Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

As I write, it is about three hours until the New Year. Tonight we ate a delicious crab and cream cheese wan-ton (sp??) dinner, I sat down with a delicious cuppachino (sp?) to watch "Jane Eyre" with my sisters and mamma, and then I wrote half a post, clicked on a link to check to make sure it was right, and lost all that I had written. So now I am rewriting it! :-P (It will give me a chance to rethink and reword what I was going to say; perhaps the Lord wanted to remind me of something else to share or a better way to share it. Even something so small as losing a post you wrote can be used to bring God glory. There can be no greater joy. So here I go.)

I am sitting in our dining room, listening to Bethany play her violin and Mommy checking out the new laptop we just got her for a late Christmas present. It is dark in this room, but light is coming in from the adjoining living room. It's very lovely and peaceful and good for reflection. It is good for me to quiet my heart and reflect.

As I think of the new year coming, I cannot help but feel a bit of dread about it. I may sound a little fatalistic-- I do worry about what will happen to my country, and thereby to my family, my dear friends, and myself. Even in my selfishness I think, "What about my writing career? What about marrying? Having kids? Having a sweet, lovely little family out in the country, attending Heritage every Sunday, having people over during the week, enjoying visits with my sisters and their families....?" (The list goes on.)

Then the Holy Spirit whispers in my heart: "Take therefore no thought [do not be anxious] or the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself."

Allow me to share part of an Instant Messenger conversation I had with one of my best friends today. It is a little edited to avoid the confusion of several messages going on at the same time. This is the jist of it.

L: "Wow! How exciting it is that there is a whole year ahead of us!"
Me: "Well, I'm a little scared of it. But we'll see what the Lord has in store."
L: "You are? If you are, then so am I. Why are you scared?"
Me (here's the confession): (well, in short I said Obama-- Juli, you'll understand! :-) I won't say what I called him though.)
L: "Me too."
Me: "It's hard not to know what's going to happen."
L: "But-- not to be light-- our God is in control. We should pray for each other, to take each day as it comes and not to be afraid of what happens..."
Me: "and be diligent in growing closer to God NOW, not waiting 'til then..."
L: "'Cause all we can do is be secured in Christ!"
Me: "And He's more powerful than 1,000 Obamas, so we are safe in Him, with Him on our side."

Then I shared the verse I had been memorizing, in Psalms, about the Lord being on our side-- what can man do to us? We are children of God, secure in Him, sealed by Him... yes, we know all that. But even better than that, who IS God?

"This high rock, eternity, He is,
The Maker of the sky and sea, He is.
He is, and through Him all things came to be,
The one whose breath gave life to me,
Creator of the galaxies, He is, Jesus is...

Almighty God, the great "I Am", He is
The prince of peace, the spotless Lamb, He is.
He is our counsellor, eternal friend
Beyond what we can comprehend
The Word made flesh and here to dwell, He is,

He is the loving hand that formed me
And fills my heart with song,
The voice that stirs inside me
When all hope is gone;
The morning star that guides me,
The light that glows before me,
The one whose praise is on my lips, He is,

The One who died to set me free He is,
When no one else is there for me He is,
He is the same tomorrow as today
The life, the truth, the only way
The one who paid the price to make me His, He is,

He is the loving hand that formed me
And fills my heart with song
The voice that stirs inside me when all hope is gone
The morning star the guides me
The light that glows before me,
The one whose praise is on my lips He is,

He is the first and last, the cornerstone He is,
King of kings and Lord of lords he is,
He is the mighty God!"

Funny, just as I wrote "Who IS God?" this song came on (I was listening to music) and it was so appropriate that I impromptu-ly decided to record the words. (I'm afraid I can't tell you the author, publisher, or anything, but it is sung by Kevin Inafuku on his new CD "He Is" .) In any case, I had been going to elaborate in my own words the greatness and dependability of our everlasting, all-knowing God, but instead I'll have you read and re-read that song and realize for yourself that with this God, we need fear nothing. HE IS in control! :-D

I suppose a New Year's post can't go by without stating my resolutions, or at least talking about it a little. I don't necessarily hold to what they call "New Year's Resolutions", as anyone can "resolve" to do something and never go through with it. I will state my New Year's Wish, though-- my Prayer. That God would ever increasing make me like Him; that "Melanie" would decrease in people's eyes and that God in Melanie may increase more and more, shining to the dark world through me, as a light shines in a lantern. That the things of this world would grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. That He would indeed be my all.

