Monday, May 31, 2010

Sunday, May 30, 2010

How beautiful

"How beautiful are the arms which have embraced Christ,
The hands which have touched Christ,
The eyes which have gazed upon Christ,
The lips which have spoken with Christ,
The feet which have followed Christ.
How beautiful are the hands which have worked the works of Christ,
The feet which treading in His footsteps have gone about doing good,
The lips which have spread abroad His name,
The lives which have been counted lost for Him."

--Christina Rosetti

Friday, May 28, 2010

Once it was the blessing, now it is the Lord;
Once it was the feeling, now it is His Word;
Once His gifts I wanted, now the Giver own;
Once I sought for healing, now Himself alone.


Once 'twas painful trying, now ’tis perfect trust;
Once a half salvation, now the uttermost;
Once 'twas ceaseless holding, now He holds me fast;
Once 'twas constant drifting, now my anchor’s cast.


Once 'twas busy planning, now 'tis trustful prayer;
Once 'twas anxious caring, now He has the care;
Once 'twas what I wanted, now what Jesus says;
Once 'twas constant asking, now 'tis ceaseless praise.


Once it was my working, His it hence shall be;
Once I tried to use Him, now He uses me;
Once the power I wanted, now the Mighty One;
Once for self I labored, now for Him alone.


--A.B. Simpson

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Just finished reading: A Tale of Two Sons

I just finished reading A Tale of Two Sons: The Inside Story of a Father, His Sons, and a Shocking Murder, by Pastor John MacArthur.

As always, John MacArthur gives the historical, cultural, and theological context in such detail and with such depth that the story of the Prodigal Son truly comes alive in amazing ways. The insights into this parable that Dr. MacArthur provides are truly eye-opening.  This book is a nourishing, encouraging treat for both the heart and mind.

I very highly recommend this book.

The beauty and the wonder

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see. The longer I live, the more my mind dwells upon the beauty and the wonder of the world."

--John Burroughs

Stop the interventions!

Proof again that interventions hurt babies. The babies whose births had interventions have trouble attaching.

Prayers and Promises by John Denver


To test our hearts

"God left him on his own to see what he would do, because He wanted to test his heart."

--2 Chron. 32:31

The way to Fairyland

"There is such a place as fairyland - but only children can find the way to it. And they do not know that it is fairyland until they have grown so old that they forget the way. One bitter day, when they seek it and cannot find it, they realize what they have lost; and that is the tragedy of life. On that day the gates of Eden are shut behind them and the age of gold is over. Henceforth they must dwell in the common light of common day. Only a few, who remain children at heart, can ever find that fair, lost path again; and blessed are they above mortals. They, and only they, can bring us tidings from that dear country where we once sojourned and from which we must evermore be exiles. The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and story-tellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland."

--L.M. Montgomery, The Story Girl

"What is of man must be reduced to its very lowest measure. All that is inconsistent with entire devotion to Christ’s service must be removed. The more perfect the cleansing and cutting away of all that is of self, the less of surface over which the Holy Spirit is to be spread, so much the more intense can be the concentration of our whole being, to be entirely at the disposal of the Spirit. This is the true circumcision of the heart, the circumcision of Christ. This is the true crucifixion with Christ, bearing about the dying of the Lord Jesus in the body.... Blessed cleansing, God’s own cleansing! How we may rejoice in the assurance that we shall bring forth more fruit."


--Andrew Murray, The True Vine

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mr. Bean in church

"I am convinced that one of the great weaknesses in evangelical preaching in the last few years is that we have lost sight of the biblical fact that man is wonderful. We have seen the unbiblical humanism which surrounds us, and, to resist this in our emphasis on man's lostness, we have tended to reduce man to a zero. Man is indeed lost, but that does not mean he is nothing. We must resist humanism, but to make man a zero is neither the right way nor the best way to resist it .... In short, therefore, man is not a cog in a machine; he is not a piece of theater; he really can influence history. From the biblical viewpoint, man is lost, but great."

--Francis Schaeffer

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

To find an enchanted garden

"But I was in search of love in those days, and I went full of curiosity and the faint, unrecognised apprehension that here, at last, I should find that low door in the wall, which others, I knew, had found before me, which opened on an enclosed and enchanted garden, which was somewhere, not overlooked by any window, in the heart of that grey city."

--Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited

"We are God’s elect. Before the foundation of the world, God chose us in Christ. You can hear how precious this is to Paul with his words from Romans 8:33: ‘Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?’ The answer is that absolutely nobody can make a charge stick against God’s elect. Paul wants us to feel the wonder of being elect as being invincibly loved. If you resist the truth of election, you resist being loved in the fullness and the sweetness of God’s love."

--John Piper, This Momentary Marriage.

