Tag Archive | Spurgeon

Irish and More!

“I would not be a citizen where Jesus was an alien.”  Spurgeon

This Irish, Swedish, English, Welch of a person, is first, and by God’s grace, a citizen of heaven! So today, though I love celebrating my distant, yet beloved Irish roots, I long more to celebrate my heritage and inheritance in Christ!

“But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”   Hebrews 11:16

This poem and long-time hymn, is often, yet questionably, attributed to St. Patrick, the adored 5th century English missionary to Ireland.  Though its author may be contested, this abbreviated version of “St Patrick’s Breastplate” expresses how I want to wake up today, St Patrick’s Day, and everyday of my life:

I arise today
Through a mighty strength,
the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness of the Creator of Creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.
 
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.
 
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

“For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.”
Hebrews 13:14

The Table or the Host?

“Their love is the love of the table, not of the host; a love to the cupboard, not to the master of the house.”  ~ Spurgeon

 

Jesus asked him the third time,

“Do you love me?”

He said,

“Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you!”  (John 17:21)

 

Where are our affections?  On the things the Lord provides?

Or Him?

~~~

Do we love the table?

Breakfast Table with Tulips

Children's Table for Thanksgiving

.

Or the Host?

Giver of All Good

Where grace and judgement meetEternal Redeemer

.

Do  we love the cupboard…

Cupboard on Long Island

.

…or the Master of the house?

Who Loved us First

.

Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life….

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.”  from John 6:26-35

.

Assurance for the Journey

Someone may have made this point already, but my husband says that each day is a lifetime.  We wake up/are born, we move through the day/live, and go to sleep at night (sometimes)/a mini-death.  So resolutions shouldn’t be limited to New Years, birthdays, anniversaries, etc;  everyday we should resolve to surrender to the Lord, and trust His guidance… moment by moment.  God’s promises are for each day (give us this day..), so too, should be our reliance and trust.

Spurgeon offers this assurance for today’s Journey, and every Today:

And the LORD shall guide thee continually. ~ Isaiah 58:11

“The Lord shall guide thee.” Not an angel, but JEHOVAH shall guide  thee. He said He would not go through the wilderness before His people, an angel  should go before them to lead them in the way; but Moses said, “If Thy  presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.” Christian, God has not left you  in your earthly pilgrimage to an angel’s guidance: He Himself leads the van. [yes, he said ‘van’ :-)]

 You  may not see the cloudy, fiery pillar, but Jehovah will never forsake you. Notice  the word shall–“The Lord shall guide thee.” How certain this makes it!  How sure it is that God will not forsake us! His precious “shalls” and “wills”  are better than men’s oaths. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

Then  observe the adverb continually. We are not merely to be guided sometimes,  but we are to have a perpetual monitor; not occasionally to be left to our own  understanding, and so to wander, but we are continually to hear the guiding  voice of the Great Shepherd; and if we follow close at His heels, we shall not  err, but be led by a right way to a city to dwell in.

If you have to change your  position in life; if you have to emigrate to distant shores; if it should happen  that you are cast into poverty, or uplifted suddenly into a more responsible position than the one you now occupy; if you are thrown among strangers, or cast  among foes, yet tremble not, for “the Lord shall guide thee continually.”

There  are no dilemmas out of which you shall not be delivered if you live near to God,  and your heart be kept warm with holy love. He goes not amiss who goes in the  company of God. Like Enoch, walk with God, and you cannot mistake your road. You  have infallible wisdom to direct you, immutable love to comfort you, and eternal  power to defend you. “Jehovah”–mark the word–“Jehovah shall guide thee  continually.

