"A friend who is gravely ill... is greatly loved by many and has had a unique ministry because of her gifts of friendship and hospitality. Must she suffer?
The answer is yes. For the Lord who loves her suffered and wants her to fellowship with Himself. The joy of thus knowing Him comes not in spite of but because of suffering, just as resurrection comes out of death. I have a Savior because I am a sinner; a beauty is given the child of God in exchange for ashes.
We want to avoid suffering, death, sin, ashes. But we live in a world crushed and broken and torn, a world God Himself visited to redeem. We receive His poured-out life, and being allowed the high privilege of suffering with Him, may then pour ourselves out for others.
How can one's illness help another? By being offered to Him who can transform it into blessing.
A Lamp for My Feet
O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to Thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be.
-taken from Gateway to Joy, by Elisabeth Elliot ~Brittany
“O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness,
his wonderful works to the children of men.”
- Psalm 107:8 -
"If we complained less, and praised more, we should be
happier, and God would be more glorified. Let us daily praise God for common
mercies - common as we frequently call them, and yet so priceless, that when
deprived of them we are ready to perish. Let us bless God for the eyes with
which we behold the sun, for the health and strength to walk abroad, for the
bread we eat, for the raiment we wear. Let us praise him that we are not cast
out among the hopeless, or confined amongst the guilty; let us thank him for
liberty, for friends, for family associations and comforts; let us praise him,
in fact, for everything which we receive from his bounteous hand, for we
deserve little, and yet are most plenteously endowed. But, beloved, the
sweetest and the loudest note in our songs of praise should be of redeeming
love. God’s redeeming acts towards his chosen are for ever the favourite themes
of their praise. If we know what redemption means, let us not withhold our
sonnets of thanksgiving. We have been redeemed from the power of our
corruptions, uplifted from the depth of sin in which we were naturally plunged.
We have been led to the cross of Christ-our shackles of guilt have been broken
off; we are no longer slaves, but children of the living God, and can antedate
the period when we shall be presented before the throne without spot or wrinkle
or any such thing. Even now by faith we wave the palm-branch and wrap ourselves
about with the fair linen which is to be our everlasting array, and shall we
not unceasingly give thanks to the Lord our Redeemer? Child of God, canst thou
be silent? Awake, awake, ye inheritors of glory, and lead your captivity
captive, as ye cry with David, “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is
within me, bless his holy name.” Let the new month begin with new songs."
- Charles Spurgeon's Evening Meditation for December 1st
Today, as we all know, is the official day of Thanksgiving, the day set apart for the specific purpose of giving thanks. Oh how very much we have to be thankful for! Yes, life is filled with many difficulties, confusions sometimes, and even pain. When we look only at the trials and difficulties, life seems difficult to bear at times. But when we look up and focus on our loving Father who is Faithful and True, and begin to look around us and see all of the ways that we have been truly blessed, counting our blessings, naming them one by one, how can our hearts not be filled with joy and thanksgiving to Him who has richly given us all things?!
"I am reminded that God is my Father still, that He does have a purpose for me, and that nothing is useless in the fulfillment of that purpose- if I'll trust Him for it and submit to the lessons." ~Elisabeth Elliot
So here's a thought to ponder on...
We live in a day and age where everyone thinks they deserve something and certainly more than they have. But...
What about you?
Do you and I see how blessed we are? How much God has given us? In the midst of holiday shopping, family gatherings and football; take the time this Thanksgiving to stop and count your blessings. Thank God for the many things that you have to be thankful for. Above all, thank Him for the love that He has bestowed upon us in sending His Son, Jesus Christ, that each person might receive the free gift of salvation to those that believe on Him as Lord and Savior.
"Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered...Let us go forth therefore unto Him...By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to Him name." ~Hebrews 13:12-13,15
But they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of
their testimony, and they did not love their lives so much that they
were afraid to die. (Rev 12:11)
The greatest things are always hedged about
by the hardest things, and we, too, shall find mountains and forests
and chariots of iron. Hardship is the price of coronation. Triumphal
arches are not woven out of rose blossoms and silken cords, but of hard
blows and bloody scars. The very hardships that you are enduring in your
life today are given by the Master for the explicit purpose of enabling
you to win your crown.
Do not wait for some ideal situation, some romantic difficulty, some
far-away emergency; but rise to meet the actual conditions which the
Providence of God has placed around you today. Your crown of glory lies
embedded in the very heart of these things—those hardships and trials
that are pressing you this very hour, week and month of your life. The
hardest things are not those that the world knows of. Down in your
secret soul unseen and unknown by any but Jesus, there is a little trial
that you would not dare to mention that is harder for you to bear than
There, beloved, lies your crown. God help you to overcome, and sometime wear it.
—Selected, taken from Streams in the Desert, Vol. 1, for Nov. 16th, by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman
“Be most in those engagements which you have experimentally
proved to draw you nearest to Christ, because it is from Him that all your
fruits proceed.Any holy exercise which
will bring you to Him will help you to bear fruit.”
- Charles Spurgeon
“All great and honourable actions are accompanied with great
difficulties, and must be both met and overcome with answerable courage.It was granted the dangers were great, but
not desperate; the difficulties were many, but not invincible.For, many of the things feared might never
befall; others by provident care and the use of good means might in a great
measure be prevented; and all of them, through the help of God, by fortitude
and patience, might either be borne or overcome.True it was that such attempts were not to be
undertaken without good ground and reason, rashly or lightly; or, as many had
done, for curiosity or hope of gain.But
their condition was not ordinary; their ends were good and honourable; their
calling, lawful and urgent; therefore they might expect the blessing of God on
their proceedings.Yea, though they
should lose their lives in this action, yet might they have the comfort of
knowing that their endeavour was worthy.”
About six weeks ago the Lord blessed us with a very special blessing. It came in a very small package weighing 8 lbs. 10 oz. and was 19" long. This sweet little blessing was the first grandchild to enter the Alexander family; Tayte and Martha's first child. Miss Alexandria Lea was born on September 23rd, just five minutes after midnight. With a beautiful complexion and a very peaceful, content disposition, she was just perfect. Babies are such an amazing thing. Such tiny complexity; they are truly amazing works of God's hand. We are so thankful for this little girl. It is so precious watching Tayte and Martha be parents, and Alexandria has very proud grandparents and uncle and aunts. :-) Here are some pictures that we've been able to capture over these past weeks that capture these special moments.
Tayte, Martha, and Alexandria
Beautiful Little Family
just a couple hours after she was born
'Grandpa' & 'Daddy'
Those are two thrilled guys!
A special moment very late at night.
'Grandma' holding her first little granddaughter while she slept.
The morning after Alexadria was born we had four kiddos at our house who were very anxious to meet her. :-)
I love each of their expressions.
'Aunt' Elizabeth holding her for the first time.
'Aunt' Sarah holding her for the first time.
'Uncle' Titus holding her for the first time.
'Aunt' Esther holding her for the first time.
Since little miss Alexandria's birth, there have been many trips down the lane to check in on everyone, and we are enjoying watching Tayte be a daddy and seeing Martha being a mother. And there are always many arms that want to hold that special little girl. Here are some more random pictures.
Titus is a wonderful uncle; very tender and sweet with his little niece.
This picture was taken the first day Tayte and Martha brought her down to our house.
A very thrilled, awe-struck 'Aunt' Breanna
and a very delighted, amazed 'Aunt' Brittany
Sweet Martha and Alexandria came down for their first little visit one afternoon.
We all so enjoyed that! That little girls gets passed around the room a million times. :-)
~ First Time Babysitting ~
We were all so thrilled when Breanna came back home from Tayte and Martha's with Alexandria in her arms one day. It was only for about an hour or so, but that was one special hour with a very loved on little girl.
