Monday, July 31, 2006

The Character of a Sound Christian: Mark Fifteen

The Character of a Sound Christian in 17 Marks by Thomas Hooker .

Mark Fifteen: If you make conscience of secret sins which no eye sees, such as a hard heart, a secure and proud spirit; if you do not look too much to the matter of good duties as to the manner; if they are done in truth and sincerity; also if you apply both the promises and the threatenings to yourself in the Word of God, and love and admire grace more in others than in yourself, and hate all sin, but mostly in yourself.

You make take comfort from these if you can do them in a holy manner, namely:

1. with uprightness of heart

2. with continuance

3. with daily growth in the practice of them

And to this end two things must be practiced:

1. often examine, try, and search your heart and all your actions

2. often take account of your life concerning your progress in the course of godliness. For lack of this examination, may live and die as hypocrites, and do not know it, but suppose their case is good.

1 John 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

1 Chronicles 29:17 I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee.

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God's Minute

Jesus saith, have faith in God.--Mark 11:22

OUR Father Who art in Heaven, we come into Thy presence with full hearts to thank Thee for Thy many mercies: first of all, that Thou dost permit us to call Thee "Father," and that out of Thy tender compassion Thou art ever ready to receive us in love, and to help us to overcome the evil in our natures. We thank Thee for Thy wonderful provision--"Whosoever will may come and take of the water of life freely," and that the "whosoever" includes us, and that we know that when we approach Thee in a spirit of repentance, we are not turned away. O Father, may we catch a clearer vision ofwhat Thou art willing to do for us. Grant that we may ever be ready to respond to Thy call to bear Thy message to others, and may we be able to bring someone a definite conception of Thee and Thy love. May each of us be a willing instrument in Thy hands for the advancement of Thy Kingdom, and we pray Thee to grant us an open mind toward the daily opportunities for helping our fellowmen. May the love of self be withdrawn from our hearts, to be replaced by a full portion of love to Thee. May the time soon come when all the world shall know Thee in the forgiveness of sin.


Edwin R. Graham,
Chicago, Illinois

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Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Character of a Sound Christian: Mark Fourteen

The Character of a Sound Christian in 17 Marks by Thomas Hooker .

Mark Fourteen: If we long for the appearance of Christ.

Revelation 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

2 Timothy 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

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God's Minute

July Thirtieth

God had dealt to every man the measure of faith.--Romans 12:3

OUR Father, we thank Thee that Christ hath led us to Thee, and now in His name we pray for Thy perfect blessing.

Refresh us with Thy joyous strength. We humbly await Thy Spirit's work in us and through us. Cleanse our hearts and free our lives from every defiling and hindering thing. Fashion us into the Master's mind and habit. Lift our thoughts from self to the needs of others. Give us to see the fields of humanity white to harvest. Lay heavy burdens of toil upon us, and give us the joy of the reaper in the sure wages of the Kingdom.

May we give in running-over measures, so that those who receive shall become generous also. May we so rebuke ourselves without mercy--and others in love--that we and they shall be glad to correct our ways. Provide for our real needs out of Thy unwasted fulness. Keep us so near to Thee that we may know the joyful sound and walk in the light of Thy countenance. And whenever we are allowed to choose our topic, may we triumphantly present Jesus to those with whom we walk and talk. And now as we go forth or stay in, may we have the grace of God fromt he God of Peace, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.


Herbert Judson White, D.D.,
Hartford, Connecticut

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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Quote of the Week

When you cease from labour, fill up your time in reading, meditation, and prayer: and while your hands are labouring, let your heart be employed, as much as possible, in divine thoughts.
David Brainerd
David Brainerd was a missionary to the Indians. His journal, dating from 1745-46, was given into the keeping of Jonathan Edwards, who later published it after his death. If you are interested in reading more from David Brainerd, you can visit his blog, maintained by Rebecca of Rebecca Writes.

