Classical Writers · Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Classic Works Woven into Fridays

From C. H. Spurgeon’s Checque Book of Faith:

from December 27

His Kindness and Covenant
“For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the Covenant of My Peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee”   Isaiah 54:10

One of the most delightful qualities of divine love is its abiding character. The pillars of the earth may be moved out of their places, but the kindness and the covenant of our merciful Jehovah never depart from His people. How happy my soul feels in a firm belief of this inspired Decemberlaration! The year is almost over, and the years of my life are growing few, but time does not change my LORD. New lamps are taking the place of the old; perpetual change is on all things, but our LORD is the same. Force over turns the hills, but no conceivable power can affect the eternal God. Nothing in the past, the present, or the future can cause Jehovah to be unkind to me. My soul, rest in the eternal kindness of the LORD, who treats thee as one near of kin. Remember also the everlasting covenant. God is ever mindful of it–see that thou art mindful of it too. In Christ Jesus the glorious God has pledged Himself to thee to be thy God and to hold thee as one of His people. Kindness and covenant–dwell on these words as sure and lasting things which eternity itself shall not take from thee.

Father, these words are so reassuring, knowing that You are my consistent God. You are steadfast in character. You are God, the great I AM. All that You are will never change. And I hold onto You for You are my comforter and encourager. I am so grateful that You are the Anchor of my life. God, You are my delight. I am in love with You, Lord. I pray in Your Son’s Precious Name. Amen.

Each week, I want to place in this spot a beautiful and worthy piece of Christian writing from days past. Works from the likes of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Oswald Chambers, Mrs. Charles E. Cowman (Lettie Burd Cowman), hymn writers such as William Cowper, Frances R. Havergal, Isaac Watts, plus more classic writers will be a part of these Friday posts. “The Valley of Vision,” “My Utmost for His Highest,” “Streams in the Desert,” “Flowers from a Puritan Garden,” and so many other fine books are on my book table(s). I love reading words placed on paper by Puritans, both from Colonial America and Puritanical England.

So I will spend each Friday during 2022 sharing pieces, parts, or all of a work that I have been pondering.

Photo/Graphic @ Daily Bible

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

His Birth…I Still Ponder

From My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers:

December 25

His Birth and Our New Birth

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” —Matthew 1:23

His Birth in History. “…that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God (Luke 1:35). Jesus Christ was born into this world, not from it. He did not emerge out of history; He came into history from the outside. Jesus Christ is not the best human being the human race can boast of— He is a Being for whom the human race can take no credit at all. He is not man becoming God, but God Incarnate— God coming into human flesh from outside it. His life is the highest and the holiest entering through the most humble of doors. Our Lord’s birth was an advent— the appearance of God in human form.

His Birth in Me. “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you…” (Galatians 4:!9). Just as our Lord came into human history from outside it, He must also come into me from outside. Have I allowed my personal human life to become a “Bethlehem” for the Son of God? I cannot enter the realm of the kingdom of God unless I am born again from above by a birth totally unlike physical birth. “You must be born again” (John 3:7). This is not a command, but a fact based on the authority of God. The evidence of the new birth is that I yield myself so completely to God that “Christ is formed” in me. And once “Christ is formed” in me, His nature immediately begins to work through me.

God Evident in the Flesh. This is what is made so profoundly possible for you and for me through the redemption of man by Jesus Christ.

From this heart filled with awe and adoration, Father God, I come before You as I look upon Your only Son born as a human being like me. Did He cry? Did He feed at His mother’s breast? Did He laugh, scream, squirm like babies do, like I did? Oh, did He, Lord? I am amazed by His very humanness and by His being God. I thank You for sending Him to save me and so many more like me…sinners all are we. My knees bend as I fall before You while I ponder this incredible Truth. This Truth that has come to the manger as a baby, called by the Name of Jesus, Immanuel, God with us. You, came to us in the humble beginnings as this boy-child…this child. His Name, Jesus, “Yahweh saves” or “Yahweh is salvation.” You are God Who saved me. And You have saved, are saving, and will continue to save many until the end of this age. Thank You, Father. In the Name of Salvation, I pray. Amen.

