Friday, October 25, 2013

Avonlea Fashion Link-Up ~ Anne's Bicycling Outfit

Bramblewood Fashion is hosting a giveaway.  I'm hoping this will count, because I wore this outfit about a week ago at a country-style wedding, but I was thinking of this contest in part, forgetting which date it was going to be held.  In any case, here is my partly historical, partly modern take on Avonlea fashion. I was aiming for something like Anne wore in the second Anne movie, with her vest, long skirt with same-fabric stripes on the bottom, and cream-colored blouse.

The vest I wore was from a friend, and the blouse and the skirt from a yard sale. If I recall (we're in the midst of a move, and all this is packed away), the blouse was a Talbots, lace-like one, and the skirt was a Ralph Lauren.  The brooch was a gift.  And the purse wasn't meant to go with the outfit. ;)  I wore brown boots, too, but you can't see them. I did my hair up in a simple, low bun.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Apostate by Kevin Swanson - Book Review

This is essential reading for the Christian or those with nagging questions about faith and reason.  I am still working on reading it, but have read about half so far and have found it to be insightful and thought-provoking. 

Kevin Swanson writes about many influential men who apostatized from the faith, either in their own lifetimes or in their lineage.  The first part--called The Nephilim--covers Thomas Aquinas, Rene Descartes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Jeremy Bentham, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, Fredrich Nietzsche, John Dewey, and Jean-Paul Sartre. 

The second part--called The Literary Nephilim--covers William Shakespeare, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, and John Steinbeck.

The third part--The Cultural Nephilim--covers the influence of musicians and the church, and sums up with a call to follow Christ.

You will most likely learn much from this book, perhaps some surprising things and some disturbing things, but you will also see the futility and destructiveness of man-centered thinking.  I highly recommend this book, and see it as very important for anyone in our day.

Almost a 5-star read for me. It's just a bit depressing overall, though it ends on a more positive note.

I received this book from in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Button Legacy - Book Review

The button box holds a secret. Not a trap-door kind of secret, but one of God's love through everything. The story is simple, but the words resonate with poignancy, picturesque stories told for each button. There are some sad stories, some funny stories, but in the end they point to God's grace. I appreciated the love and prayers between family, and the humble way of confronting wrong. There were a couple of somewhat embarrassing/intimate things, but not detailed. It wraps up a little too quickly, perhaps, at least for those of us who haven't read the companion book about granddaughter, Emily. There is nothing exactly objectionable, unless you count the time Emily goes into a dance-hall/bar and gets drunk--but the action is not condoned. Overall a solid, well-written tale, but it seems a bit unfinished.

I received a free kindle copy of this story from Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

And...the Winner!

Who is the winner of Bound Together by Chris Brauns?

Using a random number generator, I got number 5, which was the last entrant...Robert!

 Congratulations, Robert!  If you haven't checked your email yet, please do so.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Bound Together - Book Review and Giveaway!

I signed up to review this for Cross Focused Reviews. My review was not required to be positive.

The doctrine of original sin is not an easy topic, so I was interested in reading more about it.  This book was written clearly, defining terms for the layperson.  Here are some notes on each section:

Introduction: A Fairy-Tale Beginning - Like fairy tales that begin darkly, so this world was plunged into darkness in Adam's fall.  But the ending will be glorious for Christians, like a happily-ever-after story.

Part One: Understanding the Principle of the Rope
Chapter One: Strange and Troubling Truth
Defining terms, real-life examples. Then there are given Biblical examples of judgment on nations, even when just the head, such as King David, sinned. 

Chapter Two: Original Rope
The Doctrine of Original Sin - Bible texts on the fall and before, how we were made in God's image.  How sin twisted the aspect of "image of God" in areas of worship, community, and vice-regency: relating to creation.
So What Does All This Have to Do with Me?
How Was Adam's Sin Transmitted to Us? - Different views of this are explained: the "realist," "federalist," (or "covenant") and a mix of both aspects, along with Biblical support for each view.   Criticisms for these.  Douglas Moo and D. Martin Lloyd-Jones are cited as proponents of a mix of both views.  The author's explanation of original sin is described vividly: "To put it another way, when Adam jumped off the cliff of sin and death in his rebellion against God, we were tied to him in his rebellion, and he pulled us over the side with him."  Charles Finney found this truth "subversive of the gospel, and repulsive to human intelligence."

