Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Software. And its many hazards.

Once again, I find myself anxiously battling my computer. Well, not my computer. MY computer is always placid, docile, and overall endearing. Sometimes slow, but never stubborn and headstrong. So, technically, I am battling my mother’s computer. Even less fun. I am currently entangled in various software installations, most of which are not working. I would like to think that if I shake it or throw it very hard, it will immediately recognize me as boss, and stop this obstinate disagreeableness.
After trying multiple times to install Windows Live Messenger onto my poor abused, over used hard drive, I feel as if I am drowning in foreign terms, such as: .DLL files. Nvidia Network Access Manager. Malwares. Platform Manager. Clean Install. Plain Vanilla Version. BHOCITUS.DLL. Third Party Extensions.
I know what they all mean, but when I’ve seen them all so close together, it’s somewhat daunting.
Currently, I am experimenting with Windows Live Writer. We shall see if this blog post is really any easier to post, or any better looking than the other ones…
In the meantime, some pictures to experiment with…


Monday, March 22, 2010

Gibson, on fleeing temptation.

I know, I blogged just last night. And yet, I find myself here again, for the sole reason of posting another excerpt.
I really enjoyed today's words from my puritan devotional (Voices from the Past), so I decided to post parts of it.

"Lay aside... sin which clings so closely."
--Hebrews 12:1

At times temptation presses in with violent demands. To combat the power and force of these, we must prepare out hearts with strong antidotes beforehand. Fix your heart upon your true treasure, your fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ. Flee to God to hide you. Here the tempter cannot reach you. Be much in communion with God, and the devil will have little communication with you. If he does try, he will have little effect. The soul is secure under the deep, warm, and constant sense of God's being your all in all. What powerful ammunition this is against the assaults and incursions of the tempter. Take up your wings, O Christian, and fly away that you may be at rest (Isa 40:31). When the soul has taken its flights, O how easily does it soar above the smoke and dust of fleshly lusts! Rusty spots on cold metal disappear when it is heated and burns red hot. Get your heart on fire and you will be Elijah-like in a flaming chariot of holy longings after God. Love your dear Master, and you will not find a love for sin. Consider also that things morally good or evil are not so just because one is commanded and the other forbidden, but it is what they are essentially and unalterably. They are fixed in their natures. Bathe your soul with the everlasting beauty of holiness, and the horror and ugliness of all iniquity.... Watch how the tempter has taken advantage of you in the past. Make these searches daily and compare them to the eternal law of God. These considerations will greatly help in the prevention and cure for the sins which so easily best us.

--John Gibson, Puritan Sermons 1659-1689, I:92-96

Friday, March 05, 2010

To the Tenth Degree!

I decided to frantically jam in a short blog, as spending any more time on this than I have to seems ludicrous, especially when the sunlight is streaming through, and I can see hints of a lovely blue sky. The deck is calling my name, especially since I am already armed with a grande iced coffee. What a perfect way to spend midday!
Our triumphant squirrel hunter just came in-- apparently he got the disgusting rodent (masquerading as a squirrel)  twice with the bb-gun. Sadly, it's illegal to kill them with a real gun within the city limits. *sigh for sad things*
Today is another "Happy Fun Sunny Day", dare I say to the tenth degree. (hence the title) My meaning behind this-- Today is ten times more sunny, ten times more happy, and ten times more fun. (I realize that this is inconsistent with the mathematical rules, but pardon me-- enthusiasm overrules coloring inside the lines sometimes) I have my beautiful music playing, have accomplished things, and the rest of the day belongs to me-- at least until 7 o'clock, when John MacArthur preaches in the last session of the shepherd's conference. I had no idea, until the last three days, that you could get such uplifting, encouraging spiritual edification from a webcast. Live streaming is my new hero.

Well, I certainly didn't plan on being this brief, but the beauty outside is calling!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Today finds me rejoicing on many angles. Despite a few things that have been stressful, even painful, this has been a marvelous day. And it's not even over yet!

Papa was thrilled when I told him that we could watch the Shepherd's Conference live. Therefore, I took extra pains to make sure it would work for him. Part of that involved hauling my speakers out, to make the volume louder. The streaming volume wasn't so great, but hooked to my speakers, it took on epic proportions. One would have thought that John MacArthur was standing in our kitchen. (A wonderful thing, to be sure! I would love to meet him. There are very few pastors I admire and respect as I do him. The Lord has used him in powerful ways.)
Hearing three thousand men singing "Crown Him With Many Crowns," accompanied by a symphony orchestra was phenomenal, in a musical sense, but more moving than anything else. MacArthur's first message was centered around separating the church from the world. He especially emphasized the folly in many of today's churches, of trying to embrace the culture, or make unbelievers feel "comfortable" in churches.  As much as I'd love to re-cap the whole thing, with my own editorial, I'll just assume you can listen to it yourself online later.
I am looking forward to the next few days.