Some more material things I wish for in this new year are
* To memorize much more Scripture. This was my wish last year, and I am ashamed to say I didn't follow through with it faithfully until November. I particularly wish to memorize Psalm 147, Revelation 1-5, and Revelation 21-22-- and much more, by God's grace!
* To finish and possibly work towards publishing one of my books. That also has been a desire for several New Years. I hope this year I can follow through with it. We'll see how it goes! :-)
* To continue to grow in domestic abilities to be a suitable wife, in God's time, but even more to develop the Godly character that a wife and mother ought to have. One doesn't automatically become an angel and a perfect housekeeper and a delightful person to live with the day she gets married. It must be cultivated in the single years. So that is what I want to do.

Feel free to share your thoughts on the new year and perhaps your own resolutions or prayers for the New Year. I love to hear from you all. You are all very dear to me and I pray that this New Year would be one in which you would also continually draw closer to our precious Lord and see Him display His power and glory in Your life.

Happy New Year!

"For this God is our God for ever and ever:
he will be our guide even unto death."
Psa 48:14
P.S. Sorry for such a loooong post! I felt a little ramblingish tonight. :-)
P.S.S. Now only an hour and a half til 2009! When you all read this it will already be 2009! :-P

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


In my heart lay fears and doubts and hopes,
Hidden deep, yet always brewing there,
Through the days and nights they lurk, unmoved,
Weighing down, the ever-present care,

Deep inside, unable to be reached,
Clouding vision, yet immune to light.
Though I seek to pray, no words I find
Worthy to express my spirit’s night.

Myst’ries like a hidden precious gem
Cannot in the words of man be mined.
How to bring them to You I know not,
How to word my prayer I cannot find.

Yet You made the sea and sky and land;
Mines of gold do not escape your eye.
Center of the earth You know as well
As the trees and mountains in our view.

Therefore, if this knowledge be in You,
Surely You do know my secret heart,
All the fears and doubts that lie within,
When to find the words I cannot start.

How to pray I find that I know not,
But when prayers are far too deep to word,
Up above the Spirit prays for me;
Then my wordless prayers by God are heard.

Spirit, intercessing there for me,
Knowing all my inmost hidden fears,
Taking wordless prayers I cannot pray;
(Pouring out in streams of silent tears),

You do intercede for sinful man,
Plead his case, forgive iniquity.
Thank You for Your dear and precious work,
Hope in Christ, and bless’d tranquility.

Monday, December 29, 2008


Miss S. has randomly tagged anyone who likes to frolic in the rain. I do when I am in the right mood, so here goes.


* Post the six to ten things that you do on a daily basis.

*Link to the person who tagged you.

*Tag five other people.

*Leave a comment on the blog of the person that tagged you letting them know you posted this on your blog.

Things I do on a daily basis:

1. I have a "Quiet Time". This consists of prayer, Bible reading, Scripture memorization, and often reflecting in my journal. If I skip this, my day is totally messed up. It is so true how we need to gird ourselves with the "sword of the Spirit" (the word of God) before we start our day; we need God's strength every minute.

2. I wash dishes and call Amanda to empty the dishdrain. :-P

3. I blog (whether it is reading or writing), check emails, and sometimes write emails or letters. :-)

4. I daydream. Even though now I don't as much as I used to, I still do daydream.

5. I try to say a couple words in Spanish at least. I am trying to learn to converse in Spanish and it is SO hard.

6. I quote Jane Austen. :-D

7. I breathe. :-P

Hereby I tag Amanda, Tory, Leah, Ana, and Leahna. :-D

Friday, December 26, 2008


At the beginning of the year 1814, Jane Austen, already author of 3 other complete novels, picked up her pen to introduce a character, whom, said she, "no one but myself will much like." However, the book was published in 1816, and the charm and endearment of Emma Woodhouse and the characters surrounding her have not yet, after nearly 200 years, lost their hold on eager readers.

