Celebrate A Simple Life

it is no bad thing

To start blogging again… January 3, 2013

Filed under: life — Ellie @ 1:43 pm

You have to start somewhere.

Hello again, blogland.

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It’s been awhile.

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A wonderful while.

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“[Discontentment] is the hue of hell all over.” September 1, 2010

Filed under: Christian living,disconnected thoughts — Ellie @ 11:42 pm

I doubt anyone would want their tombstone to read “here lies Ellen Riley; she chased things.” I have really thought much of this over the past few days, and tonight when I read Thomas Boston “The hellish sin of discontent” it was so very clear- when we are discontent, we are in effect saying that it really would be best to dethrone God and place us in control. We are lashing out against His will in our lives. “What pleases God pleases them not; what is right in God’s eyes is evil in theirs.” Why do we feel we are lacking? Why does my heart ever cry out for just that one thing, the one forbidden fruit? The fruit does not appear evil; it appears plump and bursting with fresh juicy delight- but it is forbidden. What though God alone know the reason He gives it not? His will is perfect, and so we may rest in the hope that all He has ordained it best.

I see my own heart: I speak of seeing the enoughness of Christ, and for a time my heart bursts with that enoughness. His sufficiency is seen clearly; all that I have is Christ, and He is the only portion which will never leave me lacking. He is precisely what I need, and He is mine! I can never lack anything because His work has brought me to Him- what glorious truth!

Why, then, do my eyes shift so quickly? Why do I wish He had not ordained things as He has in areas? Why do I say in my heart, the struggles would be easier to bear if things were different- as though He had really mussed it up this time? “When we wish things were different, are we wishing that the reality in our lives was otherwise than God has ordained it?”

Christian! Why do we chase things as though Christ is not enough? How much of our lives are we willing to give over to longing for that which God has not granted? What He has given is far better. We long for certainty; He says instead to trust Him. What can we ever want beside Christ alone? These things seem of the utmost importance until we look upon Him. O! look upon Jesus! In Him, every Yes we will ever need is supplied. He works abundantly beyond what our minds can comprehend and do we think that we need more? Don’t we see the stupidity? “Faith finds all it needs in God” (Thomas Boston). When have we ever needed more than He gives? And the heart that has seen Him must cry Never, not once. Also, don’t we see the great worthlessness of anything that is not our lot in Christ? Far from being our good, it is the very thing He rescued us from: the emptying seeking of happiness and fullness in places other than Himself; and the devaluing of His worth by living for that insatiable lust for self-glory and self-happiness apart from God. “Seek for clear vision to see what is gain… remember what loss,” I reminded myself in my journal. Prayer is gain- be often in prayer. Discontentment is loss- flee discontentment. Christ is gain- look to Christ. All else is loss.

What can we do but agree, for we have seen it- before we were Christ’s, we ate hourly at the table of worldly delicacies and what can the believer say of those things now? All dung, it was all worthless dung. When we ate from that table, the taste of the foods offered there were sweet for a only moment before our bellies began to ache with that great aching, that emptiness in the pit of our stomachs that testified all too clearly of how unsatisfactory and unwholesome those foods were. Don’t you remember when you were alone and your eyes were stinging from the neon lights of sin which never satisfied? Don’t we remember when the religious mask wouldn’t fill the emptiness in our hearts? Don’t we remember the great lack which made everything bitter?

What of the fullness? Let us contrast now: we eat now at that table of Christ, where even the breadcrumbs are ten thousand times sweeter than anything that former table offered. We stay long at this table, and are filled- as the Beloved has said, “I am the Lord your God who brought you up out of he land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.” This is nothing like the greedy atmosphere at the old table of sin; for He brings us to this table and places His banner of love over us. Neither is this sweetness of that short-lived counterfeit nature: the blessing of the Lord makes rich, and He adds no sorrow with  it. This food is both wholesome and toothsome- it is the very best. In Christ we have found all the emptinesses that sin never satisfied to be filled. What lack do we have that we should be discontent? “Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.”

Let us never cease to look at Christ and remember what is ours in Him, for in Him alone is all that we need.

 

Hymn 765 July 31, 2010

Filed under: faith,following,quotes — Ellie @ 1:52 pm

My spirit on Thy care,
Blest Savior, I recline;
Thou wilt not leave me to despair,
For Thou art Love divine.

In Thee I place my trust,
On Thee I calmly rest;
I know Thee good, I know Thee just,
And count Thy choice the best.

Whate’er events betide,
Thy will they all perform;
Safe in Thy breast my head I hide,
Nor fear the coming storm.

Let good or ill befall,
It must be good for me;
Secure of having Thee in all,
Of having all in Thee.