graphic of Matthew 1:23 on Pinterest of (in)courage @ (in)courage

Devotionals · God's Word · OneWord365 · Pondering

Decrease – One Word 2021

For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Isaiah 53:2-3

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever.” Revelation 11:15

Isaiah prophesied about Jesus Who seems to resemble very little of interest to us in the world then. Yet, by the time God reveals Jesus to John (the Book of Revelation), Jesus is everything. Interesting to me is that during those thirty-three years that Jesus walked this earth, He was the One Who was sent to save us all. He healed; He taught; He prayed. He became so much to so many in actually three years of His thirty-three. And He is All to all if we would only seek His face. He came with the answers to all of our needs and concerns. Oh, that it took me forty-five of my seventy-four years to desire Him as my Lord and Savior. I sought one such as the Israelites were seeking: the king, the rider upon a horse to rule and reign, their Messiah. Most missed Him then as I did for so many years. My seeking was longer than Jesus’ lifetime. Yet, I praise Him NOW and for always for He is worthy of all praise.

In this final month of 2021, I am reminding myself of the word I chose to ponder upon for this year. My writings have been sporadic yet the word never departed from my lips, nor my mind.

He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30

I have chosen to be less of me so that He can be more of who others see in me. I do not want my family nor friends or strangers passing by to see this Linda of the world. I want less of the world in me and more of Jesus to shine upon these others.

Oh, that this may continue to be so.

This has not been an easy year by any means. So much has been about me: selling a home, moving to another state, establishing a new place to live, reacquainting with my cousin, Donna. All amidst COVID-19. Yet my desire has been to decrease despite all of this.

Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you across the Jordan, to Whom you bore witness—look, He is baptizing, and all are going to Him.”

John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before Him.’ The One who has the bride is the Bridegroom. The friend of the Bridegroom, who stands and hears Him, rejoices greatly at the Bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.

¶He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. He bears witness to what He has seen and heard, yet no one receives His testimony. Whoever receives His testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. For He Whom God has sent utters the words of God, for He gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:25-36

Jesus calls us to new heights as we decrease. Oh, YES, He does.

Upon taking a break while writing this, I picked up John Pavlovitz’s Advent Devotional, “Low.” This very day, Week 3/Monday, the title is “The Lowest Places.” God has orchestrated such wonder in my heart, mind, and soul. Here is a piece of this day’s devotional:

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19

…. Jesus has a way of stretching us. Over and over again in the gospels, the message he has for those who would emulate him in the world, is, in essence, “I want to show you something new. Whatever standard you once used for how to live and treat people and find meaning, I’m asking you for more–(or rather, for less).” Regarding anger or motive or religion or revenge or comfort, he continually invites us to the low places: to a greater humility, to a deeper forgiveness, to a shrinking ego, to a bigger generosity. We almost always resist such things because initially they feel like loss, like we’re giving up too much, like we’re letting someone else get away with something. But we always find a better version of ourselves in the low places and that is why we need to keep going there.” *

Father, I am humbled by Your love and Your guidance in and through my life. This 2021 word has resonated more with me than most. It has, indeed, stretched me and rocked me as well. It has allowed me to grow closer to You for which I am filled with gratitude. How could that be when the worldly Linda wants the opposite? But this woman, headed Heavenward, wants to draw near to You more than anything, Lord. I desire to pursue You and be diligent about it in this coming year. I want to be steadfast in my ways of searching You in Your Word. Thank You, Father, for being my God. In the Precious Name of Jesus, I humbly pray. Amen.

As the year comes to an end, 2022 is just beyond that corner. Those of us joining with Lisa @ Lisa Notes, we are announcing our new word for this new year. For many of us, this one word replaces New Year’s Resolutions. I am finding that it plus the community accountability has really helped me focus on what God has in store for me over each year via this One Word study/challenge. May God grant us each and all a willingness to persevere, be challenged, and be grown as we study, pray and meditate upon this new word.

One Word 2022 and ‘decrease’ graphics: by ~ linda @ BeingWoven.org

* Pavlovitz, John, “Low, An Honest Advent Devotional,” ChalicePress.com, 2019, 9780827221932. JohnPavlovitz.com

John 3:30 Greater Than @ Pinterest

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Christ is Christmas ~ Christmas is Christ

Find a quiet moment to read…sing…hum as you read…this beautiful hymn written in the 19th century. It is the Salvation message. It is of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Our Messiah.

