The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment (A short review)

The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

By Jeremiah Burroughs

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1494424797/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1494424797&linkCode=as2&tag=genandquispi-20&linkId=NZTWVIW2SFJIBJOX

I started reading this book, providentially, at the same time I faced chronic health issues that sapped my energy and forced me to be house bound and mostly couch bound. What a blessing from the Lord! This book challenged me to keep my heart in the right place, trust the Lord, and seek the spiritual growth that comes from affliction.

This is an excellent, easy-to-read, manual for every believer on the importance of contentment and keeping a pre-ash, treasure in heaven mentality. He covers health issues, money issues, and many many heart issues poking in deep to help you root out a complaining heart.

This book isn’t without a small handful of doctrinal issues. At one point Burroughs declares that God is more interested in your private bible study than He is with your church attendance. There aren’t so many that value can’t be gleaned, but don’t read this book blindly. Keep your theology cap firmly in place.

I can see myself reading this book again, or referencing particular parts of it during times of struggle. God has taken care of His church through good times and bad, down through the ages, by giving us pastors and teachers. We are fortunate to get to read the shepherds of the past.

(If you follow the link above, it will take you to Amazon where you can order the book for $0.99 on your Kindle.)

 

Thanksgiving 8: A Texas Cousins Adventure

Courtesy of Google.

Courtesy of Google.

Today, I’m thankful for all my wonderful, super intelligent, cute-as-can-be nieces and nephews: Jules, Constance, Bruce, Joshua, Ellie, Imogene, Jude, Remi, and soon to be Shannon. My brothers and sisters have some really great kids and I love them so much. This story and all the others are for all y’all!

Texas Cousins (Picture stolen from Liz)

Texas Cousins
(Picture stolen from Liz)

Once upon a time, three nephews and six nieces, hurried over to Grammie and Grandpa’s house to celebrate Thanksgiving. They gathered into the warm home with many trampings, stampings, and hollerings. Boots, sweaters, and scarves piled around the front door while aunts and uncles, and mommies and daddies carried in many dishes of sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberries, and pumpkin pie, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin pie!

Soon everyone settled in with mugs of coffee to wait for the turkey to finish cooking. Toys filled the living room, laughter and sarcasm rang through the rafters, and a roaring fire warmed several backsides.

Suddenly, a loud voice broke through the holiday cheer: “I don’t like these toys.”

Then someone else said: “I’m tired of waiting to eat.”

Two little complaints opened the flood gates.

“Go away, I don’t want you to play with me.”

“I want to watch a movie. I hate playing with trains.”

“Why do the girls have to be here?”

“Why won’t the boys go away?”

“I don’t want turkey for dinner.”

“I don’t want pumpkin pie.”

“I’m hot!”

Complaining, complaining, complaining. Nothing was right. Everything was wrong. No one was getting what they wanted.

Grammie gasped and stormed into the living room, her eyes blazing.

“Stop this right now!”

Nine cousins cowered. Grammie frowned hands on hips. “It’s Thanksgiving Day! Today we’re supposed to be thankful, not complaining.”

“What is being thankful?” Remi asked tears in her eyes.

“Everyone up on the couch.” Grammie sat down in the middle and the cousins climbed up around her.

All the mommies and daddies, and aunties and uncles gathered around the edges of the room smiling to each other. They remembered when Grammie had frowned at them as children.

“Did you know complaining is wrong?” Grammie asked.

“Wrong?” Bruce crossed his arms. “Why is it wrong?”

“Because it is saying in your heart that God is not good and the Bible says He is good. Instead of complaining, we’re supposed to be thankful. Let’s try it.”

Silence. Not one cousin had one reason to be thankful.

“I’ll start.” Grammie smiled. “I’m thankful for all of you and all of you being here today. Not everyone gets to be with their family on Thanksgiving, but I do. I’m very thankful.”

“I’m thankful for you Grammie!” Jules hopped up and gave Grammie a hug.

Now, everyone wanted to join in in being thankful.

“I’m thankful for horses, and books, and my baby Shannon,” Constance said.

“I’m thankful for movies and tractors.” Bruce uncrossed his arms and smiled.

Joshua jumped off the couch and grabbed up a dinosaur. “I’m thankful for dragons and swords!”

Ellie looked from Jules to the dinosaur and back. “I love Jules!” she shouted joining in the Grammie and Jules’ hug.

