Friday, October 31, 2008

Die, Son; But Do Not Sin

Die, son:
but do not sin.
It is too high a price
for living -
if "life" it can be called
to wallow
(briefly even)
in that which God forbids.
Satan has desired you:
he will not use
revolting sins
to lure,
but "lovely" ones,
and "pure"
(or so they seem);
far better you should die
and clean
than craven-hearted,
weak of will
and mean,
your birthright you should sell
for a mere mess of pottage,
squander your inheritance
in wild living,
then fain
fill your belly with
the husks of swine.

Would you trade
fellowship with Him
for tarnished coin
and raveled end of rope?

God's hand is on you, son;
far better then
the furnace, seven-times heated,
the denned and starving lions,
the stones that honored Stephen,
or a cross. . .

The choice is yours:
God grant you
eyes to see
and ears to hear,
a loyal heart
and will of steel,
forged to His will,
sound in His fear.

So. . .
but do not sin;

such death
is not life's end -
but its beginning.

~ Ruth Bell Graham, Collected Poems

Thursday, October 30, 2008

October Reflections

I'm back home again!
I'm another year older!
My brothers just left for Africa till December!
We are about to see a new leader of the free world - scary!
Whew! Life just never seems to slow down...

...But in the moments that I stop to savor what God has given me, I find life to be unutterably good and precious.

My birthday has always been a time of sober reflection, of realizing how quickly my life is passing. But two years ago, my birthday took on a new angle of sober reflection. How long I could have been gone from this earth. After my car accident on my birthday in 2006 where the paramedics told me that I had come a couple of inches of metal away from death, I now have something additional to think about.
This birthday, as I thought about it, I realized that I could have easily already have been dead and gone for the past 2 years. Does that sound morbid? It's reality, and as much as any of us like to think of a full and happy life, the truth is that we only have today. Tomorrow we may find ourselves staring eternity in the face.

If my life were to end tomorrow, would I be happy with the way I have chosen to spend my days?
If my life were to end tomorrow, would I leave behind a clear slate - good relationships with my fellow man, a good conscience toward God and man?

If my life were to end tomorrow, would I find that I had given up much of eternal value only to gain the temporal joys that my heart craves?

Or would I find myself in the presence of the Treasure which I had sold all for?

Monday, October 20, 2008


One quick thought in my absence:
Pastor Jay Folk from New York came down and preached at Bethesda the week after Family Camp. Something he said has continued to echo through my head :

"The soul that stops praising God will stop serving God."

How is your gratefulness meter doing this week?


I'm away from home for a short while, taking some time for studying and working on one of my books. I'm trying to limit answering my cell phone and keeping up with my email, so don't expect to hear from me unless you leave me a very urgent message!

I'll be back sometime next week, after which blogging and communication shall (hopefully!) resume as usual!

Until I'm back, take some time and check out my favorite bloggers - see the side bar. They have some excellent things to say, and I just added a few new links last week.

Have a wonderful rest-of-October!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Think Through Me

Think through me, Thoughts of God,
My Father, quiet me,
Till in Thy holy presence, hushed,
I think Thy thoughts with Thee.

Think through me, Thoughts of God,
That always, everywhere,
The stream that through my being flows,
May homeward pass in prayer.

Think through me, Thoughts of God,
And let my own thoughts be
Lost like sand-pools on the shore
Of the eternal sea.

- Amy Carmichael, Toward Jerusalem

Monday, October 13, 2008

Quotes by Oswald Chambers

~All God's revelations are sealed to us until they are opened to us by obedience. You will never get them open by philosophy or thinking. Immediately you obey, a flash of light comes. Let God's truth work in you by soaking in it, not by worrying into it. Obey God in the thing He is at present showing you, and instantly the next thing is opened up. We read tomes on the work of the Holy Spirit when... five minutes of drastic obedience would make things clear as a sunbeam. We say, "I suppose I shall understand these things some day." You can understand them now: it is not study that does it, but obedience. The tiniest fragment of obedience, and heaven opens up and the profoundest truths of God are yours straight away. God will never reveal more truth about Himself till you obey what you know already.

~Sanctification means being made one with Jesus so that the disposition that ruled Him will rule us. It will cost everything that is not of God in us.

~Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.

-- Oswald Chambers,
author of "My Utmost for His Highest"

Bestest Girlfriends

Mary, Aneysa, Abby, Jemima (Oct. 2008)

The quote, "You'll be the same person you are today in five years except for the friends you choose and the books you read..." often echoes through my head. While perhaps not entirely true, I think it's more true than many of us imagine.

I've been blessed with so many dear friends over the years who have shaped me into the person I am today, not the least of whom are my family members.

I am so grateful that God has placed people in my path to show me what I never would have seen without them, to do what I never would have done without them, and to inspire me to follow God in ways that I never would have without their encouragement.

One of those long-time friends and kindred spirits is Aneysa. As girls, the letters used to fly back and forth between our mailboxes at an astounding rate. Now as grown women, we both find ourselves living at an often frantic pace - her with Suzuki piano teaching, me with midwifery causes. Now, more than ever in the midst of our busy lives and the lack of time to write good old-fashioned letters or even call each other very often, we cherish the moments we have together.

In spite of many of my girlhood friends changing their dreams, loves and ideals that we once shared, I love the fact that Aneysa hasn't changed her love of femininity and womanhood. She and I still both love twirly skirts and old fashioned classics and girly things and love to dream about being wives and mothers someday. We love our big families and cherish the moments we have to spend time with them. Most of all, we both desire to please God more than anything else. And as different as our lives are in some ways, we find that it all comes back to that anyway.

Each of us have a sister a few years younger... Abigail and Jemima, who have been friends nearly as long as their big sisters. So, when we make time for a breakfast out together we're rarely a pair - it's usually a four-some.

