New Book Coming!

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For the last couple of months, I've been editing a book of devotionals by women for women. Who knew that before the twentieth century so many godly women with a deep understanding of their faith and love for God were writing so much? It's been--and continues to be--a wonderful privilege editing and updating writings by women like Susannah Spurgeon, Mary Winslow, Frances Havergal, Ruth Bryan, and Katherine Parr. Haven't heard of them? You'll want to pick up the book when it releases later this fall and find out who they were and the situations God brought into their lives to bring them spiritual insight and biblical wisdom. Even though they were living in the sixteenth up to the early twentieth century, these women dealt with some of the same challenges that we women face today as singles, wives, mothers, and widows. Donna Kelderman, compiler and now friend, has done a great job combing through the  writings of these authors and pulling out delightful morsels that will encourage and instruct. 

Below is a devotional by an author I had never heard of before my work on this book: Elizabeth Julia Hasell. She lived in England from 1830 to 1887. She was a literary and classics scholar who taught herself four languages. She is also known for her theological writing, and as I read this, I felt I had met a kindred spirit who put into words my own understanding of the delightful day--Sunday.

Seasons of the Heart will be available from Reformation Heritage Books later this fall. Stay tuned!

Call the sabbath a delight. —Isaiah 58:13

It has been justly said that while most people will attend church on the Lord’s Day, the private observance of Sunday is but too little considered. Now the believer desires, above all things, to be “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day,” to keep that day in a really spiritual manner. When the true Christian says he does not travel on Sunday or read ordinary books and that, in fact, he devotes the day, as much as possible, to holy employments, it is not so much that he feels he ought not to do this or that; it is that, with his tastes for prayer, praise, holy reading and thinking, and God’s service in the sanctuary, he has no desire to waste the time otherwise. And when we consider what the employments of heaven will be, as far as we know anything about them, it ought to seriously alarm us if now we have no spiritual tastes, no preparation of heart and soul, so as to be ready for it.
I am certain that if an ungodly person could enter heaven and could stand among its holy inhabitants, whom we all hope to join after death, such a person would be miserable and would wish himself away. If then eternity be a certainty—if it will be passed either in heaven or in the wretched abode of lost souls—how unwise are we not to be preparing for the society and the employments of that heaven, where all hope to go at last! The Lord’s Day affords us a quiet pause every week in which to “hear of heaven and learn the way.” I would say to all my readers that these verses from Isaiah are most remarkable and full of instruction. The spiritual blessing promised to those who, by God’s assisting grace, keep His day, not doing their own ways nor finding their own pleasure nor speaking their own words, is that they shall delight themselves in the Lord. They will not find the Sabbath “a wearisome day,” for God Himself will teach them to love it and prepare them for the rest remaining for the people of God, even the eternal Sabbath in heaven.
 —Elizabeth Julia Hasell


Five Years

Tomorrow, 7/11, my lovely husband and I celebrate five years of wedded bliss.The five-year traditional anniversary gift is wood, symbolizing beautiful strength.  I'm thankful to report that even though I won't be purchasing any wood products for my husband for tomorrow, our marriage is, in fact, characterized by beautiful strength.

It is the strength that comes when God brings two people together.

It's the strength that comes when we face difficult challenges together: praying, stressing, feeling sad, and holding each other up.

It's the strength that comes when we go to church together, singing together, hearing the gospel, and  talking about how blessed we are on the way home.

It's the strength that comes when we make our favorite pasta dish together ("Henry and Annette's Spicy Pesto Chicken" we call it--maybe I'll provide the recipe sometime).

It's the strength that comes when he has to bite his tongue when I'm obsessing over something crazy like my hair and I bite mine when he's obsessing over  . . . We're so strong I'm not going to tell what he obsesses over. It wouldn't be fair.

It's the strength that comes when we both get the week-long most horrible flu--together--and at the first sign of recovery, Henry goes out and picks up carry-out Indian food because we don't want to cook but we want to eat.

It's the strength that comes when we spend an incredibly romantic week in a log cabin (there's that wood) in the Smoky Mountains celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary.

It's the strength that comes when we pick through the soaked junk from the flooded basement that ended up in the garage. I find my childhood dolls ruined, and Henry throws them away for me because I can't.

It's the strength that comes when we have good times with the kids . . . and sometimes not so good. Like when they graduate from high school and college, and when one calls, crying, to say she's been in a car accident, and she's okay, but the car is totaled.

It's the strength that comes as we seek to have, with the Holy Spirit's help, the humility that Jesus demonstrated, described here in Philippians 2, the passage we chose for our wedding message:

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
It's the strength that comes from having the same love and being in full accord and of one mind, which brings us back to the God who brought us together.

At five years, our marriage is beautifully strong. May our love continue to grow stronger and stronger. I love you, Henry!

Beautiful Story That Made Me Cry

When the Rev. Thomas Vander Woude learned about a young couple planning to abort their unborn baby that had been diagnosed with Down syndrome, the priest reached out and offered a deal: Deliver the child and he would help find an appropriate adoptive family.
But he had to act fast.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jul/9/hundreds-call-to-adopt-down-syndrome-baby-save-it-/#ixzz2YfCmCxV8 
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter


It Is Written

The first marriage ceremony performed by the creator and definer of marriage:

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. ~Genesis 2:18-25

Laws cannot recreate reality, nor can they create a new truth. Truth does not flex and bend with majority opinions. Fifty-five percent of the people in America can say that the sun is the moon and the oceans are the deserts, and that only means those who say these things are crazy, ignorant, or obstinate.Their mislabeling says everything about them and nothing about the reality of which they speak. And so it is true of marriage. The apostle Paul says that those who would attempt to redefine what the Creator has clearly defined are futile in their thinking and darkened in their hearts. Believing themselves to be wise, they are fools. Sadly, such is the situation in America today.


Aim High (no pun intended)

"Let's make it a little bit harder for our kids to get gunned down."  
~Barack Obama

We have a president who wants to "make it a little bit harder" for mass murderers to gun down children. Remind me, again, why I did not vote for such Ivy-League, Constitutional-law-professor, highest-IQ-of-any- president-ever, Nobel-prize-winning genius.

Someday, children in schools will read in textbooks that George Washington was our first president; Abraham Lincoln led our nation through a horrific civil war and brought freedom to slaves; John F. Kennedy said, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country"; Ronald Reagan returned economic prosperity after years of decline and restored the world's respect for America; and Barack Obama made it a little bit harder for a crazed murderer to walk into their building and gun them down.

So if President Obama's goal is to make it a little bit harder for murderers to gun down school children, does that mean that instead of killing twenty children and six adults, the next gunman might only be able to kill fifteen children and four adults--because it's a little bit harder? Maybe we should make gunmen wear blindfolds to make it even more challenging yet. Tie one hand behind their backs too? Make them spin in a circle for thirty seconds before they start shooting? Yes, yes, indeed, let's make it a little bit harder for our kids to get gunned down. That's a worthy goal. That's what hope and change looks like.

And if anyone out there is wondering, yes, this is sarcasm.