We neverjust stand around gawking at her. ;-)
Alexandria definitely likes her thumb.
She was sucking her thumb like crazy just a couple hours after she was born.
She likes her pacy too. :-)
Esther enjoyed holding her outside and Alexandria seemed contented by the environment.
Everyone wants a chance to hold her.
That smile could not get any bigger!
Father and Daughter looking at each other.
This was taken on Tayte's 20th birthday.
Baby close-ups. - A favorite at our house.
Beautiful little baby doll.
Such a cutie!
She really had Breanna and I cracking up on this one.
She kept pinching her cheeks and chin and making cute little expressions.
She had two very captivated aunties for sure.
Time to get out the baby toys!
The girls had lots of fun keeping Alexandria happy with all our baby toys.
It is so neat to be using these saved toys with our first little grandbaby!
So there you have a brief overview of the past six weeks of baby activity around our place. :-) I hope you've enjoyed seeing the newest little member of our family. We are truly blessed, very thankful, and totally thrilled! We are praying that the Lord will work in little Alexandria's heart, draw her to Himself and use her for His glory and for the building of His kingdom.
Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday in the Alexander home. And as it is approaching we are being reminded of the concept of gratitude once again. Truly, there is so much to be thankful for!
This blog post from a favorite blog we follow is a beautiful reminder to thankfulness. Hope you enjoy it and that it is an encouragement to each of you. And thankfulness really is catchy, so try it. :-)
In This Home, We Give Thanks: The Attitude That Changes Everything
I don’t remember exactly when it started, or even why.
But I got into the habit of making up these games when I was
a young girl.
Well, they weren’t really “games” but that’s what I called
them and it was my way of encouraging myself to do what was right…even when I
didn’t necessarily feel like it.
And for some reason, it kind of worked.
Not always, but often.
When I was a waitress, it was the
I was determined to be pleasant to my customers, no matter
how rude he or she was to me. It was a game I could always “win” because it
solely depended on me doing my part. Not only did I win, but I frequently
won over even the toughest of customers.
I was committed to beaming at my little ones…even when all I
really felt was bleary-eyed and grumpy. Another winning game because I simply
had to smile and I usually got a smile in return. And that way, we both had a
better start to our day.
Then somewhere along the way, I began the
And this game is my very favorite!
Whatever was going on in our day – in our lives – I had to
find something for which I could be thankful.
Maybe I didn’t get enough sleep, but I could be thankful
that I had a warm, soft bed to sleep in (when I could sleep, that is).
One of the nicest things about this game is that it’s
Like the other night, for instance. The boys were starting
to complain about cleaning the
dinner dishes when I saw one of our sons change his expression right
in the middle of his sentence. He stopped suddenly as he had this ah-ha
moment and then slowly said to no one in particular, “Well, I guess we could be
thankful that we have a family to feed.”
Then a moment later, “…and that we had dinner to eat. And
that’s why we have all these dishes to clean up.”
I smiled at him.
This is the attitude that changes everything.
Thankfulness might not change our circumstances, but it can
sure change our perspective and even our hearts. And that right there can make
all the difference in the world. Starting right here in our very own home.
So in this home, we give thanks.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of
God in Christ Jesus for you. ~ I Thess. 5:18
“Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”- 1Corinthians 10:12
It is a curious fact, that there is such a thing as being
proud of grace. A man says, “I have great faith, I shall not fall; poor little
faith may, but I never shall.” “I have fervent love,” says another, “I can
stand, there is no danger of my going astray.” He who boasts of grace has
little grace to boast of. Some who do this imagine that their graces can keep
them, knowing not that the stream must flow constantly from the fountain head,
or else the brook will soon be dry. If a continuous stream of oil comes not to
the lamp, though it burn brightly to-day, it will smoke to-morrow, and noxious
will be its scent. Take heed that thou gloriest not in thy graces, but let all
thy glorying and confidence be in Christ and his strength, for only so canst
thou be kept from falling. Be much more in prayer. Spend longer time in holy
adoration. Read the Scriptures more earnestly and constantly. Watch your lives
more carefully. Live nearer to God. Take the best examples for your pattern.
