Saturday, November 29, 2008

Jesus Is... (Part 2 expounded upon)

Jesus is the Good Shepherd.

Text: Ezekiel 34
Sheep are naturally very stupid creatures. They need to have someone to guide them or else they will come to utter ruin out of sheer stupidity. God set up shepherds for His sheep-- kings, priests, etc.-- but they did not do as He had commanded them; rather, they used their position to serve themselves. They fed off of the "sheep" (people) and did not lead and watch after them as they should have. So the sheep wandered and were lost. Because there was no sufficient shepherd (prophet, priest, and king), the Great Shepherd (Prophet, Priest, and King) stepped in. He searched for the lost sheep, and found them. He led His sheep to fresh pastures and still waters. He cared for the weak and the wounded among them. He judged the sheep who were all about themselves, striving to get all they could first.

In this chapter of Ezekiel, there is a very exciting prophecy: "And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it" (verse 23,24). This instantly turns my mind to the words of Jesus Christ: "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine." "My servant David" refers to Jesus Christ, who was of the lineage of David, yet also the Son of God. He indeed is a Shepherd to His people.
So here I am: Melanie the Bewildered. I am a very stupid (as in, silly) sheep who never really knows where she is going or what to do. Yesterday morning when I read this passage, I had begun with a mind clouded by a million things that would like to veil the pathway from my eyes. I worry, I fret, I wander, I forget... and yet my Jesus guides me when I don't know the way; He carries me when I am too weak to go on by myself; He leads me on when I begin to trample the ground around me (spiritual stagnance); He gives me hope when otherwise I would have none. What a wonderful, dear Shepherd! How lost I would be without Him! I am totally insufficient, unable to guide my own self. If I was left to myself, I would go directly to destruction. I must stay close to my Shepherd, for there is safety and hope. He will lead me on to better pastures and fresh water. He will care for me when I am hurt or sick, and He will provide protection from the cold and the weather.

God's love amazes me! Who am I, that He would search for me time and time again and always find me and bring me back? How is it that He doesn't ever "write me off" (as Dan says in Last Flight Out)? What overwhelming mercy and goodness. What a wonderful Shepherd we have in Jesus Christ.

"He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those who are with young" (Isaiah 40:11)

"For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day" (Ezekiel 34:11,12)

"For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls" (1 Peter 2:25)

"Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen" (Hebrews 13:20, 21)

Thursday, November 27, 2008


"And God be praised, we had a good increase... Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of ours labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help besides, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we excercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty... These things I thought good to let you understand... that you might on our behalf give God thanks who hath dealt so favourably with us."

-Edward Winslow, in a letter to a friend in England

"They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwelling against the winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty. For as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercised in fishing, about cod and bass and otehr fish, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion. All the summer there was no want; and now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees.) And besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides, they had about a peck a meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to that proportion. Which made many aterwards write so largely of their plenty here to their friends in England, which were not feigned but true reports."

-William Bradford, Of Plimoth Plantation

"And thus they found the Lord to be with them in all their ways, and to bless their outgoings and incomings, for which let His holy name have the praise forever, to all posterity."

-William Bradford, Of Plimoth Plantation


*Mercy* in the Book of Ezekiel

I have been reading through Ezekiel recently and if you read it without the right perspective, through the eyes of the flesh, it may seem to portray God has very harsh and judging. There are so many seemingly "harsh" judgments in this book. Some may be tempted to say, like Israel, "The way of the Lord is not equal (just)." They may wonderful how a merciful God could do those sorts of things. However, that all comes from an earthly, clouded perspective. Ezekiel is actually a book about God's mercy and love.

"As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?" (Ezekiel 33:11)

The Psalmist describes Him as "merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy." He "is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." This is seen clearly in this verse from Ezekiel. Over and over again, He reached out in mercy, inviting the people of Israel to return to Him, to forsake their sin and cling to Him for salvation. Sin requires justice and judgment; God wanted His people to turn from it before it was too late. He pleaded with them, asking why they insisted on ways that would lead to their own destruction and death. Sadly, they continued to reject Him, bringing judgment on themselves.

"Yet the children of thy people say, They way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal" (Ezekiel 33:17, emphasis mine).

We humans have (apart from God's Spirit dwelling in us) such a blinded and earthly perspective. We can only see the injustice to us, when it is really us who are being unjust and wrong. People often are resistant to the Gospel because they want the satisfaction of thinking they're right, and they think God is unjust for punishing anyone for their sin. Oh that people-- that we-- would see that God alone is entirely just and entirely merciful at the same time. That is why He "sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin" and "condemned sin in the flesh in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." He will accept us if we turn to Him in full dependence and faith, but if we reject Him to the end, He will have to reject us.

