Monthly Archives: November 2011

A Hymn of Thanksiving


 

Psalm 9:1-2

I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works.

I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.

 

“Come Ye Thankful People, Come”
by Henry Alford, 1810-1871

1. Come, ye thankful people, come;
Raise the song of Harvest-home.
All be safely gathered in
Ere the winter storms begin;
God, our Maker, doth provide
For our wants to be supplied,
Come to God’s own temple, come;
Raise the song of Harvest-home.

2. All the world is God’s own field,
Fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown,
Unto joy or sorrow grown;
First the blade and then the ear,
Then the full corn shall appear.
Lord of harverst, grant that we
Wholesome grain and pure may be.

3. For the Lord, our God, shall come
And shall take His harvest home;
From His field shall in that day
All offences purge away;
Give His angels charge at last
In the fire the tares to cast,
But the fruitful ears to store
In His garner evermore.

4. Even so, Lord, quickly come
To Thy final Harvest-home;
Gather Thou Thy people in,
Free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified,
In Thy garner to abide.
Come with all Thine angels, come,
Raise the glorious Harvest-home.

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Christian Friendship


Note: I have updated this post with a story about the featured hymn “Blessed be tie that binds” shared by my dear friend Ruth.

Thanksgiving is in a few days and I have been trying to focus on being thankful to God this year for every blessing, and every trial as well.  This year will be a simple meal shared with my Brother and a visit to see my Mother in the nursing home. I am so thankful that she is still here with me and even though I wish circumstances were different, I am thankful to God for her health and just to be able to hold her hand and spend time with her and my Brother.  My Church has a service Wednesday night before Thanksgiving and everyone writes down something they are thankful for this past year and my Pastor shares those thoughts with the congregation. I have so many things to be thankful for but I think this year I am especially thankful for Christian friends.

I was searching the web looking for a poem or text to sum up my thoughts and came across this on Grace Gems.Sadly I have no idea who wrote it but it beautifully expresses the Grace God has shown me in blessing me with Christian friends. They have uplifted and encouraged me, held me accountable when I was wrong, reminded me of my hope in Christ and shown me Godly love and affection and what it means to be selfless, caring and growing in Grace. I am so blessed to have known and loved each and every one of you…may the peace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ be with you all this thanksgiving.

Christian Friendship

Next to communion with God, there cannot be a more refined felicity than the communion of saints.

Everything holy in principle, and exalted in prospect, is associated with the assurance, that the friends whom we love upon earth, shall be our friends in the presence of God our Savior. Worldly attachments resemble the summer showers, which rapidly swell the brooks, but soon pass away; while Christian friendship, the communion of saints, is like a perennial spring. The love of Christ towards his people is the ever-flowing the ever over-flowing fountain of blessedness, whose refreshing streams are the most abundant when most needed.

Oh! that I may daily partake of these waters of salvation! How sweet it is to taste that the Lord is gracious. His consolations are neither few nor small. When we forsake Him, we forsake our own mercies. And yet, alas! how prone we are to forsake the fountain of living waters, and to “hew out to ourselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” This conduct is our folly, as it is made our misery.

Our roses grow on prickly stems. Everything, even our choicest comforts, have some admixture of sorrow, to remind us of the fall. There is, O blessed assurance! a world where all is perfect, where pleasures flow like a river, pure as crystal, from the throne of God; where Christian friends, united here in Christ, shall meet, in perfect holiness, to part no more. Oh! what a resplendent view is opened to us through the gospel. What pure delights those people lose, who have no relish for communion with God, no participation in the communion of saints. The friends of Jesus, are the friends of each other. They love each other for His sake, who is their beloved and their friend. With united voices they can sing,
“Bless’d be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.”

There is something magnetical in genuine Christian love. It attracts heart to heart. In such a world as this, how invaluable is a Christian friend; one, on whom we can rely, and into whose bosom we can freely pour those thoughts and feelings which occupy our own. This world, like “a peevish April day, is made up of rain and sunshine.” Here, we are called to endure; in heaven, we shall be privileged to enjoy. Brethren in Christ, whose hearts are knit together in love, shall, before long, meet around the throne, united to their glorified Head.

How delightful is the thought of being forever with the Lord. How composing under every trial is the assurance of seeing Him as he is, and being made like Him in the perfection of love. O that my heart were more and more assimilated to my divine Lord. Holiness is the health of the soul. Holiness is happiness. Holiness is heaven begun. Heaven must be a place of unspeakable bliss, where God our Savior manifests his glory; where the holiest affections will be in their highest, perpetual exercise; where all the excellent of the earth shall be assembled; and where, the very element of the place, is Eternal Joy!

Blest Be the Tie That Binds

John Fawcett, 1740–1817

“We just cannot break the ties of affection that bind us to you dear friends.” As Mary Fawcett assured the little congregation at Wainsgate, England, of the bond of love that she and her husband felt for their poor peasant parishioners, Pastor John decided to express his feelings in a poem about the value of Christian fellowship.