-Henry F. White

 

You dwell with the King for His work June 28, 2010

Filed under: Christian living,following,life,quotes — Ellie @ 4:14 pm

There they dwelt with the King for His work
What is your work? Whatever it be, the Lord, the King, has done that kind of work Himself, and you dwell with Him here for His work.
Is your work with the little children, carrying them about, loving them?
In His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old. Thou hast seen how that the Lord thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the ways that ye went.
He has done the work that you are doing. You dwell with Him here for His work.
Is your work teaching the children to walk, giving them their food?
God says, When Israel was a child, then I loved him, And I it was that taught Ephraim to walk,–He took them upon His arms. I drew them with bands of a man, with cords of love; I gently caused them to eat.
Is your work to ‘mother’, comfort and strengthen?
As one whom his mother comforted, so will I comfort you, saith the Lord. The word comfort is from two Latin words meaning ‘with’ and ‘strong’ –He is with us to make us strong. Comfort is not soft, weakening commiseration; it is true, strengthening love.
Is your work the disciplining of younger brothers and sisters, patiently and lovingly leading them on, holding them unfalteringly to God’s highest?
What son is there whom his Father does not discipline? He does it for our certain good in order that we may become sharers in His own holy character.
Is your work in the sewing-room?
Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skin, and clothed them.
He has done the work that you are doing. You dwell here with the King for His work.
Is your work cooking, lighting fires in the kitchen in the early morning, getting food ready for others?
When the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore; but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. Jesus saith unto them, Come this way and have breakfast.
He has done the work that you are doing. You dwell here with the King for His work.
Is your work tending people, washing patients?
Jesus riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself. After that He poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded.
He has done the work that you are doing. You dwell here with the King for His work.
Is your work nursing, bandaging sores?
He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
He has done the work that you are doing. You dwell here with the King for His work.
Is your work cleaning?
I will cleanse them from all their iniquity–that is harder work that cleaning floors or washing clothes.
Is your work writing–writing on a blackboard in school, writing in the office, answering letters?
He declared unto you His covenant, which He commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and He wrote them upon two tables of stone. The Lord shall count when He writeth up the people, that this man was born there. God says, I have written to him the great things of My law. Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground. They are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
He has done the work that you are doing. You dwell here with the King for His work.
Is your work account-keeping, teaching or learning arithmetic, or the names of things hard to remember?
He telleth the names of the stars; He calleth them all by their names. Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
He has done the work that you are doing. You dwell here with the King for His work.
Is your work in the farm with the animals?
He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom.
Is your work in the engine-room, or the carpentering shops? Is it making things or mending things?
O give thanks unto the Lord that made great lights. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God. (The verb is the same as that used in Matt. 4:21, mending their nets.) Is not this the Carpenter? and they were offended at Him.
He has done the work that you are doing. You dwell here with the King for His work.
Is your work praying for others, enduring temptation, suffering for His sake?
He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem. Jesus kneeled down and prayed. And, being in an agony, He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. He, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the Cross.
He has done the work that you are doing. You dwell here with the King for His work.
Is your work to take the Gospel to those who need it, but do not know their need?
Your King did that work: I have spread out My hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts. In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink. But our Lord did more than speak, He went about doing good. Dwell thus with the King for His work.
~Murray Webb-Peploe, in Amy Carmichael, Kohila: The Shaping of an Indian Nurse

 

Christ is. April 10, 2010

Filed under: faith,Joy — Ellie @ 4:02 pm

The amazingness of God in the past year has been so acute. Who would have thought to think of it all? I find myself remembering that Christ promised He would make me glad, and finding that I did not believe. I didn’t know.

Everywhere I look in my past, there is Christ, urging me toward Himself- and when I look around the now, He is here still and the call is this: “Onward, Christward, you will not find Joy save in Me alone.” As when He called His first disciples, now He calls me: “follow Me.” How can I respond save by laying down my nets immediately and following? Would that I would follow more fully!

For years I alternated semi-despair and self-assurance. I knew the bitterness of trials without Christ to comfort (thank God I shall never be there again!). “I wonder now, Lord, what was it made me wait so long? And what kept you waiting for me all that time? Was Your love stronger than my foolish pride?” And His love was, and is today. That is why I need never fear that I will lose Him- I know that I will never leave completely: his is the love that will not let me go. It is a fearful thing to write- I must remember that I am “prone to wander, prone to leave the God I love.” I must tremble and cling desperately to Him always. And yet I know, at the same time, that He will never leave or forsake me. If salvation depended on me, then in my fundamental sinfulness I would never know Him- and even if once I could, it would never last. But salvation does not depend on me, and as Christ’s sacrifice was complete, so shall my salvation be. O the joy of knowing this!

