"Each and every time something threatens to steal our peace, we can stop what we are doing and open that raw, painful place to God. Sometimes a brief but honest prayer is all we can manage. As often as possible, we do well to sit with his Word open before us, asking him to reveal himself in our struggle. The more we see, the more we will want. Before we know it, we will find ourselves wanting him even more than we want our problems solved. He himself will be the peace we have been wanting all along. He is faithful to us in this way. It has been said, and truthfully so, that sometimes we don't know God is all we have until God is all we've got" (Kindle Location 435, Lydia Brownback, Contentment).
“For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.”
2 Corinthians 1:5
"There is a blessed proportion. The Ruler of Providence bears a pair of scales—in this side he puts his people’s trials, and in that he puts their consolations. When the scale of trial is nearly empty, you will always find the scale of consolation in nearly the same condition; and when the scale of trials is full, you will find the scale of consolation just as heavy. When the black clouds gather most, the light is the more brightly revealed to us. When the night lowers and the tempest is coming on, the Heavenly Captain is always closest to his crew.... Great hearts can only be made by great troubles. The spade of trouble digs the reservoir of comfort deeper, and makes more room for consolation. God comes into our heart—he finds it full—he begins to break our comforts and to make it empty; then there is more room for grace. The humbler a man lies, the more comfort he will always have, because he will be more fitted to receive it.... There is no cry so good as that which comes from the bottom of the mountains; no prayer half so hearty as that which comes up from the depths of the soul, through deep trials and afflictions. Hence they bring us to God, and we are happier; for nearness to God is happiness. Come, troubled believer, fret not over your heavy troubles, for they are the heralds of weighty mercies."
~Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, Morning of February 12
You, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 2:1, CSB).
'When you are oppressed with the weight of any duty and service in your calling, improve your trust in God's power. Perhaps you find the duty of your calling too heavy for your weak shoulders: lay the heaviest end of your burden on God's shoulder. When at any time you are sick of your work and ready with Jonah to run from it, encourage yourself with that which God said to Gideon; 'Go in this your might', has not God called you? Continue in the work God sets you to, and his strength will be engaged for you....
"In a word, Christian, rely upon your God, and make daily applications to the throne of grace for continual supplies of strength. God is so pleased that you come to him in this way, and the more often the better, and the more you come, the more you are welcome. Such a bountiful heart your God has, that while you are asking for a little peace and joy, he bids you to open your mouth wide and he will fill it. Set your needs all before the Almighty. God has strength enough to give."
Words fascinate me in general, but the collective nouns for birds have a particular appeal.
A scold of jays? Yes.
A raft of ducks? Apropos.
A host of sparrows? If our feeders are typical, absolutely.
A drumming of woodpeckers? No joke.
A charm of finches? Indeed.
House finches live year all year, but we only see goldfinches in the winter. They are here en masse right now, and I am loving every minute of it. This morning I counted 10 coming for breakfast at the same time. (They are quite petite, much smaller than house finches or sparrows, but larger than the hummingbirds we see here.) May the following peeks into our backyard brighten your day.
...he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”
Medical tasks and upcoming medical events have been overwhelming me lately. In that context, this week's entries in Voices from the Pastencourage me to persevere in trusting the Lord. May these words from William Gurnall strengthen your soul to press on as well.
"The dear love God has for his saints engages his power. The believing soul is an object of God's choicest love, even the same love with which he loves his Son (John 17:26).... He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world. O, how must God love that creature he has carried so long in the womb of his eternal purpose! God also loves his saints as the purchase of his Son's blood. They cost him dear. He that was willing to expend his Son's blood to gain them will not deny his power to keep them....
"The saints' dependence on God, and expectation from God in all their trials, oblige his power for their succour. Christ's presence in heaven lays a strong engagement on God to bring his whole force and power into the field upon all occasions for his saints' defence. He intercedes for fresh supplies of grace and help for us" (16 January).
"The apostle teaches: 'I will never leave you nor forsake you' (Heb. 13:5). Every believer may boldly say; 'God will help', not 'perhaps he will'. We may boldly assert it before men and devils because the Almighty said it.... No act of faith so strengthens us for duty as our belief that God's almighty power is engaged for our assistance.... The Christian's comfort also increases when we trust in God's almighty power. Many fears like waves roll over us. He who sees himself folded in almighty arms, O how he mounts up before the wind with his sails filled with joy and peace! Let storms arise, this one may sing merrily with the sharpest thorn at his breast" (17 January, quotes from William Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armour, Volume 1).