“Remi! Mommy! Daddy!” Imogene chanted excited by all her cousins yelling.

“I think Imogene is thankful for her family,” Aunt Abby said.

Jude growled and held up a fireman’s axe.

“And I think Jude is thankful for Vikings,” said Uncle Jason.

Everyone looked expectantly at Remi and Shannon. The two little girls stared back at their large, loud family. They grinned and gurgled.

“That means they’re thankful for pumpkin pie.” Aunt Emily translated.

“Now do you understand being thankful?” Grammie asked. “Instead of seeing what you don’t have, you need to see what you do have. You need to see all the ways God has been good to you. They far out-weigh all the things you don’t like.”

“Thanksgiving Day.” Bruce spread his arms wide. “The day we’re thankful for all God has given us!”

‘And God bless us, every one!’” Grammie said.

“Silly Grammie.” Jules kissed her cheek. “That’s Christmas.”

“I’m thankful for Christmas,” Aunt Liz and Aunt Abby and Uncle Matt said in unison.

Several family members groaned.

The End.

My inspiration! Photo by Elizabeth Groves

My inspiration! Photo by Elizabeth Groves

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving 7: Dear Woman of the Lord

Courtesy of Google.

Courtesy of Google.

Mom: How does one describe the blessing of having a wise and loving mother? I think every year, I appreciate more and more your efforts to raise us right. I’m truly blessed to have a mother who disciplined me, taught me a strong work ethic, gave me a solid education, and witnessed to me every day. Even more amazing is the fact that after your hands-on work was finished, you continued to work to be my friend. I count you as one of my dearest friends. I love you so much Mom and I’m so thankful for you and I’m honored to be so much like you! Also, thank you thank you for teaching me to read. I will always be thankful for that! What a gift. I never get to spend enough time with you, but cherish every moment! Love you Mom!

Wanda: I hear MIL horror stories all the time and all I think is, “Not me!” You are the most wonderful extra mom a girl could have. You have welcomed me with open arms, treated me as a daughter and friend, spent hours and hours and hours talking and giggling and I’m pretty sure crying. We share a love of a good TV show and a comfy back porch. Thank you for all that you do for me every day, every month, and every year. I wouldn’t want to be any other woman’s daughter-in-law. Love you!

Liz: I’m pretty lucky cause not only are you my best friend, you’re also my sister. I’m blessed by our years of shenanigans, our shared love of a schedule, Christmas music, Harry Potter, and Holocaust History (which sounds really strange). I’m so thankful for all the time you let me spend with your daughters and your dog. What would I do without you to text when I’m frustrated, annoyed, or feeling silly? What would I do without you to vent at? Thank you for all your care for me this year. Thank you for being willing to help me. Thank you for years and years of loving me even when I’m weird. I count on you. I pray for you. I’m always blessed by your wisdom and honesty in the small things like decorating and the big things like relationships and marriage. Love you Liz!

Emily: It’s not everyone who is blessed enough to live across the street from their sister, to have little boys pounding on their front door, and sharing food processors. I love you so much and am so glad to have you nearby. It is one of my great delights in life. I’m so thankful for you, for years of talks, shared recipes, and general silliness. Thank you for loving me and sharing your boys with me!

Joy: You are a blessing to me, dear sister. Thank you for all the liver pate you made for me this year. Thank you for texting me pictures of the girls and sharing all their busy comings and goings! Thank you for loving our family and always working to be involved with us. Thank you for your hospitality, courage, and faithful perseverance when life isn’t easy. I love you so much and are glad you are part of the Vincent Clan!

Ruth: My dear sister, what would I do without you? I love you so much and it’s such a joy to have someone to share all the geekiness, all the excitement of good stories, all the love of creativity with. Thank you for the honor, this year, of Shannon being my name sake! It just means so much to me. I’m so glad you are closer and that I get to see you at least once a month. I love you!

Denise: My dear sister you are a delight. I’m so glad you came on vacation with us this year and not just because you cooked breakfast and made coffee every morning. 😉 I love you so much, love your heart, love talking with you and spending time with you. I have been so blessed to watch your trust the Lord through many trials. I love how much you love your family. I love your faithfulness. I love you! Thank you for being my friend!