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Saturday Book Review

PRELIMINARY COMMENTS (skip down if you only want to read the review)

I had a hard time deciding which book to review for the first Saturday of Semicolon's Saturday Book Review. As a confessed bibliophile, there were so many "favorites" that came to mind. You see, I read lots of books but I also re-read books--sometimes many times. I re-read them because I love them, because they have become a part of my life, because I have grown in the reading, because I want to go "back there."

After a lot of thought, I decided to review the book I most frequently recommend to my friends. I urge my friends (and anyone else who will listen!) to read Les Miserables by Victor Hugo not only because it is an excellent, absorbing, life changing read, but also because I NEED people who will discuss this book with me! I sent a copy to my sister, I bought a copy for a friend, I look for copies at book sales to give away to friends and I have two dear friends who are reading it right now. Can't wait until they finish it! I may have to wait a while because "if one reads Les Miserables, one MUST read the unabridged version." (preferably the Everyman's Library edition--my favorite translation.)

LES MISERABLES, by Victor Hugo

Redemption. That, to me, is the over arching theme of Les Mis. The story developed over thirty years with 16 years in the writing. Hugo wove together an intricate, sometimes improbable yet always believable story of crime, punishment, injustice, compassion, love and charity, wickedness and greed; all the human emotions are on display in this classic tale.

This epic story spans the years from the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815 to the 1832 Student's Revolt and is told through the lives of the little people, the unfortunate, les miserables. Perhaps you've heard the axiom, "for want of a nail the shoe was lost, for want of a shoe the horse was lost, for want of a horse the soldier was lost, for want of a soldier the battle was lost, for want of a battle, the war was lost." Hugo's tale is all about the little, seemingly insignificant events that turn the tides of history and the destinies of men.

Be it true or false, what is said about men often has a much influence upon their lives, and especially upon their destinies, as what they do.
(Ahem. . .) OK, I've spent way too much time trying to write this "review." I have discovered I really have no earthly idea how to write a real review, so rather than continue to flounder around, trying to give you a synopis of the story, I have decided to highlight some of the pivotal characters through the beautiful and distinctly French belle-lettres that display the exquisite expresssions of Victor Hugo's pièce de résistance.

The Bishop
~It seemed as if it were a sort of rite with him, to prepare himself for sleep by meditating in presence of the great spectacle of the starry firmament. Sometimes at a late hour of the night, if the two women were awake, they would hear him slowly promenading the walks. He was there alone with himself, collected, tranquil, adoring, comparing the serenity of his heart with the serenity of the skies, moved in the darkness by the visible splendors of the constellations, and the invisible splendor of God, opening his soul to the thoughts which fall from the Unknown.

~What was more needed by this old man who divided the leisure hours of his life, where he had so little leisure, between gardening in the daytime and contemplation at night? Was not this narrow enclosure, with the sky for a background, enought to enable him to adore God in His most beautiful as well as in His most sublime works? Indeed, is not that all, and what more can be desired? A little garden to walk, and immensity to reflect opon. At his feet something to cultivate and gather; above his head something to study and meditate upon; a few flowers on the earth and all the stars in the sky.
Jean Valjean (himself)
~Jean Valjean entered the galleys sobbing and shuddering: he went out hardened; he entered in despair: he went out sullen. What had been the life of his soul?

~Anger may be foolish and absurd, an one may be irritated when in the wrong; but a man never feels outraged unless in some respect he is at bottom right. Jean Valjean felt outraged.

~Jean Valjean was not, as we have seen, of an evil nature. His heart was still right when he arrived in the galleys. While there he condemned society, and felt that he had become wicked; he condemned Providence and felt he had become impious.

~He beheld his life, and it seemed to him horrible; his soul, and it seemed to him frightful. There was, however, a softened light upon that life and upon that soul. It seemed to him that he was looking upon Satan by the light of Paradise.
~Fantine was one of those beings which are brought forth from the heart of the people. Sprung from the most unfathomable depths of social darkness, she bore on her brow the mark of the anonymous and the unknown.

