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Comfort En Route Home (Spurgeon’s Faith’s Checkbook)

From Charles Spurgeon’s “Faith’s Checkbook”
Comfort En Route Home
October 2
And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. (Genesis 50:24)

Joseph had been an incarnate providence to his brethren. All our Josephs die, and a thousand comforts die with them. Egypt was never the same to Israel after Joseph was dead, nor can the world again be to some of us what it was when our beloved ones were alive.
But see how the pain of that sad death was alleviated! They had a promise that the living God would visit them. A visit from Jehovah! What a favor! What a consolation! What a heaven below! O Lord, visit us this day; though indeed we are not worthy that Thou shouldest come under our roof.
But more was promised: the Lord would bring them out. They would find in Egypt a cold welcome when Joseph was dead; nay, it would become to them a house of bondage. But it was not to be so forever; they would come out of it by a divine deliverance and march to the land of promise. We shall not weep here forever. We shall be called home to the gloryland to join our dear ones. Wherefore, “comfort one another with these words.”

From the Faith’s Checkbook Mobile Devotional Android app – http://www.LookingUpwardApps.com/fcb

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God with Us (Spurgeon’s Faith’s Checkbook)

From Charles Spurgeon’s “Faith’s Checkbook”
God with Us
July 1
God shall be with ye. (Genesis 48:21)

Good old Jacob could no more be with Joseph, for his hour had come to die: but he left his son without anxiety, for he said with confidence, “God shall be with you.” When our dearest relations or our most helpful friends are called home by death, we must console ourselves with the reflection that the Lord is not departed from us but lives for us and abides with us forever.
If God be with us, we are in ennobling company, even though we are poor and despised. If God be with us, we have all-sufficient strength, for nothing can be too hard for the Lord. If God be with us, we are always safe, for none can harm those who walk under His shadow. Oh, what a joy we have here! Not only is God with us, but He will be with us. With us as individuals; with us as families; with us as churches. Is not the very name of Jesus, Immanuel — God with us? Is not this the best of all, that God is with us? Let us be bravely diligent and joyously hopeful. Our cause must prosper, the truth must win, for the Lord is with those who are with Him. All this day may this sweet word be enjoyed by every believer who turns to “faith’s checkbook.” No greater happiness is possible.

From the Faith’s Checkbook Mobile Devotional Android app – http://www.LookingUpwardApps.com/fcb

 

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The Lord’s “Much More” (Spurgeon’s Faith’s Checkbook)

From Charles Spurgeon’s “Faith’s Checkbook”
The Lord’s “Much More”
June 24
And Amaziah said to the man of God, But what shall we do for the hundred talents which I have given to the army of Israel? And the man of God answered, The Lord is able to give thee much more than this. (2 Chronicles 25:9)

If you have made a mistake, bear the loss of it; but do not act contrary to the will of the Lord. The Lord can give you much more than you are likely to lose; and if He does not, will you begin bargaining and chaffering with God. The king of Judah had hired an army from idolatrous Israel, and he was commanded to send home the fighting men because the Lord was not with them. He was willing to send away the host, only he grudged paying the hundred talents for nothing. Oh, for shame! If the Lord will give the victory without the hirelings, surely it was a good bargain to pay their wages and to be rid of them.
Be willing to lose money for conscience’ sake, for peace’s sake, for Christ’s sake. Rest assured that losses for the Lord are not losses. Even in this life they are more than recompensed: in some cases the Lord prevents any loss from happening. As to our immortal life, what we lose for Jesus is invested in heaven. Fret not at apparent disaster but listen to the whisper, “The Lord is able to give thee much more than this.”

From the Faith’s Checkbook Mobile Devotional Android app – http://www.LookingUpwardApps.com/fcb

 

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Tears Shall Cease (Spurgeon’s Faith’s Checkbook)

From Charles Spurgeon’s “Faith’s Checkbook”
Tears Shall Cease
January 28
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. (Revelation 21:4)

Yes, we shall come to this if we are believers. Sorrow shalt cease, and tears shall be wiped away. This is the world of weeping, but it passes away. There shall be a new heaven and a new earth, so says the first verse of this chapter; and therefore there will be nothing to weep over concerning the Fall and its consequent miseries. Read the second verse and note how it speaks of the bride and her marriage. The Lamb’s wedding is a time for boundless pleasure, and tears would be out of place. The third verse says that God Himself will dwell among men; and surely at His right hand there are pleasures forevermore, and tears can no longer flow.
What will our state be when there will be no more sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain? This will be more glorious than we can as yet imagine. O eyes that are red with weeping, cease your scalding flow, for in a little while ye shall know no more tears! None can wipe tears away like the God of love, but He is coming to do it. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Come, Lord, and tarry not; for now both men and women must weep!

