He Ordained Peace

 

 

O LORD, you will ordain peace for us; you have done for us all our works. Isaiah 26:12

Peace.

I doubt whether there is anything so sought after or valued in this world. Peacemakers are commended, both in Scripture and by society.

Why, then, is there not peace? War and conflict spread overwhelmingly and unceasingly around the world, which begs the question, “Is complete peace possible?”

And yet, God promised peace in Isaiah. Even more than that, the Sovereign Lord decreed, commanded, ordained that it should be so. Peace for us.

And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,
         And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” Luke 2:13-14

Around 700 years after Isaiah told of God’s promised peace, angels descended on the hills of Bethlehem to declare that peace had come to those of God’s favor.  What peace was this? This peace was Jesus, the Christ, who did our works for us. The Messiah who was our righteousness, became our sin, took our judgment, and delivered us from death.

And he ordained for us peace. Peace with God the Father through forgiveness. Peace because Christ has overcome this world — including sin and death. Peace that guards our hearts and minds. He is the Prince of Peace. Since it is his sovereignty that has ordained peace, peace must, therefore, be ours.

That must also mean, then, that wars and sin struggles are not the end. Senseless violence will not endure.

God has ordained peace.  By His Spirit we have peace with our God that our hearts can feel even in this war-torn world. By His perfect peace and strength may we persevere as peacemakers even as we await the fulfillment of time when the people at peace with God will live in a world of peace.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you; because he trusts in you.

Trust in the LORD forever, for the the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock. Isaiah 26:3-4

 

 

The Desire for What is New

The desire for newness seems entrenched in the human soul. Not mere newness for the sake of being new, but newness in the sense of a better, pure, hopeful rebirth. Looking forward to the new year, we set goals for how the next year will be better, how we will have new adventures, how we will be healthier and happier and more organized, how we won’t repeat past mistakes. So, we welcome the new year and gladly relinquish the old year that has passed.

As this year comes to a close, I find myself meditating on this idea of newness. I’m convinced this desire for newness is a reflection of the newness spoken into the hearts of believers in Christ:

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17

The promise is not only that new comes, but also that the old, the broken, the harden, the impure, and the worthless is gone. And we are saved to walk in newness of life. Are not my new year’s hopes a shadow of this grace-filled reality?

But, as happens every year, we realize that while there is new, much old is repeated in this year as in the last. What happens when the sayings of the sage resonate deeply in our hearts? Is there really “nothing new under the sun”?

In the believer’s failings, we read that the new self itself “is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” (Col. 3:10)

That in our old troubles, the Lord’s mercies are new each morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

That in the world full of the old hate, injustice, suffering, and death, there is a new world coming.

“For behold, I create new heavens
And a new earth,
And the former things shall not be remembered
Or come to mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever
In that which I create;
For behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy,
And her people to be a gladness.
… No more shall be heard the sound of weeping and the cry of distress.
No more shall there be in it
And infant who lives but a few days,
Or an old man who does not fill out his days…
They shall not build and another inhabit;
They shall not plant and another eat…
They shall not labor in vain
Or bear children for calamity…
Isaiah 65:17-23

The all-powerful, trustworthy God is the foundation of all hope in a new future without any stain of the old. So, while I clean out my house, plan a budget, and set goals for a new year, I do so with hope, not discouragement that old will settle back in — as we all know it will. I remember that what I do at the end of each year is not my hope for a better future, but merely an imperfect reflection of the perfect reality that is coming with Christ’s return at the end of all years:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, ” Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:1-5)

With that hope, Happy New Year!

Waiting…

One of the themes that has resurfaced during our study in the first part of Isaiah is that of waiting.  In chapter 8, Isaiah writes, “I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him.”  People who read this (even today) would be waiting for the day of the Lord when he comes to gather his own.  Waiting for death to be swallowed up forever.  And the waiting comes with promises:

“Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.” Isaiah 25:9

Judgment is coming on Israel, and so they wait for it.  Redemption is promised, and so they wait for it.  The day of the LORD is promised, and even today we wait for that final day.

In our day-to-day, we wait for other things, too.  We wait for jobs, for spouses, for children.  We wait to see if a loved one will pull through a health crisis.  We wait for a friendly face, for relief from pain, for a letter, for a phone call.  We wait to see the salvation of family and friends.  We wait to see if there will be enough money to pay the bills.  We wait for reconciliation.  We wait for forgiveness from others. We wait for healing.  When the time comes, we even wait for death.  Job seems to echo the heart of anyone who has waited when he said:

What is my strength, that I should wait?  And what is my end that I should be patient?

