Thursday, June 29, 2017

Praying for God's Greatest Gift

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him (1 John 5:14-15, ESV).

Tufted Titmouse

"I have been thinking to-day of the kind of prayer that sooner or later we must learn to pray for one another. We must learn to pray far more for spiritual victory than for protection from battle-wounds, relief from their havoc, rest from their pain. We must reach the place where we bend all our prayers that way, or (for I do want to be honest) our chief prayers. Love cannot be without longing to shield and to relieve, and love is of God, so we may be at rest about this inseparable instinct and quality of love, for Love understands.

"Looking back, I know that I have often put the lesser first in my prayers for my beloveds. I see now that we cannot enter into the fulness of the confidence of 1 John 5:14,15 and say without any shade of mental reservation, 'We know that we have', unless our prayer is for God's greatest gift—spiritual triumph. This triumph is not deliverance from, but victory in, trial, and that not intermittent but perpetual."

~Amy Carmichael, Edges of His Ways, 92 (punctuation and spelling hers)

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Never a Raw Deal

"Often during the hard situations in life, we look for answers in 'why,' but the answers aren't found in the why, they are found in the who. God is sovereign, He knows and cares about our every circumstance, and His grace is sufficient to handle it all. God knows why, and that should be enough for us. We need to learn to say, 'I don't know the "why," but l do know the "who." And I know that God is infinitely wise, infinitely loving, and infinitely good; and on that day when we meet Him face to face not one of us will look at Him and say, 'You gave me a raw deal.'"

~Dr. John Hannah, Dallas Theological Seminary professor

Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Bit Much {A Poem}

Youngest nephew's drawing of our new backyard: I am standing by the pool taking pictures. :)
My youngest nephew asked me once,
“Aunt Tina, why do you always take
So many pictures
All the time?”

Taken by surprise,
I answered,
“I don’t know.
It makes me happy,
I guess.
Does it bother you?”

Looking up from his toy trucks,
He nodded.
“It’s a bit much.”

When editing a hundred—
Or two or five or ten—photos,
I remember that.
I have a better answer now.

“Photos preserve memories,
Those wispy things
More fragile than spiders’ webs,
As fragile as soap bubbles
You try to hold in your hand.

“Photos multiply happiness.
When happy things happen,
We feel happy.
When I look at pictures of happy things,
I feel happy again,
Like I did when the happy thing happened the first time.

“Photos retie knots of love.
Bodies are a little less fragile than memories,
But we fade like a flower in hot sun.
The older we get,
The more we say good-bye.
Pictures draw lost loved ones near again.

Bright and young and sheltered as he is,
He wouldn’t understand that now,
But years of life will take their toll.
The Lord will give,
And the Lord will take away.

Perhaps then he will see these words
Or those photos,
And he will remember,
And relive past happinesses,
And feel closer to his auntie
Who used to take so many pictures
All the time.

(She’s a bit much.)

Perhaps he will pick up a camera of his own,
And when the young ones ask,
He will know better than I did
Why he does it.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Acceptance, Peace, Still

For more on Amy Carmichael and suffering, see an earlier post, "Rose from Brier." 

He said, “I will forget the dying faces;
The empty places—
They shall be filled again.
O voices moaning deep within me, cease.”
  But vain the word; vain, vain:
  Not in forgetting lieth peace.

He said, “I will crowd action upon action;
The strife of faction
Shall stir me and sustain.
O tears that drown the fire of manhood, cease.”
  But vain the word; vain, vain:
  Not in endeavor lieth peace.

He said, “I will withdraw me and be quiet;
Why meddle in life’s riot?
Shut be my door to pain.
Desire, thou dost befool me; thou shalt cease.”
  But vain the word; vain, vain:
  Not in aloofness lieth peace.

He said, “I will submit; I am defeated.
God hath depleted
My life of its rich gain.
O futile murmurings, why will ye not cease?”
  But vain the word; vain, vain:
  Not in submission lieth peace.

He said, “I will accept the breaking sorrow
Which God tomorrow
Will to His son explain.”
Then did the turmoil deep within him cease.
  Not vain the word, not vain;
  For in acceptance lieth peace.

~from Amy Carmichael, Mountain Breezes: The Collected Poems of Amy Carmichael, p.293

Monday, June 12, 2017

"I Look Not Back"

I look not back; God knows the fruitless efforts,
The wasted hours, the sinning, the regrets.
I leave them all with Him who blots the record,
And graciously forgives, and then forgets.

I look not forward; God sees all the future,
The road that, short or long, will lead me home,
And He will face with me its every trial,
And bear for me the burdens that may come.

I look not round me; then would fears assail me,
So wild the tumult of earth's restless seas,
So dark the world, so filled with woe and evil,
So vain the hope of comfort and of ease.

I look not inward; that would make me wretched;
For I have naught on which to stay my trust.
Nothing I see save failures and shortcomings,
And weak endeavors, crumbling into dust.

But I look up--into the face of Jesus,
For there my heart can rest, my fears are stilled;
And there is joy, and love, and light for darkness,
And perfect peace, and every hope fulfilled.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017


“Never has it been so easy to live in half a dozen harmless worlds at once — art, music, social science, games, motoring, the following of some profession, and so on. And between them we run the risk of drifting about, the good hiding the best.

“It is easy to find out whether our lives are focused, and if so, where the focus lies. Where do our thoughts settle when consciousness comes back in the morning? Where do they swing back when the pressure is off during the day? Dare to have it out with God, and ask Him to show you whether or not all is focused on Christ and His Glory….

“Turn your soul’s vision to Jesus, and look and look at Him, and a strange dimness will come over all that is apart from Him….  For ‘He is worthy’ to have all there is to be had in the heart that He has died to win.”

Lilias Trotter (1853-1928), missionary to North Africa