What should she do? She had no one to ask. She had committed a fault; but, in the depths of her nature, we know dwelt modesty and virtue. She had a vague feeling that she was on the eve of falling into distress, of slipping into the street. She must have courage, she had it, and bore up bravely.
Thenardier and His Wife
~They belonged to that bastard class formed of low people who have risen, and intelligent people who have fallen, which lies between the classes called middle and lower, and which unites some of the faults of the later with nearly all the vices of the former, without possessing the generous impulses of the workman, or the respectability of the bourgeois.

. . .the woman was at heart a brute; the man a blackgruard: both in the highest degree capable of that hideous species of progress which can be made toward evil. There are souls which, crablike, crawl continually towards darkness, going back in life rather than advancing in it; using what experience they have to increase their deformity; growing worse without ceasing, and beoming steeped more and more thoroughly in an intestifying wickedness. Such souls were this man and this woman.
The Lark (Cosette)
~In the place she was called the Lark. People like figurative names and were pleased thus to name this little being, not larger than a bird, trembling, frightened, and shivering, awake every morning first of all in the house and the village, always in the street or in the fields before dawn.

Only the poor lark never sang.
~Now, if we admit for a moment that there is in every man some one of the species of the animal creation, it will be easy for us to describe the guardian of the peace, Javert.

The peasants of the Astrurias believe that in every litter of wolves there is a dog, which is killed by the mother, lest on growing up it should devour the other little ones.

Give a human face to this dog son of a wolf, and you will have Javert.
~This man was a compound of two sentiments very simple and very good in themselves, but he almost made them evil by his exaggeration of them, respect for authority and hatred of rebellion; and in his eyes, theft, murder, all crimes, were only forms of rebellion. . .He was stoical, serious, austere: a dreamer of stern dreams, humble and haughty, like all fanatics. His stare was cold and as piercing as a gimlet. His whole life was contained in these two words: waiting and watching.
As when one has a key, everything opened; he explained to himself what he had hated, he penetrated what he had abhorred; he saw clearly henceforth the providential, divine, and human meaning of the great thing which he had been taught to detest, and the great men whom he had been instructed to curse. When he thought of his former opinions, which were only of yesterday, but which seemed so ancient to him already, he became indignant at himself, and he smiled.
Cosette and Marius
Marius and Cosette were in the dark in regard to each other. They did not speak, they did not bow, they were not acquainted; they saw each other, and, like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other.
Petit Gavroche
. . .strangers had clothed him in rags out of charity. Still, he had a father and a mother. But his father never thought of him, and his mother did not love him. He was one of those Children so deserving of pity from all, who have fathers and mothers, and yet are orphans.

This little boy never felt so happy as when in the street. The pavement was not so hard to him as the heart of his mother. His parents had thrown him out into life with a kick. He had quite ingenuously spread his wings, and taken flight.

Sigh. Well, Saturday obligations are calling me, so I shall have to leave this as is. I hope that as you read through these belle-lettres, you've gained some appreciation for Hugo and a desire to go see what it is all about.

Oh, and talking about a book is much easier that reviewing one, so if you want to talk about it, leave me a note in the comments!

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Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt: Pets

This is our old girl, Eve.

Ivy and Eve

I am reposting one of my favorite pictures of Ivy. If I remember correctly, I may have used it for the Thursday Photo challenge, too. So, if you think you've seen this one before, you probably have. [the wavery lines of light are from the sunlight filtering through our old, "wavery glass" windows]

This is George. He heard that the dogs were getting their pictures included in this week's Photo Hunt. He wanted equal time. George is a snob. We like him anyway.

Last but not least is Buster. He's as sweet as he looks.


Grab the Scavenger Hunt code.
Photo Theme. Join the blogroll. Visit participants.

The Character of a Sound Christian: Mark Thirteen

The Character of a Sound Christian in 17 Marks by Thomas Hooker .

Mark Thirteen: If there is a fight between flesh and spirit.