God's love and patience and mercy is so amazing; we should truly thank Him for it on this day of thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Love Lustres at Calvary

The following is a prayer that was printed on the back of the church bulletins on Sunday. It really spoke to my heart and, though it is a little long, I wanted to share it with you.
"My Father,
Enlarge my heart, warm my affections, open my lips,
supply words that proclaim 'Love lustres at Calvary.'
There grace removes my burdens and heaps them on Thy Son,
made a transgressor, a curse, and sin for me;
There the sword of Thy justice smote the Man, Thy fellow;
There thy infinite attributes were magnified,
and infinite atonement was made;
There infinite punishment was due,
and infinite punishment was endured.
Christ was all anguish that I might be all joy,
cast off that I might be brought in,
trodden down as an enemy that I might be welcomed as a friend,
surrendered to hell's worst that I might attain heaven's best,
stripped that I might be clothed,
wounded that I might be healed,
athirst that I might drink,
tormented that I might be comforted,
made a shame that I might inherit glory,
entered darkness that I might have eternal light.
My Savior wept that all tears might be wiped from my eyes,
groaned that I might have endless song,
endured all pain that I might have unfading health,
bore a thorned crown that I might have a glory-diadem,
bowed His had that I might uplift mine,
experienced reproach that I might receive welcome,
closed His eyes in death that I might gaze on unclouded brightness,
expired that I might for ever live.
O Father, who spared not Thine only Son that Thou mightest spare me,
All this transfer Thy love designed and accomplished;
Help me to adore Thee by lips and life.
O that my every breath might be ecstatic praise,
my every step bouyant with delight, as I see my enemies crushed,
Satan baffled, defeated, destroyed,
sin buried in the ocean of reconciling blood,
hell's gates closed, heaven's portal open.
Go forth, O conquering God, and show me the cross,
mighty to subdue, comfort and save."
This Thanksgiving, we will thank the Lord for our homes, food to eat, friends, and so on. But let us not forget to thank Him for the most glorious gift ever given: the Lord Jesus Christ. In Him is life and hope and peace!
"For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But commendeth His own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:6-8)

Monday, November 24, 2008

What Not to Worry About

Yesterday in Pastor's afternoon message about "Ministering the Gospel in Athens" (from Acts 17:16-34), he touched on something that really stood out to me. His point was, don't consume your time and energy on things you can't change-- as a Christian, do what God has called you to do, which is to give the Gospel. I realized as he spoke on this how much time and energy I spend in worrying about things I can't change. The night of the election (Nov. 4), I was thinking a lot about the elections, wondering who had won it, and my dreams were filled with Obama and McCain-- Obama doing all these dreadful things, and things like that. And after that, I tended to worry about what might happen now, what will change, and such. But no matter how much I worry about things, (1) it doesn't change anything, and (2), I still don't know what's going to happen-- only God does! So it gets me nowhere! It's just a waste of my time and mental capacity!

So what is the solution? What should I do instead?

Just what God tells me to do (and there are no "ifs", "ands", or "buts" about what culture I was born into, what point in history I live in, who is the ruler of my nation, etc.): Spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Plant and water the seed! Introduce souls into His kingdom! That is our mission as Christians, and that will change the world. Not huge political gatherings. Not organizations against this or that problem in government or society. Not worrying. Not arguing. Just the Gospel of Jesus Christ-- a thing that is timeless in its message and eternal in its truth. As Christians, we must be consumed by His glory, and jealous for His glory. Ours souls must be "attuned to the eternal".

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Joshua 12-14
"Levi's inheritance is three times mentioned in this section (13:14; 13:33, 14:3). Nothing but Jehovah! What a poor tribe, we would say. How will they ever live? Ah, faith's eyes look up and are satiated with the unseen possessions in God's person. I would be so-- nothing save God. Satisfy me, O my Heavenly Inheritance."

-from The Journals of Jim Elliot, entry dated June 22, 1948

Virtuous Woman post

Marie has written an excellent post on the virtuous woman and I highly recommend it to you! She expounded on this topic in a way I had never heard before, and it was SO good!! It really spoke to my heart as it showed me what I am to be as a woman of God.

Thanks, Marie!! :-D

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Too Much to Read!

I have to laugh at myself when I think about all the many, many books I want to read. I LOVE to read-- especially books that are edifying to my walk with the Lord-- but there are really just too many to read! This winter shouldn't be boring or pointless, if I just limit too much wasted computer time!!

How about a pictorial guide?

* Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

* Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

* David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (I did actually already start this one, but set it aside for other books

* Sergeant York and the Great War by Alvin C. York/Tom Skeyhill/Richard Wheeler

* A Man Called Peter by Catherine Marshall

*Ellanor's Exchange by Linda Hayner

*Christy by Catherine Marshall

*Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

* A Chance To Die by Elisabeth Elliot (re-read)

*Bunyan's Blind Daughter Mary by S. R. Ford

*J. Hudson Taylor by Roger Steer

* Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose (re-read)

*Mountain Rain by Eileen Fraser Crossman

* Stones of Fire by Isobel Kuhn

*Green Leaf in Drought by Isobel Kuhn (re-read)

*North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (not pictured)

Big list, isn't it? (And there are many more re-reads in order which I have not indicated.) Please feel free to comment and tell me your rating on some of the above which you have read, so I know what is worth my time or not. :-)

Have you ever thought to evaluate what kind of entertainment is really worth your time? Does the book encourage you to seek to have your own way or learn to give up your own rights for God's glory and others' good? Does it promote worldly behaviors or Christlike living? Does it cause you to imagine all kinds of unrealistic romances adventures, etc., happening to yourself, or place in you a determination to serve God no matter what happens? Does it align with the guidelines in God's Word? If it was an animate person, would you spend time with it then? These are things to keep in mind as you and I choose which books to "befriend". 1 Corinthians sums it up well:

"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31)


Here are the books I am currently reading:

The Practice of the Presence of God

by Brother Lawrence ~ Advice on how to make God the very center of your life, in all that you do

To The Golden Shore

by Courtney Anderson ~ A biography on the amazing life and work of missionary Adoniram Judson

The Journals of Jim Elliot edited by Elisabeth Elliot ~ Just what it says-- the journals of a man of God

Of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford ~ An account of God's hand in the travels of the Pilgrims and the founding of Plymouth

Emma by Jane Austen ~ A delightful fictional story of early 19th-century England, and a high-ranked young woman with a love for matchmaking and much to learn, for all she thinks she knows!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New Blog!

Our friend Bethany (not the same as my sister :-) ) has started a blog to share about what Christ has been doing in her life. Feel free to check it out:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Random Quotes on Obedience

"Obedience to God's will is the secret of spiritual knowledge and insight. It is not willingness to know, but willingness to do (obey) God's Will that brings certainty."
-Eric Liddell


"Happy is the soul which… holds itself ceaselessly in the hands of its Creator, ready to do everything when He wishes; which never stops saying to itself a hundred times a day, 'Lord, what would you have me to do?'"
-François Fénelon


"Partial obedience, delayed obedience, and surface obedience to impress others are not acceptable unto God. He is looking for men and women who will respond with instant, complete, whole-hearted, and joyous obedience each time He speaks."
-Del Fehsenfeld, Jr.


"…Faith and obedience are one and the same spirit; what in the heart we call faith, in the will we call obedience…the Lord refuse[s] the so-called faith which [finds] its vent at the lips in worshipping words and not at the limbs in obedient action."
-George MacDonald, The Curate's Awakening


"I was not born to be free. I was born to adore and to obey."
-C. S. Lewis

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Could Not Do Without Thee

I just read a post about advertisements rejecting belief in "a god". How very tragic that this world would reject the only One that can give them hope-- Jesus Christ! And how tragic that we Christians have become negligent in sharing this hope with others, and are so often poor examples of the beauty of the Christ-life. Reading that post set my mind to the words of a song my family enjoys singing and I wanted to post it here. Where would I be without my God? Despair, definitely. Life is not worth living without Jesus.
"I could not do without Thee,
O Savior of the lost,
Whose precious blood redeemed me
At such tremendous cost.
Thy righteousness, Thy pardon,
Thy precious blood must be
My only hope and comfort,
My glory and my plea.
"I could not do without Thee,
I cannot stand alone.
I have no strength or goodness,
No wisdom of my own.
But Thou, beloved Savior,
Art all in all to me,
And weakness will be power
If leaning hard on Thee.
"I could not do without Thee,
O Jesus, Savior dear;
E'en when my eyes are 'holden,
I know that Thou art near.
How dreary and how lonely
This changeful life would be
Without the sweet communion,
The secret rest with Thee.
"I could not do without Thee,
For years are fleeting fast,
And soon in solemn loneness,
The river must be passed.
But Thou wilt never leave me,
And though the waves roll high,
I know Thou wilt be near me,
And whisper, 'It is I.'"
-Frances R. Havergal
Click here to listen to a clip of this song!

More on Memorization

This is Part 2 to the article included in my last post.

Memorization, to some people, seems like a frightful and looming task-- and there is the problem! “Task”! Memorizing shouldn’t be a task or a checklist, but something we eagerly go for, so that God’s Word isn’t just part of our morning, but the center of our whole day. It seems difficult, though, to remember so many words. Don’t let it beat you down! Ask God for strength and ability. He will honor His Word!

