Monday, December 12, 2016

Creavit Enim Ut (Created for a purpose)


 “Throughout Proverbs, wisdom is always referred to as a woman. She teaches, instructs, creates, calls out to fools to come in her house to learn insight and to understand knowledge. What a great picture of what God created women to be and to become—civilizers of people, influencers of generations, shapers of nations.”

(Sally Clarkson’s article, “Exceptional Women Feed the Souls of Others from the Richness of their Souls”)

Learn to do Well

So where do we start to fulfill this God-given task? We can begin with Isaiah 1:17, “Learn to do well.” As a woman, I am naturally a teacher, and I should always be putting myself in a place of learning. God directs us here to learn to do “well”. The primary root of the word, “well”, is “to make sound, beautiful.” Dig further, it means: “be accepted, amend, benefit, make cheerful, comely.” The root spreads more: “be content, diligent, find favor, give, be glad, do good, make merry, shew more kindness, make sweet.” God says to learn to do these things; to use our life to actively grow in these areas, impacting our sphere of influence with a living model of the kingdom of God.
Begin at the beginning. Learning things is hard work. If you don’t understand something, don’t let pride swell within manifesting itself in self-hate or discouragement; rather, let it fascinate you. Be in childlike awe that so much is beyond that horizon, so much to learn and see and do and share. “Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes one feel glad to be alive—it’s such an interesting world.” (Lucy M. Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables.)

Grow Upwards Towards Christ and Spread Outward Towards Man

Let’s start with the question of how does one learn to do well? There are two areas: grow upwards towards Christ, and seek to spread knowledge and wisdom outward to others. How? As does a tree, we are to become rooted and grounded in His Truth. The trunk of the tree is the vital connection between its roots and its leaves. A healthy trunk points upward and hosts the life-giving nourishment from the root system. Our strength comes from a close and vibrant relationship with God. Connection to the root and the effectual deliverance of nutrients to the branches and leaves is vital. The leaves and the fruit picture how we benefit others and interact with the world.
Again, “Seek the LORD and His strength, seek His face continually.” (2 Chr.16:11) We are to seek His face continually. What other Scripture comes to mind? “Pray without ceasing.” (I Thessalonians 5: 17) Or, “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice.” (Psalm 55:17) This living relationship is a continual, never ending, life-giving part of our life. The tree is ever seeking the water of life and transforming it to nourishment for the leaves and fruit. The tree is a living and growing thing. Our relationship with God is a living and growing thing! To be effective we must remain connected. A tree with no active root system is a dead tree.

God is the Source

Let’s first discuss the question of how to grow closer to God? First, know that He is the Source. Psalm 63:5, “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him.” (Expectation: cord, hope) Not from others, from Him. He is your Teacher. To learn from Him you must spend time with Him. Be patient with yourself. Building new pathways and connecting bridges in the mind takes time. To go from spoon fed to eating on your own is a process. Different muscles are used; a new determination must be summoned. Practice the presence of Christ; that constant conversation with Him.

Efforts Produce Results

Secondly, know that effort will produce results. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7-8) Diligent effort will have its rewards. First and foremost, spend much time in His Word, taking note of what He is speaking to you about, and spend thoughtful time pondering this. “To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.” (Edmund Burke) Saturate yourself in the Word of God.

Act Upon That Which You Have Learned

Thirdly, your daily walk is the exercise, or the living out of this time spent with Him. Women are wonderfully and specifically constituted to draw close to God in sensitivity of spirit and to comfort, cradle, gently guide and instruct the ones He has placed around them. Grow towards God. For with Him you can handle anything; without Him you can handle nothing! As you mingle with people you grow closer to God, for these relationships are used of Him to bless, correct, admonish and change you.