Monday, May 24, 2010


"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another -- and all the more as you see the Day approaching."

--Hebrews 10:23-25
Not trusting God's plan for our lives is the same thing as criticizing Him.

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another -- and all the more as you see the Day approaching."

--Hebrews 10:23-25
Not trusting God's plan for our lives is the same thing as criticizing Him.

Summer

"And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with summer."

--F. Scott Fitzgerald

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I just want you

"Anne laughed -- then shivered.

'I can never forget the night I thought you were dying, Gilbert. Oh, I knew -- I KNEW then -- and I thought it was too late.'

'But it wasn't, sweetheart. Oh, Anne, this makes up for everything, doesn't it? Let's resolve to keep this day sacred to perfect beauty all our lives for the gift it has given us.'

'It's the birthday of our happiness,' said Anne softly. 'I've always loved this old garden of Hester Gray's, and now it will be dearer than ever.'

'But I'll have to ask you to wait a long time, Anne,' said Gilbert sadly. 'It will be three years before I'll finish my medical course. And even then there will be no diamond sunbursts and marble halls.'

Anne laughed.

'I don't want sunbursts and marble halls. I just want YOU ... Sunbursts and marble halls may be all very well, but there is more "scope for imagination" without them. And as for the waiting, that doesn't matter. We'll just be happy, waiting and working for each other -- and dreaming. Oh, dreams will be very sweet now.'

Gilbert drew her close to him and kissed her. Then they walked home together in the dusk, crowned king and queen in the bridal realm of love, along winding paths fringed with the sweetest flowers that ever bloomed, and over haunted meadows where winds of hope and memory blew."

--Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of the Island, Chapter XLI: Love Takes Up the Glass of Time.

Lost but great

"I am convinced that one of the great weaknesses in evangelical preaching in the last few years is that we have lost sight of the biblical fact that man is wonderful. We have seen the unbiblical humanism which surrounds us, and, to resist this in our emphasis on man's lostness, we have tended to reduce man to a zero. Man is indeed lost, but that does not mean he is nothing. We must resist humanism, but to make man a zero is neither the right way nor the best way to resist it .... In short, therefore, man is not a cog in a machine; he is not a piece of theater; he really can influence history. From the biblical viewpoint, man is lost, but great."

--Francis Schaeffer


This I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him."

--Lam. 3:21-24

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Time For Us by Esteban and the Cleveland Pops

A truly good book


"A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting."

--Henry David Thoreau

English Baroque dancing

I miss you, Jeremy!


"For many people, this is not obviously an act of love. They do not feel loved when they are told that God created them for his glory. They feel used. This is understandable given the way love has been almost completely distorted in our world. For most people, to be loved is to be made much of. Almost everything in our Western culture serves this distortion of love. We are taught in a thousand ways that love means increasing someone’s self-esteem. Love is helping someone feel good about themselves. Love is giving someone a mirror and helping him like what he sees.

This is not what the Bible means by the love of God. Love is doing what is best for someone. But making self the object of our highest affections is not best for us. It is, in fact, a lethal distraction. We were made to see and savor God-and savoring him, to be supremely satisfied, and thus spread in all the world the worth of his presence. Not to show people the all-satisfying God is not to love them. To make them feel good about themselves when they were made to feel good about seeing God is like taking someone to the Alps and locking them in a room full of mirrors."

John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life.

Friday, May 21, 2010

These Strange Ashes

"As I look back on that time, I think it was Lesson One for me in the school of faith. That is, it was my first experience of having to bow down before that which I could not possibly explain. Usually we need not bow. We can simply ignore the unexplainable because we have other things to occupy our minds. We sweep it under the rug. We evade the questions.

"Faith's most severe tests come not when we see nothing, but when we see a stunning array of evidence that seems to prove our faith vain. If God were God, if He were omnipotent, if He had cared, would this have happened? Is this that I face now the ratification of my calling, the reward of obedience? One turns in disbelief again from the circumstances and looks into the abyss. But in the abyss there is only blackness, no glimmer of light, no answering echo ...

"It was a long time before I came to the realization that it is in our acceptance of what is given that God gives Himself. Even the Son of God had to learn obedience by the things He suffered. He had come for only one purpose: 'Lo, I come, in the volume of the book it is written of me, to do thy will, O God.' And His reward was desolation, crucifixion ...

"Each separate experience of individual stripping we may learn to accept as a fragment of the suffering Christ bore when He took it all. 'Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.' This grief, this sorrow, this total loss that empties my hands and breaks my heart, I may, if I will, accept, and by accepting it, I find in my hands something to offer. And so I give it back to Him, who in mysterious exchange gives Himself to me ...