Between sessions, I meandered off on a long walk. Lovely day for it. Oddly enough, my feet took me to Starbucks. I was helpless to stop. (on a side note, have I ever mentioned that the first sip of a peppermint mocha is like biting into an Ande's mint? Yum.)  As I mentioned on facebook, I am amazed at the clarity of thought solitude can bring. Also, I never cease to be surprised at how entertaining it can be to sit in starbucks and simply watch people. Of course, I did more than just watch people. I read the journal of Esther Edwards Burr. Esther was Jonathan Edwards' daughter, and began her journal when she was ten. Even at that young age, her writing shows a maturity and spiritual awareness that few have.
I was amazed at how caught up in her life I got, simply by reading her short, far between journal entries. I found myself smiling when she rejoiced, and nearly cried when her words described the tragedies that hit their family. (Thankfully, the fact that I was in a public place prevented me from being a total emotional wreck.)
Another thing I noticed, and will spend more time on, is that no matter how many griefs hit their family, the various members remained steadfastly faithful, and sought their comfort in the goodness of God.

Jerusha Edwards, when she was seventeen, was often around David Brainerd, who spent much time in the Edwards home. Eventually, they had an understanding. Esther wondered if he only wanted Jerusha because she would make an excellent missionary, and supported his work with the Indians, but it seemed that there was a very real affection between them, which makes their story more tragic. After spending nineteen weeks ill in the Edwards household, Brainerd died. He was taken care of and nursed by Jerusha in his last days. Five months after he died, Jerusha passed on as well. She was 18 years old.
Here is Esther's account of those two events:

Northampton, Oct. 9, 1747
 The sainted sufferer of the house, our temporary guest, our brother in the Lord, has at length, breathed his last. He called us all to his bedside, and tenderly talked of his going, and bade us, when we stand by his grave, to remember his words. He expressed himself ready to part with us all. "For to depart and be with Christ, was far better." To our Jerusha, his long-time nurse, who has watched and almost felt every pain of his poor racked body, for many months, he said: "Dear Jerusha, are you willing to part with me? I am quite willing to part with you. Though if I thought I should not see you and be happy with you in another world, I could not bear to part with you. But we will spend a happy eternity together." And so he had his message for each one of us all, and then fell asleep.

Northampton, Oct. 12, 1747

...Dear Jerusha's illuminated face was a study. She was rapt up no more in the living. It seemed as though her soul, liberated from earth, was already mounting up to holy communion with the spirits of the just made perfect, of whom not one of the great congregation could doubt, Mr. Brainerd was now one. And when came the words: "Are we not tending upward too, As fast as time can move? Nor would we wish the hours more slow, To keep us from our love!" it seemed to me as though she saw heaven open, the golden gates lifted up and was only waiting for angel wings to mount there. She is not long for this world. For exactly nineteen weeks, day and night, she has cared for this sick man; and she only eighteen.

 Northampton, Feb. 14, 1748

This day our dear Jerusha died at eighteen. If as she and her sainted David, and we all believe, she be gone to her Father's House, she has already joined the holy company, of which he since last October has been one. They have been separated only five months. Though I doubt, whether he has ever been absent from her thought and longing love....And so we shall lay the frame of this ministering angel side by side with that of the man, who breathed out his life almost in her arms....Now they can say in concert, "My beloved is mine, and I am His!"

The next sad thing to happen to their family was the voting of the council to remove Jonathan Edwards from his church

Northampton, January

.....Nothing could be more beautiful than the manner in which Mr. and Mrs. Edwards have submitted to the decision of the Council with its majority of only one, recommending our removal from this place....

In 1752, Esther married Rev. Burr of Newark, President of the New Jersey College. In 1757, he died, leaving her with two children.

Princeton, Oct. 7, 1757

My loss, shall I attempt to describe it? God only can know. What can be written to set forth the affliction of a poor disconsolate widow and two fatherless ones? I have lost all that could be desired in a creature. I have lost all that I ever set my heart on, in this world. In his eulogium, Gov. Livingston said: "Cease not to weep and angel, whom you loved as a man." Oh, I am afraid I shall conduct myself so as to bring dishonor to my God and the religion I profess. No, let me rather die, this moment. I am overcome. To God only will I carry my complaint. I will speak it to His glory, that I think He has in an uncommon degree discovered Himself to be an all-sufficient God, a full fountain of good. 

She went on to write a letter to her father, parts of which I have included:

One evening, in talking of the glorious state my dear departed husband must be in, my soul was carried out in such large desires after that glorious state, that I was forced to retire from the family to conceal my joy. When alone, I was so transported, and my sould carried out in such eager desires after perfection and the full enjoyment of God, and to serve Him uninterruptedly, that I think my nature would not have borne much more. I think, that night I had a foretaste of Heaven....I beg leave to add my need of the earnest prayers....but that God would constantly grant me new supplies of divine grace.

Here is part of  Edwards' reply to her:

Indeed, He is a faithful God; He will remember His covenant forever; and never will fail them that trust in Him. But don't be surprised as though some strange thing had happened to you, if after this lights, clouds of darkness should return. Perpetual sunshine is not usual in this world, even to God's true saints...

The next year, Edwards himself died. I know I have posted this letter before, but I had to add it again. This is the letter that Sarah Edwards wrote to Esther.

My Dear Child:
A holy and a good God has covered us with a dark cloud... The Lord has done it. He has made me adore his goodness, that we have had him for so long. But, my God lives and He has my heart. O what a legacy my husband and your father has left us. We are all given to God, and there I am, and love to be. 
Your ever affectionate mother, 
                            Sarah Edwards

Sixteen days after her father died, Esther Edwards Burr died. Reading her journal was not only enjoyable, but held many personal examples of people who were more interested in serving the Lord than themselves, and who threw themselves wholly on His grace and goodness.
Hopefully you found this as interesting and profitable as I did.