O Little Town of Bethlehem

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wond’ring love.
O morning stars, together proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King, and peace to men on earth!

How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is giv’n;
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His Heav’n.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.

Where children pure and happy pray to the blessed Child,
Where misery cries out to Thee, Son of the mother mild;
Where charity stands watching and faith holds wide the door,
The dark night wakes, the glory breaks, and Christmas comes once more.

O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
Oh, come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel.

May we spend time this Christmas Day to be with You, Lord Jesus. May we be still and know that You are God. May we calm our spirit to see and hear You in all we are and do. May this day, this season, be filled to overflowing with You, our Messiah.

You mean so very much to me, Lord.

I thank You for coming into my life and saving me from myself, from my sin. You adorn me with Yourself and continue to grow me as I decrease so that I can be more and more like You. I come before You this day and know that You are my Lord. In Your beautiful and holy Name, I pray. Amen.

Words and history of “Little Town of Bethlehem” from https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/history-of-hymns-o-little-town-of-bethlehem

History of song: “Phillips Brooks (1835-1893) wrote this beloved Christmas hymn for the Sunday school children at his Philadelphia parish, Holy Trinity Church, following a pilgrimage to Bethlehem in 1865, according to British hymnologist J. R. Watson. The hymn was printed on an informal leaflet in December 1868 and then appeared in The Sunday School Hymnal in 1871. In the United States, the hymn is generally sung to its original tune, ST. LOUIS by Louis H. Redner (1831-1908), a wealthy real estate broker who served as a church organist for his avocation.”

peace … come: photo of Yosemite in winter from wallup.net; + graphic/’peace …come” added by ~ linda @ pixlr

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

The Word

As we ponder the birth of Christ in these days and weeks prior to December 25th, may we seek the Truth of Christ. I have been humbled in realizing that Jesus had a heart, plus eyes and ears, a mouth which utters sounds all like I do. He saw and heard and spoke while His heartbeat kept His blood circulating throughout His body, just like mine! The human body is truly a creation of God. It is extremely complex and oh, so beautiful…all at the same time.

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us; and we saw His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

A baby…a human being…Christ…the Messiah…Jesus…Immanuel…God with us.

By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
And by the breath of His mouth all their lights.
Psalm 33:6

This baby Who by the time He came to earth has already created heaven and earth, animals of the dry land, creatures of the waters, and of the air. He has created man and woman with the Father as well. He is the Son of God. He is one of the Trinity. He is God. He is the Christ, the Messiah.

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
. Isaiah 9:6

Millenniums, centuries have elapsed since the human being was created. And I, a human being, am here in 2021 A.D. celebrating the birth of Christ. My Lord and Savior is Jesus, the One Who spoke words like me yet spoke words into being like no other.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of mankind. And the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not grasp it. John 1:1-5

λόγος

logos

I. of speech

A. a word, uttered by a living voice, embodies a conception or idea

B. what someone has said: a word; the sayings of God; decree, mandate or order; of the moral precepts given by God; Old Testament prophecy given by the prophet; what is declared, a thought, declaration, aphorism, a weighty saying, a dictum, a maxim

C. discourse: the act of speaking, speech; the faculty of speech, skill and practice in speaking; a kind or style of speaking; a continuous speaking discourse – instruction: doctrine, teaching; anything reported in speech; a narration, narrative; matter under discussion, thing spoken of, affair, a matter in dispute, case, suit at law; the thing spoken of or talked about; event, deed

II. its use as respect to the MIND alone: reason, the mental faculty of thinking, meditating, reasoning, calculating; account, i.e. regard, consideration; account, i.e. reckoning, score; account, i.e. answer or explanation in reference to judgment; relation, i.e. with whom as judge we stand in relation; reason, cause, ground

III. In John, denotes the essential Word of God, Jesus Christ, the personal wisdom and power in union with God, his minister in creation and government of the universe, the cause of all the world’s life both physical and ethical, which for the procurement of man’s salvation put on human nature in the person of Jesus the Messiah, the second person in the Godhead, and shone forth conspicuously from His words and deeds.