From the Faith’s Checkbook Mobile Devotional Android app – http://www.LookingUpwardApps.com/fcb

 

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A Wonderful Guarantee (Spurgeon’s Faith’s Checkbook)

From Charles Spurgeon’s “Faith’s Checkbook”
A Wonderful Guarantee
January 5
I will strengthen thee. (Isaiah 41:10)

When called to serve or to suffer, we take stock of our strength, and we find it to be less than we thought and less than we need. But let not our heart sink within us while we have such a word as this to fall back upon, for it guarantees us all that we can possibly need. God has strength omnipotent; that strength He can communicate to us; and His promise is that He will do so. He will be the food of our souls and the health of our hearts; and thus He will give us strength. There is no telling how much power God can put into a man. When divine strength comes, human weakness is no more a hindrance.
Do we not remember seasons of labor and trial in which we received such special strength that we wondered at ourselves? In the midst of danger we were calm, under bereavement we were resigned, in slander we were self-contained, and in sickness we were patient. The fact is that God gives unexpected strength when unusual trials come upon us. We rise out of our feeble selves. Cowards play the man, foolish ones have wisdom given them, and the silent receive in the self-same hour what they shall speak. My own weakness makes me shrink, but God’s promise makes me brave. Lord, strengthen me “according to thy word.”

From the Faith’s Checkbook Mobile Devotional Android app – http://www.LookingUpwardApps.com/fcb

 

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Picture It And Write It, Prompt #28

I’ve been dealing with being physically and mentally drained for a few days because of some meds for fibromyalgia and for bone spurs on my spine.  After a 6 hour nap yesterday I finally feel like I’m back on an even keel today, so I thought I would try to spark my creativity by taking Terry’s lead, from http://terry1954.wordpress.com/ , using a writing prompt to boost my imagination.  She gets the writing prompts from  Picture it & write or   Ermiliablog, and I thank all of these blogs for sharing this picture with me.  So here it goes…

It had been years since Charity had been back to her hometown, but it was time now to face her past and the sin that had held her captive.  She must go back to the beginning, and just a few moments in her mother’s home looking at old photo albums was enough to trigger many memories, both good and bad.  Now driving down to the lake, she hoped that some of those memories would explain to her where she went wrong.  Not much had changed except the lake seeming to take back some of the land that surrounded it, a result of the Spring storms that inundated the region, pouring down flood inducing rains for days.  Mom had said the flood had reached over the top of the old dock, crumbling it like a pile of matchsticks.  The city council had decided not to rebuild it, since there was a new pier available at the new Marina just a mile around the lake from the old pier.  Pulling into the Marina, Charity marveled at the beauty that had been put into its creation.  Beautiful oaks grew to each side of the entrance, giving shade to the long drive into the Marina.  A variety of flowers stood like a welcoming committee as they lined the street under the shade of the oaks.  As Charity entered the gate, she was greeted by a security guard, who welcomed her to the Marina, and made small talk about the weather today, and how he hoped she enjoyed her time at the new Marina.  After collecting her five dollar parking fee, the security guard gave her a receipt, a pamplet of services offered and planned activities of the day, and waved her on.  He reminded Charity of a programmed robot, showing no emotion, and repeating the same mantra over and over.

Back in her childhood days, Charity would not be going to a marina on a Sunday.  For years every Sunday she would go with her parents to the little church just a few miles south of the new Marina.  She remembered how much she loved Sundays back then, the singing, people praising God together, and a sermon from Pastor Smith that left each person meditating on their relationship with Jesus Christ.  The old church had been a place of solace, of love, and a beautiful place filled with peace.  Peace…that is what Charity needed now.  Life had taken its toll on her, and nothing in her life brought peace.  After she checked out the new Marina, Charity decided to drive around the lake to the old church and see if she could make the evening service at least.