Romans 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

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God's Minute

July Twenty-ninth

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth or rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal; For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.--Matthew 6:19-21

OUR gracious Father, we would take account of this day in Thy presence. It is Thy gift to us--new, and speaking of Thine unfailing care; clean, and may we keep it so, and return it to Thee so filled that the day may be pleasing to Thee, and honor to our living Lord, and a help to those with whom we live and work. Grant us some new manifestation of Thyself today; some deeper experience of Thy grace; a clearer vision of our field of sevice and more joy in its work. May we have a real inclination to our duty, and and honest preference for Thy will. So may our fellowship with Thee be unbroken today. We commit ourselves and friends, with our needs and anxieties, to Thy faithful keeping. Therefore may we be glad and free from care. May the day come soon when all the earth shall seek its refuge in Thee. Forgive our sins, and make us more like our Master--sensitive and strong, unselfish and true, for His Name's sake.


Rev. Emory W. Hunt
Newton Centre, Massachusetts

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Friday, July 28, 2006

Chubby Bubby

. . .I can't believe I ate the whole thing!


A Flower Most Sweet and Fragrant

The love of Christians unto Christ is a grace wrought in their hearts by the Spirit. It is a flower most sweet and fragrant, but there is no seed of it in the nature of any man since the fall. It is planted in the soul by the Spirit of God. Love to Christ is a divine spark that comes down from above, a fire which is kindled by the breath of the Lord, Whose essence is love.

The True Christian's Love to the Unseen Christ
by Thomas Vincent

Summer Tour of Homes

Here is my little open house for my bloggy friends. Thanks to BooMama for thinking of this! I hope you feel welcome in my home and I look forward to visiting your home today. Leave me a note in the comments with an invitation and I'll come visiting.

This is our little bungalow in the fall. The house was built in 1925 and has a lot of charm.

Our front door from the porch.

Our front door from the inside

Living room showing my reading chair.

The rest of the living room. If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you have seen that couch many times adorned with various blankets and throws and two happy dogs. Someday I am going to do a post just with pictures of the various cover ups we've used on the couch so that the dogs can take up permanent residence there and not make it too "doggy."

That's me blogging.

This is where I blog, surrounded by my books.

This is also where I do my calligraphy.

This is our sunroom. A nice place for a cup of tea.

And here is my kitchen. What? It's messy? Well, you didn't expect me to invite you over and then not feed you, did you?

The Character of a Sound Christian: Mark Twelve

The Character of a Sound Christian in 17 Marks by Thomas Hooker .

Mark Twelve: If your can heartily love good Christians, and others who have helped you on to heaven; and, on the contrary, if you hate and avoid wicked and dissolute men, but most of all such as withdraw others from the faith or, by scandalous lives, have caused the faith to be blasphemed and evil spoken of.

1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.

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God's Minute

July Twenty-eighth

I will praise Thee with my whole heart; before the gods will I sing praise unto Thee. I will worship toward Thy holy temple, and praise Thy Name for Thy loving kindness and for Thy truth; for Thou hast magnified Thy word above all Thy Name.--Psalm 138:1-2

DEAR Father, we thank Thee for a restful night, for sleep, and for Thy care. Now we look to Thee for a blessing as we begin a new day. May we pass through it without hurt, or sickness or death.

May we not fail in doing our work; in everything may we remember Thee, and honor Thee in our words as well as our acts. Give us love for Thee in our hearts, and perfect trust that Thou wilt direct us, and bring to pass what is for our good. Supply us with everything needful, and make us happy in Thy love. Bless Thy people everywhere, and help the missionaries and ministers in their work, that all who dwell upon this earth may soon learn of Jesus Christ and His love and desire to save them. Give help to those in want, and strength to the weak. Remember all who are dear to us, according to their needs. And forgive all our sins for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Saviour.


William C. Stoever,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Saturday Book Reviews

Life seems to be on fast forward for me this summer. It's been fun, but it's been very busy! Because of that, I have pulled way back on blogging and decided to swear off memes for the rest of the summer. But there is a new meme starting this Saturday that I simply can't resist!

