Sunday Quote ~ Contentment

I copied this from my email inbox from Grace Gems and am sharing it in place of my Sunday Hymn this week.

A diligent pupil in the College of Contentment

(Charles Spurgeon)

“I have learned in whatever state I am, therewith to be content.” Philippians 4:11

These words show us that contentment is not a natural propensity of man. Grumbling, discontent, and murmuring are as natural to man–as weeds are to the soil. We need not sow thistles and weeds; they come up naturally enough, because they are indigenous to earth. Just so, we need not teach men to complain; they complain fast enough without any education.

“Ill weeds grow quickly.” But the precious things of the earth must be cultivated. If we would have wheat, we must plough and sow; if we want flowers, there must be the garden, and all the gardener’s care.

Now, contentment is one of the flowers of Heaven, and if we would have it–then it must be cultivated, as it will not grow in us by nature. It is the new nature alone which can produce contentment–and even then we must be especially careful and watchful, that we maintain and cultivate the grace which God has sown in us.

Paul says, “I have learned… to be content;” as much as to say, that he did not know how at one time. It cost him some pains to attain to the mastery of that great truth. No doubt he sometimes thought he had learned, and then broke down. And when at last he had attained unto it, and could say, “I have learned in whatever state I am, therewith to be content,” he was an old, grey-headed man, upon the borders of the grave–a poor prisoner shut up in Nero’s dungeon at Rome.

We might well be willing to endure Paul’s infirmities, and share the cold dungeon with him–if we too might by any means attain unto his high degree of contentment. Do not indulge the notion that you can learn contentment without discipline. It is not an ability that may be exercised naturally–but a grace to be acquired gradually. We know this from experience. Brother, hush that murmur, natural though it be–and continue a diligent pupil in the College of Contentment.

Thoughtful Thursday

Happy Birthday to Me…

This is a side by side photo of me on my seventh birthday and me in June of 2009 when I was 58. Today is my birthday and I am 10 years older now from when the photo on the right was taken. I’ve been celebrated well and the celebrations will continue throughout today and again tomorrow. I’ve received gifts, too. Dinner out with a special dessert from our kids here in Colville. A wall plaque I’ll share at the end of the post from Josh and Laura. Katie and Andrew sent rechargeable hand warmers which will come in handy for our winters here. Birthday greetings are chiming away in the form of texts from our kids and extended family.

I’m sharing this devotional I read this morning for March 14 from Cheque Book of the Bank of Faith Daily Readings by C.H. Spurgeon. It touched my heart so…

‘As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you’ (Isaiah 66:13)

A mother’s comfort! Ah, this is tenderness itself. How she enters into her child’s grief! How she presses him to her bosom, and tries to take all his sorrow into her own heart! He can tell her all, and she will sympathize as nobody else can. Of all comforters the child loves best his mother, and even full-grown men have found it so.

Does Jehovah condescend to act the mother’s part? This is goodness indeed. We readily perceive how he is a father; but will he be as a mother also? Does not this invite us to holy familiarity, to unreserved confidence, to sacred rest? When God himself becomes ‘the Comforter’ no anguish can long abide. Let us tell out our trouble, even though sobs and sighs should become readiest utterance. He will not despise us for our tears; our mother did not. He will consider our weakness as she did, and he will put away our faults, only in a surer, safer way than our mother could do. We will not try to bear our grief alone: that would be unkind to one so gentle and so kind. Let us begin the day with our loving God, and wherefore should we not finish it in the same company, since mothers weary not of their children?

My kids know I appreciate Charles Spurgeon!

For those of you out there who are as old as I am, do you remember the song by Leslie Gore with this proclamation, “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to”? Well I’m changing it to…

“It’s my birthday and I’ll share what I want to, share what I want to, share what I want to. You would share too if good happened to you!”

God has been good to me all my 68 years and I bow the knee in accepting all he has done to me. Many things that did not look good on the surface have worked to draw me to Him, to the True Center. I know life is not and will not always be smooth but I know I will not be left to deal with whatever comes my way alone.