Some people find it easier to memorize a big chunk of a passage all at once while others would rather memorize shorter passages, consisting of just one or two verses. Either way is fine, as long as you are hiding it in your heart and not your head. Various people use different methods to memorize. There are many that I could suggest, but I would like to share with you just one very helpful method that I learned from a Bible study I went through (Changed Into His Image by Jim Berg).

Let’s take Psalm 119:9 as a practice verse. First, write out the verse.

“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.”

Now, on a different paper-- preferably a 3 X 5 card that you can carry with you-- write the first initials of each word, keeping all punctuation and capitalization the same.

“W s a y m c h w? b t h t a t t w.”

Looking at the card with the initials will help to trigger your mind about what the word is, without you just reading the words mindlessly and repeatedly. This helps for quick reference throughout the day as you work it down into your heart and head as well.

One thing I have been doing recently as I have been memorizing is an in-depth study of each verse and writing it out in a notebook. This is helpful for me because it helps me to think about what the verse is really saying, and when I remember the content of the verse, I remember the words of the verse as well!

These are some random suggestions to make memorization more practical and helpful and long-lasting. Of course, it does not matter what method you use, but that you are truly engraining it in your heart. What a wonderful privilege it is to hold God’s Word not only in our hands, but also in our hearts!

Below are a few practical verses and passages to work on, if you have not been memorizing lately and would like something to memorize.

Deuteronomy 6:5-9
Psalm 101
Proverbs 4:20-27
Matthew 5:3-12
Romans 12
Ephesians 4:25-32
Philippians 4:8
Colossians 3:1-17

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Way of Escape

I wrote the following article for a magazine some time back, but the magazine was discontinued before it was able to be published. Scripture memorization has really been on my heart lately, which reminded me of this article, so I decided to publish it here. :-)


In the world of nature, God has wonderfully equipped many of His creatures with defense mechanisms and instincts suited perfectly to their environments. Some creatures have hard shells covering their bodies and shielding them from predators. Some creatures have great speed, and others can even change their color to blend in with their surroundings! Some attack their predators in return, with sharp tusks, teeth, and claws. The bombardier beetle emits a small chemical explosion from its backside to blow away its attacker, and there is one kind of lizard that will climb into a hole in a rock when preyed upon and will blow itself up to the size of the hole so that the pursuer cannot reach in and get it.

The parallels that God has made between physical creation and our spiritual lives are very noteworthy. We also have an enemy, the devil, who, “as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). He often attacks in subtle ways, like deception and temptation. Temptation is something that has come to every soul ever to inhabit a human body, and to listen to it and be snared by it will lead to sin, and henceforth to death (James 1:14, 15). It sounds bleak, doesn’t it? However, there is good news!

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

There it is! -- A promise from our faithful God to always provide for us a way of escape when temptation comes our way-- and it will come! Just as He has endowed His creatures with incredible modes of escape, He has also given us a way of escape in this realm of spiritual war. But what is this “way of escape”?

We will see the answer by observing the way taken by Jesus, Who is our perfect example. In Matthew 4, we read that Jesus fasted for forty days in the wilderness and was tempted by the devil. The devil was trying to persuade Jesus to do things that were outside God’s parameters, but Jesus, Who was sinless and perfect, knew how to combat these. Three times he replied, “It is written…” and proclaimed the words of God as ammunition against satan. Three times he overcame temptation with the very words of God.

In Ephesians chapter 6, we see a list of the armor God has given us to stand against the wiles of the devil. Many of these are defensive weapons to shield ourselves from the devil’s attacks; however, one of these is offensive, and that is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” The Bible is not just a book; it is the very words of God translated into our language so we can read and know His will and see His character. Therefore, when we use Scripture against temptation, we are using the steadfast, unfailing words of a steadfast, unfailing God. (Read Psalm 19 for a beautiful description of the Word of God.) With God’s Word, we hack away any guise of deception and see sin for what it really is. Satan cannot stand before the mighty Word of God, and has no choice but to flee.

So what does this mean for us? We have established a knowledge of the function of the Bible in spiritual warfare. But what shall we do with this knowledge? How do we know the Word of God to use it as weaponry against Satan?

The writer of Psalm 119 (probably King David) said, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee” (Psalm 119:11). There is a direct answer. We must not only listen to God’s Word and read it, but we must also hide it in our heart by diligent meditation and memorization. We must gird ourselves with the Word of God so that throughout the day we can detect Satan’s deceptions and combat them. We cannot let it go in one ear and out the other; we must “chew it down” into our soul and hide in our hearts. This is emphasized very emphatically in this Psalm. So when Satan comes along throughout the day and whispers in your ear a subtle temptation to disobey your parents or lie about something, you will have the verse in your mind ready to take out and use against Satan and to help you do right. Remember, it is the very words of God that you are memorizing, and God is so much more powerful than Satan is! The Word of God has all power to defend against the enemy and set our hearts upon our heavenly Father. It is truly a way of escape!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting

We sang the following song in church last night, and as we sang it, I was so blessed by the words of prayer and worship. How I need the message of this song; to quiet my heart and rest in the love and wisdom of my Saviour. Read the words carefully. Aren't they so beautiful? Do we not serve a wonderful, beautiful Lord? Is it not wonderful that He is so great and good that we can rest on Him completely and know He will not let us fall, ever?

