Wednesday, January 26, 2011

In His Place, At His Pace

Dear Friends,

We read this in family devotions this morning. I think you will breath deeply of the Lord's care and goodness as you read this soul refreshing passage from Octavius Winslow's Morning and Evening Thoughts:

“My times are in your hand.” Psalm 31:15.

Let this precious truth divest your mind of all needless, anxious care for the present or the future. Exercising simple faith in God, “Do not be anxious about anything.” Learn to be content with your present lot, with God’s dealings with, and His disposal of, you. You are just where His providence has, in its inscrutable but all-wise and righteous decision, placed you. It may be a position painful, irksome, trying, but it is right. Oh, yes! it is right. Only aim to glorify Him in it. Wherever you are placed, God has a work for you to do, a purpose through you to be accomplished, in which He blends your happiness with His glory. And, when you have learned the lessons of His love, He will transfer you to another and a wider sphere, for whose nobler duties and higher responsibilities the present is, perhaps, but disciplining and preparing you. Covet, then, to live a life of daily dependence upon God. Oh, it is a sweet and holy life! It saves from many a desponding feeling, from many a corroding care, from many an anxious thought, from many a sleepless night, from many a tearful eye, and from many an imprudent and sinful scheme. Repairing to the “covenant ordered in all things and sure,” you may confide children, friends, calling, yourself, to the Lord’s care, in the fullest assurance that all their ‘times’ and yours are in His hand.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

This Morning

"O Lord, Thou hast searched me and known me."
~Psalm 139:1

(this picture was taken in our back yard this past fall.)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Late on a Monday

Well, the first page of my 100 Days Calendar is full of check marks, all neat in columns.

And tonight I finished memorizing Hebrews 11 while folding the last of the laundry for the day.

So here it is (my feeble effort), from memory, with, most likely, incorrect, yet uninspired, punctuation and probably some misplaced words, too.

Hebrews 11

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
For by it the elders obtained a good report.
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts, and by it he being dead, still speaketh.
By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death, and was not found because God had translated him; for before his translation he received this testimony: that he pleased God.
But without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.
By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house, by the which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and went out, not knowing whither he went.
By faith he sojourned in the land of promise as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs also of the same promise.
For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Through faith also, Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.
Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in magnitude, and the sand which is by the seashore, innumerable.
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country,
And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they had come out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
But now they desire a better country, that is, and heavenly, wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He hath prepared for them a city.
By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac, and he that had received the promise, offered up his only begotten son,
Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called.
Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from whence also he received him back in a figure.
By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshiped, leaning upon the top of his staff.
By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel, and gave commandment concerning his bones.
By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents because they saw he was a proper child, and they did not fear the king's commandment.
By faith Moses, when he was come of years, refused to be called the son of Pharoah's daughter,
Choosing rather to suffer afflictions with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.
By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.
By faith he kept the passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest He that killed the firstborn should touch them.
By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land; which the Egyptians assaying to do, were drowned.
By faith the walls of Jericho fell down when they were compassed about seven days.
By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies in peace.

And what shall I more say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthah, of David also, and Samuel, and of all the prophets,
Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, put to flight the armies of the aliens;
Women received their dead back to life again; and others were tortured not accepting deliverance that they might obtain a better resurrection.
And other had cruel mockings and scourgings; yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
They were stoned, they were sawn assunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword; they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented.
(Of whom the world was not worthy): they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in caves and dens of the earth.
And all these, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise,
God having provided a better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect."

"Oh for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer's praise!

Next up is Psalm 139.

More posts, Lord willing, later this week, on reading and memorization.

Grace Reigns!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

100 Days List

Since we, here at Talk Time, are all over this "make new year's resolutions late" thing, here's another helpful source. I've enjoyed sharing SOME of my resolutions on the blog because I'm so competitive that if I tell someone else what my goals are, that's enough to make me make them happen.

So, here's a source that is dominating the blog world right now. It's another Ann Voskamp source called 100 Days List. And here are some hilarious posts recommending this 100 Days List: part one and two. These posts are hilarious anyway (just like all her posts) but even more funny if you regularly read Ann's blog.

But in short, The Holy Experience Lady has made a chart for 100 days. She gives three blanks for every day where you write in three things that you would like to become habits for you in the next 100 days. Whatever it is. Three things. The best part about this is that when you get to the end of your 100 days you can do 100 more with three new, or the same three, and then again for 100 more days. Three times in a year. Potentially nine habits created in 2011.

I wasn't going to do this. I thought, "There's too much good that I want to see happen in my life this year. Way more than three things." But the more I thought about it the more convinced I was that it would be helpful to have simple goals. Three of them. For 100 days. And I love the chart because it's progress I can see.

So, here are my three things, starting tomorrow:

1. read 10 pages per day (that's manageable, right? I mean, if it's late in the day and I haven't picked up a book yet, just pick up the book I'm reading with the smallest pages :)
2. take my vitamin every morning. Good habit. Doesn't happen consistently.
3. memorize 1 verse a day. This is going to seem overwhelming come tomorrow morning, I know. But I already have a memorization schedule in place so just dig in and see what might happen. 100 verses to go....

