Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Friday, May 29, 2009

Clair de Lune by Debussy played by Jonathan Tsay

God Himself

"According to the Christian revelation, God’s own great love propitiated his own holy wrath through the gift of his own dear Son, who took our place, bore our sin and died our death. Thus God himself gave himself to save us from himself.”

--John Stott, The Message of Romans, p 115.
You are never alone. God is always present.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

More Gentian Hill quotes

"Up in the far corner a spring, the Pixies' Well, which had given the meadow its name, bubbled up beneath an old hawthorne tree and ran off in a small stream that crossed the field, fed the trough in the center of it, and then disappeared underground again. It mysteriously fed the well in the center of the yard and the duck pond in the orchard. In spring a mass of white blossoms covered the hawthorne tree and the few old apple trees that grew in the grass, and forget-me-nots and primroses bordered the stream, but today Stella thought it just as lovely with the berries clustered thickly on the hawthorne branches, deep crimson against the blue sky, and with golden leaves floating gently down from the apple trees." (p. 69).

"Weekaborough Farm lay in the valley below them, backed by low round hills, with Beacon Hill shouldering up into the sky behind like a friendly protecting giant. Somewhere beyond Beacon Hill, old Berry Pomeroy Castle was built upon a hill in the woods. Stella could not see it, but she knew it was there, and greeted it in her mind. To their right they looked through a break in the hills across a wide landscape of woods and fields to the splendid rampart of the moors rising against the western sky, while to the east, seen through another break in the hills, was the sea.

Weekaborough Farm itself seemed to Stella, who loved it so much, to be the central point of the loveliness. She could see the whole of it there at her feet, dwarfed by distance and yet having the visionary qualify of all things seen far off, so that the tiny domain that she could have picked up in her hands awed her as it never did when she was down there and a part of it. Home! It showed you its face when you sat quiet within it at that moment when day was passing to night, but it could only reveal its spirit, its eternal meaning, when you stood at a little distance, just turning to leave it or just returning to see it, seeing it at that transition moment when a larger world was claiming or releasing you. It was always at these transition times, it seemed, when for a moment nothing owned you and you owned nothing, that you saw things so very clearly." (p. 70).
Faith can move mountains.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The burning center of the glory of God

"Christ is the glory of God. His blood-soaked cross is the blazing center of that glory. By it He bought for us every blessing–temporal and eternal. And we don’t deserve any. He bought them all. Because of Christ’s cross, God’s elect are destined to be sons of God. Because of His cross all guilt is removed, and sins are forgiven, and perfect righteousness is imputed to us, and the love of God is poured out in our hearts by the Spirit, and we are being conformed to the image of Christ.

Therefore, every enjoyment in this life and the next that is not idolatry is a tribute to the infinite value of the cross of Christ--the burning center of the glory of God. And thus a cross-centered, cross-exalting, cross-saturated life is a God-glorifying life--the only God-glorifying life. All others are wasted."

--John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life, p. 59.
Become intimate with God.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Breathless by the Corrs

Come to me

“Jesus does not say, ‘Come to me, all you who have learned how to concentrate in prayer, whose minds no longer wander, and I will give you rest.’ No, Jesus opens his arms to his needy children and says, ‘Come to me, all who are weary and heaven-laden, and I will give you rest.’ ... The criteria for coming to Jesus is messiness. Come overwhelmed with life. Come with your wandering mind. Come messy.”

--Paul Miller,
A Praying Life, p. 31-32.
"How could I spend the best years of my life in living for the honours of this world, when thousands of souls are perishing every day?"

--C.T. Studd

Been thinkin' about patience

I've been thinking a lot recently about patience and how easily we get impatient. What makes us most impatient? Having to wait for God to bring about something we think we need, want, or deserve? Frustration that our timetables aren't being met by God? Sadness that we have to go through situations we'd rather avoid? Putting off our dreams, sometimes for a long time?

God does not make us wait for no reason. And when we circumvent His work, when we force our life situations to move in directions we want them to go, without His obvious blessing, we give up the very best that He would have for us, even if that best might cause us great pain at present. John Newton once said that “Everything is necessary that he sends. Nothing can be necessary that he withholds.”

Let's rather have God's will in His timing, than have our dreams now. Let's rather be patient and be teachable, than have our way but miss out on something He wants to teach us. Let's not sacrifice the best for anything less.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The best wife and mother

“I believe the best mom of all is the one who loves her husband and gives her children the security of living within the protection of a rock-solid marriage, a marriage that exemplifies and models for them what God intended.”

--Sharon Jaynes, Becoming the Woman of His Dreams.
I am a Prince because He is the King and He is my Father.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The cup

“Never was so much sorrow emanating from the soul of one individual. We could never comprehend the depth of Christ’s agony because, frankly, we cannot perceive the wickedness of sin as He could. Nor can we appreciate the terrors of divine wrath the way He did....

What is the cup? It is not merely death. It is not the physical pain of the cross. It was not the scourging or the humiliation. It was not the horrible thirst, the torture of having nails driven through His body, or the disgrace of being spat upon or beaten, It was not even all of those things combined.... what Christ dreaded most about the cross — the cup from which He asked to be delivered if possible — was the outpouring of divine wrath He would have to endure from His holy Father….

