Material for Sacrifice

Elisabeth Elliott in her devotional A Lamp unto My Feet says that our unfulfilled longings can be material for sacrifice.  This has provided much food for thought for me today.

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“I had been praying for something I wanted very badly. It seemed a good thing to have, a thing that would make life even more pleasant than it is, and would not in any way hinder my work. God did not give it to me. Why? I do not know all of His reasons, of course. The God who orchestrates the universe has a good many things to consider that have not occurred to me, and it is well that I leave them to Him. But one thing I do understand: He offers me holiness at the price of relinquishing my own will. 

“Do you honestly want to know Me?” He asks. I answer yes. “Then do what I say,” He replies. “Do it when you understand it; do it when you don’t understand it. Take what I give you; be willing not to have what I do not give you. The very relinquishment of this thing that you so urgently desire is a true demonstration of the sincerity of your lifelong prayer: ‘Thy will be done.’” 

So instead of hammering on heaven’s door for something which it is now quite clear God does not want me to have, I make my desire an offering. The longed-for thing is material for sacrifice. Here, Lord, it’s yours. He will, I believe, accept the offering. He will transform it into something redemptive. He may perhaps give it back as He did Isaac to Abraham, but He will know that I fully intend to obey Him.”

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books, books and more books…

It’s been busy in my part of the world.  I am on a cleaning, organizing and purging binge.  I’m actually enjoying paring down.  I need to eliminate some clutter.  We had a fire a couple years ago.  The books that were salvageable were packed away with charcoal to remove the smell.  The charcoal did the trick, but it made them a little dirty.  :-/  So today, I got them out and cleaned them all up and sorted them.  Now I just have to figure out where to put them since we decided not to replace the bookshelf.

I love books.  Books have been my friends.  It’s hard to part with them.  We live in a 900 square foot two-story house.  There isn’t a lot of room for books.  I have some favorites that have a reserved spot on my very limited bookshelves.  I have reread many of them.    There is one in particular that I am thinking I may need to read again soon.

I never wanted to start using digital books, but with the travel that we have to do and luggage limits, I have certainly enjoyed my kindle.  It’s a wonderful tool.  I have resisted Audible for years.  To me, listening isn’t reading.  My life has changed so much.  So much of my “free” time is now spend reviewing vocabulary and Japanese study.  When I do have time to read, I don’t always feel like doing it.  So I did a free trial of Audible.  It’s wonderful to listen to a book while I am working around the house, in the kitchen, or going for a walk. If you have been one to resist this technology,  I recommend that you give it a try.  I received two free books with my trial.  After finishing  them, I was hooked!!

The book that I finished today is Respectable Sins:  Confronting the Sins We Tolerate by Jerry Bridges.   I also have it in hard copy, so I can reference it.  It was so convicting.  I want to listen again and spend some time with my hard copy working through many of “respectable” sins.  If you would like to read a review, click here.

until the next time…

 

Weekend Reads

When You Don’t Want to Read the Bible-“Has the idea of reading your Bible ever seemed like too much work?  Like you’re investing in something that doesn’t have a very good return?”

Even On Your Best Day-“Indeed- grace is a wonderful enabler to do God’s will. But it’s also a gentle exfoliator along the process of sanctification, opening and revealing the places where we are not depending on God. It’s no wonder that, as we get older and grow in our faith, those openings become more apparent and the needs seem to increase and to feel more out of control.”

Amy Carmichael’s Secret to Fighting Discouragement-“I’ve often wondered how Amy could maintain such supernatural joy in the face of ‘griefs which can come down like an avalanche over the soul.’ Reading her writings has taught me that there were four main things that bolstered her spirit and her faith—saturation in Scripture, delight in the presence of God, the support of a Christian community, and the glorious beauty of the natural world.”

Register Now to Memorize Matthew 5:1-19-“We invite you to slow down with us for a new Bible memorization challenge.”

Compass Book Ratings-I was happy to find this website.  Sometimes I see a book that I think I might like to read and then I am disappointed with the content and often stop reading.  This site rates books as others rate movies to help you make an educated decision.

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*posted on Facebook by Christian Funny Pictures

Spring Tea

I love anything tea!  One of my greatest pleasures is attending or giving a tea party.  This Saturday, we are having a ladies’ tea at our church and I can’t wait!  Some mothers are bringing  their young daughters for the first time.  Some ladies have never experienced an English style tea party.  I learned from one the most gracious of English ladies.  She is now with the Lord and I feel as if I am honoring her memory when I serve in this way.

Here are a few of my tea books.
They are old friends and time spent with them is bliss.

Tea Books

Tidying Up

Screen Shot 2018-02-23 at 1.38.24 PMThe Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo piqued my interest recently.  I am working on purging things and it was written by a Japanese in Japanese and translated into English.  I thought I should take the time to read it.  I purchased the book from Audible when it was on sale, so it seemed like the time was right.

I didn’t really care for this book.  The narrator was not my favorite.  The underlying philosophy of the book was bothersome to me, but I learned a lot about how Japanese people think.  This was helpful since I live among them.

I was taken off guard by the New Age buddhist and shinto philosophies that are in the book.  I was not expecting that in a book on tidying.  For example,  the author often mentions touching an inanimate object, even stroking it, as you thank it for the service that it gave you before throwing it away.  If it was a large purchase, such as an appliance or a piece of exercise equipment, that was never used, one could thank it for the pleasure it brought when purchasing it before throwing it out.  In the chapter on storage, there were some interesting points that she brought out.  At one point, however, she said if you don’t know where or how to store something, ask your house and it will tell you.  These kinds of statements were throughout the book.

While I have a difficult time recommending this book, I am glad that I took the time for it.  As I said before, it really opened my eyes to how Japanese people think.  I pray that this insight will help me as I minister among them.

The True Vine

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I finished reading The True Vine by Andrew Murray this week.  It is divided up into daily readings.  It took me twice as long to read as it “should” have because there was so much to meditate on in this little book.  I’m so glad that I picked it up and took the time to read it.  It helped me get off to a great start with my one word of abide this year!

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“Let us realize that we can only fulfill our calling to bear much fruit, by praying much. In Christ are hid all the treasures men around us need; in Him all God’s children are blessed with all spiritual blessings; He is full of grace and truth. But it needs prayer, much prayer, strong believing prayer, to bring these blessings down.”

“He tells us that if we ask in His name, in virtue of our union with Him, whatsoever it be, it will be done to us. Souls are perishing because there is too little prayer. God’s children are feeble because there is too little prayer. We bear so little fruit because there is so little prayer. The faith of this promise would make us strong to pray; let us not rest till it has entered into our very heart, and drawn us in the power of Christ to continue and labor and strive in prayer until the blessing comes in power. To be a branch means not only bearing fruit on earth, but power in prayer to bring down blessing from Heaven. Abiding fully means praying much.”

“Be wholly occupied with Jesus. Sink the roots of your being in faith and love and obedience deep down into Him. Come away out of every other place to abide here. Give up everything for the inconceivable privilege of being a branch on earth of the glorified Son of God in Heaven. Let Christ be first. Let Christ be all. Do not be occupied with the abiding–be occupied with Christ! He will hold you, He will keep you abiding in Him. He will abide in you.”

“Gracious Lord, teach me this lesson, that it is only through knowing Thy will one can know Thy heart, and only through doing that will one can abide in Thy love.”

Murray, Andrew (2010-03-27). The True Vine: Meditations for a Month on John 15:1-16. Kindle Edition.

*The photo is of plum blossoms in the spring.  Springtime in Japan is breathtaking!