The following Sunday, John Fawcett preached from Luke 12:15: “A man’s life consists not in the abundance of the things he possesses.” He closed his sermon by reading his new poem, “Brotherly Love.”

At the age of twenty-six, John Fawcett and his new bride, Mary, began their ministry at an impoverished Baptist church in Wainsgate. After seven years of devoted service in meager circumstances, they received a call to the large and influential Carter’s Lane Baptist Church in London. After the wagons were loaded for the move, the Fawcetts met their tearful parishioners for a final farewell. “John, I cannot bear to leave. I know not how to go!” “Nor can I either,” said the saddened pastor. “We shall remain here with our people.” The order was then given to unload the wagons.

John and Mary Fawcett carried on their faithful ministry in the little village of Wainsgate for a total of fifty-four years. Their salary was estimated to be never more than the equivalent of $200.00 a year, despite Fawcett’s growing reputation as an outstanding evangelical preacher, scholar, and writer. Among his noted writings was an essay, “Anger,” which became a particular favorite of King George III. It is reported that the monarch promised Pastor Fawcett any benefit that could be conferred. But the offer was declined with this statement: “I have lived among my own people, enjoying their love; God has blessed my labors among them, and I need nothing which even a king could supply.” Such was the man who gave us these loving words:

Blest Be the Tie That Binds

1. Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.

2. Before our Father’s throne
We pour our ardent pray’rs;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims, are one,
Our comforts and our cares.

3. We share our mutual woes,
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.

4. When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again.
Lyrics: John Fawcett
Music: Hans Georg Naegeli

Lyrics: John Fawcett
Music: Hans Georg Naegeli

 

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The Christian Traveler


From “Divine Breathings”  A pious soul searching after Christ.

By Thomas Sherman

You can read it in it’s entirety here: http://www.gracegems.org/C/Sherman_divine_breathings.htm

“These all confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” Hebrews 11:13

A black cloud causes the traveler to quicken his pace, and hasten towards his home; whereas a sunny day, tempts him to idle away his time; and a pleasant way tends to steal away his affections while he surveys the country.

However others may think of it—yet I consider it a mercy, that occasionally some clouds interpose my sun, and often so that my troubles eclipse my comforts. For I perceive that if I should find too much friendship in my inn, or in my pilgrimage—that I would soon forget my Father’s house and my glorious eternal inheritance.

“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” 1 Peter 2:1

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Idealized Domesticity


For many years I helped take  care of my Dad when he had Dementia.  The day in, day out routine was nothing compared to the hard work and responsibility of Motherhood  and raising children.  My hat goes off to all the hard working stay at home Mom’s out there, you have the hardest job in the world and this little rant is in no way meant to diminish Godly Christian women who have devoted their lives to selflessly care for their family. In my own experience with my Dad,  working full time and being a caregiver was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. There was never a break, and it was hard, difficult and often depressing work.   I learned a lot about patience and servanthood but I cannot say that I ever waxed eloquently over changing diapers or trying to find someone’s dentures. I have read tons of blogs and a few books about how to make Motherhood and domestic life honoring to God. I think the sheer fact that we do everything we do as worship to God is scriptural and it does give us a sense of purpose, but I have never been one to sugar coat the truth.

Life is brutal, tough and I know God can handle all of it, even when I am falling apart. I think there is this sense that as women we have to always have some sort of control or never admit defeat. I wholeheartedly disagree.  When my emotions or circumstances are more than I can bear I know I can come to God with all of it, and often these are the times that He is more real and vivid to me, when I am broken and at the end of my rope.  I could be way off base here but I never considered any of these duties Holy or Sacramental in any way. I know I am in the minority obviously because throngs of women really love and enjoy reading these books, to me the real beauty in these situations is that God is there with us during all of these experiences and for that I am so thankful. Maybe I just don’t get it, but it was nice this morning to read that someone else “just don’t get it” either.

You can read the original here:  http://thechristianpundit.org/2011/11/02/idealized-domesticity/

The 02 Wednesday Nov 2011

Posted by RVD in Christian Living, Motherhood

If one of my kids came to me and said, “I am going to clean my room like you asked me to. I’m giving up time with my books and paint box to pick my clothes up off the floor. I would like to read or paint instead of doing something so mundane, but I do find that the ritual of hanging up clothes and making my bed gives me spiritual nourishment that compensates for the time and effort of obedience.” – I would not know whether to give them a cold shower or counselling.

But you can buy Christian books for women that talk about missional motherhood, sacramental aspects of homemaking, and the holy experience of homeschooling on a farm. Some of these were written in response to women who feel like staying at home with kids is drudgery, even though they believe it is right – women who gave up careers to raise their children, but haven’t found the fulfillment or the public laud of a husband that they thought it would bring. Women have stayed at home expecting to be content and happy washing loads of dishes just because they know they’re doing what’s best for their kids, and instead they are tired, discouraged, and hungry for an adult conversation. The new mommy literature often tries to address this by encouraging stay-at-home mothers to feel as though they are doing religious work as they go about household chores.