"It was only gradually during the months that followed that I saw that to God nothing is finally lost. All the Scriptural metaphors about the death of the seed that falls into the ground, about losing one's life, about becoming the least in the kingdom, about the world's passing away--all these go on to something unspeakably better and more glorious. Loss and death are only the preludes to gain and life ...

"Faith, prayer, and obedience are our requirements. We are not offered in exchange immunity and exemption from the world's woes. What we are offered has to do with another world altogether."


--Elisabeth Elliot, excerpts from These Strange Ashes.

"Worship is the submission of all of our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness, nourishment of mind by His truth, purifying of imagination by His beauty, opening of the heart to His love, and submission of will to His purpose. And all this gathered up in adoration is the greatest of human expressions of which we are capable."

-William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Great is Your Faithfulness


This I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him."

--Lam. 3:21-24

Babycatcher

This is a must read.


"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits;
Who forgives all your iniquities; Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from destruction; Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
Who satisfies your mouth with good things."

--Psalm 103: 2-5

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


"Contentment is not a resigned submissiveness to what is. Rather, it is a complete confidence in the purposes and ways of a completely Good and Sovereign God who is more than all one could ever need ... A contented heart believes what is true about God."


--Jim Berg, Quieting a Noisy Soul

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Vulnerability

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable."

--C.S. Lewis

Echoes of God's design in our hearts


"Ideals and the desire for beauty are simply the echoes of God's design in our hearts. He was the one who designed the world to be a masterpiece of wonder and life. The yearning for peace, health, and comfort is natural to our souls and comes from the depths of our hearts where we can still feel and imagine what God created life to be before the fall."

--Sally Clarkson, The Mom Walk: Keeping in Step with God's Heart for Motherhood, p. 58.

Only a woman


"Only a woman can carry in her body an eternal being which bears the very image of God. Only she is the recipient of the miracle of life. Only a women can conceive and nurture this life using her own flesh and blood and then deliver a living soul into the world."

--Doug Phillips


"I charge you never to give up the old doctrine of the blood of Christ, the complete satisfaction which that atoning blood made for sin, and the impossibility of being saved except by that blood. Let nothing tempt you to believe that it is enough to look only at the example of Christ, or only to receive the sacrament which Christ commanded to be received, for which many nowadays worship like an idol.

When you come to your deathbed, you will want something more than an example and a sacrament. Take heed that you are found resting all your weight on Christ’s substitution for you on the cross, and His atoning blood, or it will be better if you had never been born."

--J.C. Ryle, The Upper Room

Monday, May 17, 2010

Quieting a noisy soul

"Contentment is not a resigned submissiveness to what is. Rather, it is a complete confidence in the purposes and ways of a completely Good and Sovereign God who is more than all one could ever need ... A contented heart believes what is true about God."

--Jim Berg, Quieting a Noisy Soul.

God delights to give His children good gifts.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Deep peace


"Stella had not outgrown her childhood's sensitiveness to color, scent, and sound. The orange glow of the lantern, the warm velvety shadows of the stable, the contented purring of the cats and the breathing of the oxen, the smell of the clean beasts and the hay, seemed to weave themselves together and make for her a cloak of warm tranquillity. Wrapped in it she lay still, reaching down inside herself for that deep peace in which her being was rooted like a tree. Awareness of that peace gave her the deepest happiness that she knew. Sometimes it came, as now, like a deep echo of outward tranquillity, like a bell ringing far under the sea in answer to some church bell on the earth, and those were the moments when it lasted, but she had known it to come also in moments of trouble and stress, though it was no more then than a touch, gone in a moment yet sufficient in strength to stead one for much longer than its moment of duration."

--Elizabeth Goudge, Gentian Hill, p. 269.

Moscow Farmer's Market - with Jenni Travis, Katie Sitler, and Rebecca Burns



"How often do we attempt work for God to the limit of our incompetency rather than to the limit of God’s omnipotency."

--J. Hudson Taylor

Thursday, May 13, 2010

"When the way to the house of the Lord leads through the “Valley of the Shadow,” we accept those terms, too. If we suffer loss, scorn, misunderstanding, false accusation, or any other form of trouble, it is what we agreed on to begin with. Compared with the rewards promised, it is nothing; so let us not take umbrage. Let us be quite clear and matter-of-fact about it: “In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer [cheer up!] I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33)."

--Elisabeth Elliot

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sneezing panda

"The gospel is saying that, what man cannot do in order to be accepted with God, this God Himself has done for us in the person of Jesus Christ. To be acceptable to God we must present to God a life of perfect and unceasing obedience to his will. The gospel declares that Jesus has done this for us. For God to be righteous he must deal with our sin. This also he has done for us in Jesus. The holy law of God was lived out perfectly for us by Christ, and its penalty was paid perfectly for us by Christ. The living and dying of Christ for us, and this alone is the basis of our acceptance with God."

