bit faster than I'm used to, but the words are there. I can't copy words here because it's under copyright and I haven't obtained permission, but my favorite stanza is the third one.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Pick a Title


What would you title this?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

One Year of Blogging

…that he would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man…Ephesians 3:16

Out of curiosity, a little while ago I checked back to see how long it had been since I had become a blogger. Lo and behold, I saw that my very first blog post was made on Monday, June 26, 2006. Wow! It’s my blogging anniversary!! So, I’ve scrapped what I was about to do in order that I might celebrate the occasion. After all, various kinds of anniversaries, including birthdays, are the happier moments that we encounter on our earthly pilgrimage, right? The months of June and July bring several of these to our family, so this time period tends to be somewhat festive anyway. Well, now I can add yet another observance to the others.

My first post wasn’t made here at Blogger, BTW, because my initial effort was at a blog introduced by my business web server, Yahoo. It was a pretty pathetic technical situation there, so after about a month of stress I came here. That blog is still there, and I think they have it working better, but I only post now and then to let anyone who cares know where to find me. Now I have three active blogs as well as a Xanga, where I hang out with a bunch of young folks, including my fourteen year old daughter. It’s fun. I’ve enjoyed the whole thing from the beginning and I’m hooked. In fact, I have to be careful not to let it take up too much of my time.

In commemoration of this one year anniversary, I’ll list a few of the things that I like about blogging:

1. It’s a forum for talking about my family, especially our little Lena, and about the things of God. In fact, initially my primary topic was the anticipation of our first grandchild, while applying this great happening to the children’s catechism.

2. Now it’s become gratifying to write about so much more, so I changed my subtitle to what presently is. I know that most of you will agree that expressing ourselves about a variety of issues brings a lot of pleasure. It’s a release of sorts—if a hymn is on our hearts, we can lay it out for the world to see. It might be a poem, book review, puzzle, vacation photos, recipe, contest, and almost anything that is meaningful or fun.

3. It’s wonderful to have a place to engage in inspirational writings that others can read. And then, to peruse what fellow saints have written, words that often draw us upward to the Lord.

4. One of the sweetest blessings is the many folks (though I’ll probably never meet most of you face to face), that I have met online, exchanging our comments back and forth. It’s a real treat visiting other folks’ little corners of the web; each has its own personality and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed coming to see so many of you and love it that you come to see me!

All in all, it’s been a great experience this past year. It has been enriching and edifying and I’m thankful. I hope and pray that this is one activity on the web that God will continue to use to strengthen each and every one of us who are called by His name.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Family Friendly Period Films


I jokingly told my daughters that I'm going to call this a "Friday Fourteen" post, since my original intent was to write it as a "Thursday Thirteen" one. Unfortunately, too many irons in the fire prevented it today , so here I am, late in the day on Thursday. I want to share some information from a neat place that I found on Amazon, in case some of you don't already know about it. It was so helpful to me and I hope it will be for you, too. This place has listed quite a few "period" movies which it says are family friendly, with little or no objectionable material and good moral values. I'll list fourteen of them here; there are more at the site if you care to go check them out. Of course, many of these are quite familiar to us, but here are the ones I'd say are worth looking into for your library:

"Love Comes Softly" and its sequels

"Pride and Prejudice"-they list both

"Persuasion"

"Sense and Sensibility"

"Emma" - One from 1996 and the A&E 1997

"Nicholas Nickleby"

"The Love Letter"

"Anne of Green Gables"-any and all

"The Winslow Boy"

Masterpiece Theater: "Railway Children"

"Daisy Miller"

"The Inheritance"

That's twelve plus, right? There is a long list of more that they give four stars instead of five because of possible adult themes, mild violence or some insinuations. However, none have any graphic sex or language problems. Most of these are quite okay, from what I've heard. Of these I'll name:

"Wives and Daughters" - I love this movie; watched it many times

"North and South"

We just rented the last one from Blockbuster online and should watch it tomorrow night. If I remember, I'll write a comment here to let you know what we think of it. By the way, we've found Blockbuster online to be helpful, because we can rent some of the old TV shows that are problem free, as well as older movies. Here is the website with all the above info and more, if you have time to look it over.

If you know of any that aren't listed here, let us know!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Who Made You?