Let your conversation be redolent of heaven. Let your hearts be perfumed with
affection for men’s souls. So live that men may take knowledge of you that you
have been with Jesus, and have learned of him; and when that happy day shall
come, when he whom you love shall say, “Come up higher,” may it be your
happiness to hear him say, “Thou hast fought a good fight, thou hast finished
thy course, and henceforth there is laid up for thee a crown of righteousness
which fadeth not away.” On, Christian, with care and caution! On, with holy
fear and trembling! On, with faith and confidence in Jesus alone, and let your
constant petition be, “Uphold me according to thy word.” He is able, and he
alone, “To keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the
presence of his glory with exceeding joy.”
“I will take heed to my ways.”- Psalm 39:1
Fellow-pilgrim, say not in your heart, “I will go hither and
thither, and I shall not sin;” for you are never so out of danger of sinning as
to boast of security. The road is very miry, it will be hard to pick your path
so as not to soil your garments. This is a world of pitch; you will need to
watch often, if in handling it you are to keep your hands clean. There is a
robber at every turn of the road to rob you of your jewels; there is a
temptation in every mercy; there is a snare in every joy; and if you ever reach
heaven, it will be a miracle of divine grace to be ascribed entirely to your
Father’s power. Be on your guard. When a man carries a bomb-shell in his hand,
he should mind that he does not go near a candle; and you too must take care
that you enter not into temptation. Even your common actions are edged tools;
you must mind how you handle them. There is nothing in this world to foster a
Christian’s piety, but everything to destroy it. How anxious should you be to
look up to God, that he may keep you! Your prayer should be, “Hold thou me up,
and I shall be safe.” Having prayed, you must also watch; guarding every
thought, word, and action, with holy jealousy. Do not expose yourselves
unnecessarily; but if called to exposure, if you are bidden to go where the
darts are flying, never venture forth without your shield; for if once the
devil finds you without your buckler, he will rejoice that his hour of triumph
is come, and will soon make you fall down wounded by his arrows. Though slain
you cannot be; wounded you may be. “Be sober; be vigilant, danger may be in an
hour when all seemeth securest to thee.” Therefore, take heed to thy ways, and
watch unto prayer. No man ever fell into error through being too watchful. May
the Holy Spirit guide us in all our ways, so shall they always please the Lord.
- Charles Spurgeon's Morning & Evening Devotional for March 14th
It's time for another picture post. :-) May, June, July, and August. A little delayed, but better late than never. :-) It is amazing to look back over the months and see what all has happened. The Lord is so good and so merciful; he blesses us in innumerable ways. Here we would like to share with all of you some snapshots into our lives over these past four months. Truly, family is one of His greatest blessings, complete with the daily tasks and joys of life.
Roasting Hot Dogs
Campfires are a family favorite. :-)
Daddy and his little girlies standing at the entrance to Lowes
Through all the years of house remodeling, since the time we older three children were little, we have developed many fond memories connected with this store.
Martha's first Mother's Day
(as an expecting mommy :-) )
Special Mother's Day Brunch
The blueberry lemon scones have become one of Mom's new favorites. :-)
I cannot express enough how thankful we are for our mom.
Truly, we have been blessed with a godly, virtuous mother, and we are so thankful for her example.
And then our Dad :-) He is an amazing guy and a wonderful dad. We are very grateful for his godly example as well.
And then there is them as a couple.
We feel like we have the most wonderful parents in the world. :-) Truly, thanks to the grace of the Lord, we would not be the people we are today without them!
Mom's Mother's Day gift from Tayte and Martha
Baby bunnies the kiddos found.
Our Beautiful Little Flower Waterers :-)
Green Beans from the Garden
We were so thankful for all the produce the Lord provided from our gardens this year.