Job 6:11

And by the living, good, and gracious written Word of God, the believer has their answer:

I wait for your salvation, O LORD. Genesis 49:8

Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.  Psalm 25:3

Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. Psalm 25:5

May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you. Psalm 25:21

Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! Psalm 27:14

Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD! Psalm 31:24

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! … For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land. Psalm 37:7,9

Wait for the LORD and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when the wicked are cut off. Psalm 37:34

But for you, O LORD, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer. Psalm 38:15

“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.” Psalm 39:7

I will thank you forever, because you have done it. I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly. Psalm 52:9

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah Psalm 62:5-8

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.  Psalm 130:5-8

I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him. Isaiah 8:17

In the path of your judgments, O LORD, we wait for you; your name and remembrance are the desire of our soul. Isaiah 26:8

Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. Isaiah 30:18

O LORD, be gracious to us; we wait for you. Be our arm every morning, our salvation in the time of trouble. Isaiah 33:2

but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.  Isaiah 40:31

From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him. Isaiah 64:4

The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. Lamentations 3:25

It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3:26

But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. Micah 7:7

For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end–it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.  Habakkuk 2:3

“Therefore wait for me,” declares the LORD, “for the day when I rise up to seize the prey. For my decision is to gather nations, to assemble kingdoms, to pour out upon them my indignation, all my burning anger; for in the fire of my jealousy all the earth shall be consumed. Zephaniah 3:8

And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. Romans 8:23

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Romans 8:25

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge– even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you– so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. I Corinthians 1:4-9

For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. Galatians 5:5

And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise.  Hebrews 6:15

As a believer, I wait because God is Good, because he answers, because he is a stronghold, because he is faithful — his strength is my strength.  My end is one of glory and joy with him, and it is eternally secure.

Focus on thy Redeemer

I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. Isaiah 41:14

Spurgeon’s sermons are some of my favorite things to read (I read them mostly from this site: The Spurgeon Archive).  This morning, I read his sermon “Thy Redeemer” based on Isaiah 41:14.  Later, as I was doing laundry, Chis Tomlin’s Praise the Father, Praise the Son came on my Pandora station.  These both united for a wonderful reinforcement of the wonderful beauty and greatness of the Triune God — The Three in One.

“Now, brethren, suffer your thoughts for a moment to enlarge upon the fact, that the promise contained in this verse, “Fear not, I will help thee” (I will help thee), is a promise from Three Divine Persons. Hear Jehovah, the everlasting Father, saying, “I will help them.” “Mine are the ages: before the ages began, when there were no worlds, when nought had been created, from everlasting I am thy God. I am the God of election, the God of the decree, the God of the covenant; by my strength I did set fast the mountains, by my skill I laid the pillars of the earth; and the beams of the firmament of heaven; I spread out the skies as a curtain, and as a tent for man to dwell in; I the Lord made all these things. ‘I will help thee.'” Then comes Jehovah the Son. “And I, also, am thy Redeemer, I am eternal; my name is wisdom. I was with God, when there were no depths, before he had digged the rivers, I was there as one brought up with him. I am Jesus, the God of ages; I am Jesus, the man of sorrows; ‘ I am he that liveth and was dead, I am alive for evermore.’ I am the High Priest of your profession, the Intercessor before the throne, the Representative of my people. I have power with God. ‘I will help thee.'” Poor worm, thy Redeemer vows to help thee; by his bleeding hands he covenants to give thee aid. And then in comes the Holy Spirit. “And I,” saith the Spirit, “am also God—not an influence, but a person —I, eternal and everlasting, co-existent with the Father and the Son—I, who did brood over chaos, when as yet the world was not brought into form and fashion, and did sow the earth with the seeds of life when I did brood over it,—I, that brought again from the dead your Lord Jesus Christ, the Shepherd of the sheep, who am the Eternal Spirit, by whose power the Lord Jesus did arise from the thraldom of his tomb —I, by whom souls are quickened, by whom the elect are called out of darkness into light—I, who have the power to maintain my children and preserve them to the end—’I will help thee.'” Now, soul, gather up these three, and dost thou want more help than they can afford? What! dost thou need more strength than the omnipotence of the United Trinity? Dost thou want more wisdom than exists in the Father, more love than displays itself in the Son, and more power than is manifest in the influences of the Spirit? Bring hither thine empty pitcher! Sure this well will fill it. Haste! gather up thy wants, and bring them here—thine emptiness, thy woes, thy needs. Behold, this river of God is full for thy supply. What canst thou want beside? Stand up, Christian, in this thy might Jehovah Father, Jehovah Jesus, Jehovah Spirit,—these are with thee to help thee. …