Turning the Chin Upward

“A woman who thinks and read, who takes the time to build a reservoir of wisdom and knowledge in her own heart, soul and mind, will serve others well and invest in those in her sphere of influence. (S. Clarkson article) We come to the second portion of learning to do well: spreading knowledge and wisdom outward to others. Just as gravity in the physical world is constantly pulling downward, so too in our spiritual lives, everything tends downward. It takes concerted effort to keep pressing onward and upward. You spend time with your God and you see how faithfully and patiently He instructs and guides you. Naturally then, you long to have others see Him as you do but the great question is how to pull others out of their world into His? How do you help them look beyond the four man-made walls constraining their life: selfishness, fear, doubt and shortsightedness? How? Get close enough to them to turn their chin upward for a glimpse of the eternal. You can neither save nor change a person by sheer will, but you can, with gentleness and care, touch their downturned chin and lift it upward. Find where God is and point their attention there! Show them there is more to life than what we see. Learn to see beyond:
That is not a blue sky you see, it is the mere underside of the carpet of heaven!
That is not a tree you see, it is an act of worship in creation: trunk pointing upward, and limbs, as arms, uplifted in praise to the Great God!
The trill of the songbird is a chorus of praise in an unknown tongue!
That is not a sunset, it is but a dimmed reflection of the lower lights in heaven!
Those are not stars above, they are but tiny pinholes in the canopy that separates our dark world from the bright streaming glories of heaven!
That is not a trial you are facing, it is an opportunity to grow closer to your Father.

Understanding = True Communication

Your gentle touch has a great impact. Turn your attention to others. I’ve found the secret of great communication: seek to understand the person with whom you are speaking. When you seek to understand the reason behind the tone, the concerns that grip the heart, the hopes and plans in the bosom, you begin to understand the person and therefore can communicate with greater efficiency.

Expanding Your Sphere of Influence Through Genuine Interest

I have said before, “If you want to be interesting you must be interested.” Being interested not only in life and beauty and knowledge, but in people and their deep needs, makes you a very interesting person to those with whom you speak, therefore increasing your influence within their life.  Here is an account of a meeting with such a person. “She approached me with an attitude of expectancy that made me instantly eager to fill her hopes and flattered me by her very evident belief that I could. And under her warming interest I forgot lacks and limitations and expanded into a creditable version of what the Creator intended me to be, because she called out the best of me and made me pleased with myself. The fresh cleanness of her seemed an out-picturing of an inner cleanness and clarity.” (Margery Wilson, Charm) As you are interested in others, your sphere of influence will expand.

Women were created and consecrated (set apart) for a special task. The cry that began in the 1970’s was, “I am woman, hear me roar.” I say, “I am woman, see me love.” See me stand with strength and dignity upon that which is true, right and just. See me learn to do well in my home and abroad for the love of God and man, thereby becoming a “civilizer of people, an influencer of generations and a shaper of nations.” 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Occupation: Homemaker

I sit down at the imposing wooden desk. Its surface is cool to the touch. I think my seat must be set at a slightly lower altitude than the gentleman's across the way. I suddenly feel quite small. I seem to have entered into an illusion where everyone has everything in order, from their hair, to their clothes, to their entire life. He questions me, "And, your occupation?"

"My occupation? I...I...I'm a stay-at-home-mom. I mean, I don't work. I mean, I stay at home and work a lot. I don't know, I guess you can just list it as 'homemaker', but it sure doesn't sound like much." The final portion of that sentence being mumbled, of course.

Business attended to, I rise to leave. As I move through the sleek and sterile illusion of the well-oiled Machine of Progress and Purpose, I reflect. I look down at my shoes, flat and worn. I pull my purse close to my side, thin and comfortless. My smallness longs for the comfort and safety of home, where one can be grounded and make sense of it all. Yes, home. My head begins to rise and my eyes survey the beings trapped within this corporate illusion of "progress and purpose," of fulfillment and wealth. Purpose. Fulfillment. Real wealth. I stop. I turn back.

"Excuse me, sir, you'll need more than just a two inch line to describe that which occupies my time. I, sir, am a Homemaker; I am making a home. The builders built it, but I am making it a home. They framed it, but I'm finishing it with all the tools of my feminine being.

"Building upon a Foundation sure, I am daily kept busy nurturing hearts, minds, and bodies. As I enlighten rooms with glowing lights to guide their physical steps in the dark of night, I am reminded that I have also been entrusted with the duty of enlightening their minds with The Light of Christ as found in His Word and with the lesser lights of education to guide their steps in the darkness of this world.

"I am a Homemaker. I am the Gate-Keeper of my Haven of Rest that houses and nurtures eternal souls. It is my temperament that governs the spirit within these walls. It is my very words that give strength to this frame, or insidiously rips it down. It is my faith in God that will give birth to their faith in God that will birth the next generation's faith in God.

