Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Great is God's Mercy

Look on my affliction and deliver me, for I do not forget your law. Plead my cause and redeem me; give me life according to your promise! Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek your statutes. Great is your mercy, O Lord; give me life according to your rules. (Psalm 119:153-156, ESV)

When afflicted, when failing, cry out to God. Great is His mercy and He will quicken you according to His word.

Many are my persecutors and my adversaries, but I do not swerve from your testimonies. I look at the faithless with disgust, because they do not keep your commands. Consider how I love your precepts! Give me life according to your steadfast love. The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever. (Psalm 119:157-160, ESV)

Even when persecuted - of which I honestly and truly do not have an understanding - keep God's word. As you keep God's word, grieve when you see others who do not keep His word. And as it gets harder to keep God's word because of the persecution, be assured of this: your God will quicken you and give you the strength that you need.

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Books I Keep On Coming Back To

Lately I've been thinking about the books that I love to reread. While I do enjoy reading new books, there are some books that I keep on coming back to. Here are some of my favorites.

I was introduced to Jane Austen in high school. My senior year we read Pride and Prejudice in our English class. I was hooked. I mean, have you ever read something as funny as two people hurling insults at each other in the politest of British English? I proceeded to read Austen's other books, and while I have come back to Pride and Prejudice many times, I've found that Persuasion is my favorite Austen novel. And thus also the one that I have reread the most.

Wilkie Collins is best known for The Woman in White, but my favorite book he's written is Man and Wife. If you ever wanted to understand why eloping couples in England always set out to Greta Green, this book is for you. It explores the complexity of marriage laws in England and Scotland all through the fascinating story of what happens to Anne Silvester.

I didn't discover Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South until after graduate school, but it quickly became one of my favorites. Margaret Hale's simple, down-to-earth outlook on life has endeared her to me, and I frequently find myself coming back to her story.

I grew up on C. S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, and while I have reread them often, I also really enjoy his Space Trilogy and Till We Have Faces.

J. R. R. Tolkien was another author I "met" in high school. I joke that I was a fan before the movies came out - and before most people knew who Tolkien was. While the movies are great in their own right, spend some time reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and you'll gain a new appreciation for Tolkien's ability to weave not just a story, but an entire world with parallel civilizations.

Lest you think that I only enjoy British authors, let me jump back across the pond. Like many girls, I grew up with L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables. Who can forget that spunky redhead and her insistence that Anne be spelt with an "E"? As much as I like Anne and have read her escapades multiple times, my favorite Montgomery book is The Blue Castle.

Lew Wallace wrote Ben Hur in the late 1800s. During college this was the book I'd read each year during December finals. If you've only seen the movie, you're missing out.

And, to end up in New England, I would be remiss if I didn't mention Louisa May Alcott. Of course, she's known for Little Women, but I have also enjoyed some of her lesser known books. My favorites are An Old-Fashioned Girl, Eight Cousins, and Rose in Bloom. If you're going to read them, just realize that Rose in Bloom is the sequel to Eight Cousins.

So, here are some of my favorite literary friends that I continue to come back to. What books do you reread?

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Earnestly Seek God

With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord! I will keep your statutes. I call to you; save me, that I may observe your testimonies. I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words. My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise. (Psalm 119:145-148, ESV)

Earnestly seek after God. Cry to him with your whole heart. Resolve to keep His ordinances and testimonies. Seek His face before the sun rises. Meditate on His word in the night. Be consumed with seeking God and His wisdom.

Hear my voice according to your steadfast love; O Lord, according to your justice give me life. They draw near who persecute me with evil purpose; they are far from your law. But you are near, O Lord, and all your commandments are true. Long have I known from your testimonies that you have founded them forever. (Psalm 119:149-152, ESV)

According to God's grace, I can ask Him to please hear my voice as I cry out to Him. Even though my enemies are near and those who love God's word are far away, my God is near. What a promise! My God is near, and He will never forsake me. God's word is truth and was founded for eternity.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

God's Word is Upright

Righteous are you, O Lord, and right are your rules. You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness and in all faithfulness. My zeal consumes me, because my foes forget your words. Your promise is well tried, and your servant loves it. (Psalm 119:137-140, ESV)

Because God, the Righteous One, is the Author of His word, His word itself is also upright, righteous, very faithful, and pure. Because God's word has such characteristics, my zeal really should consume me when others forget and disregard His word.

I am small and despised, yet I do not forget your precepts. Your righteousness is righteous forever, and your law is true. Trouble and anguish have found me out, but your commandments are my delight. Your testimonies are righteous forever; give me understanding that I may live. (Psalm 119:141-144, ESV)

Even though hard times may come because you hold to God's truth, let this be your comfort: His righteousness is everlasting. His law is truth. His commandments should be your desire. His testimonies are righteous forever. Let this be my prayer: Give me wisdom, that I might live.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2014

God's Word Gives Wisdom

Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them. The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple. I open my mouth and pant, because I long for your commandments. Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is your way with those who love your name. (Psalm 119:129-132, ESV)

Because God's testimonies to truth are wonderful, my soul guards them.
God's word gives wisdom to the simple, to those who lack wisdom. What hope and what promise! When I stand before the gigantic question mark and cry to God for wisdom, He will give it to me through His word.
I should so desire God's commandments, His directions for conduct, that I figuratively open my mouth as wide as possible so that I can be satisfied.
As one among those who love God's name, I have the right to ask God to turn to me, to listen to me, to give me His grace.

Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me. Redeem me from man’s oppression, that I may keep your precepts. Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes. My eyes shed streams of tears,because people do not keep your law. (Psalm 119:133-136, ESV)

Three requests:
1. Order my steps in Your word. When this is the case, then iniquity will not be able to have any dominion over me.
2. Deliver me from the oppression of man.
3. Make Your face to shine upon Your servant. This is evidenced by the teaching of His statutes.

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