The Ecstasy of His Doings

After the last post, you may think that everything is resolved–life is all rosy.  Not quite, BUT God…

He is ever faithful.  The verse that keeps popping in my mind is:

 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, IF we faint not.Galatians 6:9

The ministry is not for the fainthearted, or in 2015 vernacular: the ministry is not for wimps!

Nine years ago this month, we came to our little church on the mountain top, after six months of wilderness wandering. During that difficult time, were claiming this verse:

 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD… Exodus 14:13

We had our belongings in storage and were living in my uncle’s cabin, waiting for the Lord to open the next door.  When He did, it was shockingly sudden, like the parting of the Red Sea, and we went forward, praising our God for His amazing “goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalm 107)

We long once again for His intervention on several fronts.  In case you haven’t noticed, as born-again believers, we have an enemy that is relentless and NEVER sleeps! BUT, we also “have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)  In plain English: He knows!!!  So, it “just so happened” that in my reading for today, from Oswald Chambers Daily Devotional Bible, I read the following:

Whenever God brings His deliverances they are so supernatural that we are staggered with amazement.  It is one of the most helpful spiritual exercises to reckon what God has done for us already.  When God wanted to make His ancient people realize what manner of God He was, He said, “Remember the crossing of the Red Sea,” and in the New Testament Paul says, “Remember, it is the God who raise Jesus from the dead.” These two things are the unit of measurement of God’s power.  If I want to know what God can do, He is the God who made a way through the sea; if it is a question of power for my life, the measurement of that is the resurrection of Jesus.

“Bring back our captivity, O LORD, …” (Psalm 126:4) I call upon my soul to remember what God has done and it makes me bold to entreat Him to do it again.  It is a crime to give way to self-pity, to be weak in God’s strength when all this God is ours…

 But call to remembrance the former days,

in which, after ye were illuminated,

ye endured a great fight of afflictions;

Hebrews 10:32

The Darkest Days of My Life

That’s quite a statement! What would make someone say that?  I can’t share my particular difficulties right now, but I do know that there’s not much else that Satan could throw my way that would be more difficult!

As I walked down our dirt road, my mind was in a whirl and my heart was heavy as I poured out my grief to God. Then these words came to my heart:

‘My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign;
My gracious Redeemer, my Saviour art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.’

When I returned home, I looked up the hymn and found this article:

A Protestant Episcopal Bi­shop of Mi­chi­gan once re­lat­ed the fol­low­ing in­ci­dent to a large au­di­ence in one of the Rev. E. P. Ham­mond’s meet­ings in St. Lou­is. “A young, tal­ent­ed and ten­der-heart­ed ac­tress was pass­ing along the street of a large ci­ty. See­ing a pale, sick girl ly­ing up­on a couch just with­in the half-open door of a beau­ti­ful dwell­ing, she en­tered, with the thought that by her vi­va­ci­ty and plea­sant con­ver­sa­tion she might cheer the young in­va­lid. The sick girl was a de­vot­ed Christ­ian, and her words, her pa­tience, her sub­mis­sion and hea­ven-lit coun­te­nance, so dem­on­strat­ed the spir­it of her re­li­gion that the ac­tress was led to give some ear­nest thought to the claims of Christ­i­an­i­ty, and was tho­rough­ly con­vert­ed, and be­came a true fol­low­er of Christ. She told her fa­ther, the lead­er of the the­a­ter troupe, of her con­ver­sion, and of her de­sire to aban­don the stage, stat­ing that she could not live a con­sis­tent Christ­ian life and fol­low the life of an ac­tress. Her fa­ther was as­ton­ished be­yond mea­sure, and told his daugh­ter that their liv­ing would be lost to them and their bu­si­ness ru­ined, if she per­sist­ed in her re­so­lu­tion. Lov­ing her fa­ther dear­ly, she was shak­en some­what in her pur­pose, and par­tial­ly con­sent­ed to fill the pub­lished en­gage­ment to be met in a few days. She was the star of the troupe, and a gen­er­al fa­vo­rite. Ev­ery prep­a­ra­tion was made for the play in which she was to ap­pear. The ev­en­ing came and the fa­ther re­joiced that he had won back his daugh­ter, and that their liv­ing was not to be lost. The hour ar­rived; a large au­di­ence had as­sem­bled. The cur­tain rose, and the young ac­tress stepped for­ward firm­ly amid the ap­plause of the mul­ti­tude. But an un­wont­ed light beamed from her beau­ti­ful face. Amid the breath­less si­lence of the au­di­ence, she re­peat­ed:

‘My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign;
My gracious Redeemer, my Saviour art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.’