"Jesus, I am resting, resting
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.

"O, how great Thy loving kindness,
Vaster, broader than the sea!
O, how marvelous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Beloved,
Know what wealth of grace is Thine,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.

"Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings:
Thine is love indeed!

"Ever lift Thy face upon me
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting 'neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth's dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father's glory,
Sunshine of my Father's face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting,
Fill me with Thy grace."
-Jean S. Pigott

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Vacant Hearts

"I know that for the right practice of [the presence of God] the heart must be empty of all other things, because God wil possess the heart alone; and as He cannot possess it alone without emptying it of all besides, so neither can He act there, and do in it what He pleases, unless it be left vacant to Him."

-Brother Lawrence

Monday, November 10, 2008


"For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwells in you" (Romans 8:5-9a)

I love this whole chapter. As our pastor says, it begins with "no condemnation" and ends with "no separation". In the verses recorded above, we are challenged as to our focus. Verse 5 has also been worded, "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit." "Setting our minds"-- we all set our minds on something. We all devote much energy and time dwelling on one thing or another. In this passage, we are challenged as to what the content of our thoughts is. It could be our upcoming schedules, the interesting week we just had, our schoolwork, our jobs, a certain person, a new movie we just watched... But wait! What does this say? "They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh, but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit." If we are living fleshly, unChristlike lives, it will be fleshly, unChristlike things that fill our minds. But if we are filling the resovoirs of our hearts with Christ, and if we are living a life to please Him, our thoughts, too, will be filled with Christ. If your thoughts are like the former, beware! The "carnal mind" (a mind set on the flesh) is enmity with (hostile to) God! To not be Christlike is to be fleshly; not to be heavenly minded is to be earthly minded. Fleshly-mindedness (if that is a word :-) ) is directly opposed to all that Christ would have us to be like.
In Colossians 3, He calls us to "set your affection on (STRONGS gives the idea of "exercising" the mind" or "entertaining thoughts") things above, not on things of the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." We are to die to the things of the world, and live our lives through Christ. If we are doing this, Christ will fill our hearts and minds.

I am not saying we cannot turn our thoughts to any earthly things. Moms need to think about planning meals; kids need to diligently apply themselves to their schoolwork; I as an author will need to devote time to my books and articles. But through all this, there out to be an ever-present awareness of the Saviour, and we should often come back to Him in our thoughts and hearts and commune with Him.

Allow me to give an example of this in an outward sense. My good friend Leahna and I have delightful conversations on all sorts of subjects. But I've noticed that nearly all the time the conversation somehow ends up back on the things of the Lord: what He's been teaching us, what His Word says about this or that, and so on. It is the same with several other of my girl- and lady-friends. These friendships are so encouraging because they point me towards the Lord. Now, let's apply that to our very thought life. All we think should somehow still come back to the Lord of glory and His Word and ways.
I find myself so guilty, though. Driving two hours to church both ways each Sunday, my mind is often filled with daydreaming and thinking about entertainments and other things like that, when I ought to be meditating on Christ's character, reciting Scripture, and reminding myself of His ways and word. This is an area where I really desire to change. I want to "put off" a worldly mind and "put on" a heavenly mind.

Now you evaluate: What is consuming your thoughts and your time? If you have time of doing nothing, which leaves you just to think, what do your thoughts revolve around? What do you think? Imagine, if we filled our minds with that, how much farther along we would be in our spiritual lives! Let us fill our minds with Christ today!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Note to Seamstresses and Historical Costume Lovers!

Jennie Chancey, from Sense and Sensibility patterns is now offering e-patterns at low prices, for several of her patterns, including her whole Regency collection! Please check out her site here!

For those of you who aren't familiar with Sense and Sensibility patterns: they are reproductions of costumes from bygone eras (Regency, Victorian, Swing, etc.) Many are very modest, beautiful, and feminine. If you always wanted to look like the Dashwood and Bennett sisters, or Miss Anne Elliott, you will love Sense and Sensibility patterns!

I have never made any dresses from Mrs. Chancey's patterns but a friend made the 1914 Afternoon Dress pattern for Amanda (Rosebud), which turned out beautiful! Now I am collecting materials to make a complete Regency costume!

