Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Preacher's Wife

I made another addition to my Listmania list that I wanted to share with you. Since it's the Christmas season now, it's time for our family to keep our tradition of watching this movie over and over again. Sometimes we leave it on while we're doing other things, like wrapping gifts or making cookies, along with "It's a Wonderful Life" or "Miracle on 34th Street." This movie is the modern version of "The Bishop's Wife" and I actually like it better. The major difference is that it's set in the black community and the church culture is very similar to the one that I grew up in. Denzel Washington plays Dudley, the angel, (Cary Grant was Dudley in the Bishop version) and Whitney Houston is the preacher's wife, Julia (played by Loretta Young in the original). Putting aside the sadness of Whitney's life now (she needs prayer), she plays the part beautifully and Denzel is so funny, especially his interactions with Henry, the preacher, who is played by Courtney Vance. David Niven was the bishop in the first.

This is classified as a romantic comedy and we do laugh every time we watch it. It's funny how certain movies will make you laugh even after seeing them over and over. The "h" word shows up a couple of times, but there will be little else that you would find offensive, even though it was produced in this day and age. One reason I like it is that even though the church culture is clearly there, it's done tastefully, and not foolishly. Also, even though it takes place in an urban setting, the harshness of inner city life is not focused on as it is in many other movies. Sure, the hard stuff is a reality, but there are some pretty nice folks in the city too. If you do get this movie or rent it, tell me if you don't agree that Henry and Julia's son Jeremiah is adorable.

I like all these Christmas stories and have watched them so many times, but like most, this one has no clear gospel message of who Jesus is and why He came. The closest we get to it is during the children's musical near the end. How I wish someone would produce a good Christmas story with good acting and a good plot, and somehow incorporate the true meaning of the first coming of our Lord and Savior. If you know of any, please let the rest of us know about it.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

Well, for another year we find ourselves in the midst of the Christmas season. We put our tree up today and from now on until December 25th, I have to fight with myself, once again, not to get caught up in all the commercialism. (Did I spell that right?)

Maybe posting a favorite seasonal hymn/carol each week will help keep us on track and focused. Let's start with this one by Charles Wesley, who you may recall wrote over 6,500 hymns. These are wonderful words to
meditate on as we remember our Lord's first coming and anticipate His second one.

Come, thou long-expected Jesus,
Born to set thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us;
Let us find our rest in thee.
Israel's strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth thou art;
Dear Desire of ev'ry nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver,
Born a child, and yet a King,
Born to reign in us for ever,
Now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By thine all-sufficient merit
Raise us to thy glorious throne

By the way, what's your favorite Christmas carol and what words in it mean the most to you?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

It's hard for me to find words these days for some reason. But I didn't want this Thanksgiving to go by without expressing my thanks to my God for all He's done for me. Last year, I had a lot to say. I even did a series of posts, one for each of the days during the week preceding this holiday which I love so much. In these posts, I thanked the Lord for seven specific blessings. Thanksgiving Day was the seventh post, and I've decided to copy and paste it here. You see, I have no more to say now then I did then. My sentiments are exactly the same. So here is my post from November 23, 2006. May the Lord bless each and every one of you this Thanksgiving and every other day.

Well, it’s Thanksgiving Day. Today, I complete my list of blessings. Of course, you know that I would save the best for last. If I had a calculator and would start adding them up, I could name so many more than I have on this list. My home, my health throughout the years, my dog Frodo, certain relatives, all of God’s provisions of food and clothing, and other material possessions, are all things I’m thankful for.

The other day I looked up the word “blessing” in dictionaries in our home. Today I looked it up on (After all, I’m a modern day grandma.) There were six results, and the second and third meanings are the ones that apply here. The second meaning is “a special favor, mercy, or benefit” and the third is “a favor or gift bestowed by God, thereby bringing happiness.” Nothing fits these descriptions as marvelously and wonderfully as my salvation. Of all that I could stand up and proclaim as blessings from God, none can compare to what He has given me in Christ. My salvation is a special favor, mercy and benefit. It is a gift bestowed by God, which has brought me happiness beyond measure.

Those of you who know and love the Savior, stand up with me today, Thanksgiving Day, and praise the Lord for this, our best blessing. The others that we have will fade away, or die, or disappoint, or leave. Jesus never will do any of these. He’ll never leave us or forsake us—He’s promised us this and He keeps all His promises. So as thankful as I am for the six blessings which I have outlined during these past seven days, I am not resting on them for eternity. I’m only resting on Jesus.

Thank you Lord, for my salvation.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Fairest Lord Jesus,
Ruler of all nature,
Son of God and Son of Man!
Thee will I cherish,
Thee will I honor,
Thou my soul’s glory, joy, and crown.
~Munster Gesangbuch, 1677; tr.1850, 1873

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Rejoicing and Weeping

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15

I know I've been missing of late and if I haven't been to see you, it's because my heart hasn't been into blogging. I hope to be back next week.

I've been busy with others--preparing for a happy event as we put together a bridal shower for some close friends who are to be married next month. A time for rejoicing. And in the meantime, praying and ministering to friends whom I spoke about in the last post. Today was Ben's funeral. A time for weeping.

Such is life, isn't it? I refer you to Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 which was read at the funeral today.

Hope you are all well and that I might visit you next week. Blessings.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Come, Ye Disconsolate

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Come, ye disconsolate, where'er ye languish,
Come to the mercy-seat, fervently kneel:
Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish;
Earth has no sorrows that heav'n cannot heal.