This was all. Through Christ she had con­quered and, leav­ing the au­di­ence in tears, she re­tired from the stage, ne­ver to ap­pear up­on it again. Through her in­flu­ence her fa­ther was con­vert­ed, and through their unit­ed evan­gel­is­tic la­bors ma­ny were led to God.”

http://cyberhymnal.org

What a wonderful story! I went on to sing the rest of the verses, and my thoughts wove their way through the verses:

I love Thee because Thou has first loved me,
Why would you love ME?
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
So much pain and humility! My problems are NOTHING!
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.Galatians 2:20
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
In mansions of glory and endless delight,
Woo Hoo! Where’s my hanky!
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

Yes, this life IS worth living!  Yes, EVERY battle is for HIS glory! Yes, every promise IS true. I praise HIS precious name—the only name worth living and dying for.  The only name that can make the darkest day shine brightly!!

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion,
to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning,
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
that they might be called trees of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
Isaiah 61:3

Talent or Tenacity?

I’ID-100197640ve been teaching piano lessons now for over forty years, and I’ve had a lot of different students!  Some have gone on to college, majoring in music, while others didn’t make it past the first year!  I’ve noticed something over the years, and my conclusion may surprise you:

I’d rather have a student who is disciplined than one who is talented.

Talent is a gift from God.  There is nothing we can do as a parent to give our children talent. It is such a shame to see talent wasted, especially when the talent is wasted because a child has not been trained to be disciplined.  We often quote Proverbs 6:22

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Once again, I turn to my dear friend, Matthew Henry—a seventeenth-century commentator whose writing seems timeless! I admit, he can be a bit verbose, but the treasured insights are worth the digging:

A great duty charged, particularly to those that are the parents and instructors of children, in order to the propagating of wisdom, that it may not die with them:  Train up children in that age of vanity, to keep them from the sins and snares of it, in that learning age, to prepare them for what they are designed for. Catechise them; initiate them; keep them under discipline. Train them as soldiers, who are taught to handle their arms, keep rank, and observe the word of command. Train them up, not in the way they would go (the bias of their corrupt hearts would draw them aside), but in the way they should go, the way in which, if you love them, you would have them go. Train up a child according as he is capable (as some take it), with a gentle hand, as nurses feed children, little and often, Also see, Deuteronomy 6:7.

 A good reason for it, taken from the great advantage of this care and pains with children: When they grow up, when they grow old, it is to be hoped, they will not depart from it.  Good impressions made upon them then will abide upon them all their days. Ordinarily the vessel retains the savor with which it was first seasoned. Many indeed have departed from the good way in which they were trained up; Solomon himself did so. But early training may be a means of their recovering themselves, as it is supposed Solomon did.  At least the parents will have the comfort of having done their duty and used the means.

Having a talented child and not training them to be diligent is like having the sharpest knife you can afford but using the wrong side to try to cut something!  Frustration and discouragement is the result of such foolishness: for the student, the teacher, and the parent.

This is not an article on “how to train your child,” but a challenge to do it.  I’m convinced that most of us know WHAT to do; we just aren’t consistent ourselves in DOING it, perhaps because we are not disciplined ourselves.  Our own desires get in the way of training our children.  OUCH!  That may seem harsh, but I’m afraid it is often the truth. It is HARD to train children.  It is tiring, frustrating, at times, confusing, but oh, iit is worth all the effort!

As a mother of three grown children, it is with great joy that I’m able to visit their homes and see successful living.  What do I mean by that?  They are making right choices, sticking by the stuff, and raising godly children.  Our family get-togethers are sweet because children listen and adults think of others. There is joy, joy, joy in this old heart.  Are their lives bump-free? No, but they are proving God to be true to His Word!

So, take the challenge. You can do this! Start small and be successful in one tiny area.  Maybe it’s the mandate to make the bed every morning.  Perhaps it’s the underwear drawer: match the socks and fold the undies! 🙂 You will NEVER regret instilling the tenacity to do right into your children!  That’s a promise from God:

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

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