Here are some pictures of Amanda in her Sensibility dress. :-)


"And thou shalt say to them, 'Thus saith the Lord God'... and thou shalt speaks my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious" (Ezekiel 2:4b, 7).
In this passage, Ezekiel is given a command, and no condition. "Whether they will hear, or refuse to hear...." he was still to speak the message. Our concern should not be other people's response, though we must declare the truth and leave them to make their choice. We cannot say, "Well, it won't do any good, so why try?" God says "speak" and we must speak. He says "submit" and we must submit. He says "honor" and we must honor. Regardless of whether the other party ever changes or not, it is our responsibility, as servants of Christ, to obey and leave the results to God. He does not bless us according to how well people responded to our message, how many people we "got saved", or even how much earthly difference we made. He blesses us for our obedience, our own response to His call, and the spiritual fruit produced in our lives by the Holy Spirit working in us. He blesses us for boldness in declaring His Word in the first place, for without preaching there is no hearing, and without hearing, there is no salvation (Romans 10:14). We must present the truth to others, and let God work in their lives, while continuing to do His will in our own hearts as well. We must keeping obeying God and being a testimony of His grace in our lives, no matter how others respond or if they even respond at all.
"But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee" (Ezekiel 2:8).

Friday, November 7, 2008

Faithful and Talkative

FAITHFUL. Then Faithful stepped forward again, and said to Talkative, "Come, what cheer? How is it now?"

TALKATIVE. "Thank you, well. I thought we should have had a great deal of talk by this time."

FAITH. "Well, if you will, we will fall to it now; and since you left it with me to state the question, let it be this: 'How doth the saving grace of God discover itself, when it is in the heart of man?'"

TALK. "I perceive then, that our talk must be about the power of things. Well, it is a very good question, and I shall be willing to answer you. And take my answer in brief, thus: First, Where the grace of work of God is in the heart, it causeth there a great outcry against sin. Secondly--"

FAITH. "Nay, hold, let us consider of one at once. I think you should rather say, It shows itself by inclining the soul to abhor its sin."

TALK. "Why, what difference is there between crying out against, and abhorring of sin?"

FAITH. "O! a great deal. A man may cry out against sin of policy, but he cannot abhor it, but by virtue of a godly antipathy against it. I have heard many cry out against sin in the pulpit, who yet can abide it well enough in the heart, house, and conversation. Joseph's mistress cried out with a loud voice, as if she had been very holy; but she would willingly, notwithstanding that, have committed uncleanness with him. Some cry out against sin, even as the mother cries out against her child in her lap, when she calleth it slut and naughty girl, and then falls to hugging and kissing it."

TALK. "You lie at the catch, I perceive."

FAITH. "No, not I; I am only for setting things right. But what is the second thing whereby you would prove a discovery of a work of grace in the heart?"

TALK. "Great knowledge of Gospel mysteries."

FAITH. "This sign should have been first; but first or last, it is also false; for knowledge, great knowledge, may be obtained in the mysteries of the Gospel, and yet no work of grace in the soul. Yea, if a man have all knowledge, he may yet be nothing, and so consequently be no child of God. When Christ said, 'Do you know all these things?' and the disciples had answered, 'Yes'; He addeth, 'Blessed are ye if ye do them.' He doth not lay the blessing in the knowing of them, but in the doing of them. For there is a knowledge that is not attended with doing: 'He that knoweth his master's will, and doeth it not.' A man may know like an angel, and yet be no Christian, therefore your sign of it is not true. Indeed, to know is a thing that pleaseth talkers and boasters; but to do is that which pleaseth God. Not that the heart can be good without knowledge; for without that the heart is naught. There is, therefore, knowledge and knowledge. Knowledge that resteth in the bare speculation of things; and knowledge that is accompanied with the grace of faith and love; which puts a man upon doing even the will of God from the heart: the first of these will serve the talker; but without the other the true Christian is not content. 'Give me understanding, and I shall keep Thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart' (Psalm 119:34).

TALK. "You lie at the catch again; this is not for edification."

FAITH. "Well, if you please, propound another sign how this work of grace discovereth itself where it is."

TALK. "Not I, for I see we shall not agree."

FAITH. "Well, if you will not, will you give me leave to do it?"

TALK. "You may use your liberty."

FAITH. "A work of grace in the soul discovereth itself, either to him that hath it, or to standers by. To him that hath it thus: It gives him conviction of sin, especially of the defilement of his nature and the sin of unbelief (for the sake of which he is sure to be damned, if he findeth not mercy at God's hand, by faith in Jesus Christ). This sight and sense of things worketh in him sorrow and shame for sin; he findeth, moreover, revealed in Him the Saviour of the world, and the absolute necessity of closing with Him for life, at the which he findeth hungerings and thirstings after Him; to which hungerings, &c., the promise is made. Now, according to the strength or weakness of his faith in his Saviour, so is his joy and peace, so is his love to holiness, so are his desires to know Him more, and also to serve Him in this world. But though I say it discovereth itself thus unto him, yet it is but seldom that he is able to conclude that this is a work of grace; because his corruptions now, and his abused reason, make his mind to misjudge in this matter; therefore, in him that hath this work, there is required a very sound judgment before he can, with steadiness, conclude that this is a work of grace.

