Archive for the ‘Quotes’ Category

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In Your Book Were Written…

January 15, 2012

Our pastor is currently preaching a short sermon series on Psalm 139.  This has been one of my favorite passages for years – it is such an amazing text about God’s providence, knowledge, and wisdom.  He knows us to the very depths of our souls, even before birth.

“For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.” (vs. 13-16, ESV)

In the sermon today, our pastor pointed out that “my inward parts”, in the original language, is literally “my kidneys”, which is a Hebrew idiom for what we might call “the heart” today – our intellect, volition, emotions, personality.  In other words, the soul.  So verse 13 is saying that God forms our souls, and knits together our bodies.  Deep in our mothers’ wombs before anyone can see us, He is at work shaping us.  Fascinating and amazing!  (And also a powerful argument for the value of human life from the moment conception.  “My unformed substance” in verse 16 is actually “my embryo” in Hebrew.  I love learning about the original languages; it adds such nuance to one’s understanding of the Scriptures.)

Our oldest child in the womb.

When our pastor reached verse 16, he highlighted something that I had never thought much about before.  “In your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”  I always assumed that “your book” referred to God’s mind and that the verse simply means that God knows all our days.  But our pastor spoke about it like an actual book, similar to the Book of Life we read about in Revelation.

Of course a library in heaven would be way more gorgeous than even this!

Suddenly, I imagined in my head an immense heavenly library, full of God-written biographies of all the saints – except instead of merely telling our life story, each page glorifies God and highlights His work in our lives.  Every day we felt things weren’t going well.  Every trial.  Every sadness.  And through each trouble, temptation, and sin, God’s tender description of how He was working through the bad to bring us His blessing, and bring glory to His name.  How amazing would that be? – to read God’s own account of our lives, from His perspective?  (Maybe they’d even be illustrated, with moving pictures like the wizard photographs in Harry Potter, so we could relive the crucial moments of our earthly existence as we read!)

Of course I’m only speculating here!  But when God gives us a word picture like “in Your book are written…the days that are formed for me”, isn’t that kind of what we’re supposed to imagine?

The thought of reading my life story from God’s point of view reminded me of that song in the movie Prince of Egypt: 

A single thread in a tapestry,
Though its color brightly shines,
Can never see its purpose
In the pattern of the grand design.
And the stone that sits on the very top
Of the mountain’s mighty face –
Does it think it’s more important
Than the stones that form the base?
So how can you see what your life is worth
Or where your value lies?
You can never see through the eyes of man;
You must look at your life,
Look at your life through heaven’s eyes.

From our earthly perspective it is easy to forget that God is in control of everything.  He ordained every minute of our lives.  Not only that, but he is using 60 seconds of every minute to bring glory to Himself, and good to His people.  We may look at a trial and see only badness, but God alone knows the good He plans to bring through the hurt.  It is truly incredible, the love and care that our Savior has for us.  The all-powerful God who sees all and knows all (including our sin) and controls all (even our troubles) is on our side!

“Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered.” – Luke 12:7a

“The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.  What can man do to me?” – Psalm 118:6

I feel that writing books gives authors a unique perspective on God’s providence.  After all, in our own small way, we are imitating His providence.  Within our books, everything is ours to control.  We write every word.  We create worlds.  We bring our characters through every trouble (most of the time…).  But we are imperfect imitators.  We sometimes forget what happens in scenes and chapters we write.  We often don’t know what happens next.  We can’t always bring good for our characters through every situation.  And of course, the people and worlds we create aren’t real flesh, blood, earth, and stone.

God, as the perfect Creator, knows all things and designs all things, and plans everything perfectly.  His will is unchangeable, and His love for us is oh-so-deep.  After all, He sent His own Son into the world of His creation, to save His people from our sins.

“The God who created matter took shape within it, as an artist might become a spot on a painting or a playwright a character within his own play.  God wrote a story, only using real characters, on the pages of real history.  The Word became flesh.” – Philip Yancey

Wonderful are His works!  My soul knows it very well.

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Tuesday Ramblings Late 1.4.12 – One Day Late

January 5, 2012

Oops. It’s Wednesday now (and it will be Thursday in 15 minutes). So I suppose these are actually Wednesday Ramblings. But here they be!

Reading this week: Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher. It has completely distracted me from Divergent, which I have renewed for the second time. (I’m not sure I’ll ever finish that book! Maybe I just needed a break from dystopia? It’s true, I had read three dystopian novels in a row before moving to Butcher’s book.) Furies of Calderon is a satisfyingly fresh fantasy: fascinating world, likeable characters, and lots of intrigue. I am almost halfway through now, and enjoying it. (Edit: As I read further I find that the book has a lot of sensuality and adult content. I would not recommend it for youngsters, certainly, and although I’m still reading If it continues like this I will probably not finish.

Writing this week: Next to nothing, sadly. I plan to get on that as soon as I’m done with this posting, because I’ve got diaper laundry in the washer and it’s cruelly forcing me to stay up late…what agony, to have another hour or two on the computer in a quiet house…truly terrible…

Stuck in my head today: The Eureka theme again. We’re still working our way through the show, and will be for awhile, and the song is far too catchy.

