Thursday, December 17, 2009


If you're trying to find the used books for sale at The Bibliophile's Niche, click here - and be sure to bookmark the new URL. Thanks! :-)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Make Friends With Whatever's Next

Embrace it. Accept it. Don’t resist it. Change is not only a part of life; change is a necessary part of God’s strategy. To use us to change the world, he alters our assignments.

Gideon: from farmer to general; Mary: from peasant girl to the mother of Christ; Paul: from local rabbi to world evangelist. God transitioned Joseph from a baby brother to an Egyptian prince. He changed David from a a shepherd to a king. Peter wanted to fish the Sea of Galilee. God called him to lead the first church. God makes reassignments.

But, someone might ask, what about the tragic changes God permits? Some seasons make no sense…do such moments serve a purpose?

They do if we see them from an eternal perspective. What makes no sense in this life will make perfect sense in the next. I have proof: you in the womb.

I know you don’t remember this prenatal season, so let me remind you what happened during it. Every gestation day equipped you for your earthly life. Your bones solidified, your eyes developed, the umbilical cord transported nutrients into your growing frame…for what reason? So you might remain enwombed? Quite the contrary. Womb time equipped you for earth time, suited you up for your postpartum existence.

Some prenatal features went unused before birth. You grew a nose but didn’t breathe. Eyes developed, but could you see? Your tongue, toenails, and crop of hair served no function in your mother’s belly. But aren’t you glad you have them now?

Certain chapters in this life seem so unnecessary, like nostrils on the preborn. Suffering. Loneliness. Disease. Holocausts. Martyrdom. Monsoons. If we assume this world exists just for pregrave happiness, these atrocities disqualify it from doing so. But what if this earth is the womb? Might these challenges, severe as they may be, serve to prepare us, equip us for the world to come? As Paul wrote, “These little troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory that will make all our troubles seem like nothing” (2 Cor. 4:17 CEV).

~Thanks to Emilie C. for sharing this quote from Max Lucado

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

His way was right.

He writes in characters too grand
For our short sight to understand.
We catch but broken strokes,
And try to fathom all the mystery of withered hopes,
Of death, of life. The endless war,
The useless strife--but there.
With larger, clearer sight,
We shall see this: His way was right.
His way was right.

~John Oxenham

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

All the way...

"The man who is challenged by Fate does not take umbrage at the terms," wrote Dag Hammarskjold. So the man called by Christ. Any terms at all are acceptable if we may be permitted to walk with Him.

"But is this the path, Lord? Must we take this one in order to reach Home?"

"Trust Me."

When the way to the house of the Lord leads through the "Valley of the Shadow," we accept those terms, too. If we suffer loss, scorn, misunderstanding, false accusation, or any other form of trouble, it is what we agreed on to begin with. Compared with the rewards promised, it is nothing; so let us not take umbrage. Let us be quite clear and matter-of-fact about it: "In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer [cheer up!] I have overcome the world" (Jn 16:33).
~Elisabeth Elliot, A Lamp For My Feet

Elisabeth's practical wisdom always hits home for me, and I found this emailed book excerpt to be exactly what I needed to read today.

"Did you not tell Me you'd go with Me all the way?"

"Yes, Lord. And I meant it...I just didn't know it would mean this."

"I am not taken by surprise, child. This is precisely My best for you, though you cannot understand it now. Trust Me, and keep following."

"In Your strength I will, Father...all the way."

Grant grace that I may follow Thee
All the way to Calvary...

All the way my Savior leads me,
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well;
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.

All the way my Savior leads me,
Cheers each winding path I tread,
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living Bread.
Though my weary steps may falter
And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see;
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see.

All the way my Savior leads me,
Oh, the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father’s house above.
When my spirit, clothed immortal,
Wings its flight to realms of day
This my song through endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way;
This my song through endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way.

~Fanny Crosby
(hear it on Youtube here)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

God's Thread

"An ill dread is hanging over me,
Slung on a single strand of cobweb thread.
I do not know how I can live today
The usual life of common duties, turn
A calm front to the day's perplexities,
A smile upon its small, persistent cares --
While inwardly a raging fear devours
Courage in mouthfuls; and my chariot wheels
Drag heavily; and gladness flies from me,
Leaving me standing shivering on the edge
Of unknown desolation; and all things
Look dark to me. O God, Thou knowest my fear;
Go not far from me lest trouble be near."