Rachel: You were once just one of the little girls who played baby dolls with my sister and now you are one of my dearest friends. I love you so much and have missed our adventures this year while I’ve been sick. Thank you for sharing your many talents with me, planning vacations, opening your home to us, and just being such a good friend. I love you so much and am so thankful for you!

Elayne: You are right near the top of the list of people I don’t get to spend enough time with. You are forging a path ahead of me, thank you so much for answering all my questions and sharing with me. Thank you for always giving me a heads up when you have a few minutes and we can grab a quick cup of coffee. I pray for you often both physically, spiritually, and as a mom. I love your artistic talents, your children, and your wisdom. Thank you for being my friend! Love you!

Deanna: You have been such a true friend for so many years, I don’t know what I would do without you. Really. I don’t. The trials you have born have only made you sweeter and dearer to me even though we haven’t gotten to spend as much time together as we would like. Your support of my writing is a balm to my soul. Your swift kicks in the rear, sense of humor, and willingness to always be available is a blessing and a wonderful example of how I want to be…though I don’t think I can match your sense of humor. I pray for you, love you, miss you, and am thankful the Lord put you in my life.

Leslie: Hey! I’m your soul mate and you and I both know why! I love you dearly girl and can’t imagine life without you! You always make me laugh but I also love your love of HBC. Thank you for serving us. Thank you for loving us weird Vincent girls for years. I’m glad we share a particular brand of humor!

Deanell: For years now you have invested in me. You have taken the time to talk with me, welcoming me into your heart. I love you dearly and count you as one of my extra spiritual Moms. Thank you for checking up on me, for sweet text messages, and for being a dear friend. I love you!

Brenda: I don’t know anybody as encouraging as you! You are so good at listening and investing in people. It just floors me. Thank you for taking the time to talk with me. Thank you for listening to all my silly stories and caring. Thank you for just being a good friend. I never feel like I get to spend enough time with you dear sister! Love you lots.

Anita: I love you so much my dear! What a treasure you are. I’m so glad Rockey married you! 😉 Thank you for all your help this year, all your encouragement, all your support of my writing, and for welcoming us into your home. I love you, pray for you, and am so thankful you’re my friend!

Stephanie: My dear dear friend, what can I say for all of your support, encouragement, and you even coming to clean my house! I love you so much. I’m so thankful the Lord put you in my life and that we eventually got to talking about writing and how our friendship has bloomed. You are a real blessing to me! I love our conversations, our shared passion for Tolkien, and your beautiful way with words. I pray the Lord blesses you and look forward to many many years as friends! Love you!

 

These women are a special joy to me, but I love each and every woman at my church:

Patricia: You make me laugh! I love the way you see all the funny elements of life. Thank you for being my friend!

Rachel Naomi, and Arianna: Your enthusiasm and creative is inspirational. I love you all so much and I’m glad you’re my friends! I love the way you embrace fandoms, how willing y’all are to listen to a critique, and your every little expression of love. Your girls are just the best.

Heidy: I love your little family. You are such a sweet woman.

Lisa: Thank you thank you for your faithfulness to Heritage for so many years and for sharing your musical gifts with all of us!

Pauline: I pray for you daily and love your wild bunch of kids!

Cindy: Thank you for always making me smile and sharing a deep and profound love of coffee.

Jeanette: You are such a dear and wonderful example of a godly woman. May I be like you!

Jeni: I never get to spend enough time with you! Thank you for your love!

Sami: I pray for your protection while you’re gone and your growth!

Gabi: I’ve watched you grow into such a beautiful young woman. What a joy!

Maria: Thank you for sharing your wisdom and for your graceful, calm, and faithful love of our church.

Amy Dawn: Thank you for many meals, and your friendship for so many years! I love to listen to you sing!

Aletheia: You have grown into such a beautiful young woman! I love you dearly!

Abigail: Don’t let my food touch! Lol. Thank you for serving so faithfully. You are regularly in my prayers.

Lily: I love you so much Lily. Thank you for your steadfast love of your family, caring for Eddie, and loving all of us!

Jenny: You have grown into such a beautiful young woman. I keep you in my prayers and love you!

Jan: I can’t say enough how much I love you! Thank you for all your labors, friendship, and love over the years.

Michelle Hammond: It’s been quite a year for you. I pray for you all the time. Thank you for being part of our church family.

Andrea, Christina, and Bethany: I don’t know y’all as well as I would like, but I’m thankful to have you in our family and pray for you!