~~~

Dear Father and loving Guide, Thank you for the assurance of your Presence and the promises you give.   Help me to trust you more.  “Trust in the Lord with all you heart, lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.”  I’m so blessed to be your child, and I trust you as my loving Father.  In your son’s precious name, Jesus, Amen. 

~~~

Timely Word for the Journey

My favourite Christian author, preacher, writer, and teacher is Charles H. Spurgeon.  Anyone who’s read my blog for even a week has probably figured that one out!  The devotional I’ve worn out for the past 7 years is Morning by Morning.  Each page offers insight, encouragement, and Scriptures that always point to Jesus.  His daily meditations have never ceased to offer timely words for my journey.

Sometimes I share little blurbs, other time composites of Spurgeon thought, but today I must share the devotional in its entirety.  It’s That good!  May it connect with someone’s heart and need today, and lift up a weary pilgrim along the way:

“He led them forth by the right way.”  Psalm 107:9

Changing circumstances often causes the anxious believer to ask, “Why is this happening to me?” I looked for light, but darkness came; for peace, but faced trouble. I said in my heart, my mountain stands firm, I shall never be moved.  Lord, You hide Your face, and I am troubled. Only yesterday I could read my title clearly; but today my evidences are blurred, and my hopes are clouded.  Yesterday I could climb the mountain and view the landscape and rejoice with confidence in my future inheritance; today my spirit has no hopes, but many fears; no joys, but great distress.

Is this part of God’s plan for me? Can this be the way in which God would bring me to heaven?

Yes, it is even so. The eclipse of your faith, the darkness of your mind, the fainting of your hope–all these things are just parts of God’s method of making you ready for the great inheritance, which you will soon enjoy.

These trials are for the testing and strengthening of your faith–they are waves that wash you further upon the rock–they are winds that steer your ship more quickly toward the desired haven. What David wrote then will be true of you: “He brought them to their desired haven” (verse 30). By honor and dishonor, by evil report and by good report, by plenty and by poverty, by joy and by distress, by persecution and by peace–by all these things your spiritual life is maintained, and by each of these you are helped on your way.

Do not think, believer, that your sorrows are out of God’s plan; they are necessary parts of it. “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom.” Learn, then, to “count it all joy . . . when you meet trials of various kinds.”

O let my trembling soul be still,
And trust Thy wise, Thy holy will!
I cannot, Lord, Thy purpose see,
Yet all is well since ruled by Thee.

~~~

If you would like some daily encouragement from Spurgeon, you can buy his devotionals HERE, or read it online HERE.

Perfectly Weak

“For my strength is made perfect in weakness…”  2 Corinthians 12:9

[Travels, transitions, family times, grandparenting, border crossings, and more…my excuse for a big, bad case of blogger’s block.  But I can’t wait to share of God’s grace through all this…in between our routine days, like Titus 2sday!]

Last time we ‘met’ for Titus2sday, we were discussing sin, control and being out of control{!}  This sense of being out of control, whether in marriage, parenting, emotions, family matters, health, the work place, finances, or  ___ [fill in the blank], generally makes us feel pretty weak. Or perhaps, like me, perfectly weak!

But this awareness of our weakness brings us to a better place than perceived strength or control ever could—to pure reliance on Him.

These excerpts from Spurgeon (my fave) encourage us in our utter and perfect weakness:

Are you mourning over your own weakness?  Take courage, for there must be a consciousness of weakness before the Lord will give you a victory.

Your emptiness is but the preparation for your being filled, and your casting down is but the making ready for your lifting up.

In seasons of severe trial, the Christian has nothing on earth that he can trust in; therefore, he is compelled to cast himself on God alone.

There is no moment of our lives, however holy, in which we can do without His constant upholding.

~~~

I am SO weak.  I come to the Lord with empty hands…therefore…

“…I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me!”
2 Corinthians 12:9

~~~

Dear Lord,  We are all so weak.  We rejoice in the day when our faith will be sight, and we shall be like him, for we shall see him as He is! (I John 3:2) But until then, our weakness weighs us down, it interferes with our relationships and daily lives.  We need you, Lord, we need Your strength to be made perfect in our weakness..whatever that looks like.  Help us let go of the controls, and trust in the power of Christ that dwells in us.  In His Strong Name, Amen.

Love exiles fear

“Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.”  I John 4:18 (NLT)

“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!” Psalm 139:17

“Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”  I Peter 5:7

Perfect Love casts out all Fear!  That’s is the WHOLE reason we don’t need to fear! And a good word for us on Fearless Friday!   As we direct our minds towards His love, our fears will blur. One version of the Bible says, our fears will be Banished!!

What does expelling or banishing fear really mean?  Here’s a few choice words:

deport, discard, dismiss, dispel, drive away, eject, eliminate, eradicate, evict, exclude, exile, extradite, get rid of, isolate, oust, outlaw, remove, rusticate, sequester, shake off, shut out

So perfect love exiles, eliminates, gets rid of…all fear. These words suggest a near-annihilation of something, placing it beyond reach or grasp.  We’re often unwilling to release the strangle-hold we have on our fears, because we still doubt His love.   So, perhaps this excerpt from Spurgeon will give a glimpse into God’s perfect love..for us:

God is always thinking upon us, never turns aside His mind from us, has us always before His eyes…

His thoughts area always tender, loving , wise  prudent, far-reaching and they bring to us countless benefits.

In all our wonderings, the watchful glance of the Eternal Watcher is evermore fixed upon us–we never roam beyond the Shepherd’s eye.  In our sorrows He observes us incessantly, and not a pang escapes Him; in our toils He marks all our weariness, and writes in His book all the struggles of His faithful ones.