Chapter Three: The Rope that is Stronger
Arguments given against solidarity (the rope principle) in The Brothers Karamazov portray the horror of children suffering from the crimes/cruelty of others.  How should/can Christians respond to these critiques?
The Gospel in Romans 5:12-21 - We are roped to Adam, but can be "roped to" and made righteous through the second Adam, Christ.  "Because God has made us and this world to operate on a principle of solidarity, there is hope that we can be saved from the consequences of Adam's sin, not by our own efforts (which can never suffice), but through the actions of a representative, someone who will do what we cannot do, someone who will suffer in our place, on our behalf." (p. 60)   We cannot deny the Scriptures or the world's corruption.

Chapter Four: Bound to a New King
Union with Christ - God sees the believer and Christ as one, though separate and distinct, through grace alone, and the Holy Spirit.  This is vital for us.  God is not remote.
Images of Union with Christ - The first illustration of our union with Christ in the Bible is the building.  Built on Jesus Christ, we are living stones (Eph. 2:19-22 and 1 Peter 2:4-5).
The second analogy is the physical body (Eph. 4:15-16).  Quote from Spurgeon: "So long as a man's head is above water you cannot drown his feet and as long as Christ, the Head of the mystical body, rises above the torrent of condemnation, there is no condemning even the least and feeblest member of His body!"
A third picture is the vine and the branches (John 15:1-17).
Fourth is the analogy of marriage.  "Our union with Christ is greater than this marital intimacy, as it is based on a relationship not with another sinner but with our sinless Savior, who has demonstrated his love for us by dying on our behalf."
Fifth is the picture of children adopted by a Father (Eph. 1:5, Rom. 8:16-17).
Sixth is the amazing comparison to the relationship of the Trinity (John 17). 
Martin Lloyd-Jones preached in response to questioners of the doctrine of original sin: "Once more I repeat what I said previously, that we must not begin to question our relationship to the world's first man, Adam, because every time you put the question I will make you ask the same question about our relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ."

Chapter Five: Can We Blame the Rope?
Can we blame sin on our parents, etc.?
Ezekiel's Response - The Israelites blamed their forefathers for their present plight.  God relayed, through Ezekiel, that the soul who sins shall die and other similar, just outcomes.  No one is guiltless.
So is the Principle of the Rope Real? - How can these two seemingly opposed principles fit together?  A hypothetical example is given to illustrate that there are effects from our sin, but each person is still responsible for their decisions.
Even genes cannot be an excuse for sin.  John Frame argues that in one sense all sin is inherited (from Adam).
Turning from Sin to Follow Christ - No excuses for sin.  Biblical examples of people who turned from their culture and family background to God.

Part Two: Applying the Principle of the Rope
Chapter Six: Bound Together for Joy
We are commanded to be joyful.
Three Indisputable Truths Regarding Joy
#1: All Christians Desire More Joy
#2: God Wants His People to Experience Joy (Morally, in contrast to God's sovereign will.)
#3: The joy level of many Christians is staying the same or even diminishing.
The Problem of Joy (review)
Proclaiming the Obvious - The foundation of all joy is the gospel (good news) of Christ.  First of all, most people don't have a clear idea of the gospel.  "The gospel is also diminished and joy leaks out--when those who have known the gospel for many years lapse into a works mentality in which they think that somehow we must do things to earn God's favor.  For this reason, Jerry Bridges reminds us, we must preach the true gospel to ourselves every single day.  Otherwise, we will soon feel defeated in the Christian life."
Another way the gospel is diminished is that some believe the lie that something other than God will satisfy.
The Discovery - Paul (in 34 of 50 times that "joy" and "rejoice" are used) connects his experience of joy to his relationship with other believers.
Making the Connection between Joy and Corporate Solidarity - Fruit bearing.
Fighting for Joy - Review the gospel.  Read books on it.  Invest in the body of Christ, with money, time, and gifts/abilities.

Chapter Seven: Bound Together in Marriage
There is an example given of a lovely marriage, and Biblical references to marriage.
Strengthening the Bond of Marriage
The Biblical Role of Wives - Submissive.  Chris Brauns lists reasons why people don't like the word submission today, and counters them.
The Biblical Role of Husbands - Loving and serving, like Jesus.  Asking for forgiveness. Being a good listener.  Example of Philip Bliss laying down his life for his wife in the burning rubble of a train.

