Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Fire Against the Wall

"Then I saw in my dream that the Interpreter took Christian by the hand, and led him into a place where was a fire burning against a wall, and one standing by it, always casting much water upon it, to quench it; yet did the fire burn higher and hotter.

Then said Christian, What means this?

The Interpreter answered, This fire is the work of grace that is wrought in the heart; he that casts water upon it, to extinguish and put it out, is the Devil; but in that thou seest the fire notwithstanding burn higher and hotter, thou shalt also see the reason of that. So he had him about to the backside of the wall, where be saw a man with a vessel of oil in his hand, of the which He did also continually cast, but secretly, into the fire.

Then said Christian, What means this?

The Interpreter answered, This is Christ, who continually, with the oil of his grace, maintains the work already begun in the heart: by the means of which, notwithstanding what the devil can do, the souls of His people prove gracious still. And in that thou sawest that the man stood behind the wall to maintain the fire, that is to teach thee that it is hard for the tempted to see how this work of grace is maintained in the soul."

-John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress

Monday, September 29, 2008

Prayer Request

I would like to ask you all for prayer for the Kevin Bruce family. They are serving the Lord in Ecuador and are currently going through a trial as one of the men they have worked with was brutally killed in a fight last week. Tribal superstitions surround them, and the relatives of the murdered man are thirsty for revenge. Please pray that the Lord would give the Bruces strength, encouragement, and wisdom during this time. Pray for the light of God's Word to go forth and penetrate into this darkness, and that many people would come to Christ in the midst of this situation.

The story is given in more detail on their blog: http://brucekev.blogspot.com/.

"Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you" (2 Thessalonians 3:1).

The Lady's Confession

Originally titled Paul Faber, Surgeon, and published in 1879, The Lady's Confession is the second book in the heart-searching trilogy about Thomas Wingfold, the Curate of Glaston (see post for Wednesday, September 17, 2008). It was edited by Michael Phillips and republished by Bethany House Publishers in 1986.

The Lady's Confession follows The Curate's Awakening with a theme of "awakening", salvation. We again meet Thomas and Helen Wingfold and the warm-hearted midgets, Joseph and Rachel Polworth, continuing to serve God in the places He has put them and to reach out to poor and needy hearts that are searching for a God to trust in. People throughout Glaston are being touched by the honest and humble ministry of Thomas Wingfold, curate. Out of a colorful array of characters step the hero and heroine that make the story: Paul Faber and Juliet Meredith.

Paul Faber, briefly introduced in The Curate's Awakening, is the likable town doctor of Glaston. He considers himself an athiest and prides himself on his "goodness" and "honor". He scoffs at the idea of an eternal God and holds to the idea that this life is all there is, and beyond is darkness. He goes about helping people in a kind and compassionate way, and feels secure in his own professed goodness--hardly realizing that it is just a cover for the dirt and darkness deep inside.

Then he meets the Lady Juliet Meredith, recently moved to the area of Glaston. She is rapturously beautiful, and yet no one knows anything about her. She originally claims belief in a God, yet her vague ideas cannot stand before Faber's seemingly reasonable ideas, and she soon comes to the point of doubting whether there really is a God at all. After Faber saves her life in a dramatic moment, he falls deeply in love with her. For a time she shuns him, but under his drawing influence and the continual breakdown of her theology, she comes to return his love, and they look forward to a life wrapped up in each other. But hidden deep in the recesses of Juliet's past is a secret that threatens to destroy this hope of happiness and ruin their future together.

In a cleverly interwoven plot, we again see the work of the Lord upon doubting or self-sufficient lives, drawing them to Himself. There is no man who is sinless, and God often has to draw away our guise of "goodness" through events in our lives to reveal to us our dire need for Him and our destitution in ourselves. We see in Drake, Bevis, Dorothy, Faber, and Juliet, people not entirely unlike ourselves and are forced to consider with them what we really believe and where we really stand before God. We see, to use the words of the editor, Michael Phillips, that "in the end every person must make his own choice. Each man and woman stand before God in the silence and emptiness of their own heart and must choose whether they will say yes or no to Him."

