Grace. I "get it", on so many levels. I get it daily from the Father; I get it, in that I come to understand it for myself more and more and more; and I get it lavished upon me by the body of Christ; and I get to continuously lavish it on others. Grace is the gift of God, not of works, just in case anyone is tempted to brag.

Have you heard of the "DIY" television network? "Do It Yourself". It is full of shows that teach you how to do something yourself. Hey...when the battle is on, and victory is necessary, when it comes to the soulish man getting in line with the ways of God, when grabbing hold of the peace of God matters - there are seasons in a person's life when it's a DIY deal. Do It Yourself. You can't hire someone to do it for you.

Even this is grace. Much like when Paul said, "By the grace of God, I outworked the other guys..." Grace was made manifest in the life of this precious apostle, in that for the sake of the church, he went through great trial, and received for himself great comfort - and revelation! - from God.

No one can give to you what they do not own. I'd love to give you a Mercedes, but I don't own one. I'd love to give you a house on the lake - a place for you to go when you need to be alone with God. But I don't own one. Only such as I have, I give to you.

So to be able to encourage you, I need to have known what it is to receive encouragement from God for myself. "And David was greatly distressed....but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God." (I Sa. 30:6) I'm so glad David made that choice - over and over again he made that choice. As a consequence, we have chronicled for our benefit the journey of 150 chapters - one man's epic experience of encouraging himself in his God.

I enjoy "Do It Yourself" television programming. I regard as some of my happiest Saturdays, those few and far between off-days when I get to enjoy all my outdoor "DIY" landscaping shows, and home renovation programs. Love that stuff. I am a "DIY" kind of woman, married to the Renaissance Man, and every skill I have learned by doing something myself, no one can take from me, as long as I am alive. But above all other skills, the skill I hope to become a master of, is receiving from God. Being active and cooperative with God's Spirit is not antithetical to grace. Our inner initiative and involvement and even (gasp) a bit of holy work, when wrought from a foundation of grace, is manifest grace. It is grace upon grace.

Because David so encouraged himself in the Lord, David carries the anointing to encourage all of us, for all time. He has certainly been able to comfort us with the comfort he received from God. All the "right answers" in the world, all the soothing words we can speak to someone in their hour of need, carry no anointing when they are not the comfort that, at some point, we have received ourselves from God.

I have often said that my goal in all of life, is to be a good receiver of all God gives. That's it. Nothing more. I have been placed on this planet to receive from God, and I have come into great wealth, indeed. Hidden riches in secret places is a good thing. Durable riches can stand up to the pettiness, and even the outright cruelty, of others. Grace limitlessly received, is grace easily given. When someone feels the need to be important at my expense, this thought, without fail, enters my mind: "Let her have it. I can afford it." What would have otherwise been an offense, becomes the equivelant of a billionaire allowing someone to steal twenty bucks from them. "Good grief, take it, bless your heart! Need more?"

Others need the living water I drink. For Pete's sake (whoever Pete is), nevermind merely drinking it, I could splash and swim in living water all my life-long, if I do the work necessary to unstop the wells, open them up, and then ask God to enlarge my human heart to receive what gushes forth. I could offer you all the water you need. Why? Because I'm full of it.

::she says, as she laughs to herself::

Bottom line, I need to have first received from the Lord, for myself, before I speak to you. If I have not, somewhere in my history, wrestled till dawn and prevailed, a parrot could say what I say, and with the same result.

Polly wanna cracker?


Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. (2 Cor. 1: 3,4

Highlighted and Underlined

"My World", early this youngest, and his reading assignment...and our puppy!

""My World", late this evening... my book, my blog, and my cutest, furry companion...

The above things are exactly what my eyes looked upon this morning, and just now tonight. The best writers make you see exactly what they see. When you "get it"....when you should mark the moment and the passage. I'm sure you know how the best parts, the choicest bits of a book, should always be either highlighted or underlined, or both. Preferably both, and only after at least two readings. The first time through, you might have highlighted a sentence or a phrase or whole paragraph. The second reading, or third or fifth, often years later, finds you underlining, annotating, rejoicing in the fact that this truth has, over the years, become part of you. You've come to own it.

I want to share with you the underlined bits from the pages I've read this past week. Far from my first reading of Watchman Nee's "What Shall This Man Do", these underlined portions and phrases and truths have, in verity, worked their way into my heart over a course of years. Watchman Nee wrote it....I own it. Thank God for men of God who paid the price to become the message that they wrote, thus their words carry life, and bring forth life in me!

Finding it well-nigh impossible to read for mere pleasure, my heart is always poised and ready to recognize depth and weight when I plumb and handle and measure the heft of ideas. When I find depth...when I encounter heft....I feel compelled to share. So here you go:

"Head knowlege...may produce the appearance of life when conditions are favorable, but when the gates of hell come out against us, this all too soon discloses to us our true fate."

"The start of a true work of God within us, is not when we consecrate ourselves to Him, but rather when we see. Consecration should result from spiritual vision, it can never take its place."

"Given the right mood, we may accomplish a lot. But just as easily, in adverse conditions, we may put down tools entirely. As the fire will one day prove, work that is dependent on feelings or on the wind of revival is of little use to God."

"Two (wo)men may use the same words, but in the one you meet something you cannot get past; in the other - nothing. The difference is in the (wo)man. You always know when you are in the presence of spiritual worth."

