Night and Death

Verse 9:
My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, He standeth behind our wall, He looketh forth at the windows, showing Himself through the lattice.
While the soul is therefore receiving the sweet caresses of the Bridegroom, she things they will last forever; but if they are the pledges of His love, they are also the tokens of His departure. Scarcely has she begun to taste the pleasentness of union before He is wholly gone and she compares His rapid disappearance to the movements of a roe or a young hart. 
To comprehend this, let us remember that, between the last trials, which John of the Cross called the “night of the spirit,” and the first purification of “night of the senses,” God communicates Himself to the soul in a far more perfect manner than He has ever done before. The same thing is indicated here in Song of Songs. The greater the purity and sublimity of this manifestation, the more terrible is the subsequent absence of the Bridegroom and the purification that follows. The measure of His revelation seems to be the measure of His hiding.
These trials are rendered more agonizing because, in addition to the absence of the Divine Spouse, the soul is overwhelmed with a conviction of her own wretchedness, with frightful distress within and persecutions from men and devils without, so that no one can form an idea of her terrible tribulations except from actual experience. The hiding of the Divine Spouse is rightly termed night and death, for it is He Who is the Light and Life of the soul; and as the natural night renders frightful objects far more horrible and terrifying, so the darker the night of the spirit and the less hope there is of beholding another dawn, the more distressing are the accompanying circumstances of the gloom. 
While she is fondly lamenting His strange abandonment of her, and when she thinks He is far distant, she suddenly perceives Him close at hand. He had only hidden Himself to try her faith and confidence in Him. However, He never removes His look from her, protecting her more carefully than ever, being more closely united to her than ever before by the new union that has just taken place. But although He always beholds her, she does not always see Him. She only perceives Him occasionally, that she may not be ignorant of His watchfulness, and that she may one day teach it to others. It is to be observes that He stands, since it is now no time to rest, no even to be seated, but to run; He therefore stands, as if ready to depart.”
From Jeanne Guyon’s Song of Songs

My Prayer

“Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the Man will not be in rest, until He have finished the things this day.”
Ruth 3:18

My dear Jesus, I hear Your Voice in these verses. My Heavenly Beloved, I see You working and feel You instructing and guiding me…within the earthen vessel of my body  of flesh You have given me. Lord Jesus, the heart of man is deceitful – desperate to be wicked… without Your Own Life in us, we are nothing. How easy it is to have our flesh stirred up within – for our souls to be excited and to speak, to move, to act…instead of being but the instrument of the Spirit abiding so deeply within.
Dearest Jesus, I know You will not be in rest until You have finished this work in me – and in us all. Yet all You desire is for us to sit still. To rest in You…to loose ourselves in You. Only then can You truly do Your Wonderful Work in us and through us. You desire all the glory and praise – how easy it is for us to steal this from You!
My dearest Jesus, please take me and hold me…quieten my fears…seal my lips…cause me only to hear You…only to see You…only to live by the Love that You are. May I have no other Life source – no other source of true Joy… no other source of lasting satisfaction…save through my being completely abandoned to You – may this be my ONLY ambition, my ONLY true calling, my ONLY reason for living… be Yours.

“I am the true Vine, and My Father is the Husbandman. Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taken away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.”
Matthew 15:1-2

Lord Jesus, purging is not always easy…it even hurts…it can hurt badly. But You DO work all things together for good to those who love You, to those who are the called according to Your Purpose. My Jesus, purge me in Your Love, that I may bring forth fruit through Your Life. I desire to be of use to Your Purpose here on earth. May I be a branch not taken away…but one which the Father purgeth…so that I may bring forth fruit for You.

“As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my Beloved among the sons. I sat down under His shadow with great delight, and His Fruit was sweet to my taste. He brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me was Love. Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples: for I am faint of love! His left hand is under my Head, and His right Hand doth embrace me.”
Song of Solomon 2:3-6

Pizza Dough Recipes

A friend on Facebook requested the recipe for our pizza dough today. We made pizza for supper using a new recipe. We all liked it and are trying for the first time to freeze the dough before it rises or is formed into pizza. Lordwilling, we will make pizza again soon and see how it comes out! 🙂
Here are the recipes.

Today’s Pizza Dough recipe;

1 package active dry yeast
1/2 c warm water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 c flour (can also use 1/2 and 1/2 white and whole wheat)
1 tblsp vegetable oil

Dissolve yeast in warm water, set aside.
Mix dry ingredients. Then add yeast mixture and oil, stir. Turn out and knead 6-8 minutes ’till elastic and smooth. Rise 1 -1 1/2 hours. Roll into 12″ round. Rise 10 minutes. Bake in 400* oven for 10 minutes. Cover with toppings. Bake again in 400* oven 12 minutes or until warmed through/cheese melted and browned.