The thoughts of the Lord encompass us in all our paths, and penetrate the innermost region of our being.  Not a nerve or tissue, valve or vessel, of our bodily organization is uncared for; all the littles of our little world are thought upon by the great God.

~~~

I really enjoy finding songs that amplify our discussion, and today, this one by Annie Herring and Matthew Ward speak perfectly of perfect love:

Apple of His Eye
Glimpses CD

He’s the one who loves you more than you will ever know
He’s the one who dries the tears you cry.
He has formed your very soul and knows your every need
He will guide you through your darkest night.

Chorus

For you still carry inside you His light that never dies
And you are always before him
The apple of His eye.

He’s the one who holds you close when no one will come near
The one who sees what no one else can see.
He’s the one who keeps your burden light enough to bear
For He will be your strength when you are weak.

Nothing in this world could ever keep His love from you
And He gave His life to see this promise through.

He’s the one who loves you more  than you will ever know
And He has counted every tear you’ve cried.
He will take your tear-stained heart and make it light as snow
And He’ll become your wings so you can fly.

For you still carry inside you His light that never dies
And you are always before Him,
The apple of His eye!

~~~

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are!  I John 3:1

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. I John 4:10

~~~

Dear Father, Help us to focus on your Love today, not our Fear. Help us to release the grasp we have on our fears, worries, cares and anxieties.  Exile, banish our fears far from us, by filling our minds and hearts with the knowledge and awareness of your perfect love…love that hung on a cross in our place.  Love that knows us better than we know ourselves.  Thank you!  In Love’s Name, Jesus, Amen.

~~~

[Note:  I regret that I can’t upload an audio version of this beautiful Annie Herring song presently.]

Thankful Mondays

It dawned on me that Monday is probably the worst day, and the best, to write a thankful list.  The worst day, because my brain is on slo-mo, and needs a second cup of cream with coffee to get charged.  And it’s the best day, because when I count my blessings (‘name them one by one’), the week gets off to a better start! 

Without further ado…today I am thankful for the things that get my morning going:

31.  Coffee, already brewed by my wonderful husband

32.  Spurgeon’s Morning by Morning Devotional (part of my day for over 8 years)

33.  The Bible  (deserves a post all to itself–HERE)

34.  Specifically, the NASB Bible which I’ve used since 1972

35.  More specifically, the NASB Bible my husband gave me in 1977 while we were in Okinawa

36.  The precious highlighting my daughters did throughout the Bible when they were very little

37.   The Presentation page (with highlights from #36):

“On the Occasion of thursday, because I love her”

 

 

38.  Spurgeon’s, Our Own Hymn-Book, a great companion to the Word

39.  Bic pens that make my handwriting look pretty

40.  Two journals: One messy, one neat.  I need both.

 

What are you thankful for as you begin this new day, which, itself, is a gift from God?

~~~

Join me and others here:

God is FOR Us

 

God is for us.

Kari Jobe’s song, You are For Me, is still in the music box if you need a reminder today. 

~~~~

And God’s Word is here to remind us too:

Then shall my enemies turn back in the day that I call:  This I know, that God is for me.  Psalm 56:9

The LORD is for me; I will not fear; What can man do to me?  Psalm 118:6

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?  He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?  Romans 8:31, 32

For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.  Hebrews 9:24

Cast all your anxieties on him, because He cares for you.  I Peter 5:7

Spurgeon summarizes these verses and others, much better that I could:

It is impossible for any human speech to express the full meaning of this delightful phrase, God is for me. He was for us before the worlds were made; He was for us, or He would not have given His well-beloved Son; He was for us when He smote the Only-begotten, and laid the full weight of His wrath on Him; He was for us when we were rebels against Him; He was for us in many struggles…how could we have remained unharmed to this hour if He had not been for us?

Because He is for us, the voice of prayer will always ensure His help. “When I cry to Thee, then shall my enemies turn back.”  This is no uncertain hope, but a well-grounded assurance – “this I know!”

If God be for us, who can be against us?!

 

“Let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in a time of need (Heb. 4:16), knowing this, that God is for Us!

   

Draw near with Confidence

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

Booking It 2011

I know…the month is closing down and I’m just now posting my 2011 reading list!  But I must speak to my inner guilt, and say..well, at least it’s still January!