Chapter Eight: A Red Rope for Hurting Families
This chapter is encouraging for anyone who is discouraged about someone in their family, and focuses on the Biblical prostitute Rahab, and God's grace to her and her family.
"Identify with the Lord Jesus Christ.  Perhaps God will be pleased to save not only you but your mother and father and your sisters and brothers as well. . . . Spend less time going over and over in your mind the decisions your family members have made, and spend more time growing in grace." (p. 136)
"Do not believe the lie that it is too late for your family.  Do not buy the lie that your sins are too great. Run to the cross. Hang a red cord out your window.  Put your trust in Jesus, and the grace of God will abound to you and your family." (p. 137)
"Be patient. The last chapter is not yet written." (p. 137)
Not that it is guaranteed that your family will all trust Christ, the author admits.  But there is still reason to hope.
Why Did God Order Israel to Kill Everyone in Jericho? - The Canaanites had been given much time to repent.  "The destruction of Jericho should serve as a sobering warning about the justice and holiness of God.  It is only a preview of God's final judgment."
Encouragement for Those Hurting Because of a Family Member - Remember Rahab and the power of the gospel. And be careful not to think our decisions affect no one but ourselves.  "We dare not take a path that will cause a bitter root to grow up in our lives, thereby defiling many." (p. 143)
All Christians Have a Family - Even if we are severed from physical family, as Christians we have a family in Christ.

Chapter Nine: A Rescue Rope for Those Facing the Fear of Death
Confidence in the Face of Death from Hebrews 2:10-18
The Incarnation - "Since we have flesh and blood, he [Christ] shared our humanity in order that he might be roped to us."
Four Ways Christians Benefit from Their Solidarity with Christ
The Story of Count Helmuth James con Moltke - An aristocrat by birth, Helmuth was expected to be a great leader in the time and ways of Hitler. Yet he opposed Hitler, and was eventually arrested and sentenced to hang, shortly before the end of WWII.  He was not sorrowful but elated in his last days, as he wrote to his wife, finding that bravery that comes from Christ.

Chapter Ten: Roped Together in Country and Culture
"If Westerners continue to see ourselves as islands, the future will be very dark.  Cultures and countries cannot flourish apart from a deep recognition of solidarity that only Christ and his church can make happen.
The Rise of American Solidarity - Alexis de Tocqueville visited America in 1831 to see why democracy worked better there.  He concluded that there was an abundance of natural resources, that the specific form of government (with smaller, local governments) was key, and that "a common culture of Christian morality had created a virtuous society."  He also referenced the high regard for marriage and the mothers who taught their children Christian values.
George Washington, too, sacrificed for his country.
However, Tocqueville foresaw a possible problem for America: the rise of extreme individualism.  This could lead to selfishness and blindness to any of the government's flaws, and to taking whatever is handed out.
The Problem of Radical Individualism - "Today many of the concerns articulated by Tocqueville have come to fruition."
"Today the autonomous self ("self in a castle," according to Scot McKnight) is seen as ultimate." (p. 170)
Why Radical Individualism Persists Today - Many people rail against individualism and long for the "good old days," yet refuse to go to church events.
It is hard to go against radical individualism because it has so permeated our culture.
Why the Church Is Uniquely Qualified to Counter Radical Individualism
The Biblical emphasis on Community - The epistle to Philemon deals with sharing the faith and being refreshed through the brethren.  We must live like we believe we are brothers and sisters in Christ.
More Biblical examples are given.
"Does the use of your time, treasure, and talents reflect that you know and understand that you are roped together with your local church?" (p. 179)
A Final Summary - "[C. S.] Lewis allowed [in The Problem of Pain] that it is hard for us to comprehend that Adam represented all his descendants, but he also noted that our inability to understand something does not mean it is untrue." (p. 180)

Real life Lone Rangers don't exist.  Moses, Ruth, David, Nehemiah, and Esther acted heroically because of love for community and God.  Jesus is the ultimate example of this.

Appendix One: The Gospel and Assurance of Salvation
Likely many people have false assurance, but we can know that we are saved.
The Gospel
The Proper Basis for Assurance of Salvation - 1. Do you presently have faith in the Lord Jesus for salvation? 2. Does the Holy Spirit testify with your spirit that you are a Christian? 3. Does your conduct give evidence that you are a Christian?

For Further Reading
A list of resources is given.