Walking around the Marina, Charity marveled at the beautiful, white marble columns that adorned the entrances of the club house.  There was everything a community could want at this marina, from a large resteraunt, to a conciearge to fulfill your every need.  There was an 18 hole state-of-the-art golf course to the north of the main building, a series of boating docks and a pier lined with old fashioned street lights reaching out into the large lake.  One dock was lined with paddle boats and canoes for rent.  The other docks were lined with ski boats, family cruisers, speed boats, pontoons, and bass fishing boats, all just waiting for the owners to take them out on the lake.  It looked like there were many families, fishermen, and water skiers preparing to make excursions out on the lake for the day.  Charity wondered about why none appeared to have come from a church service, none were in church clothing, and all seemed to be more involved in family and friend activities, and the seeking of worldly enjoyment than on giving any acknowledgement to the Maker of this day and of the creation they were about to enjoy.  This was quite different from when Charity was a child, because it was stressed that this day was the Lord’s and a day of rest.  Church would have been a families first destination, and their last destination as well.  In between there might be a picnic at the lake or a family dinner at home, but to spend the whole day on the lake was not something that was even considered for a Sunday.  Although this way of spending a Sunday was common in the city, Charity began to wonder what caused this change here in the small town she loved.  Were there even churches in the community anymore, or had the churches changed their day or times of worship to allow this activity?  She began to wonder more about the little church around the lake where she had attended as a child.  Looking at her watch, Charity decided a quick lunch and tour of the clubhouse would allow her time to drive to the church, and make it just in time for the evening service.

An unfriendly hostess, led Charity across the diningroom to a table by the main row of windows.  She mentioned that this was the area the mayor liked to sit in the most, because he was able to see money rolling into the town’s bank account.  Charity was amazed at how materialistic that thought was, and a feeling of nausea filled her stomach.  One of the things that had made her leave the big city was the materialistic attitude that seemed to permeate the rude behavior of soceity there.  No one seemed to care about their neighbor, only how they could take advantage of them.  Consideration, compassion and respect were absent for the most part, and because they were missing the feeling of community and neighborhood were absent as well.  After perusing the menu, whistling at the high prices, Charity settled for a simple bowl of New England Clam Chowder, the House Roll, and a Chef Salad for lunch.  Bowing her head, Charity gave thanks, not only for the food but for being back in a community where God was still put first.  As she raised her head, Charity realized that many eyes were upon her, as if she was doing something unusual.  She looked around the diningroom and realized she was the only one who seemed to be bowing their head in prayer before their meal.  That nauseated pit in her stomach began to grow even more.  Finishing up her food, paying her check, Charity quickly walked around the Club House, took in the Gift Shop, the Golf Pro Shop, the Rental Desk, and perused the rack of pamplets of things to do at the Marina and in the area.  Taking a few, Charity walked to her car, stopping long enough to take in one more view of the whole Marina, before she got in and drove back through the oak and flowered lined entrance.   It seemed that this visit to the Marina had only left a larger feeling of loss and anxiety in her.  Where was the peace that she had come back to her hometown to find?  Charity was beginning to wonder what had happened to the hometown she remembered.

At least the gravel road leading to her old church had not changed, and the forest that lined part of the road were still in tack.  Charity remembered hunting mushrooms in this forest, and gathering raspberries and blackberries from the bushes that grew at the edge of trees.  She always came back with enough for Mom to make pies for Sunday dinner, along with pockets full to snack on herself.  Mom always laughed at the stains of red and purple on Charity’s face, that told the truth about how many berries had actually been eaten as she picked them from the bushes.  A sense of impending peace filled Charity’s soul, only to be shattered by reality a few moments later.  Coming into the clearing of the parking area near the bridge that led to the little chapel of her youth, Charity stared in disbelief.  Her childhood memories of the little church were battling with the reality that lay before her eyes at this very moment.