"I am Mother. I am of the called. I am of the chosen ones. I have been selected by God to reproduce His love over and over and over again as I sacrificially give of myself to see my children safely over the dangers that frantically grasp at their feet and their hearts along the way.

" I have a divine purpose, a holy calling with eternal prospects and consequences. I am to be infectiously transmitting my faith to my little brood. I have a duty that demands my all. I am to reflect the joy of knowing my God and Saviour as I walk with Him and allow Him to change the way I interact with my ever-observing audience, whose eyes are sharp and whose ears are keen, and whose collecting of data takes no vacation.

"I must constantly be aware that I am making a home out of that which occupies the hours of my days, the words of my mouth, the tears of my heart, the prayers that pour out to my God in the dark of the night. I am making a home with all of these things.

"I must periodically meet with my Heavenly Master and ask before the Board of Heaven, 'How am I spending my hours? What is it that breaks my heart? How often am I communing with my God in earnest prayer? Are my efforts stained with the perspiration of human effort or saturated with the dew of heavenly intervention?' These meetings are sometimes fierce, always soul-searching and often heart-rending events. But shy away from them I must not! For with Him I can do all things, and without Him I can do nothing.

"Yes, sir! I am a Homemaker! what is it that you said you do?"
The ever-expanding Roy Family, October 2016










Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Composition Topics for Your Students

 A Dahlia in my dad's garden
The following are to be used as topics for composition writing. I always enjoyed coming up with topics and challenging the Roy Academy students to really think through their responses. It would also be a profitable exercise for the head mistress of your homeschool (mom) to write a composition or two from these subjects.

1. "Innocence is better than repentance."
2. The Adult I Wish to be
3. How to Motivate Myself to do a Hard Task
4. My Letter to a United States Soldier
5. The Benefits Within and Without of "Preferring Others"
6. Define True Success
7. How does your tone of voice affect a conversation?
8. The View From My Window
9. The Power of Influence
10. Books and How They Affect Your Life
11.The Perfect Day
12. Integrity: What is it and why is it important?
13. How can you comfort someone who is going through a trial? (Try James 1)
14. Describe the benefits of heeding the following advice:
       "Give to thy God the first thought of each day,
        At night, before sleep invade, reflect and pray."
15. "Govern thy passion." Describe for me the ill-effects of irritability and temper.
16. "Humility becomes a dependent being." Explain.
17. "What you are to be, you are now becoming." Explain.
18. "People see God every day, they just don't recognize Him." How can this be?
19. How does the love of "things" corrupt your heart?
20. "Value wisdom over gold." What is "wisdom" and how do you personally value it?
21. What are the benefits of being homeschooled?
22. The greatest thing I can do for somebody else is...
23. Politeness and its Effect on Others.
24. The Privilege of Prayer. What is a "privilege"? Who is listening to your prayers? Who is talking?   Where is our confidence that He will hear?
25. When I am 30 years old, this is what I think my life will look like...
26. How can you be a delight to the LORD?
27. How can peace in your heart affect those around you?
28. Kind Words and the Effect it has on Others.
29. In reference to the Bible, explain the saying, "This Book will keep me from sin, or sin will keep   me from this Book." Why do I capitalize all references to the Bible?
30. How can humility bring contentment?