…And now, I want you to read the promise, recollecting that it says, “Thy Redeemer ;” and then, as you read it through, you will see how the word “Redeemer” seems to confirm it all. Now begin. “I will help thee;” lay a stress on that word. If you read it so, there is one blow at your unbelief. “I will help thee,” saith the Redeemer. “Others may not, but I have loved thee with an everlasting love, and by the bands of my lovingkindness have I drawn thee. ‘I will help thee, though the earth forsake thee; though thy father and thy mother forsake thee, I will take thee up. Wilt thou doubt me? I have proved my love to thee. Behold this gash, this spear thrust in my side. Look hither at my hands: wilt thou but believe me? ‘ ‘Tis I.’ I said that on the waters, and I said to my people, ‘Be not afraid; it is I.’ I say to thee, now thou art on the waters, ‘ Be not afraid; I will help thee.’ Sure thou needst not fear that I shall ever forget thee. ‘Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.’ ‘I have graven thee on my hands; thy walls are ever before me.’ ‘I will help thee.'” Now, you must just suppose the Saviour standing here—that Man whose garments are red with blood; you must suppose him standing where I stand to-night, and saying to you, personally, “Fear not, I will help you.” O my Lord, I have ungratefully doubted thy promise many a time; but methinks, if I could see thee in all thy woe and sorrow for me, if I could hear thee say, “I will help thee,” I should cast myself at thy feet, and say, “Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief.” But though he is not here to speak it, though the lips that utter it are but the lips of man, remember that he speaks through me to-night, and through his word, as truly as if he spoke himself. If some great man should by a servant, or by a letter send to you this message, “I will keep you,” though you had not heard his own lips declare it, yet if you saw his own hand writing, you would say, “It is enough, I believe it; there is the master’s hand writing; it is his own autograph, it is written by himself; behold the bloody signature! It is stamped with his cross, and I his messenger am sent to-night to myself and to you, and I say to my own heart and to you, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? Why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him; for the Redeemer says, I will help thee,” and if he saith “I will help thee,” who can doubt him? who dare distrust him?
And now let us read the promise again, and lay the stress on the “will.” Oh, the “wills” and the “shalls:” they are the sweetest words in the Bible. “I will help thee.” W hen God says “I will,” there is something in it, brethren. The will of God started worlds into existence; the will of God made nature leap from chaos; the will of God sustains all worlds, “bears the earth’s huge pillars up,” and establishes creation. It is God’s “I will.” He lets the world live; they live on the “will” of God; and if he willed that they should die, they must sink as the bubble into the breaker, when its moment has arrived. And if the “will” of God is so strong as that, may we not lay a great stress upon it here—”I will help thee?” There is no doubt about it. I do not say I may help thee peradventure. No; I will. I do not say, that possibly I may be persuaded to help thee. No; I voluntarily will to help thee. “I will help thee.” I do not say that, in an probability, ninety-nine chances out of a hundred, it is likely I may help thee. No; but without allowing any peradventure, or so much as a jot or tittle of hap or hazard, I will. Now, is there not strength in that? Indeed, my brethren, this is enough to cheer any man’s spirit, however much he may be cast down, if God the Holy Spirit does but breathe upon the text, and let its spices flow abroad into our poor souls, “Fear not, I will help thee.”
And now we lay stress on another word: “I will help thee.” That is very little for me to do, to help thee. Consider what I have done already. What! not help thee? Why, I bought thee with my blood. What! not help thee? I have died for thee; and if I have done the greater, will I not do the less? Help thee, my beloved! It is the least thing I will ever do for thee. I have done more, and I will do more. Before the day-star first began to shine I chose thee. “I will help thee.” I made the covenant for thee, and exercised all the wisdom of my eternal mind in the scheming of the plan of salvation. “I will help thee.” I became a man for thee; I doffed my diadem, and laid aside my robe; I laid the purple of the universe aside to become a man for thee. If I did this, I will help thee. I gave my life, my soul, for thee; I slumbered in the grave, I descended into Hades, all for thee; I will help thee. It will cost me nothing. Redeeming thee cost me much, but I have all and abound. In helping thee, I am giving thee what I have bought for thee already. It is no new thing. I can do it easily. “Help thee?” Thou needst never fear that. If thou needest a thousand times as much help as thou dost need, I would give it thee; but it is little that thou dost require compared with what I have to give. ‘Tis great for thee to need, but it is nothing for me to bestow. “Help thee?” Fear not. If there were an ant at the door of thy granary asking for help, it would not ruin thee to give him a handful of thy wheat; and thou art nothing but a tiny insect at the door of my all-sufficiency. All that thou couldst ever eat, all that thou couldst ever take, if thou wert to take on to all eternity, would no more diminish my all-sufficiency, than the drinking of the fish would diminish the sea. No; “I will help thee.” If I have died for thee, I will not leave thee.
