One Year Anniversary!

Today I celebrate one year in the marriage covenant with my husband. The past year has been full of trials and joys. God has blessed us in more ways than we can imagine. A year ago we promised these words to each other:

“I take you, Hollie, to be my wife and I promise before God and all who are present here to be your loving and faithful husband, as long as our lives shall last. I will love you and give myself up for you, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. I will serve you with tenderness and respect, and encourage you to develop the gifts that God has given you.”
“I take you, Joshua, to be my husband, and I promise before God and all who are present here to be your loving and faithful wife, as long as our lives shall last. I will love you and submit to you, as the church loves and submits to Christ. I will serve you with tenderness and respect, and encourage you to develop the gifts that God has given you.”

On our anniversary, I wanted to share one of my favorite little pieces on marriage. Enjoy 🙂

A little nook in the very heart of God

(J. R. Miller, “The Marriage Altar” 1898)

God’s plan for every marriage is happiness.

Marriage is meant to be a miniature of heaven—a
fragment of the celestial blessedness, let down into
this world.

Marriage is meant to be a little sanctuary, into which
husband and wife may flee from earth’s storms and
dangers, where in love’s shelter, their hearts fed with
affection’s daily bread—they may dwell in quiet peace.

Marriage is meant to be a shelter in which, covered
from the frosts of the world and shielded from its cold
and tempests—two lives may grow together into richest
beauty, realizing their sweetest dreams of happiness,
blending in whatever things are true, whatever things
are pure, and attaining the finest possibilities of godly
character.

Marriage is meant to be a holy ark, floating on the wild
floods of human life—like Noah’s ark on the deluge,
bearing to heaven’s gates, to the harbor of glory—the
lives which God has shut within its doors.

A godly marriage is a little nook in the very heart of
God
, where faithful souls are held close to the Father’s
heart, and carried safely, amid dangers and sorrows, to
the home above!

Taken from Grace Gems. Original post .

In Christ,

Reformed Roots

When I mention to people that I am a “Reformed Baptist” in my religious beliefs I usually get some strange and puzzled looks. Unless the person you are talking to is also Reformed, sympathetic to Reformed beliefs, or a hater of John Calvin they generally have no earthly idea what you mean. But even in “Reformed” circles today the word has been watered down. Rev. Watts mentions this watering down in the first chapter of his book What Is A Reformed Church:

“In many cases, the term (Reformed) means little more than some adherence to the “five points of Calvinism.” The term has lost its great historical richness and depth as the struggles of the Reformation have faded into distant history.”

It is true that the history of the Protestant Reformation is all but forgotten by the people today that claim the title “Protestant.” It’s more than a bit sad that they know nothing of where their church came from, the struggles it was birthed out of, or the mighty men and women that gave their lives for her.

The first chapter of Rev. Watts book is titled, “The Distinctives of a Reformed Church.” Before getting into the characteristic of a Reformed Church one must look at the roots of the term “Reformed” to gain a clear understanding of the word.

The term “Reformed” first came onto the scene in the 1500s. Though, we did see what could be called pre-Reformers as early as the 12th and 13th centuries. However, in the 1500s the term was applied to churches that separated from the corrupt Church of Rome. This separation occurred under the preaching and teaching of the famous Martin Luther. (I am not going to go into his teachings here, but I would encourage everyone to read up on Luther’s story if you are not familiar.) Under Luther’s teachings churches did away with images/icons in the buildings used for public worship and private masses. They also administered both bread and wine at the Lord’s table.

In the mid 1500s the word “Reformed” took on some new meaning. To quote Rev. Watts:

“It was used to identify the so-called Calvinist wing of the Reformation. Enthusiastic supporters of Luther became known as Lutherans, or even as “Adherents of the Augsburg Confession.” But men like John Calvin proceeded much further in reformation with respect to worship, government, and practice, and they came to be identified as “the Church Reformed according to the Word of God.”

