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Seek God, Not Joy


Thursday of Borrowed Words in the Kitchen is special when you can have a lady from the 19th century  sharing at the table. Today I am honored to introduce you to Mrs. Elizabeth Prentiss*. (via Grace Gems)

Karen Reyburn Photography

There is certainly enough in our Savior, if we only open our eyes that we may see it, to solve every doubt and satisfy every longing of the heart; and He is willing to give it in full measure. If a glimpse of our Savior here on earth can be so refreshing, so delightful, what will it be in Heaven?

When my mind strives to grasp this love of Christ, it seems to struggle in vain with its own littleness, and falls back weary and exhausted, to wonder again at the heights and depths which surpass its comprehension.

In proportion to your devotion to the Savior will be the blessedness of your life.

I am persuaded that real humility dwells deep within the heart, and that it is only to be gained by communion with our blessed Savior, who, when He was reviled, reviled not again.

The greatest saint on earth has got to reach Heaven on the same terms as the greatest sinner; unworthy, unfit, good-for-nothing; but saved through grace.

In proportion to our love to Christ, will be the agony of terror lest we should sin and fall, and so grieve and weary Him.

One minute of nearness to the Lord Jesus contains more delight than years spent in communion with any earthly friend.

If the loss of your earthly fortune gains Christ for you, it will be a beautiful loss.

The more we love Him, the more we see how sinful sin is, and the more sorry we are to have been guilty of it.

I entreat you to turn your eyes away from self, from man, and look to Christ.

Let us never allow anything to come between our hearts and our God.

It is sweet to be in the sunshine of the Master's smile, but I believe our souls need winter as well as summer, night as well as day.

Let us take our lot in life just as it comes, courageously, patiently, and faithfully, never wondering at anything the Master does.

I have lived to see that God never was so good to me as when He seemed most severe.

God never places us in any position in which we cannot grow. We may imagine that He does. We may fear we are so impeded by fretting petty cares that we are gaining nothing; but when we are not sending any branches upward, we may be sending roots downward. Perhaps in the time of our humiliation, when everything seems a failure, we are making the best kind of progress. Look on and look up. Lay hold on Christ with both your poor, empty hands. Let Him do with you what seems good to Him. Though He slay you, still trust in Him, and I dare in His name to promise you a sweeter, better life than you could have ever known, had He left you to drink of the full dangerous cups of unmingled prosperity.

O if the unseen presence of Jesus can make the heart to sing for joy in the midst of its sorrow and sin here, what will it be to dwell with Him forever!
We never know, or begin to know, the great Heart that loves us best, until we throw ourselves upon it in the hour of our despair. Friends say and do all they can for us, but they do not know what we suffer or what we need; but Christ who formed, has penetrated the depths of the crushed heart. He pours in the oil that no human hand possesses, and "as one whom his mother comforts, so will He comfort you."

Lay down this principle as a law– God does nothing arbitrary. If He takes away your health, for instance, it is because He has some reason for doing so. This is true of everything you value, and if you have real faith in Him, you will not insist on knowing this reason.

What are trials, but angels to beckon us nearer to Him.

What does it matter, after all, from what point of time or space, we go to our eternal home. O how we shall smile after we get there, that we ever gave it one moment's thought.

All your tears will soon be wiped away. You will see the King in His beauty. You will see Christ your Redeemer, and realize all He is, and all He has done for you. As I think of these things my soul is in haste to be gone. I long to be set free from sin and self, and to go to the fellowship of those who are done with them forever, and are perfect and entire, lacking nothing.

She is at home; she is well, she is happy, she will never know a bereavement or a day's illness, or the infirmities and trials of old age. She has the secret of perpetual youth! The only real comfort is that God never makes mistakes, and that He would not have snatched her from us if He had not had a reason that would satisfy us if we knew it. Next to dying and going home one's self, it must be sweet to accompany a Christian friend down to the very banks of the river. Isn't it strange that after such experiences we can ever again have a worldly thought, or ever lose the sense of the reality of divine things!

God delights to try our faith by the conditions in which He places us.

Dying grace is not usually given until it is needed. Death, to the disciple of Jesus, is only stepping from one room to another and far better room of our Father's house. And how little all the sorrows of the way will seem to us, when we get to our home above.