Our so-far-favorite Pizza Dough recipe;

3/4 c olive oil
3/4 cup plus 2 tblsp skim milk (we use whole) heated to 110*
2 tsp sugar
2 1/3 c plain flour
1 pkg yeast
1/2 tsp salt

Mix the milk, sugar and 2 tblsp of the olive oil together in a measuring cup.
Mix the flour, yeast and salt together. Make a well in the flour, then pour the milk mixture into the well. Stir until the dough becomes shaggy and difficult to stir. Turn out onto a heavily floured work surface and knead, incorporating any shaggy scraps. Knead until the dough is smooth – about 10 minutes.
Rise for 30 minutes. Shape into pizzas. Place into heavily greased pans (greased with the remaining olive oil) and let rise again about 20 minutes. Cover with toppings and bake in a 400* oven about 20 minutes.

Pray everyone has a wonderful, productive weekend!

Job done!

Last week marked the end of our work at the additions job! 🙂
We were so blessed that the Lord Jesus allowed us 
to finish it to the owner’s pleasure and that it is at last done!
I didn’t realize what a big job we’d taken on when we started.

We miss visiting our friends as we worked on the additions,
and miss seeing them so often,
but we’re happy that the work is done and they can 
enjoy their home in one piece again! 🙂
Praise the Lord Jesus!

Work outside and in

Despite the intense heat and the neglect it’s received this busy spring/summer,
the Lord has blessed our garden and we have begun canning,
juicing, making preserves, and pickling. 
Saturday we used all the many, many cherry tomatoes that were ripe,
and turned them into juice.

My precious sister using the juicer.

I thought the juice tasted pretty good – even from those little cherries.
We’ve never made cherries into juice before, but were thankful
it turned out so well – now we know what to do with the over-abundance of little
tomatoes we have every year!

Our first batch of green beans this year (10lbs) became 1 meal and 
17 pints of pickled beans.

Besides this we’ve put up dill and sweet cucumber pickles,
and two small batches of blueberry preserves.
I enjoy canning and pickling.
Its something I think is slipping from society – and which shouldn’t.
Every woman used to know how to preserve food for her family.
Today too many girls grow up not even knowing what it takes to seal a jar!
Much less how to can!
Canning and preserving is also a wonderful link to the Lord’s creation;
just the whole process – picking the fruits,
preparing and cleaning them, then canning/pickling/juicing/preserving them…
its like milking a goat or a cow;
it puts you in touch with nature, and makes you feel so 
peaceful and joyful inside. 
Happy Summer everyone!
(Of course I realize to some of you its actually winter
happy winter to ya’ll! 🙂

