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A few summers ago I wrote this post after the weather in Pittsburgh had seesawed back and forth for several days between drenching rains and bright sunny skies. I have been often reminded of the lesson in it in these past several weeks of stutter start days of spring followed by mornings where snow is discovered on the ground.... again! As Bridges says, let's not "deprive ourselves of the peace" of knowing that the hand that sends it is good, wise, sovereign and perfect.
Recently, my husband and I stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few things. I left him -- and my raincoat -- in the car, entertaining only the briefest of thoughts that maybe I’d need that coat. “The weather has been so finicky lately, I should bring it, but I don’t want to go back now.”
As I checked out at the register, I heard the distinct sound of heavy rain on the store’s roof. Sigh. Well, at least I could summon my husband to pick me up at the door. I waited outside with my bags and chatted it up with an older woman who came out and stood next to me while her granddaughter tried to get the attention of their ride. Of course, the topic was the weather.
Excerpted from the Confessions of St. Augustine (Book I, Chapter 1)
Great are you, O Lord, and exceedingly worthy of praise; your power is immense, and your wisdom beyond reckoning. And so we men, who are a due part of your creation, long to praise you – we also carry our mortality about with us, carry the evidence of our sin and with it the proof that you thwart the proud. You arouse us so that praising you may bring us joy, because you have made us and drawn us to yourself, and our heart is unquiet until it rests in you.
Grant me to know and understand, Lord, which comes first. To call upon you or to praise you? To know you or to call upon you? Must we know you before we can call upon you? Anyone who invokes what is still unknown may be making a mistake. Or should you be invoked first, so that we may then come to know you? But how can people call upon someone in whom they do not yet believe? And how can they believe without a preacher?
But scripture tells us that those who seek the Lord will praise him, for as they seek they find him, and on finding him they will praise him. Let me seek you then, Lord, even while I am calling upon you, and call upon you even as I believe in you; for to us you have indeed been preached. My faith calls upon you, Lord, this faith which is your gift to me, which you have breathed into me through the humanity of your Son and the ministry of your preacher.
How shall I call upon my God, my God and my Lord, when by the very act of calling upon him I would be calling him into myself? Is there any place within me into which my God might come? How should the God who made heaven and earth come into me? Is there any room in me for you, Lord, my God? Even heaven and earth, which you have made and in which you have made me – can even they contain you? Since nothing that exists would exist without you, does it follow that whatever exists does in some way contain you?
But if this is so, how can I, who am one of these existing things, ask you to come into me, when I would not exist at all unless you were already in me? Not yet am I in hell, after all but even if I were, you would be there too; for if I descend into the underworld, you are there. No, my God, I would not exist, I would not be at all, if you were not in me. Or should I say, rather, that I should not exist if I were not in you, from whom are all things, through whom are all things, in whom are all things? Yes, Lord, that is the truth, that is indeed the truth. To what place can I invite you, then, since I am in you? Or where could you come from, in order to come into me? To what place outside heaven and earth could I travel, so that my God could come to me there, the God who said, I fill heaven and earth?
Who will grant it to me to find peace in you? Who will grant me this grace, that you should come into my heart and inebriate it, enabling me to forget the evils that beset me and embrace you, my only good? What are you to me? Have mercy on me, so that I may tell. What indeed am I to you, that you should command me to love you, and grow angry with me if I do not, and threaten me with enormous woes? Is not the failure to love you woe enough in itself?
Alas for me! Through your own merciful dealings with me, O Lord my God, tell me what you are to me. Say to my soul, I am your salvation. Say it so that I can hear it. My heart is listening, Lord; open the ears of my heart and say to my soul, I am your salvation. Let me run towards this voice and seize hold of you. Do not hide your face from me: let me die so that I may see it, for not to see it would be death to me indeed.
Excerpted from the Confessions of St. Augustine (Book I, Chapter 1)
"You cannot serve both God — and mammon." Matthew 6:24
It is impossible for the mind to be governed at the same time by two opposite principles. The love of the world — and the love of God — are diametrically opposed to each other.
To borrow a quaint illustration from one of our old writers, "When you see a dog following two men — so long as they walk together, you do not know to which of them the dog belongs. But let them come to a parting road and there separate from each other — then it will soon be seen who is the owner, for the dog will follow his master wherever he goes."
Just so, an individual may pursue the world, and retain a Christian profession at the same time — and it is often difficult to ascertain whether God or the world possesses his affections. But by and bye he comes to a parting road, when God calls him one way, and the world another way — and then he will show to whom he really belongs. If God is his master — then he will follow and obey God. But if the world is his master — then he will follow after it!