The lake had all but swallowed up the land the little church set upon, and the bridge that once lay over a small creek set over a river of water from the lake that now surrounded the church, leaving a little island of land, with the church perched on the edge of it.  Where the bridge had once gleamed of white washed boards lining it, was now nothing but old damaged wood with rusty nails, and missing boards.  The path that once had been lined in beautiful wild flowers, was now lined with mud and cracked dry dirt in places.  The once well-kept lawn of the church grew wild with grass, weeds, and brush.  Only a few scraggly trees still stood near the little chapel, that looked like it would fall apart should a slight wind blow against it.  Not a drop of white paint had graced the outside of the church in years, and it was obvious that the community had let it fall into disrepair for some time.  At least the steeple was still on top, and the little metal cross that had been made by the local blacksmith as a gift to the church, still stood, watching over the lake side of the church.  As Charity looked across the lake beside the church, the glow of the gleaming white structures of the Marina spoke of where the community’s focus had been.  It wasn’t on God anymore, not on his church, but on the materialistic enjoyment of the worldly things.  Charity’s heart sank even more.

Charity was thankful that she had decided to wear tennis shoes this morning, especially when she saw what she would have to traverse to get to the little church building.  There were sticker bushes lining the broken and missing boards of the path to the bridge.  Rusty nails stuck out of the walkway, and the rail across the bridge.  Near the water’s edge the mud was slimy and thick, but the ground around the little island still appeared dry and cracked, much like her soul had felt for the past few months since losing the one man she had loved to a car accident, and then suffering a miscarriage just days later.  These losses had left her feeling empty, dry of the ability to shed tears, and as if her heart was cracked beyond repair.  Somehow this old church and its surroundings spoke with empathy to her very being.  Charity gently opened the creaking door at the front of the church, and cleared the cobwebs that hung like spooky lace curtains inside the room.  She stopped a moment at the greeter’s stand that still stood by the center entrance to the church sanctuary.  Blowing dust off the visitor’s book, and flipping through the pages, Charity noticed that there were fewer and fewer entries in the book over the last decade and a half, until finally there were no more in the last 4 years.  A sadness filled her soul, as she realized this book marked the last heartbeats of the little chapel.  A tear dropped upon the now graying silk of the book’s cover, as Charity mournfully closed it.  Walking into the sanctuary, Charity noticed that the heart of the church, although dingy, filled with cobwebs and aging broken pews, still held a warmth to it.  It was obvious that someone had been in there in the last few years, as there were areas on the velvet covered altars that were free of dust.  The shapes of elbows and knees impressed upon the knee rest and along the top of the altar spoke of someone’s journey to the church to pray.  Charity dusted off a seat in a pew near the altar where the prints were and she sat.  Could these be the prints of someone hurting like her?  Were they the prints of a parent remembering a child who was loss,  or a wife mourning the loss of a husband?  In her heart she asked the Lord to give peace to the person who had traveled there to pray, and seek peace in their stormy life.

Leaning back, Charity’s memories took over.  She could hear the old piano playing, and a small choir of usually 7 singing…”Softly and tenderly, Jesus is calling.  Calling for you and for me.  Here on the portals he’s waiting and watching, Watching for you and for me.”  Charity heard herself join in on the chorus of the old prayer hymn…”Come home, come home.  Ye who are weary come home.  Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, Calling ‘O sinner, come home.”   Tears streamed down her eyes, as Charity felt drawn to the alter, to fill in the empty impressions with her own knees and elbows.  Prayer crept for her lips, as she asked for healing for her broken heart, and peace for her weary soul.  An arm filled with love and warmth reached around her shoulder, and a soft prayer was being raised beside her, for a daughter who had been lost to the world, but now had come home.  There was a thankfulness for many prayers finally answered for the child, and another prayer for healing and peace, then a simple amen to close it out.  Teardrops and another set of imprints of one handprint and two more knees joined the other imprints on the altar.  As Charity looked up, the tears flowed even more, as she realized it was her mother who had made those original imprints on the altar.  It was her mother who had come weekly on Sunday to pray for a loss child, and ask the Lord to bring her home.  It had been her mother who asked God to bring peace and comfort to a child who had suffered loss.  It was Charity’s mother, whom she had left alone in her hometown over 15 years ago, after her father had passed on, who had faithfully held onto her child in love, hope, and prayer.  Tears streamed faster down two faces now, as the welcoming of a Prodigal Child now happened.  This was not the superficial one that they had shared earlier, but the welcome that God always has for his child who has been lost, the welcome of a parent who had poured out prayer to a Heavenly Father for a child that they shared concern for.  This was the warm welcome and celebration that one who has found their way home longs for, and it was Charity’s to treasure forever.  As the two women, old and young, walked arm and arm out of the rugged, empty chapel, out into the evening, Charity and her mother turned for a moment to look at the church that brought them back together.  The glow of the sunset, gleamed like candles in the dusty windows, and at the top, the sun gleemed off of the metal cross, making it shine with golden warmth.  Charity felt the peace she had longed for bubble over inside her, and knew that although the church had been abandoned and broken down, God had not abandoned it, nor had he abandoned her.