For you formed my inward parts: You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. Psalm 139:13-16

We have a little chatterbox in our family, which results in a lot of fun for all of us. Selena, at nine and a half months, has developed quite a vocabulary. Of course, “Da-da” was first, as it usually is, but she’s quickly adding to her word repository. “Pop-Pop” was an early word, partly because that named individual has said the word over and over to her since her birth. Finally, recently we’ve recognized that she’s been saying “Mommy” for a while now—it was spoken with a “b” sound before, but now she’s beginning to master the “mmm” sound. Last week, I was a little disappointed when I discovered that what we were thinking was “Nanna” is really her pronunciation of “Auntie Nee.” Oh well, I THINK something was verbalized when she saw me at church yesterday, that was a reference to me—and it did start with an “n,” so we’re getting there. There are quite a few words more, but I won’t be a grandmother who subjects you to ALL the details, at least not about this particular topic.

But I will tell you about this, which has excited me enormously: I have been a firsthand witness to the reports that I’ve been getting for about a week now, that she has learned her first catechism answer. At my house yesterday, when asked by her mother the question “Who made you?” she answered clearly and distinctly “Gah-duh!” Of all the little achievements that I’ve seen over the past months, need I say, as those of you who have been following my blog over the past year would understand, this one causes me more joy than all of the others put together. Oh, I know that she has no clue whatsoever what she is saying, but is repeating something that has been impressed on her over and over. But aren’t various forms of indoctrination things that occur in all of life anyway, whether it be our daily home life or our schooling? I don’t care—she’s saying it and someday she’s going to know what it means. Praise the Lord!

I have been blogging for almost exactly one year now. I started off at Yahoo and moved over here to Blogger after a month or so. On June 30th of last year, I made my first official post, after my introductory one. This first post was entitled “Who Made You?” It was written while we were awaiting Selena’s birth. If you don’t mind, I’d like you to read a couple of excerpts from that post, which was rather long:

"That is where my first grandchild is now. [In the womb.]She is not a fetus, she is a child. And her name is Selena. Before she officially makes her entrance, I would like to ask her this one simple first catechism question that her PopPop and I taught her mommy more than twenty years ago. It is one of the most crucial issues she will need to come to grips with in all of her life that is now just beginning: Who made you, Selena? That is the question I’m addressing today, and the catechism answer is just one simple word. God. That is all the answer that it provides, and do you know what? That is really all the answer that is needed.

". . .Yes, there is just one answer to this catechism question. It is the only possible response that there could be. Selena can’t tell yet, but I hope someday she will know the answer to the question. But not only that. I hope someday she will know the One who is the answer. So I’ll repeat, once more, that first catechism question that I would pose to my first grandchild: Who made you? And I will repeat the answer with all of the exuberance I can muster from within me: GOD!!!"

So, do you see why it is that what I heard yesterday means so much to this Nanna, almost one year later? Don’t you think this is a good prayer for all of us grandmoms, by whatever name we’re called, that we beseech our heavenly Father for our grandchildren—that they will not just know the answer, but the One who IS the answer to the first catechism question?

(Btw, you can see a picture of the little catechism book that we use in our family—it’s on my sidebar.)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Be Still My Soul


I don't think that I can find the language to tell you how much I love this hymn. Oh, what words! Apparently, three people contributed to its enriching our lives today: A German woman named Katharina von Schlegal wrote the words in the eighteenth century; one hundred years later a woman named Jane Borthwick translated it into English; and its tune was contributed by Finland's Sibelius, from one of the movements in his "Finlandia." Its rich classical flavor certainly does touch the hearts of many folks, mine included.


The truths found here bring comfort and that is why it is the favorite of many a person. It has been a balm for many a grief-stricken heart. It is SO hard for me to pick one verse as I usually do. Each of the four stanzas that I'm familiar with is so PRECIOUS. The Cyber Hymnal has a fifth stanza that I've never seen before; I'm not sure why it's left out of most of my references and hymnal. At any rate, go there and meditate on it and have a wonderful Lord's Day.


Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on

When we shall be forever with the Lord.

When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,

Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.

Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past

All safe and bless├Ęd we shall meet at last.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Home With Jesus


RUTH BELL GRAHAM

Another saint gone home. She has fought the good fight, she has finished the race, she has kept the faith. There is little doubt that she has taken possession of her crown of righteousness. I know we will all be praying for her husband, children, and grandchildren.

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." Psalm 116:15


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Flag Day!


If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

All you who claim the Name of Christ in truth: If you love our country as much as I do, and have the same concerns that I do, remember her in your prayers. As we proudly fly our flags, join with me in petitioning our heavenly Father to preserve her, protect her, and bring her back to Him.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Tale of an Arranged Marriage


Once upon a time there was a young lady who dwelt in a humble house in a humble little town in a nearby land. It came to pass that this young lady, who was an ardent baseball fan, became friends with a married couple who lived in a house which was on her selfsame block.

So it was that a few years before, in a faraway territory of the country, this married couple had met a nice young man who was on tour with a minor league baseball team. It later happened that at the time of our tale, the man of the married couple became employed by a local soft drink company. Lo and behold, he was amazed and delighted to find the same young man working there whom he had met some time before as a baseball player in that faraway territory.

The married couple thought that it would be a good idea if this young neighbor lady, who loved baseball, could meet this young co-worker man, who once played baseball. So they asked the young lady, who said “okay.” Then they asked the young man, who said “okay.” A phone number was given to the young man, whereupon a phone call was made to the young lady, and forthwith a first date took place—to where else? A baseball game.

Time passed, and by and by, on the 12th day of June, in the year 1971, the young lady from the small town was taken as a bride by the young man who worked for the soft drink company. It was shortly thereafter that this young married couple officially began journeying together with the very One who had arranged and orchestrated all of the details of their lives in order that the aforementioned marriage might take place. This same kind Benefactor has kindly provided them with two daughters, a son-in-law, and a precious granddaughter. He also has bountifully supplied them with love, peace, and harmony.

The picture above is of the newly married couple as they were cutting their wedding cake. Thirty-six years have passed since the hot, humid day in June of that year; the couple is no longer considered young; they have continued to abide in humble dwelling places; and baseball is no longer an important factor in their lives. They are still together by the mercies of the same One who arranged the whole union in the first place. Even though they continue to be recipients of abundant blessings from His hand, it will not be until both of them reach their real home in a far better land, claiming their mansions there while living in the presence of their King, that this couple will live happily ever after.

From me, the once young lady, to my dear hubby, the once young man:
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!

Friday, June 08, 2007

ME#4 - The Swallow and the Other Birds

Oops, almost forgot to post my thoughts or lessons gleaned from this fable. As always, those who commented had slightly different twists on it, all good. It was applied to parenting, to the younger listening to the older, to heeding wise counsel in general, and to nipping problems in the bud. I guess the initial thoughts I had on Wednesday, when I posted, were closest to those of Susan (Penless Thoughts): If you've been warned of a threatening peril, especially if the warning comes from someone older and wiser, you should take heed and do what you can to eliminate the hazard before it develops into real harm. If you don't, that which you've been warned about could entrap you and even bring about your downfall.


Most definitely, it teaches that we should take heed to wise counsel--all of us. There are a multitude of Scriptures for this, aren't there? This is a good little fable to teach your children and grandchildren!!

Thanks for participating!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Cross-Bearing

Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" Matthew 16:24-25.


While I was still lying in bed, I decided that I would post for the persecuted church on all my blogs today. And wouldn't you know it, these verses were included in my morning devotions in the book of Matthew? How appropriate, when we think of the saints who are living the truth of our Savior's words in ways that most of us can't imagine.

For today and this place, I'll tell you about one of the MANY saints who are being persecuted all over the world. And folks, that number is in the millions. I'll tell you about Pastor Pabitra Kata in India. According to VOM, Pastor Kata was a former Hindu extremist , but was saved in 1999. After his conversion, this former Hindu radical right away began preaching the gospel. Who does this remind you of? I immediately thought of the Apostle Paul when I read this. And like the saints in the book of Acts, this man (Pabitra) is seeing firsthand the cost of discipleship. The Apostle Paul was hated by many when he became a Christian, as saints all over the world are hated when they become Christians. Here is one example of Paul's cross-bearing:

"And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them in prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely." Acts 16:23

You know the rest of the story. You know what happened to the jailer, praise the Lord. Pastor Kata was attacked by Hindu radicals and beaten with many stripes. Read the rest of his story at the VOM Persecution Blog. Let's pray that he, too, will be used of the Lord in his affliction. Hopefully, we can all take a few minutes from our busy and somewhat comfortable lives and read about his plight. Situations like his are so, so common in the world around us. We have to force ourselves to be aware of what's going on, to pray and even help monetarily when our circumstances allow it. I hate to sound preachy, but sometimes it breaks my heart that we in our country know so little of true cross-bearing. It's so easy to forget those who are living it.

