Give me my scallop-shell of quiet,
My staff of faith to walk upon,
My script of joy, immortal diet,
y bottle of salvation.
My gown of glory, hopes true gauge,
And thus I'll take my pilgrimage.

~Sir Walter Raleigh

A hiker, walking for pleasure, likes to choose between several alluring trails.
The pilgrim desires only the road that leads home.

~Frank W. Boreham

Friday, December 31, 2010

The Journey Continues~


the Lord your God has set the land before you;

go up and possess it,

as the Lord God of your fathers has said to you;

fear not,

neither be dismayed...

The Lord your God Who goes before you,

He will fight for you...

in all the way you went

before you came to this place."

~from Deuteronomy 1.21-31

Another year is set before us 'to possess'.

What better place to begin than with gleaning from the Rules for the Road.

These words and rules, these directives from Almighty God Himself given which Moses set down for us in the book of Deuteronomy.

May we go on our way rejoicing knowing that our Leader has gone before us "to search out a place for us to pitch our tent."
[photo courtesy of BBC News]

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Blessings

Wishing all a joyous Christmas as we remember our One Great Gift.

The breath-taking wonder of the God With Us - our Guide, our Shepherd, our Protector, our Love, all the days of our pilgrim journey.

Emptied of his Majesty,
Of HIS dazzling Glories shorn,
Beings Source begins to BE
And God himself is BORN!

...Knees and Hearts to Him we bow;
Of our Flesh, and of our Bone
JESUS is our Brother now,
And GOD is All our own!

~Charles Wesley

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Remembering With Smiles and Joy

There were times you made me crazy and times I wanted to throttle you. You were a son, after all.

But those times can perhaps be compared to the pains of child birth, you remember they occurred but over time they recede and blur.
And over time, that which is joyous burbles to memory's surface and there remains.

Memories are personal things and private.
Some are to be shared, some to be kept near the heart. All to be treasured.

Remembered and shared this day:
  • my delight in hearing your first sermon on the 23rd Psalm and this before you became 'family'
  • the seriousness with which you proclaimed your marriage vows
  • the awe with which you held your first born
  • our quiet conversation in the snow under an Alaskan sky waiting for an Aurora Borealis light show (the show never came but the conversation is etched on the heart)
  • the silly times when your quirky humor came out
  • the time you brought down the house with your Belle of Belfast

We remember you this day with grateful hearts.

We think of you every day.

We miss you but we would not call you back from the unspeakable joys you now enjoy.

We do not grieve for you but for our loss of you and we grieve for ourselves being left behind.

Dale Alan Valovich


Monday, December 13, 2010

Obedient As A Shadow

A fruit of holy obedience is simplicity, simplicity of the trusting child.

"The mark of this simplified life is radiant joy.
It lives in the Fellowship of the Transfigured face.
Knowing sorrow to the depths it does not agonize and fret and strain,
but in serene, unhurried calm
it walks in time with the joy and assurance of Eternity....
in childlike trust listening ever to Eternity's whisper,
walking with a smile into the dark."
~Thomas R. Kelly

Friday, December 10, 2010

Traveling With A Post Hole Digger and Mr. Spurgeon

"Set up road markers for yourself; make yourself guide posts; consider well the highway, the road by which you went." So says the prophet Jeremiah and so has been the course of my pilgrimage. The turning points in my history can be traced through hymns and scriptures given and claimed in time of crises and great need.
These, my waymarkers.

God's people have always traveled in this manner, sometimes setting up alters, stones, waymarkers under His instruction. Sometimes on their own like Jacob and Bethel, Samuel and Ebenezer, Joshua and his men at the crossing of the sea. Like Joshua, some of those monuments are visible "so that when the children ask what do these stones mean," the story of God's Sovereignty can be told. Sometimes stones are set up and then covered over, hidden by the waters. These are known only to the child and his God.

But all are for remembrance, remembering the ways in which God has faithfully led and guided, warned and protected, soothed and comforted.

It happened again in a recent situation. I shall spare your, Dear Reader, the grizzly details. Just know it was a soul shattering, spirit disturbing, physically affecting occurrences. Blindly I went to the only source I know of true comfort. Even in that, the easy road was taken, i.e. the Psalter portion for the day. There the Lord met and supplied giving brilliant light to a familiar Psalm read through and passed over so many times before.

Psalm 27 "The Lord is my Light and my Salvation - whom shall I fear or dread?"
[Both fear and dread were present.] "The Lord is the Refuge and Stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?"...

"Though a host encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, in this will I be confident." Here my thoughts immediately ran to a scripture taught at mother's knee, the remembrance of another encampment promised, that of the angel of the Lord that surrounds those that fear Him. A strong and comforting arsenal, that.

There are many more riches in this Psalm, but for me, for now the best is in verse 5, and this is where Mr. Spurgeon called back down the trail of time and strengthened my heart.

