For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light. ~Psalms 36:9

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Love...

I've been reading through "The Greatest Thing in the World", a small book by Henry Drummond on love and 1 Corinthians 13.  To say that I have been challenged by it would be an understatement! I have realized how little I truly know about biblical love and how much selfishness I have in me that yet needs to be gotten rid of.   Below are some of his concluding thoughts on love that so challenged me and I hope will bless and challenge you as well.  BTW, if you are interested in reading the entire book, they have it online for free reading and downloading here: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/16739/16739-h/16739-h.htm
~Breanna

So much for the analysis of Love. Now the business of our lives is to have these things fitted into our characters. That is the supreme work to which we need to address ourselves in this world, to learn Love. Is life not full of opportunities for learning Love? Every man and woman every day has a thousand of them. The world is not a playground; it is a schoolroom. Life is not a holiday, but an education. And
THE ONE ETERNAL LESSON
for us all is how better we can love.
What makes a man a good cricketer? Practice. What makes a man a good artist, a good sculptor, a good musician? Practice. What makes a man a good linguist, a good stenographer? Practice. What makes a man a good man? Practice. Nothing else. There is nothing capricious about religion. We do not get the soul in different ways, under different laws, from those in which we get the body and the mind. If a man does not exercise his arm he develops no biceps muscle; and if a man does not exercise his soul, he acquires no muscle in his soul, no strength of character, no vigor of moral fibre, no beauty of spiritual growth. Love is not a thing of enthusiastic emotion. It is a rich, strong, manly, vigorous expression of the whole round Christian character—the Christlike nature in its fullest development. And the constituents of this great character are only to be built up by
CEASELESS PRACTICE.
What was Christ doing in the carpenter's shop? Practising. Though perfect, we read that He learned obedience, and grew in wisdom and in favor with God. Do not quarrel, therefore, with your lot in life. Do not complain of its never-ceasing cares, its petty environment, the vexations you have to stand, the small and sordid souls you have to live and work with. Above all, do not resent temptation; do not be perplexed because it seems to thicken round you more and more, and ceases neither for effort nor for agony nor prayer. That is your practice. That is the practice which God appoints you; and it is having its work in making you patient, and humble, and generous, and unselfish, and kind, and courteous. Do not grudge the hand that is moulding the still too shapeless image within you. It is growing more beautiful, though you see it not; and every touch of temptation may add to its perfection. Therefore keep in the midst of life. Do not isolate yourself. Be among men and among things, and among troubles, and difficulties, and obstacles. You remember Goethe's words: "Talent develops itself in solitude; character in the stream of life." Talent develops itself in solitude—the talent of prayer, of faith, of meditation, of seeing the unseen; character grows in the stream of the world's life. That chiefly is where men are to learn love.

How? Now, how? To make it easier, I have named a few of the elements of love. But these are only elements. Love itself can never be defined. Light is a something more than the sum of its ingredients—a glowing, dazzling, tremulous ether. And love is something more than all its elements—a palpitating, quivering, sensitive, living thing. By synthesis of all the colors, men can make whiteness, they cannot make light. By synthesis of all the virtues, men can make virtue, they cannot make love. How then are we to have this transcendent living whole conveyed into our souls? We brace our wills to secure it. We try to copy those who have it. We lay down rules about it. We watch. We pray. But these things alone will not bring love into our nature. Love is an effect. And only as we fulfill the right condition can we have the effect produced. Shall I tell you what the cause is?

If you turn to the Revised Version of the First Epistle of John you find these words: "We love because He first loved us." "We love," not "We love Him." That is the way the old version has it, and it is quite wrong. "We love—because He first loved us." Look at that word "because." It is the cause of which I have spoken. "Because He first loved us," the effect follows that we love, we love Him, we love all men. We cannot help it. Because He loved us, we love, we love everybody. Our heart is slowly changed. Contemplate the love of Christ, and you will love. Stand before that mirror, reflect Christ's character, and you will be changed into the same image from tenderness to tenderness. There is no other way. You cannot love to order. You can only look at the lovely object, and fall in love with it, and grow into likeness to it. And so look at this Perfect Character, this Perfect Life. Look at
THE GREAT SACRIFICE
as He laid down Himself, all through life, and upon the Cross of Calvary; and you must love Him. And loving Him, you must become like Him. Love begets love. It is a process of induction. Put a piece of iron in the presence of an electrified body, and that piece of iron for a time becomes electrified. It is changed into a temporary magnet in the mere presence of a permanent magnet, and as long as you leave the two side by side, they are both magnets alike. Remain side by side with Him who loved us, and
GAVE HIMSELF FOR US,
and you, too, will become a permanent magnet, a permanently attractive force; and like Him you will draw all men unto you, like Him you will be drawn unto all men. That is the inevitable effect of Love. Any man who fulfills that cause must have that effect produced in him.