Deep and important thoughts pondered today: God’s perfection, and how He cannot be summed up by any one attribute. He is holy, perfectly and completely holy, but holiness alone does not define Him. Instead, He defines holiness! He is loving, and perfectly and completely loving, but love alone is not the sum of His nature. Rather, love finds its definition in His nature. He is perfectly just, perfect in power, perfect in creativity, perfect in every aspect, and all of these attributes merely touch on who He is. Were He lacking in any of these qualities, He would not be the God that He is, because they all hinge on one another. Together, all His attributes form our understanding of who He is, as shown by the quote of the day below. It is so amazing to contemplate our glorious Creator!

Quote of the day:

Q: What is God?
A: God is a spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.
The Westminister Larger Catechism

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Tuesday Ramblings 12.28.11

December 28, 2011

I hope your Christmas was merry!  Ours was delightful, and I am very much enjoying my new Kindle, a gift from my wonderful, generous husband!  As much as I love real books, e-readers have fascinated me for a long time (when I was younger I thought I had invented the idea for my book…haha).  I love the idea of being able to take a ton of books with me everywhere, in a device small enough to stick inside my – rather tiny – purse.m

Reading this week: Give Them Grace by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson (my first Kindle read!).  The basic premise of this book is that many Christian parents, although believing on a spiritual level that only Christ can change our hearts, end up trying to make their children “good” through law, rules, guidelines, etc. on a practical level.  The book urges and encourages Christian moms and dads to point their children toward Christ and His righteous fulfillment of God’s law on our behalf.  Although I have a few beefs with some of it, it’s a really good book overall (it’s worth buying for the chapter on human weakness and failure alone!).  I wholeheartedly recommend it to Christian parents – and even those who aren’t yet parents, as I found the book applied more to my life and my legalistic tendencies than it did to my future parenting.  Actually I recommend the general “gospel application” parts of the book more than the specifically parenting-related parts!

Writing this week: not a lot, due to the Christmas holiday.  I’ve been writing a miscellaneous scene that came to me on Christmas night, about a girl whose car crashes off the side of the road during a snowstorm.  She may or may not encounter magical creatures in the roadside woods…

Quotes I’m pondering today: 

“…Paul was familiar with real suffering, but this thorn was far worse.  This thorn was ordained by God to keep Paul humble, dependent, and weak.  Paul also recognized that this thorn was a messenger of Satan.  Here’s the astonishing truth: God used Satan to keep Paul from the sin of pride.  God always employs Satan to God’s end, to serve God’s people.  God uses Satan to produce godliness in us too, just as he did in Paul.  …None of us want to appear weak or incompetent…we hate it when we can’t boast…yet we can grow in our faith to believe that the Lord is sending a particular trial because it glorifies Him.  …  Paul understood that personal success and strength were barriers to his experience of God’s grace.  God’s sustaining power is seen and developed in our weakness and failure.” – Elyse M. Fitzpatrick, Give Them Grace

“But he [the Lord] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

Stuck in my head today: the theme song from the show Eureka, which my husband and I have been watching voraciously.  Or, alternately, the ditty my son’s new cookie jar toy sings every time you stick your hand in…

Coming soon: the first chapter of The Queen in the Wooden Box!

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Tuesday Ramblings 12.20.11

December 20, 2011

Reading this week: I still haven’t picked up Divergent again.  I was supposed to return it to the library tomorrow but I renewed it.  That means I’ve had it for three weeks and haven’t finished it yet!  I’m not sure whether that reflects more on the book or my busy life.  Probably my busy life.

Writing this week: I am frantically pounding out a third chapter of The Queen in the Wooden Box to send to my cousins.  I may end up having to send it by email in order for it to get there in time for Christmas!  Horrors!  But I am enjoying the story too much to rush through it…I really like the world and characters.  (By the way, which title is better?  The working title is The Queen in the Wooden Box, but The Silver Army would be an equally apt moniker.)

Quote for today: 

“I urge you, don’t be stingy this year with the gifts you’ve so generously received from on high, and don’t begrudge those still wandering a glimmer of that same illumination, just as freely given. Don’t fear the distractions. The truth is more powerful than any number of myths, legends, or advertising agencies. Satan may be the author of many reprehensible and deceptive works, but he is most certainly not the author of hope, or love, or joy, or peace. And he can’t stop Christmas from coming or steal it away from us. He failed at that scheme a long, long time ago.” – Fred Warren in today’s post over at Speculative Faith.

Stuck in my head today: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!”

Chocolate and writing.  Couldn’t be better!

"It's the most *dangerous* time of the year...!" Thankfully, danger is my middle name.

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Sabbath Joy: The Love of Christ

December 18, 2011

A deep but beautiful commentary on the love of our Saviour.

“[Christ’s] love is free, without any motive. His love is great, without any measure. His love is constant, without any change. And His love is everlasting, without any end.

It was the love of Christ which brought Him down from heaven, which veiled His divinity in a human soul and body, which put upon Him the form of a servant, which exposed Him to contempt, reproach, and many indignities. It was love which made Him subject to hunger, thirst, sorrow, and many human infirmities, which humbled Him unto death, even the painful and ignominious death of the cross. And when out of love He had finished the work of redemption on earth, as to what was needful by way of satisfaction, it was His love which carried Him back to heaven where He was before, so that He might make application of what He had purchased; that there He might make intercession for those whom He had redeemed and prepare a place for them, even glorious mansions with Himself in the house not made with hands, which is eternal in the heavens. … If you are espoused to Christ, He is yours – all that He is and all that He has.” – Thomas Vincent, English Puritan preacher