There Is A Redeemer ~ Words and Music by Melody Green

There is a Redeemer
Jesus, God’s own Son
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah
Holy One

Jesus my Redeemer
Name above all names
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah
O for sinners slain

(Chorus)
Thank You oh my Father
For giving us Your Son
And leaving Your Spirit
Til the work on earth is done

When I stand in glory
I will see His face
And there I’ll serve my King forever
In that holy place

Thank you for all who come here to my blog and read and bear with me. I appreciate you all and I hope in some way that I can be an encouragement to you as you walk on this earth. Only because of what Christ has done…

Thoughtful Thursday ~ The Door

John 10:9 (ESV)

“I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.”

James 5:9

Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.

Rev 3:20

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and eat with him. and he with me.”

Matthew 7:7 (NIV)

“Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday and we have entered into the season of Lent. Are you doing anything to observe Lent for the days leading up to Easter?

Lent can be a time to open the doors of our hearts (eyes of our heart) a little wider and understand our Lord a little deeper.

Could I suggest a course on Lent in Art, a visual devotional that our sister-in-law, Kelly, has prepared. She’s an educator with many years of experience. You can view the first visual Lent in Art course here.

Looking forward to this course and all the new things that Spring will bring…

Eagles in Our Backyard

We spotted these visitors in our back acres on Saturday and had fun watching them and capturing them with the camera. I did a word search in my Bible and added verses that speak about Eagles and some of the verses reminded me of Tolkien’s writings, too, so I added some quotes from his works.

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget none of His benefits;

…Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.”

Psalm 103: 1, 2, 5

“As for the form of their faces, each had the face of a man; all four had the face of a lion on the right and the face of a bull on the left, and all four had the face of an eagle.” Ezekiel 1:10

“You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself.” Exodus 19:4

“The Lord will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as the eagle swoops down, a nation whose language you shall not understand., a nation of fierce countenance who will have no respect for the old, nor show favor to the young.”

Deuteronomy 28: 49, 50.

“The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle.” Revelation 4:7

“Saul and Jonathan, beloved and pleasant in their life, And in their death they were not parted; They were swifter than eagles, They were stronger than lions.” 2 Samuel 1:23

“Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.”

Isaiah 40:31

“Farewell”, they cried, “Wherever you fare till your eyries receive you at the journeys end! That is the polite thing to say among eagles. “May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks, answered Gandalf, who knew the correct reply.”

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Annotated Hobbit: The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again

“The Eagles are coming! The Eagles are coming!” ~J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King (Pippin)

It was a thrill to see the eagles in our backyard on Saturday. I think I was exclaiming a lot like Pippin in The Return of the King. I jumped up off the couch saying, “eagles in our backyard, eagles in our backyard!” It would be fun if they decide to nest in our trees. We don’t have chickens or small pets so they wouldn’t be a problem to us.

Today is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent which culminates on Thursday April 18th, the day before Good Friday. Easter is Sunday April 21st. It seems late this year. Don’t want to sound like a broken Winter record but they are talking more snow for us today and tomorrow. Hope you are enjoying the last weeks of Winter in your corner of the world.

Thoughtful Thursday

O my heart, take care that thou be in all things on the side of truth, both in small things and great; but specially, on the side of Him by whom grace and truth have come among men! ~ Spurgeon

There may be a potent medicine in the great pharmacy of Scripture, and you may yet continue sick unless you examine and search the Scriptures to discover what “he has said”. ~ Spurgeon

Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. Psalm 119:18 (ESV)

The following thoughts are from listening to Alistair Begg from Truth for Life broadcasts:

God’s eternal plan of redemption is all about Him rather then all about us. It concerns us, it transforms us, but it’s all about God.

When reading and studying the Bible the question we should ask ourselves is, what does this tell me about God?

Hope you all have time on this Thursday to read, search, examine and behold wondrous things!

Thoughtful Thursday

I’m changing things up and nixing my Quotes of the Week on Friday for posts on Thursday that I’m calling Thoughtful Thursday.

The photo above is a portion of the road we travel to get to town, to our kids’ home, to church. We enjoy the landscape along the way. What you can’t see or smell is the aftermath of someone hitting a skunk. As our dear daughter-in-law’s Granny says, you travel skunk alley to get to town! She is right. In the short time we’ve lived here and traveled this road we’ve seen and smelled over 10 skunks that were not smart enough to stay off the road. Just keeping things real. One more thing about skunks, their fragrance lingers long after they are gone.