"Take up thy cross, the Saviour said,
If thou wouldst my disciple be;
Take up thy cross wih willing heart,
And humbly follow after me."

~Charles W. Everest

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Mind Exerciser #4

Well, I think it's time for another of Aesop's Fables. As I said the last time, I am quite a fan of them and love to rewrite them for children, keeping out the violence and brutality. They have lessons, you know, and oftentimes there is more than one lesson that can be applied to a particular one. I think it's fun to look at them here from time to time and see what applications can be made by various people. The last time, I saw a particular message, but other people saw other things and no one was wrong. In fact, everyone--especially the teenagers--had wonderful words of wisdom. As is usually the case, various folks see various things and that's what makes them so interesting! So, here is the one I picked for today; it's not one of the more familiar ones. I like it that these fables are writings that you can "tamper" with and not worry about infringing anyone's copyright. After all, they've been passed down for generations and you can find multiple versions of most of them, anyway. So I altered it just a bit, but it's basically the same fable which I encountered in my resources.

See what morals, cautions, or words of wisdom you can glean from this one. I have a teaching that stands out to me, which I'm about to write down now. I'll post my "insights" on Friday, and I'm curious as to how many folks see what I'm seeing as a lesson. Here goes:

The Swallow and the Other Birds

There once was a time when a farmer had sowed some seeds in a very large field. An older Swallow and some other birds, who were a good deal younger, were hopping about picking up their feed. The Swallow pointed out certain seeds which had been sown among the other ones and said to the younger birds: "Beware of this farmer. See these larger seeds? They are hemp seeds that he has sown among the others. Be careful to pick up every one of them, or you will be sorry later."

The younger birds paid no heed to the Swallow's warning and only ate the smaller seeds, which were more to their liking. By and by, the hemp grew and the farmer used it to make into cord and of the cord, nets were made. Many a bird that had despised the Swallow's advice were caught in the nets made of that very hemp.

Remember, there is no right or wrong, and no winner. Any Scripture references which may apply are welcome too. Let me hear from you before Friday!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go

I have loved you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3

I can't think of a more appropriate hymn for this week than this particular one. This is a week when I've heard of or talked to many dear folks who are undergoing one trial or another. Some of these people are burdened and weary, and I can think of no better hymn to give them than this lovely expression of truths found in Scriptures such as Jeremiah 31:3.

Some time ago (1999 to be exact), Speakable Gifts, our home business, published a cassette and accompanying journal, called "Verses and Hymns for the Weak and Weary." Of all the songs included, this one is close to being my top choice for hurting saints and as was pointed out in the journal, it is deeply moving and artistic, having been written by its author, George Matheson, as the "fruit of much mental suffering." (Now and then I put in a plug for one of our products, so please forgive me for that here.)

If you're not familiar with this hymn, I urge you to read its wonderful words at SermonAudio.com and then read the tragic, but triumphant, story of Mr. Matheson. Then, play its tune--it's beautiful.

This is by far my favorite stanza. Catch what's being said here, friends, because it's a fantastic piece of writing by a man who painted a picture of what our glorious Lord is to His loved ones in their weakness and weariness. The whole hymn if like that!

O Light that foll'west all my way,
I yield my flick'ring torch to Thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in Thy sunshine's blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.
~George Matheson

Friday, June 01, 2007

Unusual Playmates


Sorry folks, but I couldn't resist posting these fellows. This is one of Yahoo's most emailed photos, and I can see why. Aren't they all the cutest things? Apparently the chicks were feeding at a nearby river and entered the tiger's cage. Thankfully, they weren't harmed by the cubs as a result of this unusual occurrence, which happened at a zoo in China.