In some mysterious way that our human minds could never fathom, God the Father would turn His face from Christ the Son, and Christ the Son, and Christ would bear the full brunt of the divine fury against sin…. In other words, on the cross, God imputed our sin to Christ and then punished Him for it.”

--John MacArthur, The Murder of Jesus, p. 63-71.
Live well, live wisely, live humbly.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

More Gentian Hill quotes

"Going upstairs to bed was one of the things which Stella enjoyed. There was a special savor about this moment of leaving the ground floor of the house where the work of the day had taken place, with its attendant hurry and worry, and perhaps misunderstandings and sorrows too, and mounting up away from it all like an angel into heaven. She was sorry for people who lived in small cottages, sleeping on the same floor where they worked, who could not enjoy this lovely slow ascension to restfulness and peace." (p. 46-47).

"But to Stella the world was still so full of surprises that all the ordinary happenings of life seemed as wonderful as fairy tales, and conversely, fairy tales did not seem anything out of the ordinary." (p. 57).
Say “Yes” to God, no matter what He asks of you.

God's Own Fool by Michael Card

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

More Gentian Hill quotes

"But all through the Book [the Bible], even in the dreadful parts, the language would now and then suddenly affect her like an enchantment. The peculiarities of Father's Sprigg's deliver worried her not at all. It was as though his gruff voice tossed the words roughly into the air separate particles of no great value, and immediately they fell again transmuted, like the music of a peal of bells, or raindrops shot through with sunshine, and vista upon vista of unobtainable beauty opened before her mind. It was a mystery to Stella that mere words could make this happen. She supposed the makers of these phrases had fashioned them to hold their visions as one makes a box to hold one's treasure, and Father Sprigg's voice was the key grating in the lock, so that the box could open and set them free." (p. 43).

"It was her own West Country that Stella saw, with its round green hills dotted with the sheep, and the stream winding in and out between them, and down in the sheltered valleys were the orchards and ploughed fields of rose-red earth, the homesteads and the old grey churches. She saw the sun and rain sweeping over the land, and the great arc of the rainbow in the sky, and it was as though the earth lifted itself to drink of the sun and the rain, and, even as she watched, the corn sprang green in the furrows, the orchards frothed with blossom, and the perfume of many flowers and the singing of a multitude of birds rose up like incense to the God Whose eyes, looking upon it, had given life." (p. 44).
Get serious about eternal issues.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Gentian Hill quotes

My dear friend Natalie gave me Gentian Hill by Elizabeth Goudge a few months ago, and I thought I'd share a few quotes that I really liked as I read through it. I'll be sharing several quotes over the next few weeks, starting with:

"Of the several who worked on the farm, he and Madge were the only two who actually slept in the farmhouse, and with Father and Mother Sprigg, Stella, Seraphine, and Hodge, made up a household compactly knit together in a loyalty that had never been expressed in words but of which each was so unconsciously aware that they acted upon it, and, as in the case of Seraphine, traded upon it with just the same certainly with which they trod the solid earth and knew, without considering the matter, that it would not give way beneath them." (p. 37).

"That chuckle was one of the distinctive sounds of Weekaborough, like Madge's singing, Hodge's deep bell-like bark, the striking of the grandfather clock, the click of Mother Sprigg's needle against her thimble, the ring of Father Sprigg's heavy boots upon the stone floors, and the rustle of the wind in the apple trees. In years to come, when she was away from Weekaborough, Stella would remember these sounds, and her recollection would harmonize them into music that would sing like a lullaby in her ears and carry her back to the farmhouse kitchen. She scarcely realized now, of course, that she was exceptionally happy and beloved, but she glowed like a rose as she sat there in the soft candlelight eating her apples and cream." (p. 41)

Don’t write people off – go after them with grace and love.

Friday, May 15, 2009

In the end, God will win and will make everything right.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A life of wonder, faith, love ...

"But you, Timothy, man of God: Run for your life from all this. Pursue a righteous life—a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. Run hard and fast in the faith. Seize the eternal life, the life you were called to, the life you so fervently embraced in the presence of so many witnesses."

--1 Tim . 6:11-12,
The Message
Ask God to empower us to live extraordinary lives for Christ.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Be content to let God set things right.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Lord, please send distressed travelers our way and use us to tend to their needs.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lord, please send us the poor, weary, and broken, and minister your grace to them through us.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Friday, May 8, 2009

Lord, please help us to be discerning without being judgmental and without writing others off.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Lord, help us to make our appetites subservient to the goal of glorifying You in everything.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Why we serve Christ

"When we love Christ only for what He brings us, including spiritual feelings, we are loving ourselves, not loving Him, regardless of the sacrifice we think we are offering. The dark night of the soul purifies our motivation and keeps us from becoming like the crowds in the New Testament who followed Jesus, not for His teaching, but for the miraculously supplied bread.

When we live by faith and not feelings, when we persevere no matter how dry we feel, Teresa of Avila said, we show we are among those souls who “would want the Lord to see that they do not serve Him for pay.” That is, we want the Lord to see that we will serve Him regardless of whether it gives us pleasure or pain. We will serve Him because He is God and Lord and because He has captured our hearts and our wills."

--Gary Thomas, Seeking the Face of God.

Pray for Israel.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sunday, May 3, 2009

It’s more important to create a safe environment for others than for myself.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Cultivate the discipline of delayed gratification.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Do not let performance and appearance equal acceptance.