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Saturday, March 30, 2019

Evening Song - I'm Adopted

Galatians 4:4-7 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. 

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Sunday, March 24, 2019

Worth Repeating: It Passeth Knowledge – A Poem

(Photo by my brother and sister-in-law, 2012 – Australia)

It Passeth Knowledge

It passeth knowledge, that dear love of Thine,
My Jesus, Saviour; yet this soul of mine
Would of Thy love, in all its breadth and length,
Its height and depth, its everlasting strength,
Know more and more.

It passeth telling, that dear love of Thine,
My Jesus, Saviour; yet these lips of mine
Would fain proclaim to sinners far and near
A love which can remove all guilty fear,
And love beget.

It passeth praises, that dear love of Thine,
My Jesus, Saviour; yet this heart of mine
Would sing that love, so rich, so full, so free,
Which brings a rebel sinner, such as me,
Nigh unto God.

But though I cannot sing, or tell, or know
The fullness of Thy love, while here below,
My empty vessel I may freely bring:
O Thou, who art of love the living spring,
My vessel fill.

I am an empty vessel - not one thought,
Or look of love, I ever to Thee brought;
Yet I may come, and come again to Thee,
With this, the empty sinner's only plea -
Thou lovest me.

Oh, fill me, Jesus, Saviour, with Thy love!
Lead, lead me to the living fount above;
Thither may I, in simple faith, draw nigh,
And never to another fountain fly,
But unto Thee.

And when my Jesus face to face I see,
When at His lofty throne I bow my knee,
Then of His love, in all its breadth and length,
Its height and depth, its everlasting strength,
My soul shall sing.

Mary Shekleton

Ephesians 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Originally published here March 2013.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Evening Song - Nearer, My God, to Thee

Psalm 73:28 But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works. 

James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 

Hebrews 7:19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. 


Sunday, March 17, 2019

Did You Meme That? #8 - Love IS Hard Sometimes

Quote reads: "Fall in love with someone who doesn't make you think love is hard."

We could start out talking about the problem with that phrase "fall in love" because it has its own set of issues. But, maybe that would be quibbling over something unimportant.

So first of all, I want to state right up front and center that there are people in this world who make love hard because they are not worthy of your romantic love. Yes, you can love them with the love of Christ, but after all, Jesus told us to love our enemies, and obviously you shouldn't be "falling in love" with or marrying your enemy.

Matthew 5:43-44 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 

What we're talking about here is romantic love, marriage love, love between a man and a woman.

Mark 10:6-8 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.

Furthermore, this post is NOT about abusive relationships. Abusive relationships are hard - no question about that. In some situations the wife should leave if her husband is abusing her, and likewise the husband leave the wife if she is abusing him (less common, but it does happen). This isn't about those situations either.

This is about the love that grows between two people when they are on their way towards a marriage relationship.

So here it is: You aren't going to find someone who never makes you think love is hard. Yup. True story. Welcome to planet earth.

Before you or your friend or child heads down the primrose path to "love and marriage" it's good to remember this. If you're already married it's good to remember this. There isn't anyone who makes love seem easy all of the time - not that guy at school or college; not the wonderful guy you met at church; not the man who has the six digit income and a nice house and car; not the leader at church who is still unattached, not the handsome and dashing hero in that romantic movie or book (Oh, snap!). Not you and not me, dear friend. Not one person on this earth.

Why would I be sayin' such inflammatory stuffs? Well...

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. 

Sin does make love seem hard sometimes.

That man, guy, husband of yours is a sinner and he will do and say things that will provoke you and cause anger. He isn't going to do something you expected him to, and he is going to do something that hurts you or that is inappropriate. He's going to be there with too little too late when you needed him to be there with a lot and on time. He's going to fail you when you were hoping for something better. The best of men are still sinners, and there will always be something at some point in your relationship that will cause disappointment, frustration, or even anger.

But then, you're going to treat him to the same exact difficulties. You are going to make love hard sometimes too. Oh yes. Let's own up, ladies. We certainly have our bad days and there are times when we are less than lovable. If we're honest with ourselves and the loves of our respective lives, we make love seem hard sometimes too!

Things will happen even when you're both trying to walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh, because we are not perfect yet. We strive against sin (hopefully), but we are not like Jesus yet because we haven't seen Him yet.

Paul summed it up for us in Romans 7:14-25,  For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. 

1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

There are other aspects of life that make love seem like hard work sometimes too.

Some kinds of health problems can be very challenging to deal with and may cause the well spouse to feel like staying "in love" is hard. Sometimes the one who suffers the health problems has a hard time feeling "in love" because the challenges of just living are so immense. Yes, there will be good times when you both appreciate each other immensely, but there will be difficult times when something is just wrong and there doesn't seem to be a way to make it right again.

Sometimes other trials of life can cause similar challenges - sick children, rebellious and troublesome children, death in the family, severe financial strains, natural disasters, the necessity of being apart for some reason for a prolonged period, etc. You get the picture. Many aspects of life can challenge our ability to love one another as we should.

I don't appreciate the teaching that is popular in some circles that love is a choice and not a feeling. While it is certain that love is not just a feeling, I personally believe the Bible teaches it is both a feeling and a choice. Read Song of Solomon (and set aside the overworked idea that it's about Christ and the church, which the Bible never says it is, by they way). There are plenty of feelings of love there. It isn't just about a choice. But, by the same token, the Bible also commands us to love our spouses. If it were not a choice, as the world often enough implies, we couldn't be commanded to do it, now could we?

Colossians 3:19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.

Titus 2:4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

Love is hard sometimes. Let's not fool ourselves with some unrealistic imagination of how the world too often presents it. Let's dig in and do the hard thing. Because that is what we are commanded to do in scripture - not just Christian love for our enemies, but romantic love each one for our respective spouses.

