Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Happy Birthday, Mama!

Of two things we are sure—
One, all we are, and all we hope to be, we owe to our mother. . . 
And two, generations may come and go, but there will never be another quite like her.

On Mother's day this year, we got this little idea. . . We decided a very old recording needed a re-do. Naturally when the opportunity came and we were all in one place, two of us had sore throats and none of us had strong voices.

But we sang it anyway, and even got a little bit of help from the next generation.

Today we posted it, mostly as a tribute to the God who has given us such grace.

And also as an expression of thanks to that gift herself-- the one we mostly call "Mama."

Happy Birthday!


Sunday, October 13, 2019

A Prayer For God's People



“Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth. Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us.
Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

O Lord God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people?
Thou feedest them with the bread of tears; and givest them tears to drink in great measure. Thou makest us a strife unto our neighbours: and our enemies laugh among themselves.

Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.
Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it.
Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land.
The hills were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars. 
She sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river.

Why hast thou then broken down her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her?
The boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it.
Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine; And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself. It is burned with fire, it is cut down: they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance.

Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself. So will not we go back from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon thy name.
Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.” 
Psalm 80

O Lord, revive our hearts! Humble us,Your people, as our leaders are gathered together for the annual  council, that we might do Your holy will! Cause us to see clearly our true state- that we are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, and must buy of You gold tried in the fire, and white raiment, that we may be clothed, that the shame of our nakedness not appear; and anoint our eyes with eyesalve, that we may see and be zealous, and repent (Rev. 3:17-19) and be of one accord, as in the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1), prepared to receive the outpouring of Your Holy Spirit, enabling us to finish Your work, that we might soon see Your face!

“Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine… So will not we go back from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon thy name.

Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.” Ps. 80:14,18-19.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

New Year's Vows

My Lord, I want my day to  day heart's devotion to Christ to be supreme. I choose to cooperate with you to banish every idol from my heart – any thing that proves to be so important to me that it entices me to sin (even mere fretting), if I fail to obtain it or achieve it.

Cause me to humble myself daily to discern and confess that I am wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, that You may come to me and give me more grace to supply my every need (Ja. 4:6, Rev. 3:17).

I know that in my heart I am worshiping something or someone every waking moment of my life. I want that to be You only. So I choose to repent and turn away from my idols (Ez. 14:6), set my deepest hopes and dreams on You, and allow You to displace anything besides You that I have idolized.

You have made it clear that You want the undivided worship, love and loyalty of my heart. (Ex. 20:1, Mk. 12:31). I will center and focus my affections, thoughts, words, motives, and choices on glorifying You (1Cor.10:31).

I will delight to do Your will (Ps. 40:8) and obey the calling of Your Spirit to my heart, to be content with such things as I have (He. 13:5). I will joyfully fulfill my primary calling as a woman that fears the Lord (Prov. 31:30)- to be an excellent helpmeet to my husband, doing him good and not evil all the days of my life (v. 12),  that his heart can safely trust in me (v. 11). 

My goal is not personal happiness but pleasing you, as a repentant sinner, receiving grace to be a godly woman, excellent wife and mother of now grown children, who opens her mouth with wisdom, and in whose tongue is the law of kindness (v.26), who looks well to the ways of her household and eats not the bread of idleness (v. 27); a woman who is being sanctified by the truth, as Jesus prayed for me to be in John 17:17.

I will delight in Your word and partake of it freely (Jer. 15:16). I will hide it in my heart that I might not sin against You (Ps. 119:11).  I will seek You with all my heart and soul and will ever endeavor to please you regardless of my circumstances. 

You are my greatest desire and You are my strong Tower (Prov. 18:10). I will love Thee oh Lord, my strength. You are my rock and my fortress and my Deliverer, my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation and my high tower (Psalms 18:1,2).

As David's passionate desire and longing was after You, like the deer that pants for the waterbrooks (Ps. 42:1), so You are the greatest longing of my soul. Therefore I will set my heart on You—on serving you and seeking after Your pleasure. I will delight in doing Your will, no matter what the cost. My soul will follow hard after You: Your right hand will uphold me (Ps. 63:8).

With Your help, I will cultivate a grateful heart (1 Thee. 5:18), a spirit of praise, a joyful attitude (1 Thes. 5:16) that is not dependent on my feelings at any given moment. I will spend time thinking about...and even daydreaming about You. I will govern my thoughts, not to dwell on disappointments, whereby the enemy would tempt me to be discontent, but I will dwell on whatever thoughts are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8), that I might please You, even in the midst of disappointment or loss. 

I will remember You upon my bed, and meditate on You in the night watches (Ps. 63:8). With my whole heart will I seek You; oh let me not wander from Your commandments (Ps. 119:10).

You have loved me with an everlasting love and therefore with loving kindness You have drawn me (Jer. 31:3). Your servant says that Love awakens love (MB 76:3). Your Divine love has awakened love for You in my selfish human heart. Purify my heart that my love for you can be a heaven born love— a love that will not fear anything because perfect love casts out fear (1 Jo. 4:18). A self sacrificing love that will not grasp for and cling to the human comforts my flesh longs for (i.e. close fellowship with those I love most on earth), but be accepting of the limitations of this season, and focus on taking advantage of the greater freedom, to pour my love on others who need my service. So I surrender my longing to be ever surrounded by all our children and I will be more focused on giving  than receiving (Acts 20:35).  I will remember that You, Father, gave Your only begotten Son, willing to suffer the separation, that You could bless with everlasting life whomever believes in You (Jn. 3:16).

I trust that you are Love and that You want our children to be saved even more than I do. I will be confident that You, Who have begun a good work in us, are well able to perform  it and complete it (Phil.1:6). When any harm comes to any of us, it will not be because You were not able to take care of us (Ps. 119:75),  but because You have allowed it in your infinite wisdom, love and grace for a higher purpose. I will trust You even when I can’t understand the things that You allow at times.  Cause me always to yield to You, so that Your benevolent purposes can be carried out perfectly in my life!

I was made for Your pleasure (Rev. 4:11). Help me to make it my highest priority to cooperate with You in fulfilling the purpose of my creation. I love You and I trust You! But You deserve a deeper love and greater trust than I can give now to You. Grow my love for You to  match Your worth and my confidence in You to reflect Your faithfulness. Give me Your Spirit to purify my heart and seal my devotion to You, that by Your grace and power, Your Spirit can perpetuate my faithfulness! 

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You have revealed that our thoughts and feelings are strengthened as we give them utterance (MH 251.6). I will often- throughout the year voice and rehearse these resolutions which You have inspired, trusting You to give me the faith of Jesus to bring them to fulfillment in the only way possible— Christ in me, the hope of glory! Col. 1:27


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