 

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A Tribute For My Mom

For those of you whose mothers are still alive, appreciate them, honor them, and show your love to them daily.  At the young age of 21 I lost my mom to colon cancer.  She was only 58 when she passed on and by a miracle of God that was 3 years longer than the doctors had given her to live.  I wonder often if my life would have been different had my mom been around for most of it.  I learned at 21 that you have to make the most of the time we have with others, because none of us are promised another day or another moment.  Life is too short to hold grudges, and letting anger or hurt come between you and someone you love only ruins your life.  I was blessed to be able to stay with my mom in the hospital her last few weeks of life, and during that time my mom shared a great deal of wisdom with me, and more than a few memories of when she was young.  As she spoke, I wrote each word down in a notebook, which I’ve since handed down to my oldest daughter as a memory of her grandmother who she remembered with love.  Since Mother’s Day is this weekend, I decided to post a poem I wrote for my mom on the 2nd anniversary of her passing on. 

Mom with 5 out of the nine children in our family. That is me, the tow-headed blond on her lap.

For Mom

In the midst of my sorrow,

I feel joyful tears.

Though she’s not around today,

I will see her in future years.

She was dear, kind, and sweet,

All the things that make a mother.

She forgave all the things I did.

To me, there could be no other.

She taught me right from wrong,

Although I often chose the wrong way.

When it turned out bad, she picked me up,

And showed me how to start a new day.

For the pain I put her through,

And the love she gave to me,

I know she did the best she could do,

Back then I didn’t, but now I see.

It’s funny how you never realize

Until the time is too late,

How good things were and how she cared,

Then you know as a mom she was great.

She shared the many tears you shed,

Your love, your hopes, and your joys.

She shared you many problems,

Whether school, family, or boys.

Her wish for you was always the best,

Only hoping for that which was good,

But then you chose all the rest,

Instead of that which you should.

She still stood by you,

And yes, she still cared,

If you had just realized

How well you really fared.

She may have yelled, or spanked you,

A couple of times or more.

She did it because you did things wrong.

You know, it hurt her to the core.

It’s not easy being a mom.

You see, I finally know it.

My mother was my role model,

And in her mold, I hope I fit.

Like I said, my mom is gone.

She went to Heaven’s sunny shores.

I know that I did her wrong,

I pray you don’t do the same to yours.

One day, I pray and not to long

I’ll join my Mom in Heaven above.

There I’ll be able to tell her what she meant

And share with her my love.

 I love you, Mom, and I’ll see you one day in Heaven!

Mom and Dad, with 6 of us, friends of my parents, and a soon to be son-in-law (center back row next to my oldest sister). I’m the little one asleep in my mother’s arms.  This was taken just before my little brother, Tim was born and before we left for the Azores.

My mother with my oldest daughter.

My mom and dad with the 7 youngest of the 9 siblings. I’m the one sitting in between my parents. This was taken the last year my dad was in the Air Force, and the same day that my mom found out that perms don’t take in my hair very well. It was suppose to be curly like her’s, but fell out within minutes of leaving the beauty shop. The dress I’m wearing is one my mom made me for Wizard of Oz material.  Mom usually made my clothes, since I was so much younger than my sisters, and raised among most of the boys.  By the time I came along hand me downs wouldn’t happen until I was a teen and my sisters were all married and away from home.  Then they would send things they had grown out of, or I bought my own clothes.  My fondest memories of my mom revolve around sewing ornaments for our Christmas tree, or helping her make a quilt. 

This is the last picture I took of my mom and dad together, our last trip to Chicago to visit my aunts and uncles on my mother’s side of the family. Little did I know it would be the very last of my mom, as she would pass away the beginning of the next year.

 

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