Saturday, March 25, 2023

Work in Progress

A work in progress by a work in progress

Grows stitch by stitch, loop by loop,

“A long obedience in the same direction”—

Except when it doesn’t,

Except when the worker gets cocky,

Thinks she knows the pattern by heart,

Doesn’t check in with the instructions every few stitches,

Forgets to abide in obedience.

Then, when she realizes her error

One or two or five rows later,

She rips back her work,

Grieves the waste of time and effort,

Checks the pattern more regularly

For a while,

Until she doesn’t.

But maybe this time the worker in progress

Catches herself sooner, repents earlier,

Sticks to the pattern shown longer—


Tuesday, March 21, 2023

God Is My Hiding Place {Book Review}


Blue-gray book cover with mountain scene on lower half and words “Corrie ten Boom” in black above gold title: “God Is My Hiding Place.” Photo background is medium-dark wood. Lit candle in glass holder is in lower right of photo. in light blue across bottom of photo

The new devotional, God Is My Hiding Place, is one of the newest additions to the popular genre of thirty- to forty-day devotional gift books. It comprises forty selections from the writings of the late Corrie ten Boom, whose family risked (and in several cases lost) their lives in order to rescue Dutch Jews from the Holocaust during World War II.

Each selection begins with a Bible verse and ends with a short prayer composed by the editors. To my taste, it does not meld together as a unified literary work as well as the similar recent book The Heart of God by Elisabeth Elliot, but that is perhaps to be expected in a collection of excerpts (as opposed to Elliot’s manuscript that was written with the intention of becoming this kind of devotional). That said, God Is My Hiding Place offers a lovely and encouraging sampling of “Tante Corrie’s” life and storytelling.

For readers new to her story, I hope that it piques their interest to read more, starting with her most well-known memoir, The Hiding Place. Readers already familiar with that story will find some favorite bits in these pages but also many vignettes from her life after the war and Ravensbruck, the decades she called herself a “tramp for the Lord.” The daily readings are generally tales from her journey with God all over the world. She was less a Bible teacher than an inspirational speaker with a remarkable Christian testimony.

Corrie was a messenger of hope and trust in the Lord, no matter one’s circumstances. This is a very encouraging and reassuring read. I shared some with my mother, who no longer remembers Corrie’s story, and she pronounced it the perfect length for a bit of morning encouragement. I strongly recommend the hardcover instead of the eBook in this case.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

“The love of God is the answer to every problem, every fear, and all of our insufficiencies. As we stay tucked safely in his arms, we discover that we are loved, empowered, and protected. His presence is our hiding place.”

“When the actions of others alter our life, we must remember this truth: our lives, no matter how difficult the circumstances, are in God’s hands.”

“Get used to telling Jesus everything. He understands you and loves you.”

“When we cannot love in the old, human way, God can give us the perfect way.”

“Prayer is powerful. The devil smiles when we make plans.
He laughs when we get too busy.
But he trembles when we pray.”

“The greatest thing someone can do for other people is to pray for them.”

“There are no ifs in God’s world, and no places that are safer than others.
The center of his will is our only safety.”

“If, again and again, you lay your weak hand in the strong hand of Jesus, you will be able to remain within the boundaries where God’s love can reach and bless you with strength.”

Full disclosure: I received a complimentary galley copy for review purposes but also purchased a physical copy. Some links are affiliate links. Purchases made through them will yield me a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Friday, March 10, 2023

A Prayer of Refreshing

Macro photo of deep purple button mum with yellow heart

“O blessed Jesus Christ, who bids all who carry heavy burdens to come to Thee:
refresh us with Thy presence and Thy power;
quiet our understandings,
and give ease to our hearts by bringing us close to things  infinite and eternal;
open to us the mind of God,
that in His light we may see light;
and crown Thy choice of us to be servants
by making us springs of strength and joy
to all whom we serve.
~Evelyn Underhill

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Forgiven Much {The Other Beatitudes}

 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit.
You are a hiding place for me;
You preserve me from trouble;
You surround me with songs of deliverance.”

Psalm 32:2-3,7 ESV