Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Love Letters

 I read this today and it was just a perfect reminder of the loveliness of Christ, especially as we are approaching the Advent season celebrating His birth. And, just to make it consistent, it is by Spurgeon! I promise that I do read more than just him!

"The Scriptures point to Me!" John 5:39

"Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega of the Bible. He is the constant theme of its sacred pages; from first to last--they testify of Him!

We catch a glimpse of Him in the promise of the woman's seed;
we see Him typified in the ark of Noah;
we walk with Abraham, as He sees Messiah's day;
we dwell in the tents of Isaac and Jacob, feeding upon the gracious promise;
we hear the venerable Israel talking of the coming Shiloh; and
in the numerous types of the law, we find the Redeemer abundantly foreshadowed.
Prophets and kings, priests and preachers, all look one way--they all stand as the cherubim did over the ark--desiring to look within, and to read the mystery of God's great atoning sacrifice!

Still more manifestly in the New Testament we find our Lord--the one pervading subject. It is not a single gem here and there, or dust of gold thinly scattered--but here you stand upon a solid floor of gold; for the whole substance of the New Testament is Jesus crucified, and even its closing sentence is bejewelled with the Redeemer's name!

We should always read Scripture in this light--we should consider the Word to be as a mirror, into which Christ looks down from heaven. And then we, looking into it, see His face reflected as in a mirror--darkly, it is true--but still in such a way as to be a blessed preparation for seeing Him--as we shall see Him face to face!

This volume contains Christ's love-letters to us, perfumed by His love. These pages are the garments of our King, and they all smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia. Scripture is the royal chariot in which Jesus rides, and it is paved with love for His children. The Scriptures are the swaddling bands of the holy child Jesus--unroll them and you find your Savior!

The quintessence of the Word of God--is Christ!"
~ Charles Spurgeon

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Prayer for Our Nation Mondays- Arizona


Well, this is the late edition of Prayer for Our Nation Mondays! Sorry about that! I have just been trying to clean up from the Thanksgiving holiday. How precious it is that we can thank our Lord for His provision in our lives. Thanksgiving is so wonderful! But messy!

 The state we are praying for this week is Arizona!

"Dear wonderful Lord, we just come before you today in prayer for the state of Arizona. We pray that you would reach those who are in need of You and need the wonderful news of your gospel. Please be pleased to save them and draw them to Yourself. Please Lord. Please give wisdom and courage to those who know you in Arizona and sanctify them more and more in Your truth. Allow those who know You to be great witnesses of your grace and give them boldness in proclaiming Your gospel. We praise You for Your goodness and faithfulness in our lives. Thank you for the gift of salvation and the grace that You daily give us. Thank you for how good You are. In the precious name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


It is a Spurgeon-esqe type of week! This was too good not to share:

"If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for."
~ Charles Spurgeon

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Petition with Thanksgiving

I wanted to bring to your attention this week a wonderful sermon from Charles Spurgeon on the blessings of prayer and thanksgiving. I really feel tempted to just quote the whole sermon as it is such a precious reminder of God's  rich grace and blessings He has poured our in our lives. Even in the midst of suffering, we can because of His goodness say "Blessed be the name of the Lord". Here are Spurgeon's reasons...

"We are to pray about everything, and with every prayer we must blend our thanksgivings. Hence it follows that we ought always to be in a thankful condition of heart: since we are to pray without ceasing, and are not to pray without thanksgiving, it is clear that we ought to be always ready to give thanks unto the Lord. We must say with the Psalmist, "Thus will I bless thee while I live; I will lift up my hands in thy name." The constant tenor and spirit of our lives should be adoring gratitude, love, reverence, and thanksgiving to the Most High..." 
I pray so much that my life would have "adoring gratitude, love, reverance, and thanksgiving" for my great Savior.
"This blending of thanks with devotion is always to be maintained. Always must we offer prayer and supplication with thanksgiving. No matter though the prayer should struggle upward out of the depths, yet must its wings be silvered o'er with thanksgiving. Though the prayer were offered upon the verge of death, yet in the last few words which the trembling lips can utter there should be notes of gratitude as well as words of petition...Supplication and thanksgiving so naturally run into each other that it would be difficult to keep them separate: like kindred colours, they shade off into each other."
 I had never thought of thanksgiving and petition being so related together and intertwined.