In trying to help women feel better about doing laundry instead of office work, though, these authors have set up an unbiblical alternate ideal. Their musings about sacramentalism, euphoric experiences during mundane chores, or the holiness of changing diapers sound more like descriptions of a Roman Catholic nun running an orphanage, than a Protestant wife biblically parenting.

We know from Scripture that all of life is to be worship: “Whatever you do, whether you eat or drink, do it all to the glory of God” (I Cor. 10:31). But holiness comes not when we feel like we are sanctified or making religious progress as we scrub the toilet. It comes when these chores are set apart to God’s glory through prayer, even if nobody else but the Lord knows that we did them to the best of our ability out of love for Him, even if we did them with tears.

Holiness is Monica agonizing in prayer for her son Augustine, when he was living in what he later called “a seething cauldron of iniquity”. She agonized for him to her death, and never saw him become the great instrument in God’s hand that he became. Holiness is Maggie Paton working without complaint for decades on a remote island, not knowing that her service to her husband would bear eternal fruit. Holiness is a widow being faithful in prayer for the church, even when nobody visits her in the nursing home. Holiness is being faithful in what God has called you to do on this earth even if nobody—including your husband, children or the church—recognizes it. It is obeying even when we feel like obedience is fruitless. It means quietly and uncomplainingly dying to self and living in the Saviour’s service. Sowing in earthly tears and reaping with eternal joy (Ps. 126).

This new mommy literature ignores the fact that all of the toil and repetition and weariness and hurry that come with stay-at-home motherhood are normal. Getting out of bed early, changing a diaper, getting breakfast on the table and packing a lunch for your husband, day in and day out, is not sacramental. It’s not even ritual. It’s routine. It’s normal. If you look at the women in the Bible and church history who model godly womanhood, you will see that they did not see anything unusually holy or earth-changing in their humble service. In fact, hard work, multi-tasking, child-bearing in difficult circumstances, loneliness, giving while financially tight, slow spiritual growth, weariness, helping a busy husband, practicing inconvenient hospitality, while doing daily devotions and attending weekly prayer meetings and Lord’s Day worship (with the occasional date night) is all very normal for the Christian woman. There is nothing extraordinary in giving up a career to stay at home and educate your children; it should be normal. The Bible shows that ease and comfort are generally attributes of unbelievers’ lives. Self-sacrifice is normal for the believer. Our Saviour lived an earthly life of poverty and suffering—we mothers should expect a life of much difficult work for the Kingdom and pray for grace to do it cheerfully and quietly.

This is scripture’s domestic ideal. Be encouraged; our faithful hard work might never be noticed or seem to bear earthly fruit, if we do it out of love for Christ, in thankfulness for His atoning love, we will hear His approval, “Well done, good and faithful servant…Enter into the joy of your master” (Matt. 25:23). That goal should enable us to tackle the pile of ironing with joy.

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O God, Almighty God everlasting! how dreadful is the world!


Luther’s Prayer at the Diet of Worms

This is Martin Luther’s prayer the night that he was given to think over whether he would recant his 95 theses.

O God, Almighty God everlasting! how dreadful is the world! behold how its mouth opens to swallow me up, and how small is my faith in Thee! . . . Oh! the weakness of the flesh, and the power of Satan! If I am to depend upon any strength of this world – all is over . . . The knell is struck . . . Sentence is gone forth . . . O God! O God! O thou, my God! help me against the wisdom of this world. Do this, I beseech thee; thou shouldst do this . . . by thy own mighty power . . . The work is not mine, but Thine. I have no business here . . . I have nothing to contend for with these great men of the world! I would gladly pass my days in happiness and peace. But the cause is Thine . . . And it is righteous and everlasting! O Lord! help me! O faithful and unchangeable God! I lean not upon man. It were vain! Whatever is of man is totering, whtaever proceeds from him must fail. My God! my God! dost thou not hear? My God! art thou no longer living? Nay, thou canst not die. Thou dost but hide Thyself. Thou hast chosen me for this work. I know it! . . . Therefore, O God, accomplish thine own will! Forsake me not, for the sake of thy well-beloved Son, Jesus Christ, my defence, my buckler, and my stronghold.
Lord – where art thou? . . . My God, where art thou? . . . Come! I pray thee, I am ready . . . Behold me prepared to lay down my life for thy truth . . . suffering like a lamb. For the cause is holy. It is thine own! . . . I will not let thee go! no, nor yet for all eternity! And though the world should be thronged with devils – and this body, which is the work of thine hands, should be cast forth, trodden under foot, cut in pieces, . . . consumed to ashes, my soul is thine. Yes, I have thine own word to assure me of it. My soul belongs to thee, and will abide with thee forever! Amen! O God send help! . . . Amen!
– Martin Luther

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