Conclusion - I rate this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. It is helpful and encouraging, pointing time and again to Christ and the hope found in Him in the midst of a sin-filled world.  Our actions do affect others, for good or bad, and yet there is One whose actions are stronger than all of man's or Satan's.  My only semi complaint about the book is the repetitiveness (though this may help drill it in the reader's head).  It was still a great blessing to read.  I appreciated the quotes from the Bible and Christian authors, and there are many additional worthwhile quotes and thoughts in the book that I couldn't take time to post.

NOW for the giveaway!  I have an extra copy of this book for one person to win.  If you want to have the chance to win this book, simply write a comment on this post with your e-mail address/blog address, and I will pick randomly from the entrants. The deadline for the giveaway is May 18.

For additional entries, post a link to this review on facebook, twitter, or google+, and let me know via a comment which ones you did.  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Quotes from The Treasury of David - Psalm 45, Part 1

(Exposition of verse 6) '"Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever." To whom can this be spoken but our Lord? The psalmist cannot restrain his adoration. His enlightened eye sees in the royal Husband of the church, God, God to be adored, God reigning, God reigning everlastingly. Blessed sight! Blind are the eyes that cannot see God in Christ Jesus! We never appreciate the tender condescension of our King in becoming one flesh with his church, and placing her at his right hand, until we have fully rejoiced in his essential glory and deity. What a mercy for us that our Saviour is God, for who but a God could execute the work of salvation? What a glad thing it is that he reigns on a throne which will never pass away, for we need both sovereign grace and eternal love to secure our happiness. Could Jesus cease to reign we should cease to be blessed, and were he not God, and therefore eternal, this must be the case. No throne can endure for ever, but that on which God himself sitteth. "The sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre." He is the lawful monarch of all things that be. His rule is founded in right, its law is right, its result is right. Our King is no usurper and no oppressor. Even when he shall break his enemies with a rod of iron, he will do no man wrong; his vengeance and his grace are both in conformity with justice. Hence we trust him without suspicion; he cannot err; no affliction is too severe, for he sends it; no judgment too harsh, for he ordains it. O blessed hands of Jesus! the reigning power is safe with you. All the just rejoice in the government of the King who reigns in righteousness.' -- Charles Spurgeon.

(The latter exposition of verse 10) '"Forget also thine own people, and thy father's house." We have much to forget as well as to learn, and the unlearning is so difficult that only diligent hearing, and considering, and bending of the whole soul to it, can accomplish the work; and even these would be too feeble did not divine grace assist. Yet why should we remember the Egypt from which we cam out? Are the leeks and the garlic, and the onions anything, when the iron bondage, and the slavish tasks, and the death dealing Pharaoh of hell are remembered? We part with folly for wisdom; with bubbles for eternal joys; with deceit for truth; with misery for bliss; with idols for the living God. O that Christians were more mindful of the divine precept here recorded; but, alas! worldliness abounds; the church is defiled; and the glory of the Great King is veiled. Only when the whole church leads the separated life will the full splendour and power of Christianity shine forth upon the world.' -- Charles Spurgeon.

(Exposition of verse 11) '"So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty." Wholehearted love is the duty and bliss of the marriage state in every case, but especially so in this lofty mystic marriage. The church must forsake all others and cleave to Jesus only, or she will not please him nor enjoy the full manifestation of his love. What less can he ask, what less may she dare propose than to be wholly his? Jesus sees a beauty in his church, a beauty which he delights in most when it is not marred by worldliness. He has always been most near and precious to his saints when they have cheerfully taken up his cross and followed him without the camp. His Spirit is grieved when they mingle themselves among the people and learn their ways. No great and lasting revival of religion can be granted us till the professed lovers of Jesus prove their affection by coming out from an ungodly world, being separated, and touching not the unclean thing. "For he is thy Lord; and worship thou him." He has royal rights still; his condescending grace does not lessen but rather enforce his authority. Our Saviour is also our Ruler. The husband is the head of the wife; the love he bears her does not lessen but strengthen her obligation to obey. The church must reverence Jesus, and bow before him in prostrate adoration; his tender union with her gives her liberty, but not license; it frees her from all other burdens, but places his easy yoke upon her neck. Who would wish it to be otherwise? The service of God is heaven in heaven, and perfectly carried out it is heaven upon earth. Jesus, thou art he whom thy church praises in her unceasing songs, and adores in her perpetual service. Teach us to be wholly thine. Bear with us, and work by thy Spirit in us till thy will is done by us on earth as it is in heaven.' -- Charles Spurgeon.