And for those who are not married, as well as the married, let's not measure the quality of that "special someone" by his failure to make our experience "in love" perfect. When you stop and think about it, that idea is ultimately selfish, isn't it? It says, "If you make me think love is hard, you are failing me and are therefore not a worthy person." The fact is that each of us will inevitably make love feel hard for the other also, and therefore qualify for the same harsh judgment.

James 2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment. 

Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. 

For more in this series: Did You Meme That?

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Evening Song - Beulah Land

Isaiah 62:4 Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzi-bah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married. 

Philippians 1:23-24 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.

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Thursday, March 14, 2019

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Random Questions - Relationships with Others

Here is a short list of questions from my collection.


Do you prefer that people shoot straight with you or temper their words?

I think that something in between is the most useful. In Ephesians 4:14-15 we read,  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: Some people will speak the truth without love. This is destructive and can cause serious damage. Some people try to speak in love, but they don't pay enough attention to truth. This is unhelpful and can be destructive in a different way. A combination of both is necessary for true usefulness and this is what I like to find in others. It is what I want to do myself.

What are three qualities that draw you to someone new?

This is hard to answer. At the Lord's prompting, I have been trying over the last few years to broaden my friendships and include people who might not have been too high on my list of "perfect friends" in the past. So, I actually try not to allow myself to be overly influenced by my personal preferences. Obviously, I want to be drawn to people who are born again and have a sincere love for the Lord. I also want to appreciate the things God has placed in His children for the help of other Christians, including me.

I do find myself not enjoying interactions with people who are overbearing or always pushing for answers or trying to make you a more spiritual person. Asking hard questions is a useful thing when it is done appropriately, but it is exhausting when someone does it almost constantly. It makes it hard to relax in that person's presence. The first thing that attracted me to my husband was that I realized I was comfortable talking with him and didn't feel tense around him. I don't do well with high tension. :-)

When do you immediately click with someone you just met?

I occasionally find a connection with someone because they "speak my language." This means to me that I don't have to stop and explain every other idea (or comment) that I bring out and I can see that they are grasping my thoughts with understanding even as I speak them. This doesn't apparently have to do with background or geographic location as one might think. I have experienced this with ladies from very different places and also upbringings. It doesn't happen very often, though.

Are you close with anyone now that you really disliked at first?

I would say yes, but "really disliked" is too strongly put. I do have a few what I would call close friends whom I didn't appreciate much at all when I first got to know them. However, for one reason or another we've grown in our friendships, either from necessity or for other reasons, and we've been able to be of mutual service to each other in the Lord.

There are also people whom I thought I liked when I first got to know them, some even contributed some truly useful things to my life, but then later I found them to be problematic or even really unbiblical in their attitudes or behavior. I suppose this is more common than the other in some ways.

How difficult is it for you to forgive someone who refuses to apologize?

It depends on the offense, doesn't it? Some things are much harder to let go of than others. But, I have learned that forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation, and in that there is a certain amount of freedom. This was a realization that transformed my thinking.

We can forgive someone, but if the offense is so great or such an affront to righteousness that an apology is necessary for any relationship to exist, then we cannot reconcile with them until they see their offense for what it really is. This is true of those whom Jesus asked the Father to forgive when He was on the cross. Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. God might forgive them that particular sin, but He could not have a relationship with them until they wanted reconciliation and were repentant (saying the saying the same thing about their sin that God says).

Who is the person who has been the most supportive in your life?

My husband.

There have been many others over the years too, both family and friends. I am very thankful for the supportive people God has placed in my life.

Painting by Edmund Charles Tarbell

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Pilgrims In the Wilderness

By Camille Corot - The Agustan Bridge at Narni - 1826.

Pilgrims In the Wilderness

We're pilgrims in the wilderness;
Our dwelling  is a camp;
Created things, though pleasant,
Now bear to us death's stamp.
But onward we are speeding,
Though often let and tried;
The Holy Ghost is leading
Home to the Lamb, His bride.

With fellow pilgrims meeting,
As through the waste we roam,
'Tis sweet to sing together,
"We are not far from home!"
And when we've learned our lesson,
Our work, in suffering, done,
Our ever loving Father
Will welcome every one.

We look to meet our brethren
From every distant  shore;
Not one will seem a stranger,
Though  never seen before:
With angel hosts attending,
In myriads, through the sky;
Yet 'midst them all Thou only,
O Lord, wilt fix the eye!

Lord, since we sing as pilgrims,
O give us pilgrims' ways!
Low thoughts of self, befitting
Proclaimers of Thy praise;
O make us each more holy,
In spirit, pure and meek:
More like to heavenly citizens,
As more of Thee we speak.

By Mary Bowley Peters, altered
No. 231 in Hymns for The Little Flock

Hebrews 11:13-14 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Evening Song - All I Ever Want to Be

Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. 

John 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. 

Thursday, March 7, 2019

The Thousand Word Project - Warm and Bright

Roses are red,
No, wait, they're yellow,
Violets are...uh...purple,
Who wrote this, fellow?

Sunday, March 3, 2019

From Mom's Collection - Thoughts on the Coming of the Lord

Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

There are two ways of looking at the Lord's Coming. There is a looking for, and there is a looking at it. It is possible to look at it with a keen intellect and profound interest, and yet have it mean nothing to us personally. 
It is possible to know but little of the theology and exegesis of the subject, and yet have a deep and holy longing for our Lord to appear. When a wedding is about to occur, the public are looking at it, but the bride is looking for it. Oh, that this great theme may not only be our study, but also our personal hope; foe "unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation" (Hebrews 9:28).   -- Dr. A. B. Simpson

Continue Reading.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Evening Song - Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me

Isaiah 32:2 And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. 

Psalm 61:2-3 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.