I have to confess that I found this somewhat different reading than The Curate's Awakening. At first the plot seemed almost disjointed, but it comes together as it goes along. One has to take time to stop and think about what the author is saying throughout, and I suppose I will have to read it several times over again to get the full truth that is hidden in its pages. If you are desiring to grow in your walk with Christ and to learn to see Him as He really is, I would highly recommend The Lady's Confession. Curl up in a corner on a rainy day, turn on your brain, and be ready to enjoy and glean from another one of George MacDonald's masterful novels...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Matthew 5:38-48

Tonight I was reading in J. C. Ryle's Expository Thoughts on the Gospels and was very struck by what I read. Often when I read through familiar passages like the one below, it is so commonplace that I tend not to really think about what I'm reading and apply it to my life. But this really helped me to reflect on the meaning of the passage and what I am to do with it. It is a little long, but I think if you take the time to read it, you will be blessed as well.


"Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:38-48).

We have here our Lord Jesus Christ's rules for our conduct one towards another. He that would know how he ought to feel and act towards his fellow-men, should often study these verses. They deserve to be written in letters of gold: they have extorted praise even from the enemies of Christianity. Let us mark well what they contain.

The Lord Jesus forbids everything like an unforgiving and revengeful spirit. "I say unto you, That ye resist not evil." A readiness to resent injuries, a quickness in taking offence, a quarrelsome and contentious disposition, a keenness in asserting our rights,--all, all are contrary to the mind of Christ. The world may see no harm in these habits of mind; bat they do not become the character of the Christian. Our Master says, "Resist not evil."

The Lord Jesus enjoins on us a spirit of universal love and charity. "I say unto you, Love your enemies." We ought to put away all malice: we ought to return good for evil, and blessing for cursing. Moreover we are not to love in word only, but in deed; we are to deny ourselves, and take trouble, in order to be kind and courteous: if any man "compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain." We are to put up with much and bear much, rather than hurt another, or give offence. In all things we are to be unselfish. Our thought must never be, "How do others behave to me?" but "What would Christ have me to do?"

A standard of conduct like this may seem, at first sight, extravagantly high. But we must never content ourselves with aiming at one lower. We must observe the two weighty arguments by which our Lord backs up this part of His instruction. They deserve serious attention.

For one thing, if we do not aim at the spirit and temper which are here recommended, we are not yet children of God. What does our "Father which is in heaven" do? He is kind to all: He sends rain on good and on evil alike; He causes "His sun" to shine on all without distinction.--A child should be like his father: but where is our likeness to our Father in heaven if we cannot show mercy and kindness to everybody? Where is the evidence that we are new creatures if we lack charity? It is altogether wanting. We must yet be "born again." (John 3:7.)

For another thing, if we do not aim at the spirit and temper here recommended, we are manifestly yet of the world. "What do ye more than others?" is our Lord's solemn question. Even those who have no religion can "love those who love them:" they can do good and show kindness when affection or interest moves them. But a Christian ought to be influenced by higher principles than these.--Do we flinch from the test? Do we find it impossible to do good to our enemies? If that be the case we may be sure we have yet to be converted. As yet we have not "received the Spirit of God." (1Corinthians 2:12.)

There is much in all this which calls loudly for solemn reflection. There are few passages of Scripture so calculated to raise in our minds humbling thoughts. We have here a lovely picture of the Christian as he ought to be. We cannot look at it without painful feelings: we must all allow that it differs widely from the Christian as he is. Let us carry away from it two general lessons.

In the first place, if the spirit of these ten verses were more continually remembered by true believers they would recommend Christianity to the world far more than they do. We must not allow ourselves to suppose that the least words in this passage are trifling and of small moment: they are not so. It is attention to the spirit of this passage which makes our religion beautiful: it is the neglect of the things which it contains by which our religion is deformed. Unfailing courtesy, kindness, tenderness, and consideration for others, are some of the greatest ornaments to the character of a child of God. The world can understand these things if it cannot understand doctrine. There is no religion in rudeness, roughness, bluntness, and incivility. The perfection of practical Christianity consists in attending to the little duties of holiness as well as to the great.

In the second place, if the spirit of these ten verses had more dominion and power in the world, how much happier the world would be than it is. Who does not know that quarrellings, strifes, selfishness, and unkindness, cause half the miseries by which mankind is visited? Who can fail to see that nothing would so much tend to increase happiness as the spread of Christian love, such as is here recommended by our Lord? Let us remember this. Those who fancy that true religion has any tendency to make men unhappy, are greatly mistaken: it is the absence of it that does this, and not the presence. True religion has the directly contrary effect: it tends to promote peace, and charity, and kindness, and goodwill among men. The more men are brought under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, the more they will love one another, and the more happy they will be.