This morning we woke up to 4 degrees F. Brrr. So thankful for a furnace that warms up the inside of our home.

In the morning I’ve tried to start a regiment of reading before I turn on my computer while I drink my cup of coffee. I’m reading the Bible, a daily dose of Spurgeon and a devotional I pull off our bookshelf. The devotional with 140 meditations that I’m reading at present is Taste and See by John Piper. In today’s reading he quotes some of his beloved English professor’s resolutions from a talk in 1976. Piper says of Dr. Kilby that he had a pastoral heart and a poet’s eye. He pled with us to stop seeking mental health in the mirror of self-analysis, but instead drink in the remedies of God in nature. He was not naïve. He knew of sin. He knew of the necessity of redemption in Christ. But he would have said that Christ purchased new eyes for us as well as new hearts.

Here are a few of his resolutions I’ll share here. Awakening Amazement at the Strange Glory of Ordinary Things

  1. At least once every day I shall look steadily up at the sky and remember that I, a consciousness with a conscience, am on a planet traveling in space with wonderfully mysterious things above and about me.
  2. I shall not fall into the falsehood that this day, or any day, is merely another ambiguous and plodding twenty-four hours, but rather a unique event, filled, if I so wish, with worthy potentialities. I shall not be fool enough to suppose that trouble and pain are wholly evil parentheses in my existence, but just as likely ladders to be climbed toward moral and spiritual manhood.
  3. I shall open my eyes and ears. Once every day I shall simply stare at a tree, a flower, a cloud, or a person. I shall not be concerned at all to ask what they are but simply be glad that they are. I shall joyfully allow them the mystery of what Lewis calls their “divine, magical, terrifying and ecstatic” existence.

Staring at this tree…

Looking steadily at the sky.

Psalm 19:1-6

The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
    and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
    whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
    and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
    and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
    and its circuit to the end of them,
    and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

Hoping your Thursday is filled with moments of awe and gratefulness.

Quotes of the Week 14

I’ve subscribed to a daily email of Puritan readings from Grace Gems recommended by Dianna at Forgiven. This was one of the readings this week that will be my Quotes of the Week…

From a devotional by John MacDuff, Day 22.

(J.C. Ryle, “Heirs of God” 1878)

“As many as are led by the Spirit of God–they are the sons of God.” Romans 8:14

All true Christians are under the leading and teaching of a power which is Almighty, though unseen–even the power of the Holy Spirit. They no longer turn to their own way, and walk in the light of their own eyes, and follow their own natural heart’s desire. The Spirit leads them. The Spirit guides them. There is a movement in their hearts, lives, and affections, which they feel–though they may not be able to explain; and a movement which is always more or less in the same direction.

They are all led . . .
away from sin,
away from self-righteousness,
away from the world!

This is the road by which the Spirit leads God’s children.
Those whom God adopts as His children–He teaches and trains.
He shows them their own hearts.
He makes them weary of their own ways.

They are all led to Christ.
They are all led to the Bible.
They are all led to prayer.
They are all led to holiness.
This is the beaten path along which the Spirit makes them to travel.
Those whom God adopts–He always sanctifies.
He makes sin very bitter to them.
He makes holiness very sweet.

When they are taken into the wilderness, and taught to see their own emptiness–it is the leading of the Spirit.

It is He who leads them to Mount Sinai, and first shows them the law–that their hearts may be broken.

It is He who leads them to Mount Calvary, and shows them the cross–that their hearts may be bound up and healed.

It is He who leads them to Mount Pisgah, and gives them distinct views of the promised land–that their hearts may be cheered.

Each and all of God’s children is the subject of these leadings.
Each and all is led by the right way, to bring him to a city of habitation.

Settle this down in your heart, and do not let it go: the children of God are a people “led by the Spirit of God,” and always led more or less in the same way. Their experience will tally wonderfully when they compare notes in Heaven.

“I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.” Proverbs 4:11

“In your unfailing love You will lead the people You have redeemed.
In Your strength You will guide them to Your holy dwelling.” Exodus 15:13