Joy of the comfortless, light of the straying,
Hope of the penitent, fadeless and pure!
Here speaks the Comforter, in mercy saying,
"Earth has no sorrows that heav'n cannot cure."

Here see the Bread of Life; see waters flowing
Forth from the throne of God, pure from above:
Come to the feast prepared; come ever knowing
Earth has no sorrows but heav'n can remove.

Stanzas 1-2, Thomas Moore, 1816
Stanza 3, Thomas Hastings, 1832

For our dear friends, Ken and Wendy, whose son Ben was killed in an auto accident early this morning.

My International Day of Prayer post is at my other blog.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


I don't know how many of you have the struggles that I do with tv, but I would imagine that some of you do. Mine have gone on for many years now, and at times I have wished I could throw the old "boob tube" out the window. I've long ago given up the idea that I can find anything decent on it during the evening hours on the regular networks. We don't have cable or anything, so we're limited. Well, videos and dvds to the rescue! I am so thankful that we can have them; they have been so helpful to our family. I strongly appreciate the control they give us, and like many other families, we have compiled our own little library, which is made up of the ones we enjoy watching more than once.

Today, I was on Amazon for another reason and discovered that you can make your own list of Amazon products that you want to refer to others for whatever purpose you might have. I thought this was a nice forum for me to make recommendations from our little home "library." I've thought about doing that here at the blog, but this is even better because I can just leave the list there and add to it now and then. So I started it today.

So far the list has one item on it! That's as far as I could get today as I can only squeeze in computer time here and there (as I am now) throughout the course of the day. You know how it is, right? No longer do I wait to get a block of time to blog or comment. I just take quick snatches of time in the midst of household duties, which means that sometimes a post may take all day to finish!

Well, this first recommendation on the list is The Waltons series. Please, if there is any family oriented tv show that you'd like to have in your home to watch together, this is it. I would imagine that most of you are familiar with this show and like me, are thankful that it is now being made available on dvd. It's being recorded a season at a time and I believe they've just finished with the fifth season. We have the first four and I guess season 5 will be a Christmas present to ourselves! My daughter gave me a book last Christmas entitled Goodnight John-Boy by Earl Hamner and Ralph Griffin. It's Earl Hamner's stories about his childhood in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia which inspired the pilot film "The Homecoming" and then this beloved television series. Here is a quote from the back of this book:

"For nine years The Waltons entertained America and the world. But this television series was more than just entertainment. Each episode combined wonderful stories and 'teachable moments' in which adults and children alike learned the importance of honesty, hard work, respect, responsibility, self-sacrifice, and kindness."

I agree. And I say this is a worthwhile investment for your family to make. I'll be adding to my list as soon as I can, so visit my Listmania! list sometime. My hope is that it might be a help to someone at some point. Also, I'll probably post about some of my additions from time to time, especially when I make new discoveries.

Now, gather the family and bring out the popcorn! I hope you're prepared for the cold snowy nights that are coming!

Monday, November 05, 2007

A Special Testimony

Earlier this year I made a post about Johnny Farese, a man who puts all of us to shame as he bears up under his affliction. Today, I ran across a video of Johnny and I WISH you would please go look at it. While you listen, keep in mind that here is someone who is living a USEFUL life for Christ. I felt so convicted about having complained of my little discomforts of this day. Christina at Baptist Girl has posted this video and given me permission to link to it. Also read Christina's powerful words about the sovereignty of God.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

We Have Not Known Thee As We Ought

It seems like a long time since I posted a hymn from my original Thursday Thirteen listing that got me started on this weekly Saturday venture. There are only four more hymns left from that list, and this is one of them. It may not be familiar to you, as it wasn't for me until the last fifteen years or so. It's a hymn of repentance, and it has become one which I dearly love. The lyrics are so powerful, and unfortunately, so true. Read them carefully and tell me if these aren't words that each of us could utter in prayer to our Lord. Apparently, there are several melodies, but I particularly like the one we use at our church, which is the one found in the Trinity Hymnal of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Even though we are Baptists, our church uses this hymnal and I'm glad for that because I've learned so many hymns I didn't know before which are so rich in doctrine and meaning.

Meditate on the heartfelt words from this hymnwriter, as they could surely be expressed by each one of us:

We have not known thee as we ought,
Nor learned thy wisdom, grace and pow'r;
The things of earth have filled our thought,
And trifles of the passing hour.
Lord, give us light thy truth to see,
And make us wise in knowing thee.

We have not feared thee as we ought,
Nor bowed beneath thine awful eye,
Nor guarded deed, and word, and thought,
Remembering that God was nigh.
Lord, give us faith to know thee near,
And grant the grace of holy fear.

We have not loved thee as we ought,
Nor cared that we are loved by thee;
Thy presence we have coldly sought,
And feebly longed thy face to see.
Lord, give a pure and loving heart
To feel and own the love thou art.

We have not served thee as we ought;
Alas! the duties left undone,
The work with little fervor wrought,
The battles lost, or scarcely won!
Lord, give the zeal, and give the might,
For thee to toil, for thee to fight.

When shall we know thee as we ought,
And fear, and love, and serve aright!
When shall we, out of trial brought,
Be perfect in the land of light!
Lord, may we day by day prepare
To see thy face, and serve thee there.