-J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, Volume 1, Matthew

Friday, September 26, 2008

"A man may look another in the face for a hundred years and not know him. Men have looked Jesus Christ in the face, and not known either Him or His Father. It was necessary that He should appear, to begin the knowing of Him, but His visible presence was quickly taken away so that it would not become a veil to hide men from the Father of their spirits. Many long for some sensible sign or intellectual proof. But such would only delay and impair that better ,that best, vision-- a contact with the heart of God Himself, a perception of His being imparted by His spirit. For the sake of the vision God longs to give you, you are denied the vision you want. The Father of our spirits is not content that we should know Him as we now know each other. There is a better, closer, and nearer way than any human way of knowing, and He is guiding us to that across all the swamps of our unteachableness, the seas of our faithlessness, the deserts of our ignorance.

Is it so very hard to wait for that which we cannot yet receive? Shall we complain of the shadows cast upon the mirrors of our souls by the hand and the polishing cloth, to receive more excellent glory? Have patience, children of the Father. Pray always, and do not faint. The mists and the storms and the cold will pass; the sun and the sky are forever. The most loving of you cannot imagine how one day the love of the Father will make you love. Even your own."

-George MacDonald, The Lady's Confession, page 150

Thursday, September 25, 2008

As Trees By the Water

"Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit" (Jeremiah 17:7,8).
This is a beautiful passage! Here we see the blessing and security of trusting in the Lord and being filled with Him. Those who trust in man will fail when the drought comes, like a "shrub in the desert" (verses 5,6). Man is never a steady support. Our feeble, human nature, tainted by pride and earth-centeredness, cannot stand up by itself under pressure, even though we think it might be able to. That is why to lean on it is disastrous, but to place it in the hands of our God is total security. God is steadfast, faithful, all-powerful, and all-knowing. With our roots feeding on the water of His Holy Spirit, we need never fear disaster or drought. Outward circumstances need not affect us. He sustains us through both the easy times and the difficult times, and we continue to bear fruit. O the blessings of being saturated with God's Word! May we draw our life from His life, abiding in Him, and He in us, so that when the time of trial comes, our leaves may remain green and we may be testimonies of the trustworthiness and goodness of our Source of Life-- the Lord Jesus Christ!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sleepless Nights

Doesn't it annoy you when you wake up in the middle of the night and can't go back to sleep? It is to me! It generally occurs on Saturday night, when I'm trying to get a good sleep before waking up at 5:00 on Sunday morning, or it happens when I have something weighing on my mind. Sometimes it happens for no apparent reason-- and I just can't get back to sleep!

During the ladies' prayer time at church a couple weeks ago, one lady shared the following remedy for sleepless nights:

Instead of thinking about how you need to go to sleep or about the things that went on yesterday, start reciting Bible verses! Start at the beginning of the alphabet and recite a verse that begins with that letter, and then go on through the whole alphabet!

I have already tried this a couple times and it is definitely a superb way to spend my sleepless moments! Here is an example:

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.
and so on :-)

I have found it is an excellent way to calm your soul. It is such a joy to recall verses of comfort and encouragement, and of the character of our God, as it draws us closer to Him. To use the words of the lady who shared this idea: This way, a time of frustration and distress can turn into a beautiful and comforting time of worshipping the Lord.

"My mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: when I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches." (Psalm 63:5b-6)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Athiest Quiz

I have heard a couple times this thought-provoking question and response to ask someone who claims they do not believe in a God, because they do not see Him.

Question: "Of all the things in the whole wide world that there is to know, what percentage of it do you know?"

An honest person couldn't really give a very high percentage (I give myself less than 0.05%! ;-) ). But let's pretend he says 30%.

The question to ask then is, "What if God is in that 70% that you don't know?"


It occured to me the other day that to suppose there is no God just because one cannot see Him is a very proud, self-filled, narrow-minded way to think. "I can't see it, so it must not be there." As it says in John, we have never seen the wind-- we see only the effects of it. We cannot see God with human eyes, yet we know He is, because we see His handiwork, His providence, and His self-revelation in His Word.

Jesus says, "Blessed are they who have not seen [Me], and yet have believed" (John 20: 30). "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). God honors the simple faith that believes Him for Whom He has said He is. O for the day when faith becomes sight, and all those who rejected a God that they could not see will at least be convinced "that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6).