Try to give up the idea that religion comes to us by chance, or by mystery, or by caprice. It comes to us by natural law, or by supernatural law, for all law is Divine.
~Henry Drummond

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Inspiring Story

Our dear little Esther was ill today, so Sarah and I stayed home with her while the others went to church.  We are so very blessed by the church body God has given to us and very much missed the blessing of being there today.  God is so good and blessed us in other little ways throughout this day.  This movie, sharing the life of Samuel Morris was one of them.  We hope that it will encourage you in your relationship and faith in the Lord, as it did us.  If God lays it on your heart to pray for Esther we would greatly appreciate it.  What a delight the Lord's Day is!  


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Motherhood: What Every Woman on a Mission Should Know


To especially encourage the mamma's!  :-)  But also for any gal, big sister, etc., busy in her home and serving her family, these are great reminders and encouragements from one of my favorite authors, Lisa Jacobson.  :-)
~Breanna
Motherhood - What Every Woman on a Mission Should Know

The Lord has given me a calling.
 
A high calling, really.
A high calling that requires a woman to stoop low.
To scoop up babies, to pick up toys and to clean up messes.
To wipe runny noses and patch up scratched knees.

It’s known as Motherhood and there are times when it doesn’t feel like all that grand or glorious of a calling.

And there are times when it does.
Like when the little ones snuggle into my arms, or the older ones look to me for answers. When I’m needed to comfort their hearts or speak truth into their young lives.
Then it’s nearly breath-taking.
All this because God has made me their mother.

He has put these children – and these challenges – in my life as part of what He is doing in this world.

Rather amazing.
So when I consider the wonderful privilege of motherhood, I feel blessed beyond words. And I know you do too.
But when I don’t stop to consider?
That’s when I can feel overwhelmed by its dailyness and the seemingly smallness.
Then I experience frustration. Defeat and discouragement.
On those days it feels like we’re going nowhere.

I have to stop and remember I’m a woman on a mission.

And as a mission-minded woman I want to be prepared for the important work that’s before me.
It’s not enough to merely muddle-through motherhood, I want to embrace it and make the most of it.
As do you.


Embracing the Mission of Motherhood

 

Scripture-Filled.

When a mother is pouring out all day, she needs to be filled up too. Spending time in His Word is essential. If hours of uninterrupted time aren’t available (right!), try posting Bible verses throughout the house – in the kitchen, laundry room, bathroom and other popular places – to memorize and meditate on throughout the day.

Sift Through Priorities.

One of the challenges of motherhood? EVERYTHING is  important. Meals, cleaning, organizing, driving . . . Oh yes, and caring for their hearts. But there are times when we have to let go of good things, in order to get best things done. We might have scrambled eggs for dinner because I spent the afternoon helping two sisters learn to love each other. No need to be hard on myself – I’ve chosen the better part.

Seasons of Life.

Much frustration can come from bucking up against this reality of life. A new baby puts us in survival mode. Sleep, food, and basic hygiene is often all that can be achieved in such a season. Sickness can be a similar experience. A loss or a move can set us back for months. But if this is what The Lord has brought into our lives? Then this is what He intends for us.

And so . . . .

 

Soften Your Heart.

To the lessons the Lord has for you and your family. Don’t merely try to “get through it”, but desire all that He wants to do through your circumstances and trials. Then you’ll grow – and your children will grow right along with you. Much is gained, even if little is accomplished.

Stop Sighing.

It’s so easy to slip into the unconscious habit of sighing. A small set-back. Sigh. More work to be done. Sigh. So much training left to do. Sigh. Not only does this defeat your spirit, but that quiet sigh communicates your discontent to your children far too loudly.

Instead . . . .

 

Savor the Sweetness.

Of this precious time. Look for and enjoy the bright moments. Laugh at the funny antics of your children. Listen to their creative ideas. Kiss their darling cheeks and help them see God in the small things. Pour His love into their lives while you have the chance.

Let’s set our sight on this high calling.

It’s when we get to looking down at all the sticky spots and work left undone that we get discouraged. So let’s keep looking up.  Looking up to the God who gave us this beautiful gift called motherhood.
Yes, we are truly blessed with a high calling.
Women with a mission.

Her children rise up and call her blessed (Proverbs 31:28).