The novel's title, Emma, declares directly the subject of the story: the "handsome, clever, and rich" Emma Woodhouse. Emma is the second of two daughters of an simple, elderly widower. She is a young woman of great importance in her social circle, and is very witty, and the problem is... she knows it! She enjoys arranging other people's lives, especially in the area of matrimony. The story, set in the early 1800's during the "Regency" era, opens with the marriage of Emma's governess, Miss Taylor, a match which Emma prides herself on having arranged herself. Encouraged by this "success", she takes on match-making for other people around her. But whether it is with the sweet, simple, artless Harriet Smith; the handsome and engaging vicar, Mr. Elton; or her former governess' charming stepson, Frank Churchill, her plans all seem to go ridiculously wrong, and her efforts to match up others cause her to nearly mistakeand loseher own perfect match in an unlikely, longtime friend.

Though not necessarily considered a Christian book, Emma presents values and lessons very applicable to the Christian life. It is exciting to see throughout the story, as Emma's plans go wrong, that she realizes that she is not as good and clever as she thought, and that she has very much to learn herself, after having thought and acted for so long like she had "nothing to learn", as Mr. Knightly says. When she insults Miss Bates at the picnic on Box Hill, her eyes are opened to the difference between charity and true kindness. I also appreciate her regret towards the end when she realizes she actually has harmed Harriet by trying to make her self-sufficient and socially superior like herself. Emma learns the importance of humility and true love (love towards others as well as between a man and a woman). Though the book doesn't point to Jesus Christ as our example, or refer the reader to rely on the Holy Spirit for help to do right, we can draw useful lessons from Emma and willingly turn to Christ for His help to apply them.

I had watched two movie adaptions of Emma before reading the book, and though I enjoyed them, I didn't like the character of Emma very much at all. However, reading the book definitely endeared me better to the characters, deepened my understanding of several of the events, and, overall, supplied me with a better opinion and enjoyment for book the story itself, as well as Jane Austen's writing style.

Austen does write with delightful color and taste. True, in some parts, a long conversation with the talkative Miss Bates or the self-satisfied philodox Mrs. Elton may get a little wearisome, but otherwise it is very entertaining and picturesque. Often a side-comment, from herself, or from one of her characters, sets me giggling. She also builds the story very well, creating anticipation in the reader to find out what happens next. Many unexpected twists and turns, colorful characters, grand surprises, and meaningful conversations make it a delightful story not to be forgotten.

Note: The first picture in this post is from the Mirimax adaption of Emma, starring Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma and Jeremy Northam as Mr. Knightly. The second picture is from the A&E version of Emma, starring Kate Beckinsdale as Emma and Samantha Morton as Harriet Smith. Both are excellent adaptions (I prefer the A&E one personally), and I recommend both, but I do suggest your reading the book first to get a fuller understanding of the story and the characters, and simply for the enjoyment of a good winter's read. If you are not a reader, however, you may just want to watch the movies. ;-)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!



"In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him;
and without him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life;
and the life was the light of men.
And the light shineth in darkness;
and the darkness comprehended it not...
And the Word was made flesh,
and dwelt among us,
(and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,)
full of grace and truth...
For the law was given by Moses,
but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
No man hath seen God at any time;
the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father,
he hath declared him...

Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."
(John 1:1-5, 14, 17-18, 29)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

"O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

"O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save
And give them vict'ry o'er the grace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to Thee, O Israel!

"O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer,
Our spirits by Thine advent ehre;
And drive away the shades of night,
And pierce the clouds and bring us light!
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to Thee, O Israel!

"O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heav'nly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to Thee, O Israel!"

-Latin Hymn, 12th century; trans. John M. Neale, 1818-1866

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Malachi 4:2

"But unto you that fear my name shall the
Sun of righteousness
arise with healing in his wings."
Malachi 4:2

Monday, December 22, 2008

Malachi 3:1

"Behold, I will send my messenger,
and he shall prepare the way before me:
and the Lord, whom ye seek,
shall suddenly come to his temple,
even the messenger of the covenant,
whom ye delight in:
behold, he shall come,
saith the LORD of hosts."
Malachi 3:1

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Isaiah 40:3-5

"The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness,
Prepare ye the way of the LORD,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be exalted,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low:
and the crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough places plain:
And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together:
for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. "
Isaiah 40:3-5

Saturday, December 20, 2008


You said... WHAT????