Directed Prayer

O God, Thy thought is far above
My utmost thought of Thee,
And yet Thy thought to me is love;
And Love comes near to me.

O Love, come near and nearer still;
Fold me in quietness
Till all the movements of my will
Thy conquering power confess,

That so, of Love alone aware,
Love flowing over me,
Thy Spirit may direct my prayer
To that which pleaseth Thee.

-Amy Carmichael, Wings, Part 1

Friday, September 19, 2008

Quote for the Day

"It may not be necessary for us to withdraw from home and friends; but we shall have to withdraw our hearts' deepest dependence from all earthly props and supports if ever we are to learn what it is to trust simply and absolutely on the eternal God."
-F. B. Meyer

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Curate's Awakening

It was in 1876, at the height of George MacDonald's writing career, that he released the profound, incredible story of Thomas Wingfold, Curate. In 1985, Bethany House Publishers released a new edition, revised by Michael R. Phillips and renamed The Curate's Awakening. Of all of George MacDonald's books (and I've read about ten!) this is one of the most powerful, soul-searching, and eye-opening of them!

It is a story of awakening. As the title indicates, the story centers around the new curate of Glaston, a young man named Thomas Wingfold. Wingfold entered the clergy viewing it as a "profession" rather than as a heart-felt service to God. He plagiarizes other's sermons and has never preached something God had shown him personally through His Word. He never really thought about what he believed; he rather took it for granted that there was a God--until the day he was challenged with a question by a self-sufficient, scoffing athiest: "Tell me, do you really believe one word of all that?" This question sends Wingfold into a host of questions of his own: "How am I to know that there is a God?" "Was there ever such a man as Jesus Christ?" Through the help of a saintly dwarf named Polwarth, Wingfold turns to the Scriptures to see Christ as He really is.

But Wingfold is not the only soul to be awakened in this stirring novel. We are given another profound character in the young woman Helen Lingard. At the beginning of the story, we find her as asleep as a soul could be, and easily swayed by the athiest talk of her cousin Bascombe. But when circumstances in her life take a drastic turn, and her beloved younger brother turns up a murderer, she too must find answers to the piercing questions of life: "Is there a God?" and "Does He really care?" Helen's search for life and hope, spurned by trials in life and Christ's invitation to "Come", but hindered by doubts and fears and selfishness, will inspire you.

George MacDonald's writings are phenomenal-- he has such an incredible way of mixing such deep, soul-searching truths in with an riveting plot! The Curate's Awakening digs deep into the reader's soul. The reader is challenged, as Thomas Wingfold was, to examine whether they are in the faith-- Do I say I believe in God, and in His teachings, just because I have always been taught so, and because it is expected of me? Or do I really know Jesus for myself-- have I sought for Him in His Word and found Him to be true? Is my faith merely head knowledge? Or is it complete dependence, accompanied by the fruit of works? Thomas Wingfold challenges his congregation to ask themselves, as he had too asked himself, "Do I then obey His Word? Have I ever, have I once, sought to obey it? Am I a pupil of Jesus Christ? Am I a Christian?" The book also illustrates beautifully the tender love of our God and His power to wash away any sin, however black-- whether it be dishonesty in business, plagiarism in the pulpit, or even murder. A devotional with a fiction twist, The Curate's Awakening strikes deep in the reader's heart and leaves a lasting imprint there. A repentant murderer, a pondering draper, a vengeful mother, a mocking athiest, a struggling woman, and an open-hearted curate all play a part in the development of a powerful and unforgettable novel that you are sure to enjoy!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Someone's Watching!

Dr. S. M. Davis has an excellent message about "The Kingdom of Your Influence". He compares one's influence to the kingdom over which he rules. Each of us influences someone-- we cannot turn our influence off, no matter how hard we try. There is always someone who is watching us and who will learn from what we do or say. This can be good, or it can be bad. If we are living for Christ, hopefully we can influence others to desire to live for Him too. But if we are walking in disobedience to God, maybe someone will say, "Oh, well, if she does it, I guess I can too!" and displease Christ.