You never will be really happy until Christ becomes your dearest and most intimate friend.

Seek God, not joy.

How transcendently good He is, when He brings me down to that low place, and there shows me that that self-renouncing, self-despairing spot is just the one where He will stoop to meet me.

Those words, "daily nearer God," have an inexpressible charm for me. I long for such nearness to Him that all other objects shall fade into comparative insignificance; so that to have a thought, a wish, a pleasure apart from Him, shall be impossible.

I am not sure that it is best for us, once safe and secure on the Rock of Ages, to ask ourselves too closely, what this and that experience may signify. Is it not better to be thinking of the Rock, not of the feet that stand upon it? It seems to me that we ought to be unconscious of ourselves, and that the nearer we get to Christ the more we shall be taken up with Him. We shall be like a sick man who, after he gets well, forgets all the symptoms he used to think so much of, and stops feeling his pulse, and just enjoys his health, only pointing out his physician to all who are diseased.

REST! What an infinite, mournful sweetness in the word. How perfectly sure I feel that my soul can never rest in itself, nor in anything of earth. If I find peace, it must be in the bosom of God. I know myself to be perfectly helpless. I cannot promise to do, or to be, anything; but I do want to put everything else aside, and to devote myself entirely to the service of Christ.

The thorny path bears some of the sweetest flowers that adorn life. And when with naked, bleeding feet we walk upon a flinty soil, we often find diamonds.

A cup of cold water given in Christ's name, if that is all one can give, is just as acceptable as the richest offering; and so is a teaspoonful, if one has no more to give. Christ loves to be loved, and the smallest testimony of real love is most pleasing to Him, and love shown to one of His suffering disciples, He regards as love to Himself. So a little child carrying a flower to some poor invalid, may thus do Christ honor and become more endeared to Him.

Let my life be an all-day looking to Jesus. Let my love to God be so deep, earnest, and all-pervading, that I cannot have even the passing emotion of rebellion to suppress. There is such a thing as an implicit faith in, and consequent submission to, Christ. Let me never rest until they are freely mine.

I believe that there is no happiness on earth, as there is none in heaven, to be compared with that of losing all things to possess Christ.

There may come a period when God says, virtually, to the soul, "You clung to Me when I smiled upon and caressed you. Let Me see how you will behave when I smile and speak comfortably no more."

It matters very little on what paths we are walking, since we find Him in every one.

I have seen the time when I could hide myself in Him as a little child hides in its mother's arms, and so have thousands of aching hearts.

Let us take our lot in life just as it comes, courageously, patiently, and faithfully, never wondering at anything the Master does.

We love God more than we are aware; when He slays us, we trust in Him; when He strikes us, we kiss His hand.

The longer I live the more conscious I am of human frailty, and of the constant, overwhelming need I have of God's grace.

*Leslie Wiggins reviewed Sharon James' biography of Elizabeth Prentiss at the Discerning Reader; I encourage you to read it.


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If I am happy it is because of God! God, in His sovereign grace, has called me out of darkness into His Admirable light. He has opened my eyes and has shown me the way to Eternal Life. He has set my feet on a journey, and now I am walking Daily on My Way to Heaven. I did not find Jesus, He found me. I did not seek Him, yet He called me. I did not love Him, yet He loved me. I deserved death and He gave me Life. This is the place where I keep a journal of my life under His sun and by His grace!
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Borrowed Words

"It becomes us to spend this life only as a journey toward heaven... to which we should subordinate all other concerns of life. Why should we labor for or set our hearts on anything else, but that which is our proper end and true happiness?"

Jonathan Edwards

"I am still pondering God's greatness in His creation. I have so many questions that I would like to ask the Lord about the universe, creation, the fall of man... But when I'm in heaven, I wonder if I will even remember them. At that time, being in the presence of God will be enough. I'm thankful that I can look forward to that day."


“Heaven is not here, it’s There. If we were given all we wanted here, our hearts would settle for this world rather than the next. God is forever luring us up and away from this one, wooing us to Himself and His still invisible Kingdom, where we will certainly find what we so keenly long for.”

- Elisabeth Elliot, Keep a Quiet Heart

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