Sherry, at Semicolon, is launching a new book review meme. Here's how it works:

Saturdays are slow days around the blog world, but Saturday would be a great day for catching up on book reviews by various bloggers that were posted during the week. So, this Saturday, if you have a review of a book that you posted sometime this week, and you would like to get more attention for that book review, come to Semicolon and add your link to the Mr. Linky thing-a-ma-jig that will be in my post entitled Saturday Review. Only one book review per blog per week. Then, go read everybody else’s book reviews. Because we all need to add to our list of books to read –or not read.

Oh, let’s try to put the name of the book or an abbreviated title in parentheses after your name so that people will know what book they’re going to read about. It seems to be working for Shannon, but she says no more than four words in the parentheses.

Write those reviews (or book thoughts, if you prefer to keep it informal). See you Saturday.
I'll be writing my first review this Saturday. Hmmm. What shall I review? So many books, so little time. So, all you readers of the world! Stand up and be counted! (you get brownie points if you can tell me what song I borrowed those words from) Tell us of your favorite book (or not-so-favorite book!) Leave a link to your review at Semicolon on Saturday.

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The Character of a Sound Christian: Mark Eleven

The Character of a Sound Christian in 17 Marks by Thomas Hooker .

Mark Eleven: If you can find in your heart that you love God sincerely, although you could never love Him except that He loved you first.

1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.

Romans 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

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The Character of a Sound Christian: Mark Ten

The Character of a Sound Christian in 17 Marks by Thomas Hooker .

Mark Ten: If you can rely constantly by faith upon the promises of God in Christ when you are in any strait or temptation, as well for your present provision and preservation in this life, as for your salvation in the life to come, abstaining from the use of any unlawful or unwarrantable practices.

Genesis 22:8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

Exodus 14:13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.

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God's Minute

July Twenty-seventh

The LORD upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down. The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing. The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.--Psalm 145:14-16, 18

O LORD, Heavenly Father, Who knowest our proneness to forget Thee in the busy rush of life, and while health and success attend us, but Who art our ever prompt refuge and defense in times of illness, bitter grief and failure, we ask Thy forgiveness for our want of gratitude and selfish lack of filial affection. We are of the earth, earthly, unworthy of our Heavenly parentage, and yet we are Thy children. We do not mean to be disobedient our unmindful of Thy mercies. It is only because Thy care and oversight has been constant from our earliest childhood that we sometimes presume on it, and fail to remember Thy tenderness. As we recall the past, make us braver for the future. May we trust even when we cannot trace the reason of Thy Providence. Give us godliness with contentment, and in all the chances and changes of mortal life make us patient and prayerful, and may the peace of God which passeth human understanding be ours in such measure as we can receive it. We ask it all for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Lord.


Bishop James Henry Darlington, D. D.,
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Character of a Sound Christian: Mark Nine

The Character of a Sound Christian in 17 Marks by Thomas Hooker .

Mark Nine: If you are content to submit your heart and life to God's Word in all things, even when it crosses you in your profits and pleasures, as you are content to come and hear it.

Isaiah 2:3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

Ezekiel 33:32 And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.

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God's Minute

July Twenty-sixth

Thou wast a God that forgavest them.--Psalm 99:8

FATHER, Thou forgivest us, so far as we are truly penitent. May we likewise forgive all who sin against us; and all who sin against society; all who sin against Thee; even as Thou forgivest us and them. May we count no sin to heinous to pardon; no man too hardened to reclaim; no woman too fallen to uplift. When we forgive the penitent, help us to stand by him against a hard and unforgiving world. Thus may we make our forgiveness a reality in the world, and open the door of genuine social restoration to those who have gone astray. (The sinner, the hardened, the fallen need Christ and His Gospel, not social restoration)

Help us to find our chief delight in work, (Thee) wherein we join our hands, our brains, our hearts, to Thy power, Thy laws, Thy love. May we choose that task which most (pleases Thee) taxes our highest powers, and best serve the world's deepest need (with Your help and according to Your purpose set forth in Christ) . May we do it with such skill, such joy, thoroughness, that it shall have about it the strength of mountains, the freedom of the streams, the gladness of the sunshine, the fertility of the fields, the beauty of the stars and flowers. Thus may we become not mere creatures, but creators; not one of Thy works, but Thy co-workers. (Thus may we serve and honor You and bring glory to Your Holy Name. We ask this in the Name of Jesus Christ, our Lord.)


