Thursday, February 9, 2017

An Old Book Revealing An Old Truth

Matthew 16:24 - Jesus said to His disciples..."Follow Me."

Found this from 2010. Time to pick up the book yet again! 

I have a book I decided to pick up and start reading...again. I started a year ago but put it aside for some reason. It's called 
Devotee and a Darling: or the Difference Between Them by Becca Middleton Samson. A name you do not recognize? Probably not. The book I have was my grandmother's and inside the cover it says, Emma Pries, Christmas 1900! So, one hundred and seventeen years ago...

Each chapter begins with a spiritual quote...flowery words from days gone by. But they are just as meaningful today. Words of love. Words of promise. Words that show us Jesus' unfailing bidding that we follow Him. Words that define the changes that take place within our souls when we heed His call. Words that describe the inability to express a life in Christ! 

Quote #1Self is the only prison that can ever bind the soul; Love is the only angel who can bid the gates unroll; and when He comes to call thee, arise and follow fast; His way may lie through darkness, but it leads to life at last. - Henry Van Dyke 

From what I gather, the book is about one young woman's growth into maturity and her life's journal and letters she writes to friends and receives from them. It's about her spiritual development through troubling times...and where she gets her strength. A short review of the book online told me it was about a teenage girl whose life is a bit pushed to the limit within her family and how she begins to realize where she's been wrong and how she overcomes, perhaps through her sudden realization that God's love encompasses so many things. How in the power of His love we have strength.

On page two we already see the evidence of a book where Jesus is going to permeate the pages and incorporate Himself into this woman's way of life! The walls (of her bedroom) were covered with pictures of religious subjects; over the disordered bed hung an almanac displaying a pious verse and the Bible text for the day; a brown placard with a white What Would Jesus Do? was fastened to the top of the looking-glass, and among a tangle of brushes, combs, and the various bottles and pots of the dressing table, stood an array of illuminated cards and pictures, all of the same religious description...

Fannie is to begin a new journey in her life as she has heard the preaching of a new minister in town. He has talked about the theme of the Bible and life as being love. God's love for man and man's love for God. She was enthralled by the words he spoke: ...if one would think of God as love, and love only, and would cultivate the habit of looking at the world through this transforming medium, that soon we could see nothing else but love, even in what we are in the habit of calling calamities.

He continued: Love banishes sin...disarms temptations...cancels duty...solves the whole problem of the Christian life...just open the heart and let it enter, as one opens a window and lets in the sunlight. Okay, get it? Jesus is love and He is the light of the world, just open your hearts to Him and let His sun (Son) shine in. 

Quote #2(don't worry, I'm not adding them all!): I have sometimes had in my sleep strange perceptions of a vivid spiritual life near to and with Christ and multitudes of holy ones, and the joy of it is like no other joy--it cannot be told in the language of the world. What I have done, I know with absolute certainty, yet it is so unlike and above anything we conceive of in this world that it is difficult to put it into words. - Harriet Beecher Stowe

Oh, tell it Harriet! I know exactly what she means. Words cannot express the spiritual things, the mysteries, of God. Only when you allow yourself to take Him into your life will you truly understand. (Determined to read about Harriet's life now, too.)

Just imagine...the story of Jesus is timeless. Whether 117 years ago or 2,000 years ago...or today. The words might be phrased differently today, but the story is still the same. It's always been about the love of God. It's always been about this God who created and put order into this world. And how He is so willing to forgive us of our sins if we would just seek Him to do that. It's too bad we have it all backwards today. 

The minister in the story continues: Love is the only key that fits the lock of that wondrous door which leads into the land of milk and honey. And that precious key each one of us holds in his hand--even the tiniest child... Possess love and you possess God. Possess God and you possess love.

This man's words awakened her, filled her soul with joy. She described it as like awakening from a long, deep, dreamless sleep, like one whose blind eyes have suddenly begun to see. Her heart was ablaze and she felt dazed, bewildered, overwhelmed and mysteriously happy. 

My, my, my. Sounds like she has fallen in love...with Jesus. These are the symptoms one feels when Jesus steps off the page of the Bible and into your heart. When He becomes real to you and not just words from a book. Fannie makes the comment: Can I be the same girl who but a few short weeks ago thought of nothing but worldly pleasures and fine dresses! She claims now that the only thing that interests her is her little church that she has now joined. 

Perhaps Becca Middleton Samson was speaking of her own life... Is this speaking to yours?

Quote #3Thou didst call, and shout, and didst burst through my deafness. Thou didst flash, and shine, and scatter my blindness. Thou didst breathe forth odors, and with every breath I draw I pant for Thee. I tasted, and I hunger and thirst. Thou didst touch me, and I yearn for Thy peace. - St. Augustine

How our lives can be changed. That's what Jesus does. There is nothing to fear. It's a marvelous inward transformation. Peace abounds...even when you are struck, like Fannie was, with people who did not share her enthusiasm but instead were troublesome, as she said. I believe the book will show how God works out the troubles in her life. Just like we all are worked on all our lives.

It's what the Holy Spirit does in us. He prunes, He burns up, He sifts us until we are molded into His marvelous image. It's a lifelong process and I'm anxious to see how Fannie makes out in the end. There might be some heavy words within this book just for me...and to think my "Gramma S" once read this same book. My thanks go out to whoever gave her this little treasure 117 years ago.

More from Harriet....

Quote #4: The inconceivable loveliness of Christ! It seems that about Him there is a sphere where the enthusiasm of love is the calm habit of the soul; that without words, without the necessity of demonstrations of affection, heart beats to heart, soul answers soul, we respond to the Infinite Love, and we feel His answer in us, and there is no need of words. - Harriet Beecher Stowe

1John 5:11-12 - And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 

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