seasons of life

When summer brings
the temperature to a boil,
look not for winter,
long not for cold weather,
but bask in the sun –
run, swim, go out to play!

When winter encroaches onto fall,
and the temperatures plummet,
look not for summer,
long not for warm weather,
but watch the snowflakes’ dainty descent –
and catch one in your hand.

the Lord our portion

Be persuaded, that God in Christ is the only good. Seek the discovery of the glory of God in Christ. Persons may harangue ever so long about the world’s emptiness and vanity; but they will never part with it until they get something better in the place of it. Something the man must have to set his heart upon. 

Therefore, until the unsearchable riches of Christ are revealed to the soul, so as your soul’s desire run out after him — the husks of the world will be your portion. 

People may think it is their principle, that the world is but vanity; yet still they are taken up with the vanity thereof, until they see the glory of God. The Lord is a full and sufficient good — he is a proportionate good, suiting the soul: he is an everlasting good, suiting the immortal soul.

-Ralph Erskine

avoid the lips that flatter

“Another sin of the tongue, is flattery,
or the giving of undue and undeserved praise.

The desire to say something which will
please the person we are speaking to,
or which will secure his favor,
or elevate us in his regard;
or the desire, perhaps,
to have him reciprocate the compliment, and
flatter us —
are the usual motives
for this sin of the tongue.

Yet flattery is a species of untruth;
for it magnifies real merit beyond just grounds —
or feigns a merit where none exists.

Flattery is used in all ranks and classes.
In the family, in society, in business,
in professional life,
in politics, in the church.”

-William Bacon Stevens

(An excerpt of this article, reformatted.)

Flattery is really common nowadays,
and we would acknowledge if we are honest
about it.

It is so widespread
to the point that if one doesn’t flatter,
he or she may be criticized to be
unloving, cold, stingy and
withholding praise.

Just a simple observation
would reveal that flatterers
are more well-liked,
their company sought after,
(at least initially)
than faithful, godly men 
and women
who guard their tongues.

After all, we all really
like receiving the praises of man,
to feel good about ourselves.

But
meddle not with him
that flattereth with his lips.

Proverbs 20:19

Help, LORD;
for the godly man ceaseth;
for the faithful fail from among the children of men.

They speak vanity
every one with his neighbour:
with flattering lips
and with a double heart
do they speak.

The LORD shall cut off
all flattering lips,
and the tongue that
speaketh proud things:

Psalm 12:1-3

blessed

My heart is truly full with the blessings
God has given me today.
God’s love is and should ever be
enough and all to me,
so is His Word that never fails
and never will fail;

but He is gracious
to give earthly things too –
hearty fellowship, and
the knowledge I am loved by the saints.

I realise that certain troubles are
self-created, and certain barriers
self-erected.
It exists only in our minds, and the cure is to
 

go forth.

When we stop dwelling upon our imaginations,
and come out of our shell,
our joy increases and
infects those around us.

Grant me, Lord, a servant’s heart.

Heart Religion

An excerpt from J.C. Ryle:

The heart is the spring of true holiness and steady continuance in well doing. 

“True Christians are holy, because their hearts are renewed. They obey from the heart. They do the will of God from the heart. Weak, and feeble, and imperfect as all their doings are — they please God, because they are done from a loving heart. He who commended the widow’s mite more than all the offerings of the wealthy Jews — regards quality far more than quantity. What He likes to see is, a thing done from an honest and good heart. There is no real holiness without a right heart.

Reader, the things I am saying may sound strange. Perhaps they run counter to all your notions. Perhaps you have thought that if a man’s religion is correct outwardly — he must be one with whom God is well pleased. You are completely mistaken! You are rejecting the whole tenor of Bible teaching. Outward correctness, without a right heart — is neither more nor less than Phariseeism! The outward things of Christianity — baptism, the Lord’s Supper, Church-membership, alms-giving, and the like — will never take any man’s soul to Heaven, unless his heart is right. There must be inward things, as well as outward — and it is on the inward things, that God’s eyes are chiefly fixed.”

Frances Havergal

If anyone were to ask me
who is the woman I earnestly desire to become,
apart from the characters recorded in Scripture,
I would point to my
heroine in the faith –
Frances Havergal.

Her biography can be read here and here. I will share more of her life and writings from time to time, but two short excerpts will suffice for now: 

• During her lifetime, Frances turned down several offers of marriage, and severed friendships that brought her keen pain to renounce, because she felt they hindered full consecration to Christ. (This has always struck a chord with me, but all the more now. She remained single her entire life for God’s glory, singularly devoted to His work – and why can’t I, if God wills?)

• Her devotion to the Saviour was so great and obvious, it was said that when she entered the room, there was a consciousness that two people entered the room: Frances and the Holy Spirit. (When people don’t see or remember me for my earthly attributes at all, but simply for Christ in me, then I have truly succeeded.)

    I am far from it,
    so far from it I know,
    but what invigorates me is that
    the same Holy Spirit that dwelt in her
    resides now within me
    and will give me grace sufficient
    for life’s endeavour.