William De Witt Hyde, D. D., LL.D.,
Brunswick, Maine

[I'm not sure about the ethics of changing a person's prayer, but I could not let this prayer stand without adding my own prayer to it. I don't always feel comfortable with the theology behind some of the prayers, but this one really bothered me. I think it is the most man centered that we will encounter in this year of prayers.]

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Bathing Beauty

Soaking up sun on the hot sidewalk

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The Character of a Sound Christian: Mark Eight

The Character of a Sound Christian in 17 Marks by Thomas Hooker .

Mark Eight: If you delight to speak to God in your praises, and that God should speak to you in His Word.

Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

John 8:47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

To Hooker's chosen verses I would add:

Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

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God's Minute

July Twenty-sixth

Whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him.--1 John 3:22

O GOD, our Heavenly Father, by Whose good hand upon us we are brought to see the light of a new day, and to enter upon its duties, we lift up our hearts to Thee, praising Thee for Thy continued goodness. We humble ourselves before Thee, Holy Majesty, confessing that we are unworthy to receive anything from Thee. We have sinned against Thee daily, in thought, word, and deed, yet Thou hast been long-suffering to us, and hast borne with our short-comings. Grant unto us true repentance, and Thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love Thee and worthily magnify Thy Holy Name, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

As we address ourselves to the responsibilities of another day, we beseech Thee for the wisdom that is profitable to direct. Hold up our goings that our footsteps slip not, and bestow upon us needful energy of body and mind for the efficient discharge of the duties of our calling. While diligent in business, may we be fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. Doing justly, loving mercy, may we walk humbly with Thee, our God.

These mercies we ask, with the forgiveness of our sins, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our only Lord and Saviour.


Robert Campbell, D. D.,
Montreal, Canada

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Sunny visitors

Common name: Western Tiger Swallowtail
Scientific name: Papilio rutulus

Common name: Small Cabbage White, or Cabbage White
Scientific name: Pieris rapae

(small butterfly is just to the right of the daisy's center--click image twice to see him!)

The butterfly counts not months but moments,

and has time enough.

Mid summer garden

Thai Peppers

This is our first year for Thai Peppers. I love they way they grow, with the peppers clustered together at the end of the stalk--all pointing upwards like so many spears.

Grape Tomatoes

Just starting to ripen, the green ones look like dripping jewels, don't they?

Black-eyed Susans, just opening their sunny faces.

The Character of a Sound Christian: Mark Seven

The Character of a Sound Christian in 17 Marks by Thomas Hooker .

Mark Seven: If your conversation is in heaven, that is, if your thoughts and the course of your life is heavenward.

Philippians 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ

Colossians 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

Hebrews 11:15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.

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God's Minute

July Twenty-fourth

Seek the Lord and His strength.--Psalm 105:4

MOST gracious God, our Heavenly Father, source of every blessing, giver of every good and perfect gift, we adore Thee; We praise Thee; we magnify Thy Holy Name. Every day we receive new proofs of Thy care over us, new pledges of Thy love and favor. Thou hast made bountiful provision for all our physical needs; the seasons come and go, the sun shines, the rain falls, the harvests never fail: we have homes and friends; for all these things help us to be truly grateful. Help us to be no less thankful for "that bread which came down out of heaven," for the ever-flowing fountains of living water, for that home not made with hands, for that Friend that sticketh closer than a brother. We remember with affectionate sympathy all kinds and conditions of men--the poor, the destitute, and him that hath no helper.

