Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Discovering Melancholy

Lately the writings of George H. Morrison have been a much-needed remedy for the temporary afflications that my melancholy spirit experiences.

Here's a devotional that ministered to me recently:


“Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” - Psalm 43:5

It is one source of the eternal freshness of the Psalms that they tell the story of a struggling soul. They open a window on to that battlefield with which no other battle can be compared—the moral struggle of the individual with himself. And it is well that that story should be told in poetry, for there is nothing like poetry for describing battles. There is a rich suggestiveness in poetry, a rush of emotion, an enthusiasm that catches and conveys the excitement of the field. The dullest war correspondent grows poetical, his words become colored, vivid, picturesque, when he narrates the actions in the war. It was right, then, that for this warfare of the soul we should have the strong music of the Psalms.

Now as we read that story of the psalmist’s struggle, one of the first things to arrest us is the likeness of that battle to our own. Ages have fled, and everything is different since the shepherd-king poured out his heart in melody. And yet his failures and his hopes are so like ours, he might have been shepherding and reigning yesterday. We are so apt to think we fight alone. We are so prone to think there never was a life so weak, so ragged, so full of a dull gnawing, as ours. We are so ready to believe that we have suffered more than any heart that ever loved and lost. And then God opens up the heart of David, and we see its failures and we hear its cries, and the sense of loneliness at least is gone. He prayed as we have prayed. He fell as we have fallen. He rose and started again as we have done. He was disheartened, and so are we.

Speaking of disheartenment, there is one temperament that is peculiarly exposed to that temptation. It is that of the eager and sensitive and earnest soul. If you are never in earnest about anything, you may escape disheartening altogether. To be disheartened is a kind of price we pay for having a glimpse at the heavens now and then.

“The mark of rank in nature is capacity for pain;And the anguish of the singer makes the sweetness of the strain.”

So the dull pain of being disheartened now and then is the other side of man’s capacity for enthusiasm. Give me a flood-tide and I shall expect an ebb. Give me an earnest, daring, generous, loyal heart, and I shall know where to discover melancholy.

-George H. Morrison - Devotional Sermons

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Taking a Chance

Our friend Chance Faulkner has been hanging out with our sons Matthew and Nathan lately. Chance is a great young man with a heart for God and for missions.

He is a member of the youth group at our church and is planning on serving the Lord overseas in the near future. He just returned from a trip to the UK with his high school rugby team.

Thanks for making a difference, Chance! He is pictured here with Nathan. Chance on the left, Nathan on the right!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Profiling a Friend

I've always been intrigued by Victoria Gaines' (Vicki) profile of herself on her Windows To My Soul blog. My heart resonates with hers as I read her caricature of herself. In many ways her profile parallels mine although I'm sure she was a better nurse than I "wasn't."

Be sure to visit Windows To My Soul often.

Here's that profile:

"Freelance writer, retired nurse, friend to the broken-hearted. Out of sync with the world; utterly dependent upon God. Artsy, creative, and warm. Sensitive. Sometimes too sensitive. Introspective. Sometimes too introspective. Funny - I crack myself up. Missionary with a pen; soul mate to the weary. Easy going til I get freaked out. Sentimental, hormonal, sometimes both at the same time.

I believe in knee-mail, giving from the heart, speaking the truth in love, standing up for what's right, walking by faith, and relying on the inexhaustible grace of God. I've discovered that psycho-babble can't help me, the self-reliant can't understand me, but true spirituality is a living, breathing, saving relationship with Jesus Christ."

The Pilgrim's comments:

Vicki has certainly been a "missionary with a pen" to me as her encouraging comments and e-mails have often lifted my sagging spirits and put a bounce in my step again. She truly is a soul-mate to the weary and a prayer warrior. Thanks for the blessing you've been to me, Vicki!

What We Already Have

My friend, Victoria Gaines, posted the following article over at her excellent blog entitled Windows To My Soul.

"Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." ~ Mark 11:24

Something hit me as I read this verse today. So many times I've prayed for peace, patience, strength, victory - whatever- when all along they're readily available to me in Christ. Fear and pain may cloud this truth, but grace opens our eyes to remind us of His keeping power to sustain us through the most difficult situations.