"An ill thou dreadest hanging over thee,
Slung on a single silken strand of cobweb thread --
Think: It is cobweb thread? No spider of chance
Spun that fine-twined thread from out herself
In blind obedience to some unknown law.
But I, thy God, thy Father, spun that thread
Whose very substance is My eternal will,
My eternal Love. And in My hand I hold
The further end and guard its whole long length
From human intermeddling. I may use
Some visible hand to operate and loose
The seeming ill; but I alone am He
With whom thou hast to do. And I, thy God,
The Father of Lights in whom no variableness
Nor shadow cast by turning ever was,
Am with thee, to be light to all thy days,
Even to the end. Therefore, thou wilt be strong
And more than conqueror; for I am here;
I go not from My own when trouble is near."
~Amy Carmichael

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Asking the wrong questions

I want to be married. [...] Shouldn't that have happened by now?

At first I ask, How do I change this? Then, as resignation sets in, I wonder, How do I survive singleness? In particularly painful moments, I want to know more: Why should I be contented? Why should I stay the course? Does God see me? Does He even care?

Turns out I've been asking the wrong questions.

Read the rest of Elisabeth's excellent, encouraging article here.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

No change

The Christian knows no change with regard to God.

He may be rich to-day and poor to-morrow;
he may be sickly to-day and well to-morrow;
he may be in happiness to-day, to-morrow he may be distressed--
but there is no change with regard to his relationship to God.

If He loved me yesterday, He loves me to-day.
My unmoving mansion of rest is my blessed Lord.

Let prospects be blighted;
let hopes be blasted;
let joy be withered;
let mildews destroy everything;
I have lost nothing of what I have in God.
He is "my strong habitation whereunto I can continually resort."

I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God.
In the earth I wander, but in God I dwell in a quiet habitation.
~C.H. Spurgeon

Friday, February 27, 2009

Asking God WHY

My friend, Mary, has posted a poignantly beautiful poem on her blog...Perhaps it will touch other hearts who have come before God with an honest, confused "WHY?"

The Question of a Disappointed Woman

Do you think that the infinite God cannot fill and satisfy your heart?
~Francois de la Mothe Fenmon

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

And in that cloud thou shalt behold My face

I came across this poem today, and found it to be a perfect compliment to my post some weeks back, about foggy days reminding me of God's presence. May this be a word of encouragement and hope to those of you who find yourself in a cloudy place today. He is there with you. Immanuel.

The Cloud
I thought the way upon the mountainside
Would lead to certain clearness; but my Guide
Whose thought was otherwise
Led to a cloud which blotted out the skies.

I feared to enter into that great cloud,
And fearing, cried aloud,
"O patient Guide, I fear;
Be not far from me now, with trouble near."

"Let not thy heart be troubled. Could I cease
To care for thee?
Can vapors cancel peace, My gift of peace?
O rest in Me.
I wait to meet thee in that cloudy place,
And in that cloud thou shalt behold My face."
~Amy Carmichael

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Trust and obey

"Trust in the LORD, and do good;
so shalt thou dwell in the land,
and verily thou shalt be fed."
Psalm 37:3

God does not expect us to argue with Him when He tells us to do something. He doesn't expect us to apply human logic to our circumstances. He simply expects us to obey and trust Him...If you trust God's Word, you will never regret it. Obedience allows you to operate despite seemingly impossible circumstances, because Jesus is more powerful than everything we can see or touch.
-Brother Yun in Living Water

Friday, January 23, 2009

All is well

Divine tranquillity grows from the life of God in the soul, which is the same as the life of pure love.

Why should a soul be otherwise than tranquil, which seeks for nothing but what comes in the providence of God; and which, forgetful of self, has nothing to do but to love?

It has an innate conviction, strong as the everlasting foundations, that, if there is a God above us, all is well, all must be well.
Thomas C. Upham

Saturday, January 17, 2009

When "good" is withheld...

"If you are going through a trial where you are simply waiting for an answer, He is there. If you find yourself painfully thrust into the refiners fire over and over again as you pray for an end to the hurt, He is there. If you find yourself in a vast and lonely ocean, fighting waves of despair and hopelessness, as you use all your strength just to keep your head above the water, no matter the trial no matter the pain, our Saviour is still there.

"He stands quietly with us feeling our present pain, understanding our present yearning, and our seeing our present need and He stands there with two quarters in His pocket. As our Lord passes with us through the fire and water, remember He also stands there with us in our future deliverance, our future healing, and our future blessing; and knowing all and seeing all, His hand remains where it rests and He lovingly and with omniscience withholds the “good” so that He can eventually give us of His best.

"He who withheld not the most precious gift He possessed, His only and beloved son, will not withhold anything of lesser value. Why settle for just quarters when we can own the entire bank!

