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

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sea Gulls, Irish Music and the Call of God

Oswald Chambers wrote that the call of God is like the call of the sea. Both are imprinted deepwithin our spirits and the only way their voices are quieted is by my response.

All bird song moves my spirit, but the cry of the gull does something more, deeper, causing an actual physical sensation. How I love the sea. That love began in childhood and carries on. At present we live about 70 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. Sometimes after a storm, as we had last night, sea gulls will be blown in. So it was that one lone gull greeted me this morning. Today's demands prevent a drive to the sea and that always makes me sad. The sea is the only place where my mind is quiet, truly at rest, silent.

So with that said, I, in part understand the Call of God in our lives. It is only in responding, going There that our spirits become quiet, at rest. Answering the First Call that brings us to Faith is one thing. It is responding to the daily call, to be still before Him, to desire and practice His presence where we fail. We are ever propelled onward by the tyranny of the urgent, by flutter and flurry.

What about Irish Music you ask, Dear Reader? It's those musical instruments, the pipes, the flutes, the strings gently awakened by the human touch, breath, with a haunting beauty that breaks the heart, penetrates to the back wall of the soul and somehow make the spirit soar.
Add to those sensitive words of a poet and there is no keeping the soul earth-bound.

Recently, the Son-of-my-heart sent me the words of a Stuart Townsend hymn. The words of which are the sea gull call of my soul. It answers today's longings, to know my God deeper, to truly rest and find my All in Him, to be wholly satisfied in Him, to acknowledges and delight in my hope. And not just with lip service.

The last phrases of each of the verses speak with the loudest whispers:

"...I stand in Christ with sins forgiv'n
And Christ in me the hope of heav'n
My highest calling and my deepest joy
To make His will my home.

...He whispers courage in my ear
For I am safe in everlasting arms
And they will lead me home.

...And eve'ry longing satisfied
Then joy unspeakable will flood my soul
For I am truly home."

My thanks to Mr. Townsend and sincerest apologies to him for fragmenting his masterpiece.

You can thrill to his singing his own composition on the following:

I Have A Hope.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Blessed Geography, An Old-age Mercy

It never occurred to me in the early years, that the time would come when I'd be separated from my children. Of course I knew they would leave home and begin their own families. But the assumption was that they would marry children of those we knew and settle nearby, perhaps an "easy distance" say like that between Longbourne and Pemberly, certainly not over mountains and across borders.

Well, it did not happen according to my carefully written script. They did leave and start family, I mean truly leave as in leaving the territory.

Many were the years of heart-longings, of private tears, even pleadings before The Throne for a nearness regained. During those long years there were times when different ones did visit of course. Those times shone like diamonds on black velvet. Only a very few times have we been gathered all at one time in one place. These are vividly remembered and treasured in mind as well as photo.

Now, in these later years it has come to pass. We are near, at least within a long day's journey to all of them. Well, at least we all live on the same side of the Rockies.

Nearest now, through circumstances that could have only been orchestrated by a Sovereign God, is a part of the clan. And because of that, on frequent Thursdays, there is a meeting together for tea and perhaps lunch. And where do those meetings take place but in my cottage which 'just happens' to be geographic center.

Our smallest group consists of one each from four generations. Imagine! I could not have. A daughter, a daughter's daughter, the grand-nan and most importantly the Wee Man that blesses and delights all our days. Sometimes work schedules permit others to join us. These are golden days for me, heart-bursting days I could not have conjured.

Is there a point or moral to this story? Not really, other than acknowledging the obvious Gift of Grace from Almighty God Himself 'in His time'.

The last note is this: should you be in the neighborhood on any Thursday, Dear Reader, do drop in. The tea is always ready. We'd love to have you join us.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fixing the Mind

"This history [the Passion of Christ] of the Gospels is so well worn
that it often slips through the head with out affecting the heart.

But if drawing in solitude for a portion of each day, we should select some scene or trait or incident in the life of Jesus, and with all the helps we can get seek to understand it fully...we should find ourselves insensibly interested, and might hope that in this effort of our souls to understand Him, Jesus Himself might draw near as He did of old to the disciples on the way to Emmaus.

This looking unto Jesus and thinking about Him is a better way to meet and overcome...

It is by looking at Him, that the Apostle says, "as in a glass," that we are "changed into the same image, as from glory to Glory." ~Harriet Beecher Stowe

I can think of no better Lenten thought or exercise.
Blessings on Harriet for leaving us this encouragement.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bedazzled By Grace

Is there any other way our limited language can express it?

Bedazzle: to dazzle thoroughly;
to lose the faculty of steady vision from the brightness of the light!

The task before me this day is the lesson for Sunday. The subject is "The Name", "the Name above all names".

Remembering that the name is the character by which one is known, marked, distinguished,
The Name of Jesus is the revelation of Him - who He is, what He has done, what He continues to do in our Now and will do in our Future. All that is staggering enough to ponder.

But reading down the list compiled from scripture for class, waiting on the printer to do its job, I'm filled with the wonder of it, filled with awe at the magnitude of That Name. And yes, it dazzles! Truly and completely. Of all the names of the great and the mighty, the kind and the loving throughout history, none can compare..not even come close.

John Newton's, this one who knew all about grace, writes in his hymn "How Sweet The Name of Jesus Sounds":

...Dear name! the rock on which I build
My shield and hiding-place,
My never-failing treasure filled
With boundless stores of grace.
Jesus! my shepherd, husband, friend,
My prophet, priest and king,
My Lord, my life, my way, my end,
Accept the praise I bring...."
Dr. Erik Routley in his Hymns and the Faith beautifully states our conclusion:
"All the other names of Jesus are the notes his grace has struck out of life. They represent all the glowing colors in the spectrum of the world's praise. But they are all gathered up in that name which is as powerful and as health-giving as the sun itself, the name of Jesus."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lenten Prayer

by way of the cross and passion of Your Son my Lord,

Monday, February 8, 2010

Words For The Day~

What might those words be on a common Monday turned uncommon?
For starters, how about "enlarge", or "expand"?

What an amazing gift and ability the human heart gives.

In this family, the mere mention of the word "baby" and all begins to glow.
And then the wonder happens, a new arrival is foretold and the enlargement and expansion of the heart begins. It can be truly felt. It would seem that contrary emotions would occur and thoughts of 'how can I make room for another?' But no! Suddenly there is 'increased capacity', 'an opening wide', a 'spreading out'.

It goes without saying that the banner word for such times as this is: JOY!

We are dizzy with anticipation once again as we watch and wait.

Great-grand-nan. What a lovely phrase!