You read it right: Todopoderoso.

What is that?

The other day I was reading the New Testament reading in my Spanish Bible (Version Reina-Valera) and made a neat discovery in both Spanish and English.

"Yo soy el Alfa y la Omega, principio y fin, dice el Senor, el que es y que era y que ha de venir, el Todopoderoso" (Apocalipsis 1:8 -- sorry, I don't know how to do accent marks on here.)

Can you guess what verse that is? :-)

"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty" (Revelation 1:8)

When I read that strange long word, Todopoderoso, I was baffled and had to read it out loud to myself several times slowly before I could make any sense out of it. Then I started to piece together the etymology. Perhaps I am wrong, and if any of you bloggers out there are experts at Spanish, you can clear my understanding of this, but what I gathered was this:

Todo means "all" in Spanish.
Poder means "to be able".

All + To Be Able = Can Do Anything! All-Powerful! Boundless! Infinite! Todopoderoso! All-mighty!

I realized then that the word "Almighty" has become so commonplace that I don't pay attention to the root words in there: All + Might. Discovering this new Spanish word helped me to think through it again and realize, our God does have all might, all power. He is "able to do all". This was something He needed to bring out to John right away at the beginning of the Revelation, because if we did not know our God was "able to do all", "all mighty", the following descriptions of the seals and the vials and the tribulation would seem chaotic and hopeless and horror-filled; we would seem doomed. But here we have the assurance of an "All-Able" God to whom we can trust our entire being and know He will come out victorious, and so shall we through Him.
Think of all the great works He has already done; all the things that only He can do. For all the great discoveries made by modern Science, still man can not make a living animal or person. But God makes every blade of grass, every little insect, every living soul of man. The Power that created all the nature and life we see around us is truly All-Powerful, All-Able, All-Mighty.

Perhaps long Spanish words don't excite you like they excite me, but I hope that the thought stands out to you: Remember that our God has all might and power, is able to do anything, and we can trust Him and let Him take control of our lives and the future.

Genesis 49:10

"The sceptre shall not depart from Judah,
nor a lawgiver from between his feet,
until Shiloh* come;
and unto him shall the gathering of the people be."
Genesis 49:10
*Shiloh, according to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, means tranquil and is a term for "the Messiah". Jamieson, Faussett, and Brown Commentary suggests it means "the sent", "the seed", and/or "the peacable and prosperous one".

Friday, December 19, 2008

Micah 5:2

"But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah,
though thou be little among the thousands of Judah,
yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel;
whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."
Micah 5:2

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Isaiah 42:1-4

"Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen,
in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
a bruised reed he will not break,
and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
He will not grow faint or be discouraged
till he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his law."
Isaiah 42:1-4

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Zechariah 9:9

"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion;
Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem:
Behold, thy King is cometh unto thee;
He is just, and having salvation;
lowly, and riding upon an ass
and upon a colt the foal of an ass."
Zechariah 9:9

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Isaiah 11:1-11

"And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse,
and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD:
and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes,
neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
But with righteousness shall he judge the poor,
and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth:
and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins,
and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
and a little child shall lead them.
And the cow and the bear shall feed;
their young ones shall lie down together:
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain:
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD,
as the waters cover the sea.
And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse,
which shall stand for an ensign of the people;
to it shall the Gentiles seek:
and his rest shall be glorious.
And it shall come to pass in that day,
that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time
to recover the remnant of his people..."
(Isaiah 11:1-11a)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Isaiah 9:6,7