(Latter exposition of verse 12) '"Even the rich among the people shall intreat thy favour." Not by pandering to their follies, but by testifying against their sins, shall the wealthy be one to the faith of Jesus. They shall come not to favour the church but to beg for her favour. She shall not be the hireling of the great, but as a queen shall she dispense her favours to the suppliant throng of the rich among the people. We go about to beg for Christ like beggars for alms, and many who should know better will make compromises and become reticent of unpopular truth to please the great ones of the earth; not so will the true bride of Christ degrade herself, when her sanctification is more deep and more visible; then will the hearts of men grow liberal, and offerings from afar, abundant and continual, shall be presented at the throne of the Pacific Prince.' -- Charles Spurgeon.

The Treasury of David Quotes - Psalm 44, Part 2

(Psalm 44 - Exposition of verse 10) '"Thou makest us to turn back from the enemy: and they which hate us spoil for themselves."  After defeat and retreat, comes spoliation.  The poor, vanquished nation paid a terrible penalty for being overcome; plunder and murder desolated the conquered land, and the invaders loaded themselves with every precious thing which they could carry away.  In spiritual experience we know what it is to be despoiled by our enemies; doubts and fears rob us of our comforts, and terrible forebodings spoil us of our hopes; and all because the Lord, for wise purposes, sees fit to leave us to ourselves.  Alas! for the deserted soul; no calamity can equal the sorrow of being left of God, though it be but for a small moment.' -- Charles Spurgeon.
(Psalm 44 - Exposition of verse 11) '"Thou hast given us like sheep appointed for meat; and has scattered us among the heathen."  As sheep are slaughtered for food, so were the people slain in flocks, with ease, and frequency.  Now with the dignity of sacrifice, but with the cruelty of the shambles, were they put to death.  God appeared to give them up like sheep allotted to the butcher, to abandon them as the hireling abandons the flock to wolves.  The plaint is bitterly eloquent.  Many were carried into captivity, far off from the public worship of the temple of God, to pine as exiles among idolaters.  All this is ascribed to the Lord as being allowed by him, and even appointed by his decree.  It is well to trace the hand of God in our sorrows, for it is surely there.' -- Charles Spurgeon.

(Psalm 44 - Latter exposition of verse 12) 'It always lightens a believer's trouble when he can see that God's great name will be honoured thereby, but it is a grievous aggravation of misery when we appear to be tortured in vain. For our comfort let us rest satisfied that in reality the Lord is glorified, and when no revenue of glory is manifestly rendered to him, he none the less accomplishes his own secret purposes, of which the grand result will be revealed in due time. We do not suffer for nought, nor are our griefs without result.' -- Charles Spurgeon.

(Exposition of Psalm 44) Verse 17. "All this is come upon us; yet have we not forgotten thee." Here the psalmist urges that Israel had not turned away from her allegiance to Jehovah. When in the midst of many griefs we can still cling to God in loving obedience, it must be well with us. True fidelity can endure rough usage. Those who follow God for what they get, will leave him when persecution is stirred up, but not so the sincere believer; he will not forget his God, even though the worst come to the worst. "Neither have we dealt falsely in thy covenant." No idol was set up, the ordained worship was not relinquished, God was still nationally acknowledged, and therefore the psalmist is more earnest that the Lord should interpose. This and the succeeding verses are suitable for the lips of martyrs, indeed the entire psalm might be called the martyr's complaint. Not for sin but for righteousness did the saints suffer, not for falsehood but for truth, not for forsaking the Lord, but for following hard after him. Sufferings of such a sort may be very terrible, but they are exceedingly honourable, and the comforts of the Lord shall sustain those who are accounted worthy to suffer for Christ's sake. -- Charles Spurgeon.

(Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings, Verses 1, 2, 4, 8 of Psalm 44) 'Children are their parent's heirs; it were unnatural for a father before he dies to bury up his treasure in the earth, where his children should not find or enjoy it; now the mercies of God are not the least part of his treasure, nor the least of his children's inheritance, being both helps to their faith, matter for their praise, and spurs to their obedience.' -- William Gurnall.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Dangers of Romance

Before you roll your eyes or turn away, know that I am not here to bash romance.  It is a gift of God . . . in its proper place, way, and time.  The Bible is not shy about romance or the blessings of marriage. However, the whole Bible is not dominated by romance, and neither should we be.