And now, just take the last word—”I will help thee.” Lay the stress there. “Fear not, thou worm Jacob; I will help thee.” If I let the stars fall, I will help thee; if I let all nature run to rack and ruin, I will help thee. If I permit the teeth of time to devour the solid pillars upon which the earth doth stand, yet I will help thee. I have made a covenant with the earth, “that seed-time and harvest, summer and winter, shall never cease;” but that covenant, though true, is not so great as the covenant that I have made concerning thee. And if I keep my covenant with the earth, I will certainly keep my covenant with my Son. “Fear not; I will help thee.” Yes, thee! Thou sayest, “I am too little for help;” but I will help thee, to magnify my power; thou sayest, “I am too vile to be helped,” but I will help thee to manifest my grace. Thou sayest, “I have been ungrateful for former help;” but I will help thee to manifest my faithfulness. Thou sayest, “But I shall still rebel, I shall still turn aside.” “I will help thee,” to show forth my long suffering: let it be known, “I will help thee.”
And now just conceive my Master on his gross bleeding there, looking down on you and on me. Picture him, whilst his voice falters with love and misery conjoined; and hear him. He has just now spoken to the thief, and he has said to him, “To-day, shalt thou be with me in Paradise.” And after he has said that, he catches a sight of you and of me, poor and depressed, and he says, “Fear not, worm Jacob; I will help thee; I helped the thief—I will help thee. I promised him that he should be with me in paradise; I may well promise thee that thou shalt be helped. I will help thee. O Master! may thy love that prompts thee thus to speak, prompt us to believe thee.
And now hear Him again. He is exalted on high; he hath “led captivity captive and received gifts for men;”—now hear him, as in the midst of the solemn pomp of heaven he is not unmindful of his poor relations. He looks down, and he sees us in this world still struggling with sin and care and woe; he hears us claiming kingship with himself; and he says, “Worm Jacob! though I now do reign exalted high, my love is still as great. I will help thee.” I pray the Lord apply the sweetness of that pronoun to your hearts, my brethren, and to mine. “I will help thee.” O surely when the husband speaks to the wife in the hour of darkness and sorrow, and comforts her, you can easily understand what arguments he uses, when he says, “Wife of my youth! my joy, my delight, I will help thee!” You can easily conceive how he enumerates times of love, seasons when he stood by her in the hour of trouble; you can easily think how he reminds her of the days of their espousals, and tells her of their struggles, and of their joys; and he says, “Wife, canst thou doubt me? No; as I am a husband I will help thee! And now you hear the Saviour speaking of his church. “Betrothed to me ere time began, I have taken thee into union with my adorable person; and O my bride, though my palace stand in ruins, and heaven itself should shake, I will help thee. Forget thee? Forget my bride? Be false to my troth? Forsake my covenant? No; never. I will help thee.” Hear the mother speaking to her little child in great danger; “Child,” she says, “I will help thee;” and then she reminds that child that she is its mother, that from her breast the child drew its needed nourishment in the days of weakness; she reminds it how she has nursed it, and dandled it upon her knee, and how in every way she has been its solace and support. “Child !” says she, and her heart runs over—”I will help thee!” Why, the child never doubts it, it says, “Yes, mother, I know you will; I am sure of that, I do not need to be told it, I was certain you would, for I have had such proofs of your love.” And now ought not we who love the Saviour just to let our eyes run with tears, and say, “O thou blest Redeemer! thou needst not tell us thou wilt help us, for we know thou wilt. Oh do not suppose that we doubt thee so much as to want to be told of it again; we know thou will help us; we are sure of it; thy former love, thine ancient love, the love of thine espousals, thy deeds of kindness, thine everlasting drawings, all these declare that thou never canst forsake us.” No, no; “I will help thee.”
… Come, bring your fears out to-night, and serve them in the worst way you can. Hang them here upon the scaffold this night. Come now, and blow them away at the great guns of the promises, let them be destroyed forever. They are renegade mutineers; let them be cut off, let them be utterly destroyed, and let us go and sing, “Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.” “I will help thee,” saith the Redeemer.
O sinners, I pity you, that this is not your promise. If this were all that you did lose by being out of Christ, it were enough to lose indeed. May God call you, and help you to trust in the Redeemer’s blood.  Amen.”