"For unto us a child is born,
unto us a son is given:
and the government shall be upon His shoulder:
and His name shall be called
The mighty God,
The everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end,
upon the throne of David,
and upon His kingdom,
to order it,
and to establish it with judgment and with justice
from henceforth even for ever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."
Isaiah 9:6,7
P.S. In the "12 Days Til Christmas", does the 12th day fall ON Christmas or the day before? Because I think I am scheduled that the 12th post will be on Christmas. If that's incorrect, just bear with me and enjoy the posts. ;-)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Prophecy of the Messiah

Over the remaining days until Christmas, I want to post verses of prophecy about Jesus Christ, or other verses about the Messiah and His character and purpose. I hope to have my focus on Him during this Christmas season, and want to encourage you to do so as well. I may also post about other things on the same day, so be sure to check if there is another new post hiding behind the first one that meets your eye. ;-) Also, on another note, please feel free to do the poll on the sidebar. All you need to do is click on the picture that says "I am Elinor Dashwood", take the test, and then vote on the name of the character you ended up being. You do not have to have read or watched a Jane Austen book or movie to take this quiz; it is fun all the same! :-)

Now for today's words about the Messiah:

"I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel."
(Genesis 3:15)
Jesus Christ came to conquer the power of satan. Satan bruised his heel in death, but Jesus ultimately bruised his head by conquering that death and bringing life to the dead souls of men, and will ultimately bruise his head by coming back to reign.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Slaves to What?

"For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved" (2 Peter 2:19b)

This verse, in this fresh wording (to me), really stood out to me as I read it last evening. How true it is! What we allow to control our lives becomes a master to us, and we willingly become its slaves. In this chapter, the people described are slaves to corruption. But what will I be? If I allow sin to control my life, I make myself a slave to sin. If I allow bitterness and anger to control my life, I become a slave to them. But if I allow Jesus to have full control over my words, actions, attitudes, my very life, then He will be my master, and I will be His slave. Which would I rather? Do I really want to be a servant to sin, even if it does bring temporary pleasure? No indeed, I want to be a servant of Jesus Christ. Therefore I must give Him full control, full reign in my life. It is in perfect submission to God alone that I can be truly happy.

Friday, December 12, 2008

What a beautiful quote. So often we tend to think that joy comes from circumstances around us: "If this or that happens, I will be happy. If only things weren't the way they were, I think I would be so much happier." Yet joy does not come from unbroken sunshine, like this quote says. God has designed us to find perfect joy and fulfilment in Him; as we rest and trust in Him, we see His faithfulness and goodness and are overwhelmed with "joy unspeakable and full of glory." Total dependence on Christ is, indeed, the highest pinnacle of our spiritual life.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Function of Scripture

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Timothy 3:16,17)
I think the best way I have heard this verse explained was by Jim Berg, dean of students at Bob Jones University and author of the book Changed Into His Image. This is how he breaks it down:
The Bible teaches
  • Doctrine - what is right for us
  • Reproof - what is wrong with us
  • Correction - how to make it right
  • Instruction in Righteousness - how to keep it right

This Scripture, which is "breathed out by God", divinely works to convict men of sin and show them the way to God. (We read elsewhere that "the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.") I like the quote by James McHenry that says, "Bibles are strong entrenchments. Where they abound, men cannot pursue wicked courses and at the same time enjoy quiet conscience." Wow! That's true. That is why, when we neglect the Word, we tend to easily stray for obeying God and go our own way instead. Sometimes we might even neglect the Word because it makes us feel guilty! Rather than running away from it, though, we ought instead to "saturate" ourselves with it; turning to the Saviour for His cleansing, and then going in the strength of His Spirit and the power of His Word, our sword and our shield. Aren't you grateful that He has given us the revelation of Himself to be our guidebook for our lives?

Monday, December 8, 2008

An Interesting Discourse on Conviction

After Christian and Hopeful encounter Ignorance on the way to the Celestial City, they fall into this discourse:

CHRISTIAN. "Indeed the Word saith, 'He hath blinded their eyes, lest they should see,' &c. But now we are by ourselves, what do you think of such men? Have they at no time, think you, convictions of sin, and so consequently fears that their state is dangerous?"

HOPEFUL. "Nay, do you answer that question yourself, for you are the elder man."