Let me take you back to my earliest days of reading romance novels.  They were clean, safe, and Christian novels, with the gospel message sprinkled in and indeed several good character qualities shown.  Yet I fed on them like candy, reading all the Grace Livingston Hill and Janette Oke stories I could get my hands on.  I was eight or nine when I first started reading them.  I was quiet and might have seemed mature for my age--not a giggling girl with flirtatious ways--but inwardly, my heart was being drawn more toward the ways of a flirt.  Every boy that looked my way was likely to have an interest in me, or at least to arouse my interest.  I craved their compliments and their smiles.  How shameful I was, even as a girl of nine or ten!  Even one of my own cousins was to me a cute boy to impress, as I pedaled along as fast as I could on my bike ahead of him.  Instead of enjoying my family and friends--the gifts of God right before me--in a normal, healthy way, I was looking for something "more exciting."

Fiction, especially romance, was my daily bread, Bible only a duty.  Teenage years only cemented my thoughts.  I played card games and became excited if a boy's hand touched mine accidentally.  The thoughts of romance also made me shyer, more self-focused and afraid of saying something stupid.  Would anyone like me then?  My mind blanked if asked a simple question by a handsome boy.

Were romance novels really the cause of all this?  Not entirely, certainly.  We are cursed with a sin nature, and that is readily apparent at a young age.  But the novels and movies furthered the sin, and made it seem more natural and fun.  Even Christian novels?  Yes.  While some of the earlier books I read were quite harmless and perhaps a few were helpful, put all together, with their focus on handsome men, women admired by men, and mainly feelings-based romance, I was swept into it all like Cinderella on the prince's arm.  I lived vicariously in the novels.  In our no-dating house, I was "dating" men in the novels.  Even more-so than from movies, probably, because in books I usually read from one person's perspective looking out, and so I could more easily imagine myself being that character.

I once read an article similar to this, and I brushed it off with a frown and thought, It's really not harmful to read these kind of books.  So I kept reading them, but with a growing awareness that perhaps they did affect me.  But still, they were fun, and they were mainly good, right?

Don't make the same mistake I did.  Don't waste your life, or worse, affect your life in negative and hard-to-eradicate ways.

I still have an ongoing battle with wanting to read the light and fun romance novels, and occasionally I do, but usually regret it.  I have found more fulfilling, true, and lasting joy in reading the "heavy" books, the theological and deep books than the light ones.  More joy in the ever-applicable, ever-wonderful Word of God.

Are there exceptions?  Are there any good romantic novels?  Yes, I believe so.  But don't think that you can handle almost anything because you're mature.  Don't think that you will grow by leaps and bounds because you read romance novels with a slight Christian message.  Don't think that a steady diet of this will not affect you.  Like overindulging in candy gives you stomach-aches, so overindulging in romance novels/movies will give you heartaches.  I do know of older, married people who can read these kind of novels without any seeming bad effects, but how do you know it will not in some way harm your thoughts or actions?

Read books that fill you with the joy of the Lord, not the stirrings of unfulfilled longings and discontent.  Saturate your mind with the promises and deep love and chastisement of the Lord for a wretch, not the admiration of shallow men who think you are beautiful and kind, even though you argue like a yapping dog or your thoughts are full of self.

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ - Matthew 22:37

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becomes saints; - Ephesians 5:3

I charge you,
O daughters of Jerusalem,
Do not stir up nor awaken love 
Until it pleases. - Song of Solomon 8:4

Monday, April 22, 2013

Quotes from The Treasury of David

I've been neglecting to post any quotes lately.  I have been reading, but have been busier elsewhere.

(Psalm 42 - Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings) Verse 11. 
'Hast thou seen the sun shine forth in February, and the sky blue, and the hedgerows bursting into bud, and the primrose peeping beneath the bank, and the birds singing in the bushes? Thou hast thought that spring was already come in its beauty and sweet odours. But a few days, and the clouds returned, and the atmosphere was chilled, and the birds were mute, and snow was on the ground, and thou hast said that spring would never come. And thus sometimes the young convert finds his fears removed, and the comforts of the gospel shed abroad in his heart, and praise and thanksgiving, and a new song put in his mouth. And he deems unadvisedly that his troubles are past for ever. But awhile, and his doubts return, and his comforts die away, and his light is taken from him, and his spirit is overwhelmed, and he is fain to conclude that salvation and all its blessings are not for him. But the spring, though late, shall break at last. Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me?' -- H. G. Salter's "Book of Illustrations," 1840.