A Scene

The other day on my “Pencil in the Hands of God” facebook page 
I shared a small snippet from 
2007’s “Emma” which was a story the Lord Jesus gave me 
and allowed me to finish after about a year or so of working on it.
That’s been five years ago, and many, many things have happened
since I finished “Emma”. 
I’ve matured – I hope! – in different ways, and have also grown 
closer to the Lord since 2007. 
I know my writing has changed dramatically, and the way I view
writing has also changed. 
So…I thought it would be fun to re-write one of the ‘better’ scenes from Emma.
I only have worked on it for about an hour or so, so it isn’t 
as good as it could be, but it was fun to do and also I think maybe the 
Lord will allow me to ‘get back into’ my writing by 
working on little scenes like this.
So anyways.
Here is the first snippet.
“Oh yes!” Jonathan exclaims, and having put his hands into his pockets, he quickly draws them out again, “Here,” says he, “This is for you,” and he hands Emma a small object. 
Emma naturally takes it, but she was shocked to find a small lady’s watch in her hand. It was made of the shiniest brass Emma had ever seen. It was so shined and polished that it looked almost like gold. It was attached to a brass chain which hung long from it. Embossed very delicately on the cover of the little watch was the image of two song birds sitting together in a heart-shaped wreath of roses. 
“Oh!” Emma says more with her breath than with her voice. 
“Open it,” Jonathan urges her quietly, as he kneels down by her chair. 
Emma does so, and inside the little brass hands revolved around a circle of small brassen dots that stood for numbers. Then Emma’s eyes caught an embossed message on the inside of the top cover; 
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.” 
This verse had always been one of Emma’s favourites. 
“Mr. Cummings,” Emma says, in a quiet tone of disbelief. 
“Do you like it?” Jonathan asks, looking at her face.
Emma smiles, but she was too shy to look at Mr. Cummings, “Do I like it?” she asks, “Of course—but how much it must have cost!” 
Jonathan laughs, “It did not cost so much as would have made me not get it for you,” he says.
There was silence a moment now, before Jonathan smiles. 
“You’ve never had a watch before, have you?” he asks.
“No,” Emma laughs, “And I never thought I’d ever have one!” 
Emma looks up at Mr. Cummings now, and smiles; and Jonathan smiles at her, too, “Well,” says he, “I thought I’d get you one and have the honour of being the first to do so.” 
Emma wanted to look back down at her watch, but something kept her from doing that. She knew she had to thank Mr. Cummings, but something just would not loosen her tongue and let those words out either. 
She looks up at Jonathan’s face, sensing he was still looking at her, and the gentle fire of his blue eyes immediately caught the attention of Emma’s lively brown ones and for a moment Emma couldn’t move hers, something more was being said to her, and it struck Emma very hard and very suddenly—could Jonathan Cummings be in love with her? 
Emma looks back down at the shining watch in her hand now, and for a moment she couldn’t say anything, her heart was in too much of a flutter.
And this is how it is now that I’ve worked on it a little.
Jonathan stepped over to the window and watched the rain beating down on the cobblestone street for a moment before he slipped his hands into his trouser pockets, “Oh yes….,” he said recollectively as he turned back to Emma, pulling a small object from his pocket and handing it to her, “This is for you.” 
Emma naturally took it, but she almost dropped it when the shiny, little object touched her fingers and her unsuspecting brown eyes registered what Mr. Cummings had just given her. Made of the purest gold Emma had ever seen – much less handled! – the small lady’s watch in her hand sparkled and shined when the light of the warm fire on the hearth danced on across its tiny, round surface.
For a moment her voice was lost somewhere inside her…her fingers trembling she touched the tiny gold chain that hung from the watch and rested on her lap. She gathered it in her palm and ran her fingertips reverently over the top of the little watch…its golden surface was richly embossed with roses.
“Mr. Cummings…,” Emma could only whisper her disbelief and glanced up at him, “Mr. Cummings I’ve never –“
“Open it,” Jonathan urged her quietly, putting a gentle hand on her shoulder as he knelt down beside her chair.
Emma does so, and inside the little brass hands revolved around a circle of small golden dots that stood for numbers. She scarce saw the face of the little watch though. Her eyes were caught by an embossed message on the inside of the top cover;
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
This verse had always been one of Emma’s favorites.
“Oh…,” she shook her head, “Mr. Cummings….”
“Do you like it, Emma?” Jonathan asked quietly, but he was close enough for her to feel his soft breath against her ear.
“Like it!” Emma ran her fingers over the little watch again, “I love it – I’ve never even touched anything like this!”
“It was my mother’s,” Jonathan shared with her, “Papa gave it to her before he left for his last voyage to the West Indies; he was intercepted by pirates on that voyage and mother never saw him again.”
“She must have treasured this,” Emma spoke quietly, feeling all the purport of his giving her such a precious gift.
“She did,” Jonathan nodded, “Very much.”
A slight pause developed as Emma opened the watch and looked it all over so carefully once more. The sharp cracking and whistling of the fire helped to punctuate Emma’s feelings as her trembling fingers ran over the watch’s surface and she read the inscription again and again.
“Mr. Cummings…,” Emma finally looked at him, “I -,” she was stopped by the expression in those gentle blue eyes…. Her heart was pounding…
“Yes?” Jonathan asked quietly.
Emma closed her eyes and looked back down at the watch in her hands, “I um….I don’t know how…how I’m supposed…well…how to thank you for something like this,” she said, clumsily, wincing as her sharp Irish accent came through much more pronounced than usual, “I’ve never um…never had anything like this…I mean…I’ve never touched…I mean even touched anything so….”
“Emma,” Jonathan silenced her nervous rambling and put a warm hand under her chin, turning her face to look at him,  “Don’t thank me….”
Her heart was pounding…
“I only want you to know how much I think of you, Emma,” she couldn’t believe what she was hearing, “I wanted to give you a gift that would mean something to you forever.”
“Oh it will…,” Emma nodded quickly…a little too quickly, she thought…maybe…, “It will,” she added slightly quieter, “You can be sure of that, Mr. Cummings.”
Jonathan smiled and kissed her forehead, “And stop calling me Mr. Cummings, Emma,” he said with a lighter tone, as he stood to his feet, “I do have a first name.” 
This is at the beginning of Jonathan and Emma’s relationship. 
In the original story I did a very poor job of developing the attachment between them,
knowing so little of attachments myself.
Emma is particularly unfeeling toward’s Jonathan’s advances (can they even be called that?),
and now that I can look back on this story I see that this is a 
reflection of my own ignorance of human emotion and passion. 
I still am not happy with how this scene turned out – it is still very dry – but 
it will have to do for now just as one of those ‘scenes’, 
since I’m not ‘into’ this story right now and haven’t been able to go back
and re-develop Emma’s character (or Jonathan’s).
This is my only full-length story the Lord Jesus ever blessed me to finish
(I think its about 230 pages)
and I still like it very much (especially one character),
and think it could be re-worked to form a fuller, deeper story
with a lot more color and texture to it.
But anyhow, enough rambling.
I welcome any and all comments about the work here,
and any suggestions about how you would have re-written it, or sentences 
 you would have re-worded or anything! 🙂
Love to talk about writing….
The Lord Jesus bless you all!

Bringing our Tithes

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine House, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessings, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. 
And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.”
Malachi 3:10-12

The Lord Jesus blessed me richly with these verses last night and again this morning. It is such a rich blessing to read His promises – how He will bless us and multiply blessings upon us, if only we will accept our place of death upon His cross and bring our all before Him to lay upon His altar.
I like to see the ‘fruits of the ground’ and the ‘vine’ etc. in verses like this as having spiritual (as well as physical) importance. The fruits and vine being our spiritual life and work; and the mention of us being a ‘delightsome land’ as having reference to our being a blessing to others – He in us, becomes rich soil on with the fruits of His Spirit grow abundantly, and off which others can feed and become filled with His blessing of True Life as Well.

May the Lord Jesus bless you all this Sunday!