To others, it is thus discovered:

1. By an experimental confession of his faith in Christ.
2. By a life answerable to that confession; to wit, a life of holiness; heart-holiness, family-holiness (if he hath a family), and by conversation-holiness in the world; which, in the general, teacheth him, inwardly, to abhor his sin, and himself for that, in secret; to suppress it in his family, and to promote holiness in the world; not by talk only, as a hypocrite or talkative person may do, but by a practical subjection, in faith and love, to the power of the Word. And now, Sir, as to this brief description of the work of grace, and also the discovery of it, if you have aught to object, object; if not, then give me leave to propound to you a second question."

TALK. "Nay, my part is not now to object, but to hear; let me, therefore, have your second question."

FAITH. "It is this: Do you experience this first part of this description of it? and doth your life and conversation testify the same? or standeth your religion in word or in tongue, and not in deed and truth? Pray, if you incline to answer me in this, say no more than you know the God above will say Amen to; and, also, nothing but what your conscience can justify you in; 'for, not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.' Besides, to say, I am thus, and thus, when my conversation, and all my neighbours, tell me I lie, is great wickedness."

TALK. Then Talkative at first began to blush; but, recovering himself, thus he replied: "You come now to experience, to conscience, and God; and to appeal to Him for justification of what is spoken. This kind of discourse I did not expect; nor am I disposed to give an answer to such questions, because I count not myself bound thereto, unless you take upon you to be a catechiser, and, though you should so do, yet I may refuse to make you my judge. But, I pray, will you tell me why you ask me such questions?"

FAITH. "Because I saw you forward to talk, and because I knew not that you had aught else but notion. Besides, to tell you all the truth, I have heard of you, that you are a man whose religion lies in talk, and that your conversation gives this your mouth-profession the lie. They say, you are a spot among Christians; and that religion fareth the worse for your ungodly conversation; that some already have stumbled at your wicked ways, and that more are in danger of being destroyed thereby; your religion, and an ale-house, and covetousness, and uncleanness, and swearing, and lying, and vain company keeping, &c., will stand together. The proverb is true of you which is said of a whore, to wit, that she is a shame to all women; so are you a shame to all professors."

TALK. "Since you are ready to take up reports, and to judge so rashly as you do, I cannot but conclude you are some peevish or melancholy man, not fit to be discoursed with; and so adieu."

CHRISTIAN. Then came up Christian, and said to his brother, "I told you how it would happen; your words and his lusts could not agree; he had rather leave your company than reform his life. But he is gone, as I said; let him go, the loss is no man's but his own; he has saved us the trouble of going from him; for he continuing (as I suppose he will do) as he is, he would have been but a blot in our company; besides, the apostle says, 'From such withdraw thyself.'"

FAITH. "But I am glad we had this little discourse with him; it may happen that he will think of it again; however, I have dealt plainly with him, and so am clear of his blood, if he perisheth."

CHR. "You did well to talk so plainly to him as you did; there is but little of this faithful dealing with men now-a-days, and that makes religion to stink so in the nostrils of many, as it doth; for they are these talkative fools whose religion is only in word, and are debauched and vain in their conversation, that (being so much admitted into the fellowship of the godly) do puzzle the world, blemish Christianity, and grieve the sincere. I wish that all men would deal with such as you have done; then should they either be made more conformable to religion, or the company of saints would be too hot for them."

Then did Faithful say,

How Talkative at first lifts up his plumes!
How bravely doth he speak! How he presumes
To drive down all before him! But so soon
As Faithful talks of heart-work, like the moon
That's past the full, into the wane he goes.
And so will all, but he that HEART-WORK knows.


"For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified" (Romans 2:13)

"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves" (James 1:22)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Humor for Singles

Believe it or not, on a day like this, I was nevertheless unfortunately goofy and "creative" (I think it was my hideous nights sleep last night) and "Elinor Dashwood" is going to post something funny for once! At least, I thought it was funny. Not intensely edifying, though I guess it has an element of truth in it, for all it's "non-sensicality". :-)

I did something I often do with already-existing songs: revised them. :-D This morning I had already been seeing the two songs to the tune Ton-y-Botel ("Once to Every Man and Nation" and "O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus") and somehow this revision of the former came out (read it singing the tune in your head):

"Once to every man and woman
Comes the moment to decide,
Whom to love and whom to marry,
Whom to make the groom or bride.
Marriage is a great decision,
One you make for all your life;
When the choice goes by forever,
You have only one husband or wife."