(Psalm 42 - Hints to Preachers.) 'Verse 5. Why art thou cast down?
1. The mind, even of a holy man, may be unduly cast down and disquieted.
2. In cases of undue dejection and disquietude, the proper remedy is to expostulate with the soul, and to direct it to the only true source of relief.
3. Expostulation with the soul in times of distress, is then productive of its proper end, when it leads to an immediate application to God.' -- H. March.
(Psalm 43 - Exposition) "Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?" Why do I wander hither and thither like a restless spirit? Why wear I the weeds of sorrow on my body, and the lines of grief on my face? Oppression makes a wise man mad; why, Lord, am I called to endure so much of it for so long a time? Here again is a useful question, addressed to the right quarter. The answer will often be because we are saints, and must be made like our Head, and because such sorrow is chastening to the spirit, and yieldeth comfortable fruit. We are not to cross question the Lord in peevishness, but we may ask of him in humility; God help us to observe the distinction so as not to sin through stress of sorrow.' -- Charles Spurgeon.

(Psalm 43 - Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings) Verse 5. Why art thou cast down, O my soul. He comes to his former remedy; he had stilled his grief once before with the same meditation and upbraiding of his own soul, and chiding himself; but he comes to it here as a probatum est, as a tried remedy; he takes up his soul very short, Why art thou so cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? You see how David's passions here are interlaced with comforts, and his comforts with passions, till at last he gets the victory of his own heart. Beloved, neither sin nor grief for sin, are stilled and quieted at the first. You have some short spirited Christians, if all be not quiet at the first, all is lost with them; but it is not so with a true Christian soul, with the best soul living. It was not so with David when he was in distemper; he checks himself, the distemper was not yet stilled; he checks himself again, then the distemper breaks out again; he checks himself again, and all little enough to bring his soul to a holy, blessed, quiet, temper, to that blessed tranquillity and rest that the soul should be in before it can enjoy its own happiness, and enjoy sweet communion with God. As you see in physic, perhaps one purge will not carry away the peccant humour, then a second must be added; perhaps that will not do it, then there must be a third; so when the soul hath been once checked, perhaps it will not do, we must fall to it again, go to God again. And then it may be there will be breaking out of the grief and malady again; we must to it again, and never give over, that is the right temper of a Christian.' -- Richard Sibbes.

(Psalm 44 - Exposition on verse 1) '"Our fathers have told us." They could not have had better informants. Schoolmasters are well enough, but godly fathers are, both by the order of nature and grace, the best instructors of their sons, nor can they delegate the sacred duty. It is to be feared that many children of professors could plead very little before God of what their fathers have told them. When fathers are tongue tied religiously with their offspring, need they wonder if their children's hearts remain sin tied? Just as in all free nations men delight to gather around the hearth, and tell the deeds of valour of their sires "in the brave days of old, "so the people of God under the old dispensation made their families cheerful around the table, be rehearsing the wondrous doings of the Lord their God. Religious conversation need not be dull, and indeed it could not be if, as in this case, it dealt more with facts and less with opinions. What work thou didst in their days, in the times of old. They began with what their own eyes had witnessed, and then passed on to what were the traditions of their youth. Note that the main point of the history transmitted from father to son was the work of God; this is the core of history, and therefore no man can write history aright who is a stranger to the Lord's work. It is delightful to see the footprints of the Lord on the sea of changing events, to behold him riding on the whirlwind of war, pestilence, and famine, and above all to see his unchanging care for his chosen people. Those who are taught to see God in history have learned a good lesson from their fathers, and no son of believing parents should be left in ignorance of so holy an art. A nation tutored as Israel was in a history so marvellous as their own, always had an available argument in pleading with God for aid in trouble, since he who never changes gives in every deed of grace a pledge of mercy yet to come. The traditions of our past experience are powerful pleas for present help.' -- Charles Spurgeon.

(Psalm 44 - Exposition) 'Verse 4. Thou art my King, O God. Knowing right well thy power and grace my heart is glad to own thee for her sovereign prince. Who among the mighty are so illustrious as thou art? To whom, then, should I yield my homage or turn for aid? God of my fathers in the olden time, thou art my soul's monarch and liege Lord.' -- Charles Spurgeon.