Perhaps you'll join the rest of the blog world? If not in actually doing the 100 Days List, in at least thinking it's a pretty awesome idea? I know several moms who are doing it and have printed it out for the kids, too. If you're joining the 100 Days Club (like me, a little after January 1st) will you comment and tell us and maybe even let us know what your three things are?

To Him be all of the glory! He is so worthy!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Preaching the Gospel in 2011

I don't have a tradition of making New Year's Resolutions. Some years I make them, some years I don't and usually when I do I find they're always the same. I find I'm still needing the same things...a little more like Jesus today that yesterday; this year than last year.

This year is one of those resolution years. And the more I think about it, the more I like the idea of long-term goals: things I desire to see happen in my life by His grace.

For the past, probably 2 years, my friend Anna Leigh and I have been memorizing Scripture together. She lives in Georgia and I live in North Carolina, but we e-mail each other with our progress. I picked Psalm 103 first, so we worked on it for a few days and memorized some verses and then typed out what we'd worked on, from memory, and e-mailed it to each other. When we finished Psalm 103, then she picked Psalm 34 and then I picked Hebrews 11.

We were doing well (about half-way through) and then we both had lots of traveling or school or other things that got in the way and we weren't memorizing much. So about the beginning of December we came up with a plan. We decided that in 2011 we wanted to memorize a passage every month. There were a couple of reasons for this:

1) we weren't making much progress because we didn't have a deadline. You just don't memorize much Scripture when you have forever to do it in. And the intention is that we will memorize a lot of Scripture in our lifetimes, as the Lord gives life and breath.

2) we both wanted to have the same goal so that we were pushed to work in the same time slot and able to encourage the other to keep working.

We thought some of you might be encouraged to make memorizing Scripture part of your goals for 2011, either with our schedule or one of your own. And you are welcomed to e-mail me or Anna Leigh and send us your progress, or have another friend work on it with you. The desire is above all that "His Word might dwell richly within us."

Below is our plan for the year and then some links that I've enjoyed on memorizing Scripture and/or new year's resolutions/goals.

May the Lord richly bless His people this year and find us being abundantly faithful even in small things.

January - Hebrews 11
February - Psalm 139
March - Romans 6
April - Psalm 27
May - Romans 7
June - Philippians 2
July - Romans 8
August - Psalm 84
September - John 17
October - I Peter 1
November - Hebrews 12
December - Isaiah 53

Some helpful and inspiring blog posts over at A Holy Experience by Ann Voskamp on memorizing Scripture (especially this one).

I might even go ahead and work on her two verses a week plan this year. While I'm at this whole business of making this a year of setting a pattern of memorizing Scripture why not throw more wood on the fire.

(and for your encouragement, I find that in doing this thing called memorizing, it has to become a habit. I memorize while I'm getting ready in the morning and it becomes a habit, just like working out or driving to work every morning or brushing your teeth. If you force yourself to do it (and it's hard - very hard - at first), after a while it's odd feeling when you don't. So may I encourage you to make yourself memorize a verse or half a verse a day and keep pluggin' until it feels odd to leave your verses on the shelf in the morning. It's like the Gospel itself: we have to put it on like a costume until it begins to feel like it's part of us: who we are.)

A great set of New Year's Resolutions from Sunday morning's sermon at Redeemer.

These sermons by Pastor Ben Miller last January at Franklin Square OPC (I've been enjoying them again this week): parts one, two and three.

A link to Sermon Audio's Bible online. Sometimes it's helpful to download the chapter you're working on and listen to it over and over and over again. Sermon Audio is helping us out! Ah! Have I ever mentioned that Sermon Audio is my favorite website ever!

And of course, what would be a post on resolutions without a link to Jonathan Edwards' resolutions?

To Him be all of the glory!


Monday, January 3, 2011

Following Hard After Him This Year

Greetings to all of you in 2011!

I read this today. It was definitely worth a repost on Talk Time. May the Lord find us faithful, by His grace, in following hard after Him this year.

"We should follow our Lord as unhesitatingly as sheep follow their shepherd, for He has a right to lead us wherever he pleases...

Wherever Jesus may lead us, He goes before us. If we know not where we go, we know with whom we go. With such a companion, who will dread the perils of the road? The journey may be long, but His everlasting arms will carry us to the end. The presence of Jesus is the assurance of eternal salvation, because He lives, we shall live also.

We should follow Christ in simplicity and faith, because the paths in which He leads us all end in glory and immortality. It is true they may not be smooth paths--they may be covered with sharp flinty trials, but they lead to the 'city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God...'

Let us put full trust in our Leader, since we know that, come prosperity or adversity, sickness or health, popularity or contempt, His purpose shall be worked out, and that purpose shall be pure, unmingled good to every heir of mercy. We shall find it sweet to go up the bleak side of the hill with Christ; and when rain and snow blow into our faces, His dear love will make us far more blest than those who sit at home and warm their hands at the world's fire...

Precious Jesus, draw us, and we will run after thee."

--Charles Spurgeon