In His grace,
Signature small

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Charles Spurgeon on What Hinders Us From Enjoying Our Savior's Presence

During a recent road trip, we took the time as a family to listen to the unabridged and amplified Pilgrim's Progress Part 1.  It is always such an encouragement to us spiritually, and it was nice to be able to listen to it again.  Between Pilgrims Progress and some recent passages I have been reading in Luke during my personal devotions, I've been thinking a good bit on the lives we as Christians should be living.  Our lives are not to be ones of seeking pleasure and giving in to our flesh and the world, but ones of seriousness, devotion, and striving to be Christ like, pleasing to Him, serving Him, and unstained.  When I read these devotionals by Charles Spurgeon yesterday, they went right along with many of the thoughts and impressions that have been on my heart this past week.  I hope they will be an encouragement to some of you.  May we each, by His grace, keep pressing toward our Savior and not grow cold!



Morning
“Take us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines.”
- Song of Solomon 2:15
A little thorn may cause much suffering. A little cloud may hide the sun. Little foxes spoil the vines; and little sins do mischief to the tender heart. These little sins burrow in the soul, and make it so full of that which is hateful to Christ, that he will hold no comfortable fellowship and communion with us. A great sin cannot destroy a Christian, but a little sin can make him miserable. Jesus will not walk with his people unless they drive out every known sin. He says, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” Some Christians very seldom enjoy their Saviour’s presence. How is this? Surely it must be an affliction for a tender child to be separated from his father. Art thou a child of God, and yet satisfied to go on without seeing thy Father’s face? What! thou the spouse of Christ, and yet content without his company! Surely, thou hast fallen into a sad state, for the chaste spouse of Christ mourns like a dove without her mate, when he has left her. Ask, then, the question, what has driven Christ from thee? He hides his face behind the wall of thy sins. That wall may be built up of little pebbles, as easily as of great stones. The sea is made of drops; the rocks are made of grains: and the sea which divides thee from Christ may be filled with the drops of thy little sins; and the rock which has well nigh wrecked thy barque, may have been made by the daily working of the coral insects of thy little sins. If thou wouldst live with Christ, and walk with Christ, and see Christ, and have fellowship with Christ, take heed of “the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes.” Jesus invites you to go with him and take them. He will surely, like Samson, take the foxes at once and easily. Go with him to the hunting.

Evening
“That henceforth we should not serve sin.”
- Romans 6:6
Christian, what hast thou to do with sin? Hath it not cost thee enough already? Burnt child, wilt thou play with the fire? What! when thou hast already been between the jaws of the lion, wilt thou step a second time into his den? Hast thou not had enough of the old serpent? Did he not poison all thy veins once, and wilt thou play upon the hole of the asp, and put thy hand upon the cockatrice’s den a second time? Oh, be not so mad! so foolish! Did sin ever yield thee real pleasure? Didst thou find solid satisfaction in it? If so, go back to thine old drudgery, and wear the chain again, if it delight thee. But inasmuch as sin did never give thee what it promised to bestow, but deluded thee with lies, be not a second time snared by the old fowler- be free, and let the remembrance of thy ancient bondage forbid thee to enter the net again! It is contrary to the designs of eternal love, which all have an eye to thy purity and holiness; therefore run not counter to the purposes of thy Lord. Another thought should restrain thee from sin. Christians can never sin cheaply; they pay a heavy price for iniquity. Transgression destroys peace of mind, obscures fellowship with Jesus, hinders prayer, brings darkness over the soul; therefore be not the serf and bondman of sin. There is yet a higher argument: each time you “serve sin” you have “Crucified the Lord afresh, and put him to an open shame.” Can you bear that thought? Oh! if you have fallen into any special sin during this day, it may be my Master has sent this admonition this evening, to bring you back before you have backslidden very far. Turn thee to Jesus anew; he has not forgotten his love to thee; his grace is still the same. With weeping and repentance, come thou to his footstool, and thou shalt be once more received into his heart; thou shalt be set upon a rock again, and thy goings shall be established.

- Charles Spurgeon's Meditations for May 30th

~Brittany

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Beginning of the Year Snap Shots

I know this is a very large overview, but I thought that it would be neat to share some of the everyday snapshots from the first part of our year.  Truly, family is a precious gift from the Lord, and He showers many blessings with it.

January
I love this picture.
Daddy sitting there with his two little girls,
and Sarah stroking his hair.  ~ So sweet.
Esther being a sweet big sister helping Sarah ride her bike.
(The bigger bikes always look like so much fun. :-) )
 Starting seeds for the garden...
...and setting up the green house.
Titus bought a guitar.
He was one excited boy when that package arrived!
Bell loves doing the little girlies hair, and they like curls.
She's a good big sister and an excellent helper.
A baby quilt we made for dear family friends back in Ohio who had a new baby.
Though we got it done later than we wanted, the timing in which it arrived was a special blessing to our friend.  The Lord's timing is amazing and perfect.
Working on a puzzle.
Several years ago we put together a puzzle to hang on the wall in our bathroom.  It was such a special memory maker.  Today as it now hangs in our new living room it still brings back memories of the precious time we spent together working on it, and the many hands that helped put it together.   We decided to put together a puzzle for each bedroom in our new home.  So we've begun that process of memory making again.  It will be neat to see the memories that collect as each picture is hung and enjoyed.  The Lord is so good to us, and these puzzles are just little reminders of His many sweet blessings in life.