"Are you willing to let go of the quarters and allow Him to give you of His best, when and where He deems it best?"
Read the rest of Jodi's challenging post here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The true test of faith

Isn't the true test of faith continuing your faith in the face of its failure? If we are only faithful in things which require no faith, what faith is that?

When we can have faith in God's promise while God marches us up the hill to sacrifice our Isaac, then we demonstrate the faith of Abraham, the faith that makes all things possible.
~Carl Olson

Friday, January 9, 2009

Still Will We Trust

Within the space of two years, William Henry Burleigh (1812-1871) buried his father, wife, eldest daughter, and eldest son. In a letter to a friend he said: "It is not without strong wrestlings that doubt and murmurings are put under my feet and I am enabled to struggle up into the purer atmosphere of faith." God used Mr. Burleigh's trials to bless all of us in the form of this hymn, "Still Will We Trust."

This hymn was God's gift of encouragement to me today: I'd stumbled across one stanza quoted in an Elisabeth Elliot book, not realizing it was a hymn until a quick Google search revealed the rest of the lyrics. Then God nudged me to look it up in our hymnbooks, though I didn't remember seeing it before. But there it was in the very first one I opened...and I played through it several dozen times, learning the beautiful melody and singing the words to God as a prayer. He has not forgotten me - or you.
Still will we trust, though earth seem dark and dreary,
And the heart faint beneath His chastening rod;
Though rough and steep our pathway, worn and weary,
Still will we trust in God!

Our eyes see dimly till by faith anointed,
And our blind choosing brings us grief and pain;
Through Him alone Who hath our way appointed,
We find our peace again.

Choose for us, God! Nor let our weak preferring
Cheat our poor souls of good Thou has designed;
Choose for us, God! Thy wisdom is unerring,
And we are fools and blind.

So from our sky the night shall furl her shadows,
And day pour gladness through his golden gates,
Our rough path lead to flower-enameled meadows,
Where joy our coming waits.

Let us press on, in patient self denial,
Accept the hardship, shrink not from the loss;
Our portion lies beyond the hour of trial,
Our crown beyond the cross.

Monday, January 5, 2009

"Not for nothing!"

I clearly remember one late-night discussion with my sisters some months ago. I'd received some difficult news and was feeling particularly discouraged. As I shared this with my sisters, one of them wisely reminded me that it is those who have suffered the most that God is able to use the most. My difficulties at that moment (and those I face today) were not allowed by God just to torture me, nor were they the random happenings of a life left up to chance - they were specifically allowed into my life by my loving Father to qualify me for a wider sphere of service for His glory.

That bit of wisdom was exactly what I needed to hear that night, and it has come often to mind since, giving me hope and fresh strength to press on. Everything in our lives has a purpose - it is "not for nothing," as Elisabeth Elliot so succintly phrased it. If we truly believe this, we will be able to "count it all joy," as this quote reminds us (thanks to Emilie for sharing it!):
"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations."
~James 1:2~

"What kind of Christian will God use?" is the great question. That is not difficult to answer. He will use the same kind He has always used.

Just turn through the Bible and see whom He used in times past. Look at Joseph in the Old Testament. Who was tried more than this son of Jacob? He was abused by his brethren, sold into slavery, imprisoned on false charges, but he was patient and forbearing. It was Joseph who saved the Jewish race in that terrible famine. It was Joseph who won the favor of a pagan king and thereby obtained a home for his father and brethren. He could say, "Count it all joy when you fall into divers trials." The way to face every trial and every temptation is with a smile on your face and a song in your heart. Jesus said, "Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness' sake."

Trial lets down a blazing torch into the human nature and helps one to see many things which he little expected to see. One of the marvels of modern science is the use of electric light by divers at the bottom of the sea to take pictures of sea life. It is this biological conception that James has in mind in order to reveal spiritual truth. What do we learn by trials and temptations? We learn patience. Patience is the product of trial. Happiness is found also by enduring ill for the sake of Jesus.
~C.E. Matthews

Saturday, January 3, 2009

You seek God.

William Booth wrote, "Don't instill, or allow anybody else to instill into the hearts of your children the idea that marriage is the chief end of life. If you do, don't be surprised if they get engaged to the first empty, useless fool they come across. Women and men should marry when it is plainly the will of God for their lives, NOT because they 'can't minister' otherwise, or because of social pressure."

...The desire for a companion, for love, and for marriage is a God given desire. There is nothing wrong with that. I think that it is a desire that is tucked away in the heart of most, if they will admit it.
But, what do you do with that desire?

You seek God.
Read the rest of Gina's excellent post here.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Children of tomorrow

We must face today as children of tomorrow. We must meet the uncertainties of this world with the certainty of the world to come.

~A. W. Tozer