My testimony is not elaborate, it is very “simple”. The fact is, it can be told in only two words: “He is.” Everything that He told us, He is. What I did not believe, He is. For years and years I lived in false assurance and aching and almost-despair. I knew, I saw in lives around me, that there was more, there must be more. It was very common for me to hear again & again these words: “look to Christ” and I would get so angry. I would even put it in words to myself, these words “Look to Christ! Which way is that?” Though really my heart was resisting, thinking surely there was some merit in me- but the there was not. I was a monster of iniquity. I began sometimes to see glimpes of the state of my soul- though I do not think I fully saw how vast was the chasm between me and the God Who filled with such fullness the lives of the people around me who knew Him. I did not see, really, until Christ had come, and filled that chasm. Somewhat unrecognizably at the time, in early 2008, I found everything I had been told of Him to be true. The morning dawned on my soul without fear of returning night. I was His, and He was mine. “What will you despair of now, Christian?”

One thing I can mention as something God directly (in a way I can see) used in drawing me to Himself is the life & death of a friend. When Amber Mathenia entered her completion, her witness did not die. She, being dead, yet speaketh. I cannot tell you how exactly it happened- all I know is that Christ is all, and that He is mine. O the depth of the riches of His kindness! At the very point of finding that I needed Him, I found that He was enough.

From that time I have found myself being drawn relentlessly into deeper and deeper love for Christ- and though my response to Him has often been far from perfect, His perfect love has always been sufficient, and I cannot go back- He will not let me, and His loveliness will not even let me want to completely. Particularly over this past year, I have seen Him show Himself again and again to be everything He said He was. Each time, it seems, I see that I had not believed before- I had not seen. And the blessed truth is, even now, “there will always be more for a finite mind to see of an Infinite God.” More! The “heights of love, depths of peace” are only “as through a glass, dimly.” What more may I see of Him? His “love hath neither brim nor bottom.” Onward, Christward! What heights of joy may I have yet to discover?

He has made me glad.

 

The Greatness of God over the past year with Personhood MS February 18, 2010

Filed under: Christian living,faith,Joy,life,PersonhoodMS,quotes — Ellie @ 1:26 pm

I scarce know what to say- where to begin.Who would have thought it? There are many miles between me and the girl who didn’t know what to expect petitioning for the first time nearly a year ago. There are many changes between the small group in our living room at the end of 2008 and the group gathered at the Secretary of State’s office today. And I can honestly say, I would never trade it- I wouldn’t trade it. “Who could have thought of such joy for us but He whose name is Love?”

I am at a loss as to how to begin to tell of how much He’s taught me- how much I’ve seen of Him this year. How is it that I can call this Saviour mine?!?This great King of Love- how is it that I can claim Him? He who does all things well? Yet He, even He, is mine and I am His- how can my human mind wrap around this? “What may I say of Him? let us go & see.”

He uses everything- everything in our lives to bring us Christward. This year, it was this.

I’ve been so many places this year- talked to so many people- looked into so many eyes. I have had so many experiences I will likely carry for the rest of my life, met so many people I cannot forget. I treasure those memories. I count some of those people as dearest friends- some, I count as brother. As sister. Who would ever have thought it? Listen, unbeliever, listen! All  the incredible things you have heard of Him- what He has told us- it is true.And when you have come to Him, you cannot leave. His loveliness will captivate your heart- there is no life outside of Him. What is the existence I called life before? In Him is life, and that life is the light of men. The true light, which enlightens everyone, has come into the world. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

I have tried to walk in my own strength, and have fallen .I have cast myself on Christ, and have found Him sufficient. I have forgotten, but He has not forgotten. Sometimes I wonder, how can I hold it all? “I wonder now, what was it made me wait so long?” I didn’t know it would be like this. I did not know. “How can they live without Jesus?” I know that I had to have Him, but I had noidea it would be quite like this. O the depth of the riches of everything that is ours in Christ! I cannot mention all the people, all the events, because I know I would forget some. I have spent more time  away from my family than in all the rest of my life combined. I have missed my family and my beloved Church so acutely at times- and have found that Christ is enough. I wouldn’t change the way He worked things- I am in a position to say that I would not change it.

We cannot look to circumstances to draw our strength, our hope from them. Our hope is found in Christ alone- He it is who has been our captain. How faithless we have been- but He is God. The gates of hell cannot prevail against His anointed. Why do we doubt? Why do we foolishly fear? And had we not turned in over 100,000 signatures today, it would have been no defeat. Christ has overcome the world- and it has been His good pleasure in doing so to grant us what we so desperately wanted. The morning has dawned for preborn children in Mississippi, but not because of us. Not because of the signatures. It is because the true light, which enlightens has come into the world. It is because He has seen fit to work in and through His people. What may I say of Him? Come, come and see?

 

Children are a blessing… December 26, 2009

Filed under: JOSIAH!,Joy,life,pictures — Ellie @ 5:02 pm

No Matter How Small.