 "I need not stop to quote other instances, but it is almost always the case that David by the fire of prayer warms himself into praise. He begins low, with many a broken note of complaining, but he mounts and glows, and, like the lark, sings as he ascends. When at first his harp is muffled he warbles a few mournful notes and becomes excited, till he cannot restrain his hand from that well-known and accustomed string which he had reserved for the music of praise alone. There is a passage in the eighteenth Psalm, at the third verse, in which indeed he seems to have caught the very idea which I want to fix upon your minds this morning. "I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies." He was in such a condition that he says, "The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me." Driven by distress, he declares that he will call upon the Lord, that is, with utterances of prayer; but he does not alone regard his God as the object of prayer, but as One who is to be praised. "I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;" and then, as if inspired to inform us of the fact that the blending of thanksgiving with prayer renders it infallibly effectual, as I shall have to show you it does, he adds, "So shall I be saved from mine enemies."... 
 These passages have really made me think about my own prayers. Are they primarily filled with my own petitions or do I offer thanksgiving to my precious Savior for His work in my life? I have found that far too often my prayers are filled with my own interests and seem ignorant of what Christ has already done. I pray that my prayers would be more like David's in the Psalms- that even in great pain or agony I can choose to give thanks.
"We have abundant cause, my brethen, for thanksgiving at all times. We do not come to God in Prayer as if he had left us absolutely penniless, and we cried to him like starving prisoners begging through prison bars. We do not ask as if we had never received a single farthing of God before, and hardly thought we should obtain anything now; but on the contrary, having been already the recipients of immense favours, we come to a God who abounds in lovingkindness, who is willing to bestow good gifts upon us, and waits to be gracious to us. We do not come to the Lord as slaves to an unfeeling tyrant craving for a boon, but as children who draw nigh to a loving father, expecting to receive abundantly from his liberal hands. Thanksgiving is the right spirit in which to come before the God who daily loadeth us with benefits. Bethink you for awhile what cause you have for thanksgiving in prayer.     And first you have this, that such a thing as prayer is possible, that a finite creature can speak with the infinite Creator, that a sinful being can have audience with the thrice-holy Jehovah. It is worthy of thanksgiving that God should have commanded prayer and encouraged us to draw near unto him; and that moreover he should have supplied all things necessary to the sacred exercise. He has set up a mercy seat, blood besprinkled; and he has prepared a High Priest, ever living to make intercession; and to these he has added the Holy Ghost to help our infirmities and to teach us what we should pray for as we ought. Everything is ready, and God waits for us to enquire at his hands. He has not only set before us an open door and invited us to enter, but he has given us the right spirit with which to approach. The grace of supplication is poured out upon us and wrought in us by the Holy Ghost. What a blessing it is that we do not attempt prayer with a peradventure, as if we were making a doubtful experiment, nor do we come before God as a forlorn hope, desperately afraid that he will not listen to our cry; but he has ordained prayer to be the ordinary commerce of heaven and earth, and sanctioned it in the most solemn manner. Prayer may climb to heaven, for God has himself prepared the ladder and set it down just by the head of his lonely Jacob, so that though that head be pillowed on a stone it may rest in peace. Lo, at the top of that ladder is the Lord himself in his covenant capacity, receiving our petitions and sending his attendant angels with answers to our requests. Shall we not bless God for this?
    Let us praise his name, dear friends, also especially that you and I are still spared to pray and permitted to pray. What if we are greatly afflicted, yet it is of the Lord's mercy that we are not consumed. If we had received our desserts we should not now have been on praying ground and pleading terms with him. But let it be for our comfort and to God's praise that still we may stand with bowed head and cry each one—"God be merciful to me a sinner." Still may we cry like sinking Peter, "Lord save, or I perish." Like David, we may be unable to go up to the temple, but we can still go to our God in prayer. The prodigal has lost his substance, but he has not lost his power to supplicate. He has been feeding swine, but as yet he is still a man, and has not lost the faculty of desire and entreaty. He may have forgotten his father, but his father has not forgotten him; he may arise and he may go to him, and he may pour out his soul in his father's bosom. Therefore, let us give thanks unto God that he has nowhere said unto us—"Seek ye my face in vain." If we find a desire to pray trembling within our soul, and if though almost extinct we feel some hope in the promise of our gracious God, if our heart still groans after holiness and after God, though she hath lost her power to pray with joyful confidence as once she did, yet let us be thankful that we can pray even if it be but a little. In the will and power to pray there lies the capacity for infinite blessedness: he who hath the key of prayer can open heaven, yea, he hath access to the heart of God; therefore, bless God for prayer.
  This last quote from Spurgeon's sermon was my favorite. What a beautiful thing to read this week as we celebrate Thanksgiving! After reading this I have felt my heart just overflowing with thankfulness. How very, very precious! What a wonderful Lord we serve!

 I pray that you have a very blessed week with your family and a lovely Thanksgiving.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord! 

(For those you who want to read the whole sermon by Spurgeon, it is here for you to enjoy!)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Prayer for Our Nation Mondays- Alaska 

Welcome to another addition of Prayers for Our Nation Mondays. This week's state to pray for is Alaska. I must confess that Alaska is very close to my heart as our church has been involved for years with missions to rural Alaska and the wonderful native Alaskans. This year, we have had the blessed opportunity to send missionaries to a tiny little village close to the coast. They were invited by the village to serve the youth of the village and surrounding villages. So, I will include prayers for them as well today. Please forgive my halting prayers but it is such a blessing to meet for prayer, even if it is over the internet wires.

"Blessed Lord God, thank you for your goodness and faithfulness in our lives. Thank you for your gift of salvation to us. We praise You for Your grace and mercy. I pray so much Lord that you would draw to Yourself many Alaskans who will trust in Your great name to be saved from their sins and put their faith in You.You are worthy of all praise. Please bless those who serve you, like my friends, and who proclaim your Word. Please send many more to preach salvation to those who are perishing. Make Your name be glorified radiantly in the lives of those who live in Alaska. Thank you Lord. In Your Name, Amen."