"For in the day of trouble He will hide me in His pavilion" [KJV here]
The Lord, says Mr. Spurgeon, will give me the best of shelter in the worst of danger. The royal pavilion was in the center of the army, and round it all the mighty men kept guard round the clock. Thus in that position of divine sovereignty which almighty power is sworn to maintain, we are hidden hospitably by the King'

"In the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me." Sacrifice aids sovereignty in screening the child from harm. No one of old dared to enter the most holy place on pain of death. And if the Lord has hidden his child there, who could dare enter?

"He shall set me up upon a rock." Immutability, eternity and infinite power join sovereignty and sacrifice.

"How blessed is the standing of the one whom God himself sets high, protected from his enemies, upon an impregnable rock which never can be stormed!"

In the days following the 'incident', these eternal truths have been pondered, rehearsed, remembered. You can be certain that a very deep hole has been dug in the dull clay of the heart to secure a most important sign post.

Photo courtesy of Robert Moseley and BBC news service
Spurgeon's thoughts and insight from The Treasury of David.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Decking the Halls And Cheap Greens

Decorating for the Christmas season is always a delightful task. But I confess, there is now a faux tree, pre-wired and bulbed only requiring a plug in, at the ready in the attic crawl space.
This was a choice made some years back as the Resident Grinch was always a hard person to convince that cutting, hauling and paying for a fresh tree was a really great thing.
Yet with all the above, I miss the fragrance of real greens. So this year the decision was made-gather fresh greens. While not having much to choose from in my own yard, there are enough trees around to contribute, so....
When we went out and about on our Monday rounds today, the garden clippers were taken. The idea was to stop when it was prudent, of course, and where there was a large branch down by the roadside. We noticed this small one here, that larger one over there and kept driving to Point A on today's list.
Lovely ending to a silly tale: after getting the needful groceries, we noticed evergreen boughs scattered about in the landscaping of the parking lot. (There is a large stand of evergreens near by.)
As we drove away with a trunk full of lovely pickin's, some even with cones attached, Himself remarked: "You really can get almost anything at Costco!" :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sweet Repeating

This is a cautionary tale while at the same time provoking happy thoughts.

Funny how we are repeaters of what we hear. We pick up accents, catch phrases, words we enjoy and make them our own.

Our present life lesson of this is heard continually as our little great-grand-lad goes through his day. He repeats it all, whatever he hears, from all he hears, whether folk of flesh and blood, or his newest friends Pooh and Tigger. It is charming, really while at the same time making one conscious of what and how one speaks!

In today's reading, I came across, in the midst of the familiar something not seen before. Again a phrase heard and claimed. And later on repeated. This time by the apostle John. John chapter 13 gives us the picture. The one whom Jesus loved is leaning back against Jesus, or so reads the ESV, and he hears Jesus calling his men "little children".

So it came to pass, in his writings, John repeats and makes this phrase his own referring to his beloved ones as "my little children".

All this warms the heart, doesn't it? A wise lesson too.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Practicing God's Sovereignty

And speaking of boldness...

Peter and John before the the great and powerful men of their day, with their activities called into question, preached. The great and powerful recognized two things: that they were common men and uneducated, and "that they had been with Jesus".

The powerful, confronted with Power, became powerless. So they threatened.

Peter and John return to the fellowship. They did not return hand-wringing, nor did they rehearse the threats given them. No. They rehearsed the Sovereignty of God in prayer.

Rehearsing and remembering, beginning with the created acts of universe construction. Then remembering the ancient words of David as well as the acts of the victorious, overcoming Lord Jesus.

Their prayer ended with an "oh by the way, Lord". "Now Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your words with all boldness."

An amazing record, this. It becomes our example when we are up against it - whatever "it" may be. It is "Looking away from all that distracts to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith."

It is seen in Marting Luther's stand when threatened by the pope's man. Martin was asked "and when all your supporters desert you, where will you be then? And our dear Dr. Luther replied: "Then as now, in the hands of God."

So for today, my goal is to rehearse and remember, to practice the Sovereignty of my God lest fear and bleakness gain a foothold.

And may any watching know that I have been with Jesus.

[For scripture reference, see Acts 4. 23-31]

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Strong Comfort

Once upon a time, as a mother of four teens I observed an important fact. My faithful God, in His mercy, never allowed all four to be in teen crisis at the same time.
And there were always crises about. There, at all times was at least one whose days were smooth flowing.

At that same time I learned something far greater in value, that my part was to commit and entrust to Clearer Eyes and Stronger Hands these my darlings.

Such is our family's reality just now. While there are not any situations which could be labeled crisis, as such, still there are many grievous challenges, hurts and disappointments, longings, and physical issues that cause concern. These can weigh like mighty stones on a mother's heart.

So my thoughts go back to the early days and lessons.

To commit is to consign for preservation, for safe keeping.

To entrust in this case is not the dictionary's example of "entrusting ones life to a frayed rope" but rather to One who is a strong cable and a steadfast anchor.

The scripture from which all this springs? The promised preservation and safe keeping of my beloveds?

"...I have knowledge of and am acquainted with Him
Whom I believed, trusted in and relied on,
and am positively persuaded that He is able to guard
and keep
that which has been entrusted to me
and which I have committed to Him
until that day."
~II Timothy 1.12, Amplified