Friday, June 24, 2016

Homeschooling: A Challenge



~Written several years ago when the children were small.~

Do you know how often people tell us that we are “so lucky to have gotten such good kids”? As if we haven’t spent the better part of our adult life pouring our entire being into our children. As if the countless hours we’ve spent praying over them and monitoring the details of their life; reading them Scripture and helping them to apply it to their lives, having had them hear it, read it, memorize it, see the need of it and teaching them to love it. As if the difficult times of disciplining them in love and with concern for their present, as well as their future well being, meant nothing in the development of these children. As if the choice to be their tutor and to make the sacrifices necessary for this arrangement had nothing to do with their emotional, physical, spiritual, as well as their social vitality!
The reason you see the results in our children that you do is because we have not delegated the privilege of raising these children to anyone else. God has given these children to us. We conceived them, we gave birth to them, and we are the ideal candidates to love and nurture them in the way that is the best for them. God is not mocked; what you sow you will reap. The reason the fruit of our labors is beginning to show itself so sweet is because God’s commandments have been our constant guide; His standard is what we have tried to uphold in our home; and His mercy is what we have sought after and begged for daily as we have consulted Him and asked for His wisdom in dealing with our children.
Homeschooling mother, you’ve signed up for the long haul. Your days are full of work, both physical and mental, even though you are classed among the “non-working”. The stakes are high: those little eyes are watching you all the time and those little ears are taking in all that is said to them and all that is within their ear-reach. Souls are being shaped and molded under your care, conforming to your design.
Never in your own strength can you accomplish anything of eternal value in this costly arena. It will not be to your glory as you stand one day with your “trophies” around you…you will know it was, and is, all Him; it is and always has been all to His glory. For without Him you can do nothing. Your ship has safely crossed the wild, stormy seas because its anchor is Christ. You labored in your home, with your children, out of your love for Him, for the One who saved your soul and set your path aright. But for the grace of God, there would you go, racing on towards Hell, losing your children as you went.
Yours is a labor of love in the deepest sense of the word. Giving and expecting nothing in return. Choosing to care for, respect, and sacrifice for, with no consideration of your own flighty emotions or feelings. Yours must be seen as a ministry, a special calling from God on High. For that is what it is. He has called you and He has given all necessary power to accomplish His plan for you.
He who is called Faithful and True is ever-present and is ever-willing to enable you to face long-division, prepositional phrases and world geography. He who called you will never leave you wanting the resources necessary to accomplish your task. Doubting your ability to do this job is to doubt your God and His abilities and His chosen path for you. He has promised to never leave you nor forsake you. Have you no faith, dear one? Faith involves trusting what God has said and moving forward even when the next step seems to be into the dark. Troubles, trials and difficulties are part of the journey. Had we not these obstacles we would not need God to guide us through, and we would not need faith to traverse a clear, well-lit path.
The hard times that will come are meant to draw us closer to Him, to cause us to mount up with Him in His chariot, to mount up with wings as eagles and get a heavenly view of our situation. This view changes everything. Above the storm the sun is always shining. With God in prayer, rise above the circumstances and seek to see this old world through the eyes of Him who loves you so; through the eyes of Him who has promised to work all things together for good to them that love Him and who are the called according to His purpose.
You, your spouse and God; what a powerful combination for changing the world one soul at a time.




Beauty

Beautiful for beauty's sake. Arrayed in pink petal splendor with perhaps no one to see but God. A brief show of perfection for an audience of One. A Peony explosion on a Spring day. How much of beauty do I miss? What gems of perfection are quietly dwelling nearby? This I happened upon; how much is there that I fail to see?

Fleeting


I am cultivating a garden fair;
With blooms so lovely and so rare.
Faithfully I tend to the daily needs;
In this unremitting fight in the Battle of the Weeds.
Though in this journey I grow weary, for the end seems always off afar;

Yet this truth I must believe: that this all, too soon, shall pass.

At present, the journey seems without end.
Yet faintly, I hear the truth that they are here, with me, merely on lend.
Yes, soon she'll be walking an aisle
Where just yesterday I kissed her little face and held her little hand.
Yes, his boots will soon outgrow my feet
And he'll be rummaging relentlessly for something more to eat.
Oh, little one with hopeful, smiling eyes and soft, needy hands;
Let me hold your gaze a little longer and hold your hand a little tighter,

For I am painfully aware that this all too soon shall pass.

They are but visitors stopping by my home
For a short repose before moving on to lands they'll call their own.
They are precious blossoms in my garden that soon will fade away;
For can the lilac bloom past the early spring? And can the lily linger longer than the day?
Precious blooms of magnificent artistry and design;
A season short with possibilities divine!
I relish in their company, their beauty, and the wonder of it all,
As I cry to know

That this all, too soon, shall pass...
Oh, I say, this all, too soon, has passed.


     This poem was begun when my four little lambs were the ages of 10-17. Precious, precious are the times that are no more. Weary mother, breathe deeply the air of memories being cast, of days made alive with noise and clutter and questions and battles of the wills.
     This season of home-life, of the formation of your family circle, is a turbulent time; wild, full of emotional highs and lows. In it you see the best of you and the worst of you, all the while your children are assimilating this whole atmosphere of you. Daily they imbibe the ideas of love, of fidelity, of mastery and of God by observing you. Your tones, your attitudes, your actions, your reactions speak to them in volumes recorded on their soul.
     Tread carefully, tread mindfully through this land of young motherhood. Treasure this fleeting season where your influence is most profound.