"The magnificence of God is the source and measure of the magnificence of prayer. Think magnificently of God."
~ Alexander White

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Heavens Tell

With my last post about the galls we have found on oak trees, my soul has just been overwhelmed with God's creativity and the beauty He has created. A bug bite on a tree can produce a pretty little anemone-like flower! And there are so many lovely (well, and not so lovely) different kinds of galls. The quote below beautifully expresses my thoughts better than I:

Those bright constellations — Christ created them.
Those burning suns — Christ kindled them.
Those snow wreathed alps, those cloud capped mountains — Christ raised them.
Those verdant valleys — Christ spread them.
That blushing rose,
  that graceful lily,
  that exquisite fern,
  that curious sea flower tossed upon the shore,
  that wayside violet that screens the dew drop from the sun,
  that winding stream,
  that leafy grove — 
Christ formed and penciled them all.
Yes, Christ is the one who . . .
  clad that magnificent landscape with its robe of living green;
  scented the air with its fragrance, and
  hollowed out the depth of that expansive ocean, dimpled with beauty by the gentle breeze — or awesome in its grandeur, when trod by the storm.
Truly, He has made everything beautiful in its time.
Oh! I delight to see the Incarnate God, who died to save — scattering from the opulence of His own boundless resources — all this jewelry; making man's sinful home so rich, so lovely, so attractive!
"The heavens tell of the glory of God.
 The skies display His marvelous craftsmanship.
 Day after day they continue to speak;
 night after night they make Him known.
 They speak without a sound or a word;
 their voice is silent in the skies;
 yet their message has gone out to all the earth,
 and their words to all the world." Psalm 19:1-4

~ Octavius Winslow

Can anyone tell me what this is?

Update: I posted this on a homeschooling forum and someone knew what this is! She told me that these are called galls. The oak tree makes these in response to an insect chewing on the leaves. Here is a link that was provided. What an amazing God we serve! A whole new world of nature has opened up to us. Now my kids want to run outside and find some more galls.

We have been having a bit of a conundrum lately around here. We have found these on oak trees around here:

My son first found them on a tree that had fallen over in high wind. He picked them off of the tree and they were soft like a flower. Now a month or so later, they have turned hard and you can find them on the ground. You can find some, like these two, which are attached to an oak leaf.

They pink to reddish centers that gradually go out to a cream on the tips of the spikes. The larger ones are about 1/2 inch from tip to tip.

It is so wonderful to discover new things about the Lord's creation. But, every once in a while, we are stumped despite our books and the internet! If anyone knows what they are we would appreciate knowing!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Prayer for Our Nation Mondays- Alabama

I have decided to add a new feature to this blog. All of the events and controversies surrounding the election just made me realize how much our nation needs the precious gospel of Jesus Christ and how much we must pray for this before our Sovereign Lord. So, on Mondays, I will post my prayers for our nation and I hope that you will post your prayers in the comments section. Let us join together in pleading with the Lord for our nation. I thought that I would pray state by state. So, let's start alphabetically shall we? First up is Alabama.

Dear wonderful Heavenly Father, I just pray for the state of Alabama. I ask Lord that you would cause your Word and the gospel of Jesus Christ to go out in a mighty way throughout the state. Please raise up men and women who are consumed by your Word and sound doctrine. Give strength to those who are already serving you in the state and allow them to be filled with your grace. I pray that you would soften the hearts of those who do not know your precious name and allow the seeds of the gospel to thrive. Please Lord, delight in saving those who are lost in Alabama. Blessed by Your precious name. Amen.

I must confess that I feel nervous typing out my prayers. They are not eloquent and hardly have any right words. But, the Lord knows my weakness and temerity, so I will just trust His name.

"Pray often, for prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan. "  ~ John Bunyan

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Power of Prayer

"Reader, do you know the blessedness of confiding your every need and every care—your every sorrow and every cross—into the ear of the Savior? He is the "Wonderful Counselor." With an exquisitely tender sympathy He can enter into the innermost depths of your need. That need may be great, but the everlasting arms are underneath it all. Think of Him now, at this moment—the great Angel of the Covenant, with the censer full of much incense, in which are placed your feeblest aspirations, your most burdened sighs—the odor-breathing cloud ascending with acceptance before the Father's throne...Confide your cause to this waiting Redeemer. You cannot weary Him with your importunity. He delights in hearing. His Father is glorified in giving. The memorable Bethany-utterance remains unaltered and unrepealed—"I know that You hear me always." He is still the "Prince that has power with God and prevails"—still promises and pleads—still He lives and loves!"

"I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait; and in his word do I hope."
The Words of Jesus by John MacDuff (page 14-15)

I have begun reading a wonderful reprint of a devotional book that was given to me for my birthday. I have been enjoying it ever so much and the above quote is a little excerpt from it. I hope that it encourages you as much as it has me today.