Do Thou bless our home. May it ever be Thy dwelling place. Be Thou in our midst, O Lord. May Thy angels encamp round and about us, and keep us in all Thy ways. And when our race has been run, and our work done, receive us into the everlasting habitations. Our sins have been many; we confess them; we repent of them; do Thou forgive them all. In the Name of Him Who loved us and gave His life for us.


P. W. Snyder, D. D.,
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Character of a Sound Christian: Mark Six

The Character of a Sound Christian in 17 Marks by Thomas Hooker .
Mark Six: If you can be patient under afflictions and better for afflictions.

Hebrews 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him

Psalm 119:67
Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.

Jeremiah 5:3 O LORD, are not thine eyes upon the truth? thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return.

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God's Minute

July Twenty-third

This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.--Mark 14:24


WE sing our eucharistic hymn this day, O God, with voices from which all tones of mortal sadness have vanished away. We sing the song of new born life, and not of death. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was made flesh, and men beheld the glory of Thy Love in the face of Jesus Christ.

Come, O Creator Spirit blest, and impart anew Thy marvelous gifts. May Christ be born again in every heart. Purge our ears from the rattling noises of the world, until they are quick to hear the heavenly song of Thy peace and good-will for men. Lead all seekers to some spiritual Bethlehem and help them to find the Holy Child. May the nations come to His light, and rulers behold the righteousness of His rising.

May the kingdoms of the world become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, that He may reign forever and ever. Amen.

Oscar Edward Maurer, D.D.,
Minister of the First Church of Christ
New Haven, Connecticut

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Saturday, July 22, 2006

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt: Action

You have never seen "action" until you've seen two Vizslas at play!

[UPDATE: If you want to see more photos of my dogs at play--and yes, it is all play!--you can see them here.

If you're interested in seeing more pictures of Vizslas, I'd like to invite you to visit my "dog blog," Vizslocity.

Photo Theme. Join the blogroll. Visit participants.

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Quote of the Week

A true sense of the divine and superlative excellency of the things of religion; a real sense of the excellency of God and Jesus Christ, and of the work of redemption, and the ways and works of God revealed in the gospel. There is a divine and superlative glory in these things; an excellency that is of a vastly higher kind, and more sublime nature than in other things; a glory greatly distinguishing them from all that is earthly and temporal. He that is spiritually enlightened truly apprehends and sees it, or has a sense of it. He does not merely rationally believe that God is glorious, but he has a sense of the gloriousness of God in his heart. There is not only a rational belief that God is holy, and that holiness is a good thing, but there is a sense of the loveliness of God's holiness.

Jonathan Edwards, A Divine and Supernatural Light, 1734

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The Character of a Sound Christian: Mark Five

The Character of a Sound Christian in 17 Marks by Thomas Hooker .
Mark Five: If you can chide your own heart for the coldness and dullness of it to good duties, and use all holy means for quickening it up afterwards.

Psalm 42:5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

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God's Minute

July Twenty-second

O, how love I Thy law! it is my meditation all the day. Thou through Thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies; for they are ever with me. I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep Thy Word. I have not departed from Thy judgments: for Thou has taught me.--Psalm 119:97-98; 101-102

OUR Father in Heaven, we thank Thee for the blessings of another day. Thy mercy is great toward us. May the sense of Thy presence be realized in each hour, and in the performance of every duty. We thank Thee for Thy word, a lamp to our feet, a guide to our path. Reveal Thy will to us through it, and enlighten us by Thy Holy Spirit, we pray Thee in Jesus' Name Almighty God! before Whom every knee must bow, we pray Thee on behalf of those who in Christian countries, are living without Thee, in rebellion against Thee, and bowing down their lives to worship according to the work of man, or any temptation of the evil one. Prosper, we pray Thee, the efforts of Thy servatnts who are "set apart" for the "ministry of the Word," and especially of those who are being used to let the light shine in the darkness of heathenism. Hear us as we pray on behalf of suffering humanity! Bless the innocent who suffer with the guilty, and grant us all Thy peace this day. In Jesus' Name.


Rev. H. W. Wright, B.A.,
Smith Falls, Ontario, Canada

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