We have a lot to learn about gardening in Georgia, but the Lord is so gracious to provide.
Elizabeth trying her hand at Calligraphy
One of our many snake adventures. :-)
Our faithful dog is always on the spot.
Family Trip to Ohio & Indiana
On the way there. It's a long haul, but we have a lot of fun just being together.
Now is that face cute or what?! :-)
Our uncle brought Katie over to Grandma's to spend an extra day with us. The kids all had so much fun. :-)
Here they all are in the U-Haul we rented to bring some things back home in.
Family get-together at the Frame's
We so enjoy these precious times of catching up.
And so do the guys. :-)
This is a very typical capture of amusement among our guys.
Lilacs - Mom's Favorite :-)
:-) Best Buddies :-)
On our way to Grandma Webster's
Mom and Great Aunt Jenny
Grandma and Elizabeth
Mom and Aunt Tonja ... and Sarah
Playing "Mother May I?"
Traveling back home we made a stop to get out and walk around a bit.
These two are so much alike! :-)
These two are best friends. :-)
Who wouldn't want to be together? :-)
Curious little minds :-)
These two little girls love their big brother!
And he's very fond of them as well. :-)
Titus was a phenomenal helper.
Enjoying the outdoors, their playset, and a snack. :-)
Dad and Titus working together making a gun rack.
Our Gardens and Chickens
There's something so special about being a big sister. :-)
We sure do love all our little siblings.
Sunday afternoon fellowship with two precious sisters in the Lord.
We are so thankful for their friendship.
A stop on our way home from church to see the newest little member of our congregation.
While painting bedrooms we girls received a sweet note.
Titus is a sweet little guy. :-)
Setting up the swimming pool!
Very happy kiddos!
They enjoyed many, many a day this way.
Such a sweet thing to see.
Bell working on crocheting her first baby blanket.
Giving Daddy his Father's Day gifts.
We have such a loving, caring, faithful, godly dad, and we're so thankful for him.
Setting up Martha's Co-Sleeper for coming baby!
Produce is coming in from the garden.
Canning tomato juice and spaghetti sauce.
The two little girlies making cookies together.
They both love being together and in the kitchen.
Family Get-Together at Uncle Trent & Aunt Deena's
Jake taking the kids on one of many rides.
Playing a game of Hearts
Water Balloon Toss
Water Balloon Fight :-)
These two were definite ring-leaders.
We so enjoyed getting to spend this time together.
Grandpa and three of his four children
Little Sarah sweeping the kitchen floor.
So tickled with her new hair things.
Sweet Bell is so creative, and very grateful and joyful.
One evening we found this precious little note written on a piece of bark in our dresser drawer.
We wouldn't know what to do without our younger siblings.
Some neighbors were kind and shared their abundance of pears.
We had fun picking, and just being together. Even Tayte and Martha came along.
Canning up Pear Sauce
We so enjoy the times when we're able to do projects with Martha too. She is a precious sister-in-law.
Bell was so excited to start her own kumbucha.
She even made the little cover for it. :-)
Mom and Dad's 26th Anniversary
opening all their gifts
Their special dinner, set up out in the camper.
A friendly turtle made his way into our yard.
The kids were so thrilled. (and the dog was intrigued)
Esther's 7th Birthday!
For each of the children's birthdays up to 12, Mom and Dad give them a dollar for each year and let them pick out whatever they like at the Dollar Tree. It's always so fun to see what each one comes up with.
Here Mom and Esther are getting ready to leave.
Thus ends the overview from these four months. A very long post, I know, but I think it's neat to be able to look back, see and reflect on the happenings of life. I hope you all have enjoyed getting another little glimpse into our lives as well.
“O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth
for ever.Let the redeemed of the LORD
say so.Oh that men would praise the
LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! Let them exalt him also in the congregation of
the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.The righteous shall see it, and rejoice: and
all iniquity shall stop her mouth.Whoso
is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the
lovingkindness of the LORD.”