This week some friends from Indiana came to visit. We met them when the father was serving as an interim pastor at a church we used to go to, and have kept up a friendship with them even after they moved. They have a little girl named Kaylyn. Kaylyn was three when I met her and is almost seven now. Kaylyn's and my relationship is very unique. I am ten years older than her, at a completely different stage of life, and yet she considers me her "best friend". She writes me letters and loves to have me read to her and play dolls with her when we get together. It's so fun, not only for her, but also for me! There is one thing that I have to keep an eye on: that is, what am I teaching her by my example? Do I teach her to be unkind to her siblings when I get exasperated at my own sister about something? Or do I teach her to be like Christ and show love towards others by showing love myself? Do I teach her to want to do her own thing and not listen to authority? Or do I, by submitting myself, teach her the joys of submission? Do I influence her to seek things of this world? Or do I encourage her, by my example, to seek the things which are above? Since she looks up to me as a best friend, she will want to do what I do. She's watching me-- does she me following Christ?

Then the situation reverses when it come to the friendship between Kaylyn's mom and myself. Mrs. Hadley has been such an encouragement to me and is an example to me of the godly lady I want to be. Because she has been careful to reflect Christ and be an example of the believers, I have been influenced by her to desire Christlikeness myself. She and I write back and forth too, and her letters are always so encouraging. There are ladies at church, too, like her that I am blessed to know. I watch them and see how they respond during circumstances, how they relate to their husbands, how they work with their children, and so forth...
We all influence someone. We must watch to make sure that we influence them to seek Christ
rather than to live for themselves. Think as you go about your day today-- someone's watching!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Wanted: Information on 17th Century England

I have recently been formulating a new story in my mind, set in the day of King Charles I (during the Eleven Year Tyranny). If you know where I can get information on
  • King Charles I
  • Life in 17th century England
  • History of Puritanism

would you comment and let me know? (I prefer for the information to be written from a Christian perspective.) I have borrowed some resources from our tiny town library but would like to study it as much as I can so the story can be as accurate as possible! (That is one of the things I look for most in a historical novel!) Thanks!

So Near

Below, above, around thee everywhere--
So is My love, like clearness of blue air.

To find the air so high, and yet so low,
Tell Me, beloved, hast thou far to go?


So high, so low-- but I had thought Thee far,
Remote, aloof, like glory of a star.

And is the way of love so near to me?
Then by that way I come; I come to Thee.

-Amy Carmichael, Gold By Moonlight

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Have you ever sat down and tried to read the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) as if you had never read it before? Have you ever imagined what it might be like to be a zealous Jew of Jesus' day, waiting for a Messiah to redeem Israel from Rome's dominion, and hearing Jesus preach this message? Have you ever tried to think of what your life would be like if you actively applied and lived the Beatitudes?

These are some of the thoughts our pastor has been helping us to think as he takes us through the Sermon on the Mount. So far we have gone through three of the Beatitudes, and there is one word that I might put to it:
Biblical truth is painful, but that's good! It goes against our natural grain, but it is to change us to the pattern of Christ.

Today's text was "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5). Pastor's theme was "Meekness of character involves the restraining influence of the Spirit of God producing a governed life of selfless sacrifice." He talked about the nature of meekness and really made me think about how meek I am-- or rather, how meek I am not! He described meekness as being like a broken-in horse-- it is "strength under control". It "maintains strength while yielding self-will". Meekness in our lives will be seen in our relationships with God and others. Am I always asserting my rights, trying to prove myself or lift myself up, and getting angry when people don't do things the way I want them to? Am I always defending myself and pretending to be something I am not just to gain man's approval? If so (and it is so far too often!), I have some serious adjusting to do! I need to submit myself to God and allow His Holy Spirit to transform my life, rooting out the pride for which all other vices grow and making me more like Jesus Christ.

One thing that really "hurt" was a quote of Martin Lloyd-Jones that Pastor quoted. I didn't write down the exact wording, but the idea was as follows: It is not that hard for we ourselves to realize of ourselves where we need to change, or to admit we are desperate sinners. But when others bring it to our attention, all of a sudden we become defensive and angry that someone would point out something wrong in us. It is the indwelling, fleshy desire for approval that we must ask Christ to cleanse from our lives if we are to be like the meek and lowly Jesus.

In the world's eyes, meekness is weakness. Their question is, "How can the meek inherit the earth? They don't stand up for themselves, they don't promote themselves..." But Christ's kingdom is different than man's ideas of one, and His is the only right way. As we march under the banner of Jesus Christ, victory is sure. "The truly meek man is completely satisfied -- weaned off of earthbound hopes -- has nothing and yet has all. The appeal for the earthbound, for approval, is gone."