Except Abigail is getting married in a couple more weeks. Wow... Time has flown! We spent Saturday at her bridal shower (the above picture was taken there) and vowed to get together at least once more - just the four of us - before Abby's a married woman.

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another:
"What! You, too? Thought I was the only one." - C. S. Lewis

Friday, October 10, 2008

More Camp Friends

We were so happy that the Baldwin family
from Tennessee made it back this year!
(L-R:) Sam B., Matt B., Anna B., Grace S., Ruth U.,
Sarah B., Elisabeth B., Jon C., Mary U.

Abe and Emily.
Sometimes me thinks that we give Emily entirely too much attention...
but she's so cute and funny that it's impossible to ignore her!

Me enjoying Jessa's antics.
With a new baby sister, she seemed happy for some attention! : )

Sunday at Family Camp

This quartet (Jeff, Marcia, Curtis, and Jon) sang "I Know That My Redeemer Liveth" on Sunday morning. We heard a lot of special music all week, but I thought their special was tops!

At the end of the service, Keith Daniel had a time of prayer
and anointed the men at Maranatha Baptist Church
to serve the Lord in whatever He calls them to.

There were 6 young people who asked to be baptized
in the spring on Sunday afternoon.
Here Hannah's Daddy is getting ready to baptize her.

A crowd of onlookers at the baptismal service.

More Family Camp Activities

The serving line. Somehow, not too many people beg for the job of mopping the floors or cooking the food or setting the tables, but everybody loves serving!
I don't know how she did it, but Jennifer, as camp cook, kept going and going on very little sleep, directing the kitchen and cooking!

The salad bar - there was something for everyone!

'Zaiah spent a lot of time wearing an apron and wiping tables
since he was in charge of the dining room cleanup.

Ruth and Emily

Mom (Dorcas) and Jenny Daniels enjoying some time together

Family Camp Activities

Joy's photos from her and Jon's recent trip to Israel were a fascinating feast for the eyes!

The nearly two dozen people from Pennsylvania who played brass instruments
blessed us with some really neat specials!
(Even listening to them practice - like this picture - was a treat!

"C' mon, Chloe and Christian, it's breakfast time!"
Amanda, Hannah F., Jana, Christian and Chloe in the wagon

Jon decided that people who were still cleaning the kitchen at 11 pm
deserved a "workers only" ice cream party!
Jon and Liz serving ice cream.
Thanks, Jon!

The late night volunteers, enjoying ice cream...
Abe, 'Zaiah, Jason, and Liz

Family Camp People

Mr. Hanson catches up with Ryan, Joni, and Miles after the evening service.

Mr. Daniel takes time to greet Julianna and her baby, Maddox, who was born blind, but has miraculously recovered his eyesight! (How quickly we forget how good God is!)

Ruth and Jerusala met this spring, but really became friends after that, via Google Talk!
We're so glad that 29 people from the church in PA (including Jerusala!) made it to Camp!

Holly's such a fun mama!

Three Samuels - all almost the same age, too!

Family Camp... behind the scenes work

You can never make too many cookies for camp!
Jemima and Megan baking

So, were they working? Or were they playing?
They almost look like they are plotting something... Girls?
Hannah and Joanna

An impromptu leadership huddle...
"What do we do about ___ ?"

Mandie, Tina, and Megan dividing the spoils for everyone
(Leftover food -- Camp is over)

The fun begins - balancing the books after camp!
Joy, Liz, Mary, Jemima

Lost Day

When hope was sealed in its integument
Day of dark gestation,
Nameless day
Slipping quietly between the drama of a Friday
And the glory of a Sunday.
Rest, pause, muted time-beat,
Symbol of so many of our days
Wherein we grow invisibly,
Wherein we only climb and do not know it.
Day torn between the grasping hands
Of the past and the future.
Aerial hollow nestling between the two flaming wings
Of a sunset and a sunrise.

Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Really Cool Postage Stamps!

Okay, I know some of you won't care... but I think these postage stamps are so, so cool! For all of you birth or midwifery junkies out there, here you go....

Monday, October 6, 2008

Family Camp Potpourri

Photo: Christy Danielle, the newest little rosebud at our church. Born just a couple of weeks ago, we were happy to see her and her mama at camp!

Family Camp ended yesterday afternoon. We were there till after dark, cleaning up, going through leftover food, and wrapping up all of the book keeping.

This morning we slept in till the neighbor showed up needing the kids to help him look for his missing pigs! I think they're still out in the woods looking for the last missing one. (They found one dead and half-eaten, and another one alive, but badly chewed up. Coyotes? Anyway, he's hauling it to the butcher plant today.)

I'm busy unpacking the van and doing laundry. I hope to post Camp pictures soon, but for now, a few quotes from some of the sermons will have to suffice. (Some of these quotes are not word-for-word, as some of them are summaries of thoughts I scribbled down during my note-taking.)

Even at the end of life, as you die, you should be in awe of the staggering love of God to you, your life, and to your soul. There is so much of the greatness of God's love to discover, that you will never run out of things to be amazed at every day that you live. -- Keith Daniel

Give me the Godly, rather than the crowds to stand with me, to house me, to love me, to be my friends. -- Keith Daniel

You cannot believe what the devil will make of you if you give him half a chance, toying with sin. You will become something that you in your right mind would have abhorred. -- Keith Daniel

It's not how you start the race; it's how you finish it. -- Pastor Don Courville

If you want to know how Godly a man really is, just listen to how he speaks to his wife. It's the tip of the iceburg, but it tells you everything about what is hidden below and who he really is. -- Keith Daniel

It's a terrifying thing to see a man who has to get what he wants, rather than being content with what God has seen fit to give him to fulfill his needs.
-- Keith Daniel