Signed,
One who is seeing where the road ends

Thursday, June 23, 2016

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! who took on flesh
Fulness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied -
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine -
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.

"In Christ Alone"
~Keith Getty and Stuart Townsend~

Content in Him, May 2016

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Society of the Desperately Dependent

A new and exciting challenge has been laid at my feet. In total dependence upon God I have received my marching orders. It has been a true delight to meet with nine faithful women in our home and focus our attention on the lessons God has for us each week. 

We have completed our first book, As A Man Thinketh, by James Allen. Weekly reading assignments were given out along with occasional writing or journaling assignments. The members have responded with overwhelming appreciation for what the Lord has been doing in their hearts and minds. We have exercised our muscles of discernment as we dissected Mr. Allen's work. We have been made acutely aware of anti-Biblical thinking patterns in our lives and have been challenged to place the filter of Philippians 4:8 at the gateway of our minds. What a blessing! 

A close walk with the Saviour is not a thing of chance or favor, it is the result of systematic, diligent, persistent work on the part of the soul which is desperately dependent upon His marvelous grace.

The Society of the Desperately Dependent
Meeting every other week in our home
Tuesday evenings, 7:30-8:30

Acknowledging our complete dependence upon our loving Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: "Unto Thee and Thee only!" For without Him we can do nothing of any lasting value.

Seeking to grow in knowledge and wisdom through the diligent study of His Word, the dear and precious Bible. We are treasure seekers, mining for goodness, to the end that our glory may sing praise to God and not be silent. Psalm 30:12.

Feeding the soul, the body, the spirit and the mind that which is beautiful, pure and good for our edification and for the purpose of strengthening the inner man and therefore increasing the effects of our influence in the sphere in which we have been placed by God.

Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue.”
2 Peter 1:2-3
Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.” Psalm 119:27
Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.” Psalm 86:11
...saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” Isaiah 65:2

Monday, February 1, 2016

Using Your Talents


Onward and Upward
E. A. Roy

Without His love I can do nothing,
with His love there is nothing I cannot do.”
-Unknown