"Once we have recognized the heavenly body, the church, we shall be very glad to have the tiniest part in it."

"There are those who want their contribution to be the highlight of the meeting. They are individualists, even when with others."

"Resolutely refuse schism. It is totally disallowed. The Divine will is that there be no schism in the body."

"The basis of our life is not "good or bad", but the anointing. "Is the Holy Spirit in this thing? Is my heart empty or full as I approach it?" Does the Spirit witness LIFE?"

"It is not merely that a man does certain things, moves in certain gifts, or says certain words, but that he is a certain kind of man. He himself is what he preaches."

"The Spirit gives gifts, but God gives men."

"Some speak, and we are helped. Others say the same words, and we are empty."

"In 2 Corinthians 3 and 4, when Paul comes to speak of his own ministry, he does not emphasize gifts at all. He is clearly much more concerned about the formation of Christ within."

"The natural man may discern between warmth and coldness, good doctrine or bad, but not between life and death..." (meaning: life is only spiritually discerned.) "It is easier to preach when some are present, harder when others are there. Why? It all depends on the pouring in or the draining away of life. Is life present? That is the question everywhere. Every member has a responsibility before God to bring into his house (local church) a ministry of the risen Christ!"

Worth Noting

There's this blog I have always loved. One of the best blogs out there, in my ever-so-humble opinion. Problem is, the writer had a nasty bout with breast cancer, and was entirely unsure as to whether she'd live to blog another day.

And so this blog-among-blogs sat silent for a long, long time. I was sad. More recently, I would visit the archives now and then, and come away inspired with some quote or germ of an idea for my own blog...for those times when my brain was creatively uncooperative, and my pages mute and blank for days. How many blogs are good enough to make you do that??

I wondered if I'd ever see a new blog post there again. In fact, I knew I might not.

Glory to God and shout "AMEN" (I am so not being facitious) I booted up today, to find a cheery comment from my friend and fellow-Scotswoman (I am not sure that is by maiden name, as in my case, but it is for sure by marriage, in her case, and that counts double!). Literally, she's alive to tell about the goodness of God, and has indeed lived to blog another day.

It is with a joyful flourish....a bow, even....with a grateful heart to the God Who Heals Us, that I introduce you to "Queen Shenaynay". (That is obviously a pen name...this family generally does not use their real names on their blog...wisely, I'm sure. Me? I am far too blase, and don't take such things seriously enough. Ahem. At least I don't post my address and phone number.)

She was also one of the Main Minds, one of the creative forces, in the formation of the best online homeschooling curriculum - the one I have used from the time it became officially Ambleside Online.

The link will be found over there, to your left. Ambleside was the result of the collective efforts of my blogging friend, plus a few other startlingly brilliant and self sacrificing women, who labored countless hours over many years, to both compile this curriculum, and make it available for free.

She's quite a woman.

She's back. She's blogging. Look out, world. Inspiration and wisdom is forthwith. Do visit her at You'll find my new-old favorite blog, back in business. You'll even see pictures of the Queen's oldest daughter (who graduated from homeschool, and is attending a university in Texas), who recently became a beautiful bride.

My friend may or may not be at her old energy levels - I do not know how often she will find time and energy to blog. But I assure you that every little bit she shares, whenever she shares it, will be worth the wait. When you have time to go lolly-blogging, do pay her a visit.

Girlfriend, I have so missed you!

A New Harvest Member

Tim and I, holding baby "Grace-Grace"

Harvest Church's newest member, Hannah Grace Bailey, baby daughter of our youth pastor and wife, Matt and Kelly Bailey.

::happy sigh::

The name Hannah means "grace". (Ask me how I know...) Her middle name Grace means...."grace". I don't need to tell you what the spiritual heritage is going to be for a little girl, whom God has named, "Grace, Grace!" She will be a mountain-mover; one who begins and completes great things for her God.

Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.

Words Fitly Spoken

If you can, it is always best to read poetry out loud. Whisper, if you must, but hear these words audibly...they are musical, full of cadence and rich layers of meaning. And by the way...the word "reck" in line four, means "reckon"...think about...consider the authority and greatness of God.

Gerard Manley Hopkins has always been one of my favorite poets (if not THE favorite...but oh, there are so many good poets!) and this particular piece represents his best work, and whenever I read it, it gives me that totally happy, satisfied-filled feeling, right in the center of my belly...

The Grandeur of God

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs -
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
--Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-89)

Golden and God-Kissed

A gift of a golden, God-kissed day
That began by finding it hard to say, "I'm unavailable for now"
And we laughed until it hurt.

A gift on a golden, God-kissed day
Of purple geode, pottery, poodle candle, probably a Shetland pony
Had I wanted one. But I'm too busy.

A gift through a golden, God-kissed day
Zipping horizontally, soaring, hilarious, precarious
Dead-serious about living while we're alive.

A gift by the means of a golden, God-kissed day
Of Mexican in the afternoon, ribeye at night
And disposable cups toasting prosperity of relationship.

A gift up a golden, God-kissed day
Sitting in suspended animation, holding his hand, sliding vertically,

Peering intently at Mt. LeConte, visualizing the Next Adventure.

A gift. One golden, God-kissed day.
Darts, fizz, sorry for those who are so religious they intimidate the Anti-Christ
Reveling in being together, nothing more.

If this was just one golden, God-kissed day
Just one pearl on a strand of many, what will a lifetime of days be?
The Lord says, "Very good."