As time continued the word “Reformed” took on more meaning. It eventually was associated with the Puritan movement. Again, quoting Rev. Watts:

“The Puritan movement inherited Calvin’s theological legacy but expanded his teaching on law, grace, and the covenants. Believing the visible church was still corrupted by the remains of popery Puritans sought even more thorough reformation according to the Word of God”

So, these are the three historical movements in which the Reformed Church has its roots. All three of these movements have differences, to be sure! But, it’s most important to note their similarities … which we will dive into next week! 😉

Just as an aside, if you have never looked into the history of how the church you belong to came to be, I would encourage you to do so. We tend to put so much emphasis on our genealogy and cultural heritage but focus very little (if at all) on our spiritual heritage. This should not be! Church history is a gift to the church. Reading about the struggles she (the church) has gone through, the men and women that sacrificed all for her, men and women that hated her, etc. … it is all encouraging to the believer today. I can’t imagine anyone would be disappointed in taking on to study this subject.

In Christ,

Christ’s Sympathy

I read this last night and found much comfort in it. Though we have much to rejoice over, the loss of my friend is still with me, the losses of others weighs on my mind, the burdens others are going through tugs at my heart. Sometimes the sadness and sin in our world seems suffocating and overwhelming. Take comfort in these words today

Christ’s sympathy

(
Octavius Winslow, “The Tears of Christ”)

“Jesus wept!” John 11:35

The Creator of all worlds, the Author of all beings, the Upholder ofthe universe—raining tears of human woe and sympathyupon a grave!

Oh, there lives not a being in the universe who can enter into ourbereavements with the sympathy,the support, and the soothing of Christ!

They were tears of sympathy.His heart was touched, deeply touched, with sympathy for the sorrow ofothers.He wept because the mourning sisters wept. He mingled His tears withtheirs.

This is true sympathy, “weepingwith those that weep,” making their sorrow our own. How really our Lorddoes this with His people. So completely is He our Surety—that Hetakes our sins and infirmities, our trials and sorrows upon Himself, asif they were all and entirely His own. Our sins were so completely laidupon Him—that not one remains charged to the account of those whobelieve in Jesus.

And our present griefs are so entirely absorbed in Him, that, softenedby His love, soothed by His sympathy,supported by His grace—the trial is welcome, the affliction is sweet,and the rod of a Father’s chastening, buds and blossoms into delectablefruit.

Bereaved mourner! the sympathy ofChrist is yours! The Savior who wept at the gave of Bethany, now sharesyour grief. Do not imagine that your sorrow is isolated, or that yourtears areforbidden or unseen. You have a merciful and faithful High Priest whois touched with your present calamity.

There exists no sympathy . . . 
 so real,
 so intelligent,
 so deep,
 so tender,
  so sanctifying—
as Christ’s sympathy.

And if your heavenly Father has seen it wise and good to remove fromyou the spring of human pity—it is but that He may draw youcloserbeneath the wing of Jesus’ compassion, presence and love.

O child of sorrow! will not this suffice—that you possess Christ’ssympathy, immeasurable and exhaustless as the ocean, exquisite andchangelessas His being! Yield your heart to His rich compassion!

Will Jesus be regardless of what I feel, and the sorrows under which Igroan? Oh no! The sigh that bursts in secret from my heart is notsecretto Him; the tear that is my food day and night, and drops unperceivedand unknown—is known and remembered by Him!

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears inYour bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.”
Psalm 56:8

Taken from Grace Gems. Original article here.

A Little Nook in the Very Heart of God

A little nook in the very heart of God

(J. R. Miller, “The Marriage Altar” 1898)

God’s plan for every marriage is happiness.

Marriage is meant to be a miniature of heaven—a
fragment of the celestial blessedness, let down into
this world.

Marriage is meant to be a little sanctuary, into which
husband and wife may flee from earth’s storms and
dangers, where in love’s shelter, their hearts fed with
affection’s daily bread—they may dwell in quiet peace.

Marriage is meant to be a shelter in which, covered
from the frosts of the world and shielded from its cold
and tempests—two lives may grow together into richest
beauty, realizing their sweetest dreams of happiness,
blending in whatever things are true, whatever things
are pure, and attaining the finest possibilities of godly
character.

Marriage is meant to be a holy ark, floating on the wild
floods of human life—like Noah’s ark on the deluge,
bearing to heaven’s gates, to the harbor of glory—the
lives which God has shut within its doors.

A godly marriage is a little nook in the very heart of
God
, where faithful souls are held close to the Father’s
heart, and carried safely, amid dangers and sorrows, to
the home above!

Taken from Grace Gems. Original post .

Seventh Day Evening: Future Blessings

O Lord God,

There is no blessing we implore

but thou art able to give,

hast promised to give,

hast given already to countless multitudes,

all unworthy and guilty like ourselves;

Make us willing to receive the supply

of our need from thy bounty.