Greetings, Fellow Missionary:
A new year, a fresh slate, like a blanket of new-fallen snow, this pure, unscathed year lays before us. Live, my friend, live! Be not content to watch others live. Be not content to imagine living, go ahead and live! Step out by faith and do what you know your Lord has placed in your heart to do. Live! Live and love without reserve. Be not afraid of learning and of trying new things. Don’t rest with being spoon-fed the Scriptures—learn to cook the meal yourself! Learn how to run that kitchen and discover for yourself the mechanics of digging into the preparations for the feast. It’s a wonderful, challenging, totally rewarding, life-long pursuit that brings you closer to your Lord.
God has made you and saved you for a purpose. What is it that He has particularly placed in your heart? What are you longing to give to Him? Is it a service you long to do for others? Is it the gift you have of encouraging others that He calls you to do? Is it the gift of teaching little ones with patient hand and tongue? Is it the gift of sharing creations from your kitchen that would go a long way in relieving a weary mother? Perhaps you are being called to take an interest in someone; you never know how far those ripples of love will reach. Surely, showing our love to someone our Lord loves dearly (and both the lost and saved are loved by Him), must bring joy to His heart. And, oh, the thought of bringing joy to His heart above all hearts!
Dear Christian Believer, find your one song and sing, sing, sing! You have been wired in a particular way for a particular purpose. Seek to know what that purpose is! The “simple” acts that come “naturally” to you are easy to despise and to regard as nothing. However, it seems that these are precisely the gifts and talents that God has placed in your care to use to serve Him.
Perhaps you have the ability to spread sunshine wherever you go. You find it easy to strike up a conversation and leave a person feeling lighter than when you found them. This is a precious gift. It’s a very portable one, too, as all of them usually are. A nursing home can be a dark place in need of just that sort of sunshine. Even your Sunday school table can benefit. And most certainly your own abode can use the gift and warmth of that blessed sunshine.
Perhaps your compassion for others causes prayer requests to come to your mind continually. Your ministry of prayer will have results not to be seen but before we dine with our Saviour in heaven. Lest you think lightly of this, it’s certainly not satan who brings these request before you.
Maybe it’s natural for you to relate to others what the Lord has taught you through your reading. This is a gift that should be nurtured and cared for as a precious means of edifying one another.
Are you a good listener? God can use this gift as you take opportunity to pray while the other is speaking and seek to turn your friend’s eyes back to Scripture and back to a resting place under God’s wing.
Organizing things is your specialty? There’s a place for you if only you would see your gift for what it is and minister to others with it.
You truly are a missionary and you are currently on the field. May I ask you, how is your work going? Your “support” comes from God Himself. He has supplied your basic needs and furnished the tools you require. As wife and mother, or daughter and single woman, God has surely laid your “people group” on your heart. Take time to examine your field. Learn their language. Know the people, seek to meet their needs and minister to them with all fervor.
As wives and mothers, our family is our field. Where they are, is where our heart should be. Our lives are to be totally engulfed in seeking God’s moving amidst these people and seeking to reach them through our words and our actions. Our lives can and should be “spent for Christ” on this blessed field of service. It is a temporary post, however, and our energies must be focused according to the present situations. This current people group will move on and we will have grown and changed through this process. We will then take the lessons that we learned with us as God moves us to our next post.
You are perfectly suited for your particular post. God has outfitted you with all things necessary, though some may be only in “seed form” and will require nurturing and care to grow into maturity. Action is required on our part as we work with God to accomplish His purposes.
Total dependence on God is a necessary prerequisite to any and all tasks you perform. The more we realize we are indebted to God, the more grateful we should become, and the more joyously dependent we should be.
Can I challenge you to allow yourself to be desperately dependent on Him; desperately dependent on His hand to move in your home and in your life; desperately dependent on His Word to calm your heart and lead you forward.
It’s a new year; take on a new challenge. What if this was to be your last year to leave a mark in the hearts of others for Christ? Pick up your tool, my friend, and start carving! Find your niche, your talent and lavishly give. “And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.” Give a graceful touch to all you do; do it for Him and as unto Him.
Hide not your light under a bushel, let your light so shine among men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven!

Only one life
Twill soon be past;
Only what’s done for Christ will last.”




Thursday, January 14, 2016

Is it Scripture or is it Shakespeare?

     Christian, know thy Bible well. We ought not to be quoting Shakespeare when we mean to quote Scripture. Use the following poem written by Mr. Shakespeare to find the sayings often attributed to our Bible. Compare these to the actual Scripture. Then, find the Scriptural principles expressed and list them with a good Scripture reference teaching the principle.

Summer, 2015
This Above All
Shakespeare

And these few precepts in thy memory
See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel,
but do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatched unfledged comrade. Beware of entrance to a quarrel; but being in,
Bear't, that the opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice:
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not expressed in fancy; rich, not gaudy:
For the apparel oft proclaims the man;
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are of a most select and generous chief in that.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be:
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Desperately Dependent


--Christian, you can do nothing of eternal value without Him. You ARE dependent upon Him for any moving of the Spirit in your heart, your home, your life. You ARE dependent upon His Word to give you wisdom, to guide your steps and to change your thinking. Acknowledge this humbly before Him and joyously await His moving in your life.--

Desperate and dependent. Two words that run very contrary to our human nature. Naturally, I strive for independence: “I can do this, and I will do it my way.” Christian, beware: To be dependent is contrary to my natural being; to be independent is to be contrary to my God.

Dependent: “To be subject to the power of and at the disposal of another; not able to exist or sustain itself without the will or power of another,” is perhaps the scariest position of all for mankind. To be “unable to sustain (myself) without the aid of (another)” is precisely why we look for that first job, obtain that college degree, and learn the many things necessary to “make it on our own.” It is the common mindset that dependency is appropriate for children and the elderly, but definitely not for me. It is a state of being that is to be fought against until one can defy it no longer; and at that point, death is the preferred option.

In like despised manner, desperation is felt in times of hopelessness; in those times when we’ve been spent and have no option but to turn for outside help. The very word “desperately” carries with it tones of disregarding danger or safety; a careless, uncontrolled state of mind. Fighting desperately for a lost cause, or falling desperately in love…sounds to me like a precarious place to live, like a state of mind I hope not to visit very often.