CHR. "Then I say, sometimes (as I think) they may; but they being naturally ignorant, understand not that such convictions tend to their good; and therefore they do desperately seek to stifle them, and presumptuously continue to flatter themselves in the way of their own hearts."

HOPE. "I do believe, as you say, that fear tends much to men's good, and to make them right, at their beginning to go on pilgrimage."

CHR. "Without all doubt it doth, if it be right; for so says the Word, 'The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.'"

HOPE. "How will you describe right fear?"

CHR. "True or right fear is discovered by three things-

1. By its rise; it is caused by saving convictions for sin.

2. It driveth the soul to lay fast hold of Christ for salvation.

3. It begetteth and continueth in the soul a great reverence of God, his Word, and ways, keeping it tender, and making it afraid to turn from them, to the right hand or to the left, to anything, that may dishonour God, break its peace, grieve the Spirit, or cause the enemy to speak reproachfully....

...."Now the ignorant know not that such convictions as tend to put them in fear are for their good, and therefore they seek to stifle them."

HOPE. "How do they seek to stifle them?"

CHR. "1. They think that those fears are wrought by the devil (though indeed they are wrought of God); and, thinking so, they resist them as things that directly tend to their overthrow.

2. They also think that these fears tend to the spoiling of their faith, when, alas for them, poor men that they are, they have none at all! and therefore they harden their hearts against them.

3. They presume they ought not to fear; and therefore, in despite of them, wax presumptuously confident.

4. They see that those fears tend to take away from them their pitiful old self-holiness, and therefore they resist them with all their might."

HOPE. "I know something of this myself; for, before I knew myself, it was so with me."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Book giveaway!

Marie is having a book giveaway! If you enjoy reading Louisa Mae Alcott, or simply enjoy having old books on your shelf (this is a 1927 copy of Eight Cousins) you'll want to check it out and maybe put your vote in!! :-D

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Map

Once there was a young man who set out on a journey. He knew he wanted to go to the Land of Goodness but how to get there he knew not. As he began to set out on his journey, a man called Inspiration gave the young man a scroll called Scripture. "This," said Inspiration, "is the map to the land to which you are going. Read it, study it, refer to it often, and you will find clear direction to get where you desire to go-- the Land of Goodness, the Country of the King."

The young man thanked him for his kindness and set off-- but the scroll remained in a pack on his back. Right off, he encountered a fork in the road. He hesitated. The left road was slanted, and the middle road was narrow, but the road on the right was wide and comfortable-looking. "I suppose," thought he, "that the road to the right should do. I think the country is in that direction; we shall see." So down that path he went. As he went, however, he began to sense the road to be not quite so good as he thought. It was full of potholes, and there was no place by the way where he could stay the night. So he made a little fire to ward off wolves, slept, and in the morning rose and went on his way.
As he went down this path, he rarely-- nearly never-- took time to look at the map. He was too busy travelling, he thought. And as he went, he encountered more problems. He met with wild animals and was severely maimed. He suffered from sickness from exposure to the elements. Eventually, he entered a dark, thick wood and wandered about unable to find the road. He was never heard from again.

Another young man set out on a journey. Inspiration, too, gave him a map just like he did the other young man. This young man thanked Inspiration and as soon as he was left alone, he sat down on a rock by the wayside and opened the scroll. He studied it carefully, looked at the direction of the sun, and got his bearings. Then he got up and went on his way.

Soon he came to the fork in the road. He promptly pulled out the map. Next to the fork in the road, in small writing, were the words, "Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil." With that, the young man looked before him and kept down the middle path.

As he went he came to a dark, narrow valley. It was so dark that he could hardly see where he was stepping. At first he was a little frightened, and wondered if he had indeed taken the right path. But then he remembered his map. He pulled it out and looked at the mysteriously illumined page. Indeed, he was on the right path, and next to it were the words, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for God is with me." Encouraged, he kept on.

The journey was long, but he referred daily to the map, and every time he encountered a problem or a question, he wasted no time in pulling out the scroll and seeing what to do next. He studied the map frequently-- so frequently that he had much of it memorized. Finally he reached a beautiful land, where all was perfect. The way was smooth, the grass was green, the flowers bloomed, and not a rain cloud decked the sky. Here he was met by a kind and gentle Shepherd who greeted him and introduced himself as Jesus. "I have led you throughout your journey, even when you did not realize it. I drew the map you carried with you, and shed light on it over your shoulder when it would be otherwise to dark to read. Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."

