Celebrate A Simple Life

it is no bad thing

“[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.

 

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

 

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?

 

In Your Presence there is Fullness of Joy December 7, 2009

Filed under: Christian living,Joy — Ellie @ 10:29 pm

Who could ever have thought up such incredible joy? Surely it is “He Whose name is Love”(Amy Carmichael). At times it grows so acute. It surges through my veins til their bulging, my heart races with it. I wouldn’t ever have thought of it- that is a beauty of the Love that will not let me go: He fills me with a joy which I did not think to think of- a joy which I do not understand. he is so desirable. “How can they live without Jesus?” No, we cannot call it life. What a great urge toward missions: that their are souls heartlessly swimming, sinking, drowning in a sea of meaningless existence. Will they drown there? Will they never know there is anything other? O bride of Christ, where is thy joy? May Your Joy descend, O God. Fill the bellies of Your people with it- compel us to action. May the joy of our salvation compel us to live for Christ in everything.

 

Are you a part of the problem? Or a part of the solution? December 3, 2009

Filed under: Christian living,following,Radical Christianity — Ellie @ 1:50 pm

God forbid that I should ever become apathetic. I know myself. I know how easy it would be to not care- I am surrounded, it seems, in American ‘Christianity’ be people who would probably never consider themselves apathetic- but it appears that in many areas apathy has become a way of life which they are so used to that they don’t even notice. And I know my own heart, I know how easy it would be… I don’t want to be comfortable with the fact that they are “making void God’s law” all around me. I don’t want to get used to souls dying all around.

But then it gets tricky. Then I see the apathy in my own heart- I see how little I really care. I see how seldomly I weep. I see how often I don’t care and I see that it’s easy to write good sounding words when it doesn’t cost anything.  Where is my heart? I never, ever want to be apathetic. I never want to not care.

They are not only people being immoral with other people. Not just people killing babies. Not just those horrific things- they are people created in the image of God living in open rebellion to Him. And I was once there.

The joy which is now my reality is available to those who will but come to Him. The Blood which paid my ransom, is it not effective for them? My Christ Who is what it means to have “life abundant” is more than capable to save them.

Not only that, but they are openly dragging the Name of Christ through the mud. And are not His people, by our silence, dragging it lower? Will the world look on and be able to say that we care less about the cause of Christ than homosexuals and pro-abortionists care about theirs? “Are you a part of the problem of a part of the solution?” Is the Name of Christ really worthy to be glorified?

Pray that God Himself would be with us. Pray that He would revive His Church and make us into a praying people. Pray the He would come.

 

The Big + pt. 2 (links) October 29, 2009

O.K, so I’m FINALLY posting the second part on this subject… although those who didn’t know I even had a second part probably didn’t notice… hmm…

First, visit the websites of Project Hopeful, Ahope, and the some of the sites listed here. Go ahead, do it. Read There Is No Me Without You (((older readers))). Research HIV.

Did you do it? Now consider what you have read: HIV is not so easily transmitted nor so “scary” as you might have thought. Now consider this: even if it was, that would be no excuse for God’s people to neglect His call to care for the “least of these.” Isn’t His carrying our disease and conquering us with His love enough to compel us to us to carry them- their sickness and their souls- before His throne? Isn’t it enough to inspire us to show them that love? Do we believe that the love of Christ is enough? Do we believe it will reach even them? “‘Love never fails’- is love failing now?” (Amy Carmichael)

 

Nothing Ordinary October 24, 2009

Filed under: Christian living,following,Joy,PersonhoodMS,quotes,random — Ellie @ 7:27 pm

“Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him.” Mark 1:16-18

nothing ordinaryPress on, Christian, take heart! “Nothing ordinary is equal to this new call.” (Amy Carmichael) – and yet it is so “normal”, so natural, it seems like it should be so “natural” that a child should follow his Father- his loving, perfect Father- about where ever and to whatever He calls- won’t we follow freely out of love? Don’t kick your feet and scream, you have no idea of the joy He has prepared for those who with their whole hearts follow.

And really, that is why nothing ordinary is equal to it- because of the joy. Nothing ordinary is equal to a Babe born of a virgin. Nothing ordinary is equal to His sinless life. Nothing ordinary is equal to His redemptive death. Nothing ordinary is equal to His saving work in sinners souls. And so we are compelled to ask “can anything be equal to following His call?” No, nothing.

Can we imagine beforehand the depth of the treasure-house of delight our Beloved has in store for those whom he is not ashamed to call “brother”? Now we do not follow to some abyss of emptiness- in the sense that where ever we are, whatever we do, we are never left empty when we call for Him to fill us. Now we follow to joy on joy, joy instead of joy. “Rude, crowding little children type of [joy]*” Not that there will never be sorrow, pain, hurt- but for believers, those things do not have to cancel out joy. Sometimes it may be a quiet, sad type of joy that it doesn’t look like [to others] you should even have. But if to live is Christ, then surely there is always joy. Surely there is great joy in following.
Also, nothing ordinary, I think we’ll find, is equal to the love- the Love of God from which it flows and the love to others which flows from this Greater Love. The type of love that makes your heart jump up and start screaming at the mere thought of your loved ones- the type of love that fills and flows over- but words fail.
And if humans, sinful man,  is capable of such love, compare it now to the to the Love of God to His children. There is not even a comparison here. Nothing ordinary is equal to this, no nothing. The comparison fails: our families, our dear friends, add so much- can give so much to us. What can we add to God? There is nothing in us. What does He ask of us through the power of His Son? He calls for our lives.  He calls for our all. He calls for us to serve Him through serving others. He calls for our love-our hearts.
And nothing ordinary is equal to this new call.
*Pastor John in reference to grace.