Live as you want and believe what you will, the fact remains that we are dependent beings. As the leaf hangs down from the branch, so too our fragile life precariously clings in total dependence to the Branch. We observe the two year old as she screams, “I can do it myself!” while futilely trying to push the weighty bureau out of the way to retrieve a lost trinket, thinking she needs no assistance, so too our Father looks on us with pity as He waits to hear our humble cry for help.

Fighting, always fighting are we. Why is the truth so hard to realize? “Without Me ye can do nothing.” For life, for breath, for the very next beat of my heart, I need Thee, dear Lord. Yea, truly, I need Thee every hour. Submission to His commandments and to unforeseeable circumstances that arise, seem to me to be on a different level from this total submission to Him: this way of thinking, this way of worshiping Him with my thoughts and my actions each and every day; this total yielding of who I am to Who He is and who He wants me to be.

Each fresh, new day finds new choices that lay before us. The battle of life ceases at death and, until then, it rages anew every morning within our naturally defiant breast: shall I begin my day with Him, or will I be asserting my independence yet again? Will I willingly confess to Him this day that, vain is the help of man and spread my cause out before Him or will I lean upon my own understanding? 

The battle begins in the mind. It all starts with the thought that, “I need no one for I am able.” Submission begins with the acknowledgment of inferiority or dependence. Acknowledgment occurs in the mind and actions follow. The mind is precisely where fear begins, as well. What a dreadful battlefield we hold within our very being. How close the battle rages! 

To acknowledge my desperate dependence on my heavenly Father is the beginning of a grand and glorious state of being, a most productive way of living. “I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee…” — Dependent on the very hand of God! 

“And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” –Held by Him Who will never fail! 

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” -Laying our future at the feet of One Who plans for our good, not for our failure and defeat!

The opposite of desperate dependence is the casual attitude of bringing God along with you as you move through your life, knowing He’s there to assist if you really need Him. For example, death, major accidents, big decisions, health issues, a teen that has strayed…you know, the big things that we certainly want God in the middle of.

How contrary this attitude is to desperate dependence! “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.” In choosing to be desperately dependent, I see the riches available to me and realize that my wilderness scavenging has produced nothing but thistles and thorns, a dearth of satisfaction and a thirst unquenchable.

My way is sorely lacking in substance and value. On the contrary, His plan, His way, though yet to be understood, is by far the fairer way because He is in this way and with Him there is light and good and love.  His mountains to climb will bring us to the higher ground. His cross to bear is the reasonable sacrifice we are to carry and place at His feet with contented and humble cries of, “Not my will, but Thine be done.”

Says Hannah Whitall Smith, “Meet His measureless devotion for you with a measureless devotion to Him. Be glad and eager to throw yourself unreservedly in His loving arms, and to hand over the reins of government to Him.” “Perfect obedience would be perfect happiness, if only we had perfect confidence in the power we were obeying.” (Unknown)

If only we knew Him?! If only we could trust Him?! How absurd! “Closer to thee than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet”, says Tennyson of our God. He who has made thee whole; He who has wrought new life in you and placed His very Spirit within you; He Who has promised to guide thee with His eye, is the same One who holds the stars in place and sets each runner in his race and has made His abode with you. Devoted He is to us, and evermore devoted we should be to Him.

I challenge you to speak to your Father about becoming desperately dependent on Him. Cease the wandering; crave the tangible presence of the Saviour. Place yourself in that humble, needy position every morning and beg Him to be still nearer to you. Move not without His prompting and speak not without His grace. Beg for His presence to be felt through your being. Hand Him the reins, your heart, your plans and your passions; for safe are they with Him. And blessed you will be for having laid your precious bits in His hand. He will take your squandered time, your splintered works, your disfigured plans, your fragments of beauty, and your shattered hopes, and will make all things new for you. Disappointed you cannot be, for He promises you He’ll give you, “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that (you) might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified.”

Christian, you can do nothing of eternal value without Him. You ARE dependent upon Him for any moving of the Spirit in your heart, your home, your life. You ARE dependent upon His Word to give you wisdom, to guide your steps and to change your thinking. Acknowledge this humbly before Him and joyously await His moving in your life.

Purposefully choose desperate dependence; your life will never be the same. May this phrase ring in your ears until it becomes your song. 

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
Revelation 4:11