Of course, there are exceptions, if you are a widow, or never marry, or something. But if you're not a widow and if you do get married some day, the point is this: You get one choice concerning marriage; make sure you make the right choice!

Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my funny side! :-)

The Source of Victory

You know, I said I had a lot to post and here's another quote of the day! :-) I'm filling you up with all the hundreds of quotes I have in my quote book. ;-)

I especially love this quote by one of my top HEROES (!!) Eric Liddell. He wrote this in a booklet for the Chinese Christians whom he worked with, before Japan took over China and sent him to a prison camp called Weihsein, where he died. It is one of my favorite quotes.

"Victory over all the circumstances comes not by might, nor by power, but by a practical confidence in God and by allowing His Spirit to dwell in our hearts and control our actions and emotions. Learn in these days of ease and comfort so that when the days of hardship come, you will be fully equipped to meet them."

-Eric Liddell

WHO's in charge??

Yesterday the country was all at the polls, making the choice between two men of very different convictions and character-- or perhaps between one with convictions and character, and one without. This morning many people are rejoicing. Many people are looking forward to seeing their financial problems fixed. They are excited at such a historical event having taken place.

Others are hardly rejoicing. Some are probably in dumb shock. Some are realizing that this is a new page in history and it doesn't look too good. While driving through town today, we even saw a man putting his flag at half-mast. Some, however, are realizing, and I hope I am one of these, that Barack Obama is not and will not be on the throne-- now or ever. It may seem so, but it is not. Only One Person is truly on the throne, and He's very reliable, because He has been at this business for 6,000 years-- and even before then. Economic and political changes do not change Him in the least, and corrupt governments and tight financial circumstances do not hinder Him in any way from being just as powerful as He ever was. This ruler-- this King-- is Jehovah, God Almighty. He is not very popular, and would not have won the vote if He was considered a presidential candidate. But that doesn't hinder Him. He is in control. He continues to orchestrate the courses of nature and the hearts and lives of men.

God's declaration of His will and government (the Bible) declares that "the king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will." In the first chapter of Job, we also read about satan coming before God and asking permission to torment Job. God gave him permission, but also set a bound that he could not pass over, and used all of it for His [God's] own glory. Likewise, whoever the president, or any other leader is, they cannot go beyond the bounds God has set for them, and all they do is only part of God's plan to bring Himself glory and further His kingdom.

Part of me dreads the future. And yet at the same time I know I have a God who is far above anything else and He is in control. Why worry? It doesn't do any good. Rather, we must all choose to go forth in the eternal principles and live in the unchangeable promises that He founded ages ago, in far tighter circumstances than we find ourselves in now.

In the 6th century, B.C., Israel was taken into captivity by Bablyon. This is the message God sent them in that difficult time:
"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness...
For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee."
Isaiah 41:10,13
This promise is true for all today who have believed on and obey the Messiah and therefore become children of Abraham as well.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Quote for the Day

"Not to advance in the spiritual life is to go back."
-Brother Lawrence

Monday, November 3, 2008

Two New Blogs

Recently, there have been two new blogs started up and I would like to recommend them to you. ~ This is my sister Amanda (Rosebud)'s new blog, so if you like my blog, you'll probably love her blog! :-D ~ This is Vika (Tory)'s new blog. It is very lovely and I would encourage you especially to read her post on God's love. It is very encouraging!

Election Day Tomorrow

The Lord has been teaching me so much lately, and I have so much to blog. It's hard to decide what to write about first!! That's good though; I love when I have an overabundance of teaching from God's Word. Plus, I need to catch up from last week. ;-) So here goes:


Here's an exerpt from my journal today:

"Election Day is... guess what? Tomorrow! ... Let righteousness reign. Revive your people, Lord, and save souls. Give "we the people", as well as our leaders, wisdom, and most importantly, salvation through Your Son Jesus Christ. And, above all, prepare us and give us grace for whatever comes. What a beautiful thought that, no matter who gets the presidency, You will always be the same, and I will still be the same in You. Politics and economics cannot come in between You and me. Like Vika said in her post that I read yesterday, nothing, absolutely nothing, can seperate us from Your love, and if we truly believe that, we won't have room in our hearts for worry or fear...

... Whatever You alow I know You'll give grace to bear it and You won't be even one step farther from us than before. How wonderful to serve a constant, unchangeable God! You are the same now as You were when You made Your covenant with Abraham; You are the same now as when You parted the Red Sea and gave the children of Israel manna each day as they needed it; You are the same now as when You stopped the lions' mouths and brought Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego through the fiery furnace untouched; You are the same now as when You raised Jesus, Your Son, from the grave and when You changed the heart of a radical persecutor named Saul and made him one of Your greatest apostles. Almighty, Unchangeable God!"