Joy: I’m so thankful for your friendship, your advice, and your love! You are a dear!

Bethany: Thank you so much for loving me and your friendship! Thank you for coffee and including me in your life. Love you!

Raelea: One can never have enough friends with shared geekiness. I never get to spend enough time with you, but I’m glad you’re my sister in Christ and friend.

Michelle Hodson: I love you so much Michelle and am glad to count you as one of my oldest friends!

Jean J.: This year has been hard, health-wise, I know. You’ve been in my prayers and I love you!

Jean K.: the Lord blessed us greatly by bringing you to us. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us and for serving so diligently! I love you so much!

Laura: How often you are in my heart! I love your crazy family and can’t imagine HBC without you! I pray for you often!

Kim: Thank you for so many years of service and hospitality to HBC! I can’t believe how long I’ve know you! What a blessing! Love you!

Christy: You have grown into such a delightful young woman! I love you and count it a great joy to have you as a sister in the Lord!

Melissa: Thank you for many years of friendship! It’s so wonderful to see your delight in your grandson! Makes me so happy!

Lydia: I’m so happy to have you back in my life. The little Lydia shaped hole is now filled. I love you so much dear sister!

Sumer: What a joy it is to get to know you. Continue to love all things geeky!

Maria: I don’t know you hardly at all yet Maria, but I’m constantly blessed by your faithfulness and joy!

Julie: Thank you for your friendship, your love for all the mothers and little ones, and for having such wonderful shoes! 😉

Katie: Your service through music is such a blessing from the Lord and so is your friendship!

Hannah: Thank you for being so willing to serve! I love your sweet and quiet nature!

Amy: You’ve been my friend for years and I love you dearly and pray for you!!! Thank you for loving me!

Bobbie: You’re like an extra Mom to me, and even more, a very dear friend. Thank you for being here for me for so many years!

Amy: I love you so dearly and delight in your wonderful family! Thank you for all you do!

Sarah: You have grown into such a beautiful young woman! Thank you for serving us all at HBC!

Rachel: I love how game you are for everything and your heart for children!

Emily: Thank you for loving and caring for Imogene! We love you!

Grandma: I love that you’re not just my Grandma, but my dear, beloved sister in the Lord. I love you!!!

Michelle S.: From friend to cousin! How wonderful! I pray for you often and miss you!

Sue T.: Thank you so much for your love and friendship and care and concern! You are such a dear!

Susan: I love you so much and am so thankful you keep the church building clean. Really! I am!

Jordan: You are such a dear and I love you and miss you always!

Glyn: You do so much at church and for each of us individually, I don’t know what we would do without you! Love you!

Rachel W: Thank you for your love of all the moms at HBC and for having such great kids! 🙂

Mary Ellen: I pray for you all the time. May your faith be strong dear sister! I love you and am thankful for you!

Sue W.: Thank you for your sweet and tender love of all of us for so many years! You are such a blessing

Jeanie: I love you so much and count it a blessing to have gotten to work on so many projects with you!

Flo: I pray for you often and am thankful beyond words for your years and years of love for HBC!

Outside of Heritage, there are some special friends:

Heather: I’m so excited for you and your book! It’s been an honor to get to watch you and help you as I can. Thank you for all your advice, help, and encouragement this year. Thank you for early morning text! I love you so much! Deanna did us a great service when she said we needed to be friends!

Emily Shiflet: I have loved getting to know you over the last few years. You have been a huge encouragement to me both as a writer, and as a sister in Christ. I appreciate your insight, your love of your family, your love of theology, and your love for our church. Thank you for all that you said about my book. I still go back and read your words when I’m feeling unsure. Thank you for being my friend. I love you!

Kathy Bebout: Even after all these years, Kathy, I still count you as a dear friend. Thank you for teaching me to play the piano and helping to encourage my love of music. Thank you for being my friend after all the years. I love you so much!

Leah Marley: I just want you to know how much I love you and how glad I am to have you in my life. I’m so thankful you and Liz are so close, and I’m so thankful for your encouragement, silly texts, love of coffee, crazy kids who are amazing, and just love the continuing love between our families! God know the Marleys and Vincents would need each other even into the second, and Lord willing, third generations! What a blessed friendship!

Lynne Renihan: I have loved getting to know you, Lynne, and I have loved sharing our love of books. I’m so glad to have you in my life! Thank you for being my friend!