And so he did, proclaiming with joy, "Thy Word was a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever."

As we press towards Christlikeness, we cannot do it our own way or in our own flesh. We need God's presence, His will, His way in our lives. He reveals Himself to us through His Holy Word, the Bible. This is why we must diligently read it, meditate on it, memorize it, and engrain in into our hearts and lives. When the path is rough, we will have the assurance of His love and goodness promised in His Word, and we will know what He would have us to do. Isn't it a wonderful thing that He has given us such a gift, and not hidden the way from us? How then can we ignore it and go on down the path of life blindly?

"The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward."
(Psalm 19:7-11)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Who is YOUR Lord?

In the book of Joshua, chapter 24, the great leader Joshua gives the people a challenge:
"Choose you this day whom ye will serve."
You may think, "Well, of course, I will serve the Lord. I would never bow down to any false god." But think again. You may not actually, bodily bow down to any one object. But lordship is not an issue of outward actions, necessarily. It stems in the heart. Whom you worship on the outside, you first worshipped on the inside.
So ask yourself: is there anything in my life that I hold as more important than Jesus Christ Himself? Is there anything that I give more time, energy, thought, and emotion to than Jesus? Is there anything in my life that I absolutely could not give up if God called me to? Am I content with Jesus alone, and could still be content if all but Him was taken away? Let's word it this way:
What is the one thing/person more dear to you than anything else in the whole world?
Could you do without it if you had to?
"Ouch! Um... well.... that is.... uh..... of course, Jesus is most important, but... uh.... I really do love (such and such) so much.... I don't know what I'd do without it...."
See how earthly things get such a stronghold in our lives? There are many things that we ought to love or that it is okay to love. In my case, it is living things more than material objects often: my family (especially my mom), my friends, my church family, my country as it used to be... But nothing, absolutely nothing, no one, has the right to take Jesus' place in my heart. If it does, that has become my god in place of Jehovah.
This is a very scary thought. We tend to think, "But if I give up this person/thing to God, He will take her/her/it totally away! I will surrender it, and then God will take it utterly away." That's how I think, at least, when I think about surrendering the things and people dearest to me. But what a foolish thought! A. W. Tozer touches on this in his book The Pursuit of God, and states, "Everything is safe which we commit to Him, and nothing is really safe which is not so commited." When we hold things to ourselves, they are rather more insecure because we feeble, unknowing humans are trying to take care of it. Why do we think that we can take care of something better than God can? Besides, it all comes back to who/what really is our Lord. If we can't give something up, then it has become a sort of god to us, having control over us.
Corrie Ten Boom was a woman who lost her father and sister and the comforts of life when she was taken to a prison camp during World War II, after harboring Jews in her house. And it was she who said,
"I must learn to hold earthly things lightly,
because if I do not, the Lord might have to pry away my fingers,
and that hurts."
Allow me to share something that the Lord taught me about this. Yesterday, Pastor was preaching about contentment/thanks-giving and something stood out to me. (For some background, there has been a trial which we have been going through at home lately, and I have been longing for an "ideal" situation which we don't have.) Anyway, as Pastor was preaching, it struck me. I realized, "I don't need [the thing I'd been longing for] to be happy. All I need is Jesus. As long as I am in Him, I can have joy." Since I realized this, I have been filled with joy. Instead of pining for things on earth, I can set my mind on heavenly things, and then I see that I truly do have everything I need. This is the key to contentment: Jesus Christ being your ALL-IN-ALL!!!
So give up to God anything that takes His place in your heart. Do not allow anyone or anything to subtily take the place that God claims for Himself. Find your fulfillment in God alone, looking at all His earthly gives to you as only tools to help you along as you press towards heaven. Trust God to be your supply, your all. Earthly things can pass away, but God is eternal. Wouldn't you rather trust in an eternal, unchanging God, rather than in the fleeting things of earth that will one day be burned??
"As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."