March 26th, 2012

“Whate’er My God Ordains Is Right,” by Samuel Rodigast

At church tonight a friend and I were discussing hymns. I was lamenting that in some churches we have such a limited number of hymns we draw from on a regular basis. We cycle through our six, seven, maybe eight most well-known hymns; and while they may indeed be solid, they’ve become somewhat polarized. We’ve worn them out. “Surely,” I posited to my friend, “out of the eighteen hundred years’-worth of hymns that have been written—surely there are maybe just a few more that are worth singing?”
The fact of the matter is that there are many, many, many rich, beautiful, excellent psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs that we (as a rule) just don’t sing. Why don’t we sing them? I’m not really sure. Perhaps it’s because some of those old hymns and psalms are just hard to sing (which they are, sometimes!); perhaps it’s just a widespread case of unfamiliarity—the old hymns have been forgotten. I know that of the older hymns I love and appreciate, I never loved or appreciated any one of them until I’d first been exposed to it, that’s for sure!
So. With that in mind: while I’m neither traveling any dark roads nor drinking any bitter cups right now, this hymn is still, to me, a beautiful statement of trust in the perfect sovereignty of the Lord; and often, when I feel the twinge of anxiety (and maybe more than just a twinge), the first few words of this hymn come to mind. It’s one of my favorites.

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
Holy his will abideth;
I will be still whate’er he doth;
And follow where he guideth:
He is my God: though dark my road,
He holds me that I shall not fall:
Wherefore to him I leave it all.
Whate’er my God ordains is right:
He never will deceive me;
He leads me by the proper path;
I know he will not leave me:
I take, content, what he hath sent;
His hand can turn my griefs away,
And patiently I wait his day.
Whate’er my God ordains is right:
Though now this cup, in drinking,
May bitter seem to my faint heart,
I take it, all unshrinking:
My God is true; each morn anew
Sweet comfort yet shall fill my heart,
And pain and sorrow shall depart.
Whate’er my God ordains is right:
Here shall my stand be taken;
Though sorrow, need, or death be mine,
Yet am I not forsaken;
My Father’s care is round me there;
He holds me that I shall not fall:
And so to him I leave it all.
Samuel Rodigast (German, 1675)

What’s one of your favorite hymns, and why?


March 17th, 2012

“I Will Praise Him, Still,” by Fernando Ortega

When the morning falls on the farthest hill,
I will sing His name, I will praise Him still.
When dark trials come and my heart is filled
With the weight of doubt, I will praise Him still.
For the Lord our God, He is strong to save
From the arms of death, from the deepest grave.
And He gave us life in His perfect will,
And by His good grace, I will praise Him still.

This song, written by Fernando Ortega, is one of my very favorite modern hymns. Yes, it’s simple; yes it’s short. But then again, so were some of the psalms.

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March 9th, 2012

Book Review: “Born-Again Dirt,” by Noah Sanders

“Do you desire to glorify God through the way you farm? Are you tired of reading books on farming and food production that ignore God as Creator? Have you ever wondered what agriculture would look like if it was based on the