He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. Revelation 19:13

From the Puritan prayer book, “The Valley of Vision,” page 16, “The Gift of Gifts:”

O Source of all Good,
What shall I render to Thee for the gift of gifts,
Thine own dear Son, begotten, not created,
my Redeemer, Proxy, Surety, Substitute,
His self-emptying incomprehensible,
His infinity of love beyond the heart’s grasp.

Herein is wonder of wonders:
He came below to raise me above,
He was born like me that I might become like Him.

Herein is love;
when I cannot rise to Him He draws near on wings of grace,
to raise me to Himself.

Herein is power;
when Deity and humanity were infinitely apart
He united them in indissoluble unity, the uncreated and the created.

Herein is wisdom;
when I was undone, with no will to return to Him,
and no intellect to devise recovery,
He came, God-incarnate, to save me to the uttermost,
as man to die my death,
to shed satisfying blood on my behalf,
to work out a perfect righteousness for me.

O God, take me in spirit to the watchful shepherds,
and enlarge my mind;
let me hear good tidings of great joy,
and hearing, believe, rejoice, praise, adore,
my conscience bathed in an ocean of repose,
my eyes uplifted to a reconciled Father,
place me with ox, ass, camel, goat,
to look with them upon my Redeemer’s face,
and in Him account myself delivered from sin;
let me with Simeon clasp the new-born Child to my heart,
embrace Him with undying faith,
exulting that He is mine and I am His.

In Him Thou hast given me so much that heaven can give no more.

In the Beautiful Name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.

Manger @ Unlocking the Bible

Word @ Heartlight.org

The Valley of Vision, A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, edited by Arthur Bennett, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

He Hears, He Sees, He Speaks

As we ponder Christmas in these days and weeks prior, may we seek the Truth of Christ’s birth. Last week, I pondered the beating heart of Jesus, His humanity in that physical organ, His omnipotence is the only heart that loves unconditionally, the Heart of God.

This baby was born with ears to hear, eyes to see, and a mouth to speak. We do not know much about Him as He grew into a man, but there is plenty of evidence through the New Testament regarding Jesus listening and hearing, seeing and watching, and speaking as He taught and healed and fellowshipped with others.

And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. 1 John 5:14

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in His spirit and greatly troubled. John 11:33

And He was saying, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.” John 6:65

Jesus was as much a human being as you or I. He was created in His mother’s womb. He came into this world for a reason, a purpose, yet He began as a baby. That purpose may have been delayed by thirty-three years because Jesus had to grow up, absorb the Septuagint, live among His people, etc., etc. The plan never changed and Jesus knew it all before He was even a baby. He knew far more at age 12 than I know even after 74 years and always will.

Jesus was God. Jesus was Spirit. Jesus was the Son of God. Jesus knew everything before anything was created. Jesus had to live as Jesus on earth in order for prophecies to be fulfilled. Imagine…He knew all of those prophecies. He knew all the Prophets. He just plain KNEW.

And the plan was perfect:

Now Jesus cried out and said, “The one who believes in Me, does not believe only in Me, but also in Him who sent Me. And the one who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. I have come as Light into the world, so that no one who believes in Me will remain in darkness. If anyone hears My teachings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. The one who rejects Me and does not accept My teachings has one who judges him: the word which I spoke. That will judge him on the last day. For I did not speak on My own, but the Father Himself Who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. And I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.” John 12:44-50

Father God, You are teaching me beautiful Truths about Yourself. Thank You for guiding me in these Christ-centered mini-studies. I love it that I am never too old to learn more about You. I am never too old to learn anything, for that matter. God, I thank You for showing me these Truths, for showing me Your absolute desire to draw me to Yourself. You sent Your Son to die on the Cross for me, for others such as me. God, I welcomed You into my life just over 28 years ago and I have never looked back. Believing in Jesus, Your Son has given me life. And one day, I will be able to bow at Your feet and praise You for Eternity. Hallelujah! What a Savior. In the Powerful and Holy Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

photo of manger @ Unlock the Bible