Kim Renihan: Thank you Kim, for all your encouragement this year as I’ve struggled with my health. You have no idea how helpful you have been. I pray for you and hope someday we can spend more time together in person as opposed to Facebook! Love you!

Dana Goad: You are such an encouragement to me! I love you and really appreciate your friendship!

Sarah Smith: It was so wonderful to hang out with you during the ARBCA-GA and to email you this year! I love you cousin and appreciated you so much!

Aunt Becky: Thank you for all your love, encouragement, and prayers this year. I’m so glad you got to visit so often. I love you so much!

Aunt Claudia: Thank you for loving me, always supporting me, and for your care and concern! Love you

Ann McCormick: All these long years you have been my friend! I’m thankful for you and for all the years you’ve been there for me! I love you and miss you!

Bethany Jennings: I’m so thankful  for you! Your gentle heart is a blessing and you are a huge encouragement to me in the writing/blogging world. I’m so glad we’re friends. I am praying diligently for you and your daughter. Love you!

RJ Conte: Thank you for including me in all the fun things you’ve done for your books, for long message conversations about our personalities and writing, and for your love and support of so many people. I really appreciate you!

Tawna W.: I love you so much and your sweet family! I’m so glad that you are in my life. Thank you for working to stay involved and coming to see me so many times this year! You are a dear sister in Christ from a dear sister Church!

Thanksgiving 6: God Meets all our Greatest Needs

You are the hope in our despair,
The light in our shadowland,
The justice in our law-breaking,
The mercy in our damnation,
The innocence in our guilt,
The covering in our nakedness,
The truth in our lies,
The love in our hate,
The impassible in our passibility,
You are all that we cannot be,
You are all we need.
Praise and Blessing to God, three in one, forever and ever. Amen.
– Abby Jones

I am thankful God richly supplies all our needs!

Thanksgiving 5: Coffee

Courtesy of Google.

Courtesy of Google.

Today, I’m thankful for one of those small things in life: a cup of coffee. I come from a long line of coffee drinkers and I think that’s why I love it so much. I have so many happy memories centered on that shared beverage. So many good talks with parents, extra parents, grandparents, siblings, and many dear friends come to mind with every mug I drink. I love welcoming someone over to share a cup of coffee or heading to a local coffee shop to laugh, cry, and talk for hours. Plus, what’s a writer without her coffee? As my mom always says, “Coffee is a hug in a mug.” No matter how far away I am from those I love the most, when I drink a cup of coffee I feel close to them. I’m thankful for coffee!

 

Thanksgiving 4: Eucatastrophe

Courtesy of Google.

Courtesy of Google.

Today, I’m thankful for eucatastrophe. This is a term coined by Tolkien to mean the turning point of grace. He himself says in his lecture on Fairy-Stories that the true turning point of grace in history is Christ’s Incarnation and his Resurrection. Think about that! It is the moment of surprising hope. It is the moment all that is dark and bad turns to good and joy. A true fairy story must have this moment. These are my favorite stories to write. They aren’t so popular right now, the happy ending I mean, but I love them all the same. I am very thankful for real eucatastrophies and fictional ones.

It is because of this I have decided to stop saying I write Fairy Tales and start saying I write Fairy Stories. 🙂

Eucatastrophe is a neologism coined by Tolkien from Greek ευ- “good” and καταστροφή “destruction”.

 

It is the mark of a good fairy-story, of the higher or more complete kind, that however wild its events, however fantastic or terrible the adventures, it can give to child or man that hears it, when the “turn” comes, a catch of the breath, a beat and lifting of the heart, near to (or indeed accompanied by) tears, as keen as that given by any form of literary art, and having a peculiar quality.

On Fairy-Stories

Thanksgiving 3: My Church

Courtesy of Google.

Courtesy of Google.

I’m thankful for my church. I love my church family. They are kind, engaged, have hearts full of service, love the truth and love each other. I’ve been a member at Heritage Baptist Church for 20 years and there is no other church I’d rather have made a vow to. I pray  the Lord continues to bless us, gives us more opportunities to plant other churches, serve our associations, and that we will see our children saved. I pray the Lord will bless our young people with a love for the truth, that He’ll give great wisdom to our parents, and that our pastors and teachers would be bold. I love my local body and our sister churches.