Once again, with encouragement from LifeasMom, Carrie’s Busy Nothings, and Beth Stone’s Studio, I’m committing myself to another year of good reading with the Booking It 2011 project!  If you check out any of these blogs, you can see what they are reading, and read their reviews as the year progresses.  Last year I posted my reading list for 2010 HERE.  However, as things go, some were dropped and others added, so this is what I actually read:

Before Green Gables (reviewed here), by Budge Wilson
Broken-Down House (reviewed here), by Paul D. Tripp
Little Dorrit, by Charles Dickens
The Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan
Shelter in a Time of Storm, (reviewed here), by Paul D. Tripp
Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea, by Lucy M Montgomery
Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers, by Arthur Bennett
Transforming Together: Authentic Spiritual Mentoring, by Ele Parrott
Stuff Christians Like, by Jon Acuff (funny!!!!!)
A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
Now That is Amazing Grace, by William McDonald
Learning to Pray in 28 Days, by Kay Arthur
What Did You Expect?  by Paul D. Tripp, this time, about marriage

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For 2011, I’ve compiled this optimistic list and am really looking forward to all the great reading ahead!!

Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, by Eric Mataxas  (in progress)
Orthodoxy, by GH Chesterton
Generous Justice,  by Timothy Keller
Nicholas Nickleby,  by Charles Dickens
The Confession,  by John Grisham
Planet Narnia, by Michael Ward

And more ‘Anne‘ books:
Anne of the Island 
Anne of Windy Poplar  
Anne’s House of Dreams
Anne of Ingleside
Rainbow Valley
Rilla of Ingleside

And I’ve added Faith Alone, by Luther, to my devotional list.  I hope Spurgeon won’t mind too much.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This list could take a wide detour if my courses in M.Ed assign copious reading projects!  So my ambitious aspirations, as Captain Barbosa would say, “are really more like guidelines.” 

Please join me, and many others over at LifeasMom, for good reading, discussion, and encouragement!  What are you reading?

Home is a Person

“So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.” 2 Cor. 15:9

Home is a confusing word for me.

I grew up in Denver, Colorado, but moved away when I was 20.  My husband and I both served in the US Navy a total of 30 years, living in at least 18 different homes, on and off base, around the world, and back again.  The only house we ever owned, and that, only recently, is on a little plot in the Appalachian Mountains.  Our three daughters and their families live in as many places on the East Coast. My mom’s in Arizona, and my husband’s family is scattered here and there, including the town where we live.  And, our hearts are deeply knit with friends and fellowship in Ottawa, Ontario.

Each place was/is like home to me!?

Yes.  Upbringing, family, work, life, property, and fellowship; each set the stage for all that home means and feels. 

And no.  Each place leaves me with a sense of wanting.  Isn’t there something more? I feel like that little bird in the Dr. Seuss book who goes around to every living creature asking, “Are you my mother?” Is this my home? Where do I belong? 

Through this search, I’m discovering that home is not so much a place, as it is a Person.  God is my Home.  He is my refuge and shelter, upheld by His arms, carried on His shoulders, healed by His stripes.  He is the only lasting home I have.

I refer to Spurgeon’s devotional quite often in my posts, but that’s because he speaks to me in so many areas of my life.  And to this need for home, belonging and attachment, he speaks clearly:

“You have made the Lord your dwelling place, the Most High, who is my refuge.”  Psalm 91:9

The Israelites in the wilderness were continually exposed to change.  Wherever the pillar of cloud stopped, the tents were pitched; but the next day the morning sun arose, the trumpet sounded, the ark was in motion, and the fiery, cloudy pillar was leading the way through the narrow mountain passes, up the hillsides, or along the arid wastes of the wilderness. [Sound familiar?]

They never stayed for long in one place.  Even wells and palm trees could not detain them.  They had an abiding home in their God; His cloudy pillar was their roof, and its flame by night their fireplace.  They must go onward from place to place, continually changing, never having time to settle or to say, “now we are secure; we will stay in this place.” [I’ve said that!]

Instead, Moses says, “Though we are always changing, Lord, you have been our dwelling-place throughout all generations.”  Psalm 90:1

The Christian know no change with regard to God.  He may be rich today and poor tomorrow; he may be sick today and well tomorrow; he may be happy today and sad tomorrow–but there’s no change regarding his relationship to God.  If He loved me yesterday, He loves me today.  My unmoving mansion of rest is my blessed Lord.  Even when prospects are few and hopes are squashed and joy is waning, I have lost nothing of what I have in God.

He is my refuge to which I continually return.  I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God.  In the earth I wander, but in God I dwell in a quiet dwelling place.”

 

Teach me Lord, to find my rest in you, to be at home anywhere, and everywhere, because You are there.

You are my Home…now, and forever!