O my soul, how are you affected by the respective claims of the things of time — and those of eternity? After a few more rising and setting suns, it will be a matter of total indifference to you — whether you have been rich or poor, successful in your business or unsuccessful. But it will be of unspeakable consequence — whether you have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before you in the gospel.
Listen, then, to the words of the Lord Jesus,
Do not labor for food that spoils — but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also!
~ John MacDuff (via GraceGems)
This post is from the notes of a MOPS talk given 2/27/18.
Recently, I spent an evening with girlfriends from my college days whom I’d gotten to know through volunteering as a youth leader at my church. Some had been in college with me at the time, and others were high school students. I am the oldest of the group and had felt that acutely then, but you know how that goes as time goes by. A ten-year span doesn’t mean anything when you’re middle-aged, but that ten-year gap was critical then and it helped maintain a wall of appearances. The more remote I was, courtesy of different experiences, the easier it was to keep up the façade.
The person who met with them those many years ago as a youth leader, a mentor, a “big sister”, a Bible study leader…
This is not just any repost. This is the account of a life redefined by the Logos of the Universe, originally posted 1/22/16, and titled "Life's Defining Moments"
It was nearly dawn, and the September sunrise squeezed early morning light around the edges of dark, heavy curtains. The rays filtered in in feathery trickles at first, and then they strengthened into a blinding streak dividing the room.
And just like that, I knew.
I was pregnant.
“Is he safe?”
This was the question King David asked the messengers. A confederacy of rebels had mounted an insurrection against the throne, and during a sortie, the armies of the king encountered the insurgents. David had been waiting for news about the fighting. When he saw the fleet-footed courier appear on the horizon, he was anxious to hear the report he brought.
The Christian life is surrender to a sovereign mercy. It all comes down to this for every believer. Either God is sovereign or he is not. Either God is merciful or he is not.
I struggle with keys. No, I mean that literally, and I'm talking about keys for locks. I suppose it may go back to when I was a latch-key kid and the fear I had that the key I needed to get in the door at the end of a school day, with my little brother waiting patiently by my side, would not be in my pocket, or in its hiding place.
Actually I think it's related to the days I was a key holder for a major department store -- and not just any key holder, but the key holder. I was the head of security, and I was supposed to keep this building full of assets and people safe--and not cost the company money by accidentally setting off alarms (or annoy other managers because they'd get the call). An icy fist would twist my innards nearly every time I had to open the building, unsure the perfect combination of key turns and code punches and button pushes would actually open the door and silence the sirens.
It still happens today. I do what I have to do, but I really don't like opening or locking up a building that is alarmed. Too many parts of the process that might fail, including me.
Thankfully there is, as Charles Spurgeon put it, a lock-smith with a great bunch of keys who has all of that worked out for the most crucial, most stubborn, most unwieldy, most mysterious lock combinations of all: Eternity.
The following is a commemorative 9/11 post, which first ran in 2015.
In the days following 9/11, there was story after story about heroes.
Here's mine of my failure.
"Are you watching TV? Go turn on your TV."
It was an hour into our school day and 4 weeks since my knee injury which rendered me somewhat limited in certain activities, climbing stairs being one of them.
But climb the stairs I did because the urgency in my friend's voice compelled me to go, go now. I pushed the button and saw the World Trade Center tower with smoke billowing out of its side. All immediate sensations went numb; I blinked and looked more closely at the screen, sure I was watching some morbid daytime advertising mistake, and through the confusion in my brain I heard the footsteps of the 3- and 5-year olds hit the landing two-thirds of the way up the stairs.
Laura Miller aka mrsdkmiller
Looking for a list of articles published around the web?
Looking for posts written in response to 5-Minute Friday prompts? Click here:
Her March Isn't Over
Across the River
When God Pries My Fingers Off My Children
Life's Defining Moments
To the Christian Wife Who Berated Her Husband in Front of My Daughter
Zeal and Grace in France
An Unconventional Love Story
Seeing What's in Front of Our Eyes
Remembering Why I Called You Hannah
Love Your Sister.
Because He Came Home
Go Valiantly! A Prayer for New Homeschooling Moms
© lauraenglandmiller, #thereyougothinkingagain, Laura E Miller
2015-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of written material and images without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to #thereyougothinkingagain, lauraenglandmiller, or Laura E Miller with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.