--Graeme Goldsworthy, Gospel and Kingdom.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"It is easier to serve God without a vision, easier to work for God without a call, because when you are not bothered by what God requires; common sense is your guide, veneered over with Christian sentiment. You will be more prosperous and successful, more leisure-hearted, if you never realize the call of God. But if once you receive a commission from Jesus Christ, the memory of what God wants will always come back like a goad; you will no longer be able to work for him on a common sense basis. …There is no choice of service, only absolute loyalty to Our Lord’s commission; loyalty to what you discern when you are in the closest contact with God."

--Oswald Chambers

Monday, May 10, 2010

This Road by Ginny Owens

A million miles away from anything familiar
A thousand places that I'd rather be
So I choke back the tears and try to find the bright side
Though I find it hard to see though all my suffering
In my heart I know your plan is so much bigger
But this small part is all that I can see
And I believe you haven't left me here to wander
Still I can't help but ponder where You're leading me


And I ask why this road
Why this way and this load
Tell me how far must I go
Till I see ... Till I know
Why this road


A million miles away from anything familiar
What was it like to be so far from home
Though you came in love
The world misunderstood you
There must have been some days when you felt so alone
But you endured, because there was joy before you
Joy that came because you sacrificed
Since you gave yourself just to spend forever with me
Surely I can trust you'll lead me through my darkest times
When I ask why


From here I can't see
Why you'd choose this path for me
But I don't have to understand to believe
That you know why, this road
Why this way this load
You know how far I must go
Till I see ... Till I know
Why this road
"Like the woman at the well, I was seeking
For things that could not satisfy
But then I heard my Savior speaking,
'Draw from my well which never shall run dry'

Fill my cup, Lord. I lift it up, Lord
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul
Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more
Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole"

--Richard Blanchard

Sunday, May 9, 2010

How I feel tonight


Gymnopédie No. 1 by Erik Satie

"God’s seasons are not at your beck. If the first stroke of the flint doth not bring forth the fire, you must strike again. God will hear prayer, but He may not answer it at the time which we in our minds have appointed; He will reveal Himself to our seeking hearts, but not just when and where we have settled in our own expectations. Hence the need of perseverance and importunity in supplication.

In the days of flint and steel and brimstone matches we had to strike and strike again, dozens of times, before we could get a spark to live in the tinder; and we were thankful enough if we succeeded at last.

Shall we not be as persevering and hopeful as to heavenly things? We have more certainty of success in this business than we had with our flint and steel, for we have God’s promises at our back.

Never let us despair. God’s time for mercy will come; yea, it has come, if our time for believing has arrived. Ask in faith nothing wavering; but never cease from petitioning because the King delays to reply. Strike the steel again. Make the sparks fly and have your tinder ready; you will get a light before long."

--C. H. Spurgeon

River Flows in You by Yiruma

Friday, May 7, 2010

Not what my hands have done
Can save my guilty soul
Not what my toiling flesh has borne
Can make my spirit whole
Not what I feel or do
Can give me peace with God
Not all my prayers and sighs and tears
Can bear my awful load


These guilty hands are raised
Filthy rags are all I bring
But I have come to hide beneath Your wings
These holy hands are raised
Washed in the fountain of Your grace
And now I wear Your righteousness


- Horatious Bonar, Not What My Hands Have Done

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

New-created

"And if tonight my soul may find her peace in sleep, and sink in good oblivion, and in the morning wake like a new-opened flower, then I have been dipped again in God, and new-created."

--DH Lawrence

We know that when God asks us a question, anything less than total honesty with Him will hurt us more than we can imagine--and He knows the truth anyway. Be honest with God and yourself.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Monday, May 3, 2010

"Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And put your trust in the LORD."

--Ps. 4:5

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Keep in the sunlight


"Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight."

--Benjamin Franklin
"It will always give a Christian the greatest calm, quiet, ease, and peace, to think of the perfect righteousness of Christ. How often are the saints of God downcast and sad! I do not think they ought to be. I do not think they would if they could always see their perfection in Christ.


There are some who are always talking about corruption, and the depravity of the heart, and the innate evil of the soul. This is quite true, but why not go a little further, and remember that we are perfect in Christ Jesus. It is no wonder that those who are dwelling upon their own corruption should wear such downcast looks; but surely if we call to mind that Christ is made unto us righteousness, we shall be of good cheer. What though distresses afflict me, though Satan assault me, though there may be many things to be experienced before I get to heaven, those are done for me in the covenant of divine grace; there is nothing wanting in my Lord, Christ hath done it all."


--Charles Spurgeon, Morning & Evening (January 31)

I want to go here


Anonimal by Andrew Bird

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Paradoxes


"All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall spring; renewed shall be blade that was broken, the crownless again shall be king."

--J.R.R Tolkien.