(P.S. Sentences in parentheses are from the outline or random sentences of his that I jotted down in my note-taking.)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The High and Holy Place

"For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones" (Isaiah 57:15).
In the high and holy place--
There I dwell and there I see
Dirt, sin, and atrocity--
The human race.
In the high and holy place--
There I dwell and there I stretch
My nail-pierced hands to helpless wretch
And sinner base.
In the high and holy place--
There I dwell in glorious light
And hear the humble and contrite
And give them grace.
In the high and holy place--
There I dwell and there I give
My life and love that man may live
In my embrace.
In the high and holy place--
There I dwell, and so may all
Who trust in Me and on me call
And seek My face.
P.S. I couldn't get this to space the way I wanted it to-- sorry about that! :-)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Christ's Invitation to the Thirsty

I simply LOVE the latter part of Isaiah!! And one of my favorite chapters in that book, as well as in the Old Testament, is chapter 55. It is such a beautiful psalm, full of God's mercy, power, forgiveness, and wisdom. Today I noticed a parallel between verse 1 and some of the Beatitudes (which our Pastor has been preaching through lately).

"Ho, everyone that thirsteth..."
"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness..."

"...come ye to the waters..."
"...for they shall be filled."

"...and he that hath no money..."
"Blessed are the poor in spirit..."

"...come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price."
"...for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Jesus offers salvation to those who recognize their total inadequacy and poverty of spirit, and satisfies those who thirst for His presence and His Word, who hunger for the Bread of Life. He calls us to leave off striving for that which does not satisfy, to turn from our own way, and to seek Him and "hearken diligently" unto Him. When a soul seeks for Him with his whole heart, He will be found. When he comes to Christ for fulfilment, he will have it-- "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life" (John 4:14).

D.L. Moody put it well when he said, "God sends no one away empty except those who are full of themselves." God desires us to be emptied of ourselves, to realize the spiritual poverty of our hearts, and to drink freely of the Living Waters that He offers us through His Son!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Wisdom of Winthrop

In my History I read about John Winthrop, who was the founder and governor of Massachusetts in the 1600's. I was impressed with some of what it said about him, so I wanted to quote the book here:

"He was a man of great wisdom. When another of the leading men in the colony wrote him an angry letter, he sent it back, saying that 'he was not willing to keep such a provocation to ill-feeling by him.' The writer of the letter answered, 'Your overcoming yourself has overcome me.'"
- A History of the United States and Its People by Edward Eggleston, page 43

This stood out to me. How often we hold something against someone else and keep feeding ourselves with negativities about someone, which continues to feed our anger and bitterness. Here, Winthrop chose not to dwell on what the other man had said-- in fact, he chose to not even put himself in the position to become bitter-- and this self-control and wisdom that he showed was more effective than if he had reacted in the flesh and blown up. Let us remember this as we interact with people throughout the day. Let us not hold things against others and dwell on wrongs done to us; instead let us go on in the love and kindness of our Lord, responding as Christ would respond and not "giv[ing] place to the devil" (Ephesians 4:27). Maybe it can also be said of us, "Your overcoming yourself [through Christ!] has overcome me."

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Quote for the Day

"A man can no more take in a supply of grace for the future than he can eat enough for the next six months, or take sufficient air into his lungs at one time to sustain life for a week. We must draw upon God's boundless store of grace from day to day as we need it."
-D. L. Moody

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

"I, even I, am the Lord; and beside Me their is no Saviour" (Isaiah 43:11).

A recurring theme in these chapters is the fact that God is God-- the only God-- and deserves our utmost love and praise. Over and over we read about the supremity of God over all else, and of the vanity of manmade "gods". There is one God and He deserves our worship and adoration. Of course, this is a fact we generally agree with in word, but how often we fail to apply it! Our sinful nature rises up and says, like Babylon, "None seeth me... I am, and none else beside me" (47:10). We set ourselves up above all else, follow our own desires and ideas, try to rule ourselves and please ourselves. In following our own pursuits, we leave God and others behind in the dust. Shame on us! There is one God-- JEHOVAH-- He deserves our service, love, and worship. He deserves first place in our hearts. We need to make Him the goal and center of our lives and not allow anything-- friends, family, entertainment-- to take His place. May He rule on the throne of my heart!


My name is Melanie and I have decided to begin my own blog. Here I am plan to post thoughts on what I read in God's Word, quotes, pictures, my writings, and other things. It is my desire that that all I record here will bring glory to God and be an encouragement to my readers.

"Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established" (Proverbs 16:3)