February
Playing with Dominos
Installing a new air conditioning system with the help of some dear friends.
Little friends all dressed up
Breanna got her permit renewed since moving to Georgia.
The little ones were sweet and prepared a special tea, snack, and music to celebrate.
Sarah loves those puppies. :-)
Daddy teaching Esther how to tie her shoes.
A special Daddy thing.
The Lord blessed us with a large area rug that was given to us by some sweet neighbors.
Here the kiddos are enjoying it the first evening while playing a game of hearts.
Puppy dogs and dollies and two precious girlies. :-)
Hearts so full of life and love.
Moving the new laying hens to the other side of the property.
 Breanna doing the little girls hair up special for church.
Finishing a puzzle.
Sarah reading to Daddy and Esther...
...and Esther reading to Daddy and Sarah.
They are both learning to read and are doing really well!
Writing out recipes.
10 sweet, lively puppies - everywhere!
The kids loved it!

March
Matching Friends for Church
School Fun
Breanna and I both enjoy helping teach our younger siblings.
From time to time we like to take a sweet treat in to the place where Dad works.  This time we placed a trillion dollar tract on each individual baggie.  Though seemingly small, we never know how the Lord may use our small efforts of light.
Riding bikes with puppy company :)
Dad and Mom with all the little ones.  So precious.
Practicing their instuments
Working on the Barn
Here Dad and Tayte are installing the big roll-away door.
 Talking to Grandma on the phone.
Between the times we get to be together, we stay very in touch via the phone. :)

Elizabeth's 11'th Birthday
Due to a visit from special friends on her birthday, we surprised Elizabeth a day early by decorating the dining room and preparing her special dinner.  She was thrilled!
 She got a mandolin for her birthday.
Something she's been wanting for a while, and was very excited about!
Angel Food Cake is Elizabeth's consistent birthday request.
We only put one candle on the cake, and thanks to a creative big brother she got to blow it out 11 times. :)
Tayte and Sarah enjoying suckers, and each other.

Trip to the Tyson Museum where Dad works with sweet friends, the T. Family
 
Four sweet little friends
A bit blurry, but worth the capture of these four big smiles.
These two fellas made us a fenomenal breakfast of biscuits and eggs.
Yes, these boys can make biscuits! :)  Thanks to Mrs. T. sharing her excellent recipe, we are now frequently enjoying wonderful whole wheat biscuits.

April
After my bus trip up to Ohio, Grandma and I made the drive back down to Georgia.
That fifteen hour drive is a long hall, but we were smiling and laughing when we drove up and were greeted by a yellow smiley face balloon tied to the mail box followed by excited big hugs from everyone.  Inside they had decorated the dining room too, complete with smiley face sugar cookies (Grandma's favorite) :-).  It sure was good to be home.  Truly, there's no place like it!  We are all so thankful to the Lord for blessing us with each other.
Grandma reading to the little girls.

Each spring as part of the afternoon service at our church we have a time of people playing and singing hymns.  It's a neat way to see the children progress in their skills, and is encouraging to everyone.
 Titus playing Jesus, Lord of Glory
Esther playing Oh How I Love Jesus
Sarah playing Amazing Grace
Elizabeth playing Come Thou Fount
Elizabeth playing Rejoice in the Lord Always

Mom's Birthday
Mom's special request for breakfast was scones and poached eggs; her favorites.
For dinner we did a fish fry, and her favorite dessert - cheesecake with cherry topping. :-)
One of Mom's significant gifts was a coil binding machine, complete with every thing to get started.  She is extremely creative, and enjoys and takes very seriously organizing and taking care of everything in our home, with school, and with our hearts.  We are so thankful for her.  She is truly a virtuous woman of great price.
 

On the rare occasions when Daddy sits in the back seat, it's a big deal. :-)
You can only imagine where all the kiddos want to be.
Playing the Math Game
Daddy and the little ones playing ball
A quilt we made for another dear friend who recently had their first baby girl.

Thus ends our overview snapshots of the first four months of 2015 in the Alexander home.  Pictures are such a special way of capturing and remembering all those special memories and blessing that the Lord sends into our lives.  May we always take everything that He sends into our lives as sent from His hand for our good, growth, and joy in Him.

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
- James 1:17 -
"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.  He hath made everything beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end."
- Ecclesiastes 3:1,11 -

~Brittany