(Psalm 44 - Exposition) 'Verse 8. In God we boast all the day long. We have abundant reason for doing so while we recount his mighty acts. What blessed boasting is this! it is the only sort of boasting that is bearable. All other manna bred worms and stank except that which was laid up before the Lord, and all other boasting is loathsome save this glorying in the Lord, which is laudable and pleasing. And praise thy name for ever. Praise should be perpetual. If there were no new acts of love, yet ought the Lord to be praised for what he has done for his people. High let the song be lifted up as we bring to remembrance the eternal love which chose us, predestinated us to be sons, redeemed us with a price, and then enriched us with all the fulness of God. Selah. A pause comes in fitly here, when we are about to descend from the highest to the lowest key. No longer are we to hear Miriam's timbrel, but rather Rachel's weeping. -- Charles Spurgeon.

More to come....

A Room I Love

Fieldstone Hill did this on their blog, and I thought I'd give this a try at least once, to better gauge what I like and why when it comes to home decor, and perhaps inspire some of my readers.

What I love:

1. The worn fireplace and wooden pieces in creamy shades.
2. The white furniture and airy, peaceful feeling.
3. The linen cabinet and the antique dollhouse on top.
4. The wooden floors.
5. The pops of green in the plants and apples.
6. The informal fabrics and textures.
7. Candles.
8. Coffee table with a drawer for more book space, not taking up all the room on top.

I might add some more color and/or something on or above the fireplace and change the ceiling lamp a bit, but otherwise it's a great, comfy space!

What do you think?  Would you change anything about it?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Damascus Countdown - Book Review

This is the third book in a series. It was very hard to put down once begun. The story is written in snippets from characters ranging from the wicked rulers to the CIA agents to the girl back home, and each section had something interesting to offer. Sometimes it was a bit annoying to change scenes in the middle of something exciting, but the each new scene would make up for it.

I read it in two days (took a break for a few days partly out of necessity--and I admit I wanted to see if I could beat my record of reading the last Rosenberg book in three days).

I don't know if I agree with everything, mostly the Holy Spirit speaking to people, almost as if audibly, but then again I have relatives who have gotten strong impressions of things from God (not voices), which I believe is in keeping with what Scriptures say. There was quite a lot of violence and darkness and that was a bit taxing and depressing at times. However, it did make me want to study the Bible more on the subject of eschatology, and to want to witness more to people.

And I appreciated that there were hopeful notes throughout the story, as well--a testament that God is always in control and that even in the darkest times there is grace and a remnant of God's people.

I received a copy for review from Tyndale, but I was not required to post a positive review.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

I Exalt You, O God - Book Review

This book presents four main elements or reasons for worshiping God--for His greatness, for His holiness, for His wisdom, and for His love. Each of these parts divides into sections, or "days," going more into depth on each attribute. I really appreciate how many Bible verses there were throughout, and how they were applied. 

After the initial introduction about worship and the way we are to worship every day, each section ended in a prayer taking many thoughts and quotes from the Bible. There were also quotes from other authors such as MacArthur, Charnock, Calvin, and more.

The last part, on God's love, reminded me of the total grace of God shown through His Son, something I needed to hear, and often do. It's not enough just to think of God's love in a vague way, but to read the verses of His unmerited, unchanging grace and love is highly important. To be reminded that we are full of sin and all made from the same clay was what the Lord used in my heart when I read it. This is a good devotional book I think I may pick up again and again. Though it may not go into as much depth as the old Puritan writers, it is clear and concise and helpful.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review, but my opinions are my own.

For more info, please click here.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Les Miserables - The Radio Drama

This audio drama contains 3 hours of riveting story-telling, with realistic voice acting from seasoned British actors. Brian Blessed plays Jean Valjean, Tony Robinson plays Thenardier, Toyah Willcox plays Fantine.

My sister and I listened to it while doing dishes and other things, but sometimes I wanted to pause it or rewind it to make sure I caught everything.  It obviously must have been edited quite a bit from the lengthy classic book (which I haven't read).

The music and sound effects are perfect for the story. Though a sad story in many ways, there were enough joyful and touching moments (even a few of humor) that it is easy to listen to. It is a story of grace and forgiveness. Though Catholic in background, the story does not focus on that, though a priest is of course one of the characters. The subject matter is a bit more mature than some stories, but there is no swearing that I heard or overtly graphic things.  All in all very enjoyable.

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this audio, and has not required that I post a positive review.