To this end convince us of sin,

soften our hard hearts,

to bewail our folly, ingratitude, pride,

unbelief, rebellion, corruption.

Through the law may we die to the law,

then look with wonder, submission, delight,

to the provision thou hast made

for the glory of thy Name

in the salvation of sinners.

Give us a hope that makes us not ashamed,

a love that excites to holy obedience,

a joy in thee that is our strength,

a faith in thy Son who loved us and died for us.

May we persevere in duty

when not fully conscious of thee,

wait upon thee and keep thy way,

be humble and earnest suppliants at thy feet,

live continually as on the brink of eternity.

Let us be at thy disposal for the duties

and events of life,

submit our preferences to thy wisdom and will,

resign our enjoyments if thou shouldest require it

as our absolute Proprietor and best Friend.

In our unworthiness and provocations

make us grateful for the means of grace

and the ordinances of religion

and teach us to profit by them

more than we have done.

Help us to be in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day,

to enter upon the sabbath mindful of its

solemnities, duties, privileges,

setting all things worldly aside

while we worship thee.

May we know the blessedness of men

whose strength is in thee,

and in whose hearts are the highways

to heaven.


***

May you have a blessed Lord’s day tomorrow.

Puritan Prayers: The Mover

O SUPREME MOVING CAUSE,

May I always be subordinate to thee,
be dependent upon thee,
be found in the path where thou dost walk,
and where thy Spirit moves,
take heed of estrangement from thee,
of becoming insensible to thy love.

Thou dost not move men like stones,
but dost endue them with life,
not to enable them to move without thee,
but in submission to thee, the first move.

O Lord, I am astonished at the difference
between my receivings and my deservings,
between the state I am now in and my past gracelessness,
between the heaven I am bound for and the hell I merit.

Who made me to differ, but thee?
ceive Christ than were others;
I could not have begun to love thee hadst thou not first loved me,
or been willing unless thou hadst first made me so.

O that such a crown should fit the head of such a sinner!
such high advancement for an unfruitful person!
such joys for such a rebel!

Infinite wisdom cast the design of salvation
into the mould of purchase and freedom;
Let wrath deserved be written on the door of hell,
But the free gift of grace on the gate of heaven.

I know that my sufferings are the result of my sinning,
but in heaven both shall cease;
Grant me to attain this haven and be done with sailing,
and may the gales of thy mercy blow me safely into harbour.

Let thy love draw me nearer to thyself,
wean me from sin, mortify me to this world,
and make me ready for my departure hence.

Secure me by thy grace as I sail across this stormy sea.




Daisypath Wedding tickers


This lovely picture is taken from my sweet friend Becky’s photography blog. You won’t want to miss her God glorifying photos!

Puritan Prayers: Sincerity

Elector of Saints,
Blessed is the man whom thou choosest
    and callest to thyself.
With thee is mercy, redemption, assurance, forgiveness;
Thou hast lifted me, a prisoner, out of
       the pit of sin
    and pronounced my discharge,
       not only in the courts of heaven,
       but in the dock of conscience;
    hast justified me by faith,
       given me peace with thee,
    made me to enjoy glorious liberty as thy child.

Save me from the false hope of the hypocrite:
May I never suppose I am in Christ unless I am a new creature,
    never think I am born of the Spirit,
       unless I mind the things of the Spirit,
    never rest satisfied with professions of belief
       and outward forms and services,
         while my heart is not right with thee.


May I judge my sincerity in religion
    by my fear to offend thee,
    my concern to know thy will,
    my willingness to deny myself.

May nothing render me forgetful of thy Glory,
    or turn me aside from thy commands,
    or shake my confidence in thy promises,
    or offend thy children.
Let not my temporal occupations injure my spiritual concerns,
    or the cares of life make me neglect the one thing needful.

May I not be inattentive to the design or thy dealings with me,
    or insensible under thy rebukes,
    or immobile at thy calls.

May I learn the holy art of abiding in thee,
    of being in the world and not of it,
    of making everything not only consistent with
       but conducive to my religion.

Taken from The Valley Of Vision pg 316

Be Blessed,

This photo was taken by my dear sister, Becky. She points us to God’s glory through her lens. Be sure to check out her photo blog!