[Thou] whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou [art] my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away. Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Isaiah 41:9-10

Firm in Faith

I love when readings from two different sources on two different days speak in unison.  Last night during Bible study, we read Isaiah 7:9.  Today, the morning devotional (though on a different verse) from Spurgeon’s Morning & Evening series continued the discussion we had last night.

If you are not firm in faith,

you will not be firm at all.

— Isaiah 7:9

Where lies the secret strength of faith? It lies in the food it feeds
on; for faith studies what the promise is-an emanation of divine grace,
an overflowing of the great heart of God; and faith says, “My God could
not have given this promise, except from love and grace; therefore it
is quite certain his Word will be fulfilled.” Then faith thinketh, “Who
gave this promise?” It considereth not so much its greatness, as, “Who
is the author of it?” She remembers that it is God who cannot lie-God
omnipotent, God immutable; and therefore concludeth that the promise
must be fulfilled; and forward she advances in this firm conviction.
She remembereth, why the promise was given,-namely, for God’s glory,
and she feels perfectly sure that God’s glory is safe, that he will
never stain his own escutcheon, nor mar the lustre of his own crown;
and therefore the promise must and will stand. Then faith also
considereth the amazing work of Christ as being a clear proof of the
Father’s intention to fulfil his word. “He that spared not his own Son,
but freely delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also
freely give us all things?” Moreover faith looks back upon the past,
for her battles have strengthened her, and her victories have given her
courage. She remembers that God never has failed her; nay, that he
never did once fail any of his children. She recollecteth times of
great peril, when deliverance came; hours of awful need, when as her
day her strength was found, and she cries, “No, I never will be led to
think that he can change and leave his servant now. Hitherto the Lord
hath helped me, and he will help me still.” Thus faith views each
promise in its connection with the promise-giver, and, because she does
so, can with assurance say, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life!”

Summer Reading List — 2011

One of my favorite things about summer break (and Christmas break) is the chance to read… for pleasure… for hours on end.

Sylvie and Bruno — Lewis Carroll

A story beginning with two story lines that merge into one.  The first story line is in the world of fairy children, Sylvie and Bruno.  The second is in the world with an old friend, Arthur, and Lady Muriel.  Both stories focus on love, lessons, and the dozens of little moments that are to be captured in a day… or a dream.

“Wouldn’t it be better to tell me after the lessons are over?” I suggested.

“Very well,” Bruno said with a resigned air: “only she wo’n’t be cross then.”

“There’s only three lessons to do,” said Sylvie. “Spelling, and Geography, and Singing.”

“Not Arithmetic?” I asked.

“No, he hasn’t a head for Arithmetic — ”

“Course I haven’t!” said Bruno.  “Mine head’s for hair.  I haven’t got a lot of heads!”

” — and he ca’n’t learn his Multiplication-table –”

“I like History ever so much better,” Bruno remarked. “Oo has to repeat the Muddlecome table –”

“Well, and you have to repeat –”

“No, oo hasn’t!” Bruno interrupted.  “History repeats itself. The Professor said so!”

Keep a Quiet Heart — Elizabeth Elliot

This book could be used for daily readings.  Each chapter is short — 2-4 pages — and focuses on how we have peace through Christ.

“One day recently something lit a fuse of anger in someone who then burned me with hot words.  I felt sure I didn’t deserve this response, but when I ran to God about it, He reminded me of part of a prayer I’d been using lately: “Teach me to treat all that comes to me with a peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all.”

…Mercifully, God does not leave us to choose our own curriculum.  His wisdom is perfect, His knowledge embraces not only all worlds but the individual hearts and minds of each of His loved children.  With intimate understanding of our deepest needs and individual capacities, He chooses our curriculum.  We need only ask, “Give us this day our daily bread, our daily lessons, our homework.”  An angry retort from someone may be just the occasion we need in which to learn not only longsuffering and forgiveness, but meekness and gentleness; fruits not born in us but borne only by the Spirit.”

Isaiah — The Bible

Poetry punctuated with narrative tells the story of a nation who had forsaken their God, a man called by Grace and commissioned to preach, the fall of arrogant nations, the judgment of sin, the coming Messiah, and the salvation of God’s people, not just in Israel, but in all the nations of the earth.

And I said: “Woe is me!  For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar.  And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, his has toughed your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” Isaiah 6:5-7

Yesterday I came acrossA Divine Call for Missionaries, a sermon by Charles Spurgeon on Isaiah 6.  Reading that sermon made me want to add this book to my reading list.