As I see this more and more, truth changes the way I pray. Instead of begging for all these things - which are never given apart from Christ anyway - my prayers can now acknowledge His Spirit's work in me. Confessing my need and dependence on Him is the first thing I do, trusting His Life to come forth moment by moment, grace upon grace, as I go about living.

The more we spend time knowing Christ through His Word, the more His Spirit increases our faith. His grace makes everything possible, even to believe.

Wondering how to pray for someone? Without knowing each other's circumstances, we can always pray like Paul prayed for the Ephesians when he said:

"I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe." ~Ephesians 1:17-19
Trusting the eyes of our hearts, not just our minds, to be enlightened all the more as we abide in Him, our very Life source and Peace in troubled times.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


My friend Paul Wilkinson over at Thinking Out Loud posted the following quote on his blog today. I needed to read this! I'm struggling with forgiveness...still.

You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well.” ~ Lewis B. Smedes

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Hope That Makes Us Bold

The following post appeared on my friend Cindy Swanson's blog, Notes in the Key of Life:

Steven Curtis Chapman: Dove Artist of the Year

"It's a hope that makes us if we could say anything as a family, a broken family, having lost our little's just, let this hope make us so bold. Jesus is coming; he can't come soon enough for me." - Steven Curtis Chapman

Steven Curtis Chapman was named Artist of the Year at the Gospel Music Association Dove Awards in Nashville last night, and in my opinion, there's no one more deserving.

It's been a tragic year for Chapman and his family, with the loss of their 5-year-old daughter Maria last May. Steven and Mary Beth have shone as examples of grace in the midst of tragedy.

They never minimized their loss or failed to acknowledge their pain and bewilderment. But they clung, visibly and openly, to the hope that Steven mentions in that quote above.

Let the Word Do Its Work

"We must allow the Word of God to confront us, to disturb our security, to undermine our complacency and to overthrow our patterns of thought and behavior." — John Stott

“ heart stands in awe of your words. I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil.I hate and abhor falsehood, but I love your law. Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules. Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble." - Psalm 119:161-165

Sunday, May 03, 2009

He Will Deliver Me

My friend Saija added the following post to her Thro' a Glass Darkly blog. Thanks, Saija, for sharing this with us.

"Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved." (Joel 2:32)

So why don't I call on His name? Why do I run to this person or that person, when God is so near and will hear my faintest call? Why do I set down to plot my own course and make my own plans? Why don't I immediately place myself and my burden on the Lord?

Straight ahead is the best way to run, so why don't I run directly to the living God? Instead, I look in vain for deliverance everywhere else, but with God I will find it. With Him I have His royal promise: "[I] will be saved." And with Him I never need to ask if I may call on Him or not, for the word "everyone" is all encompassing. It includes me and means anybody and everybody who calls upon His name.

Therefore I will trust in this verse and will immediately call on the glorious Lord who has made such a great promise.

My situation is urgent, and I cannot see how I will ever be delivered. Yet this is not my concern, for He who made the promise will find a way to keep it. My part is simply to obey His commands, not to direct His ways. I am His servant, not His advisor. I call upon Him and He will deliver me.

Charles H. Spurgeon

Friday, May 01, 2009

Farewell to a Great Friend

This has been a difficult week as I've been bidding farewell to a great friend!

The office I've spent much of my time in for the past 3 plus years is no longer a viable option. I've been spending 3 days a week at my job in the SIM Canada office in Scarborough so renewing the lease here in Peterborough didn't seem reasonable. My two colleagues moved out to other offices and different responsibilities so it was time to follow suit.

My office was a haven, a restful place where visitors always felt at home and relaxed. Packing up my books was difficult. Many of them will remain in boxes for the forseeable future.

The accents scattered throughout the office reflected my interests so well. Autographed baseball bats. Hockey sticks from great friends. Roger Neilson's picture. A special clock that the Peterborough Petes players gave me. They're in boxes now.

Friends who know me best understand this grieving process.
We don't have room here at the house for any more bookshelves. We have more books than we know what to do with already. Now my books are spread out all over the place. Two bookcases filled with books line the wall of another colleagues' office. Three filled bookcases are stored in my mother's basement.

Last night for the first time in my life after carrying dozens of boxes of books, I made this statement, "I wish I only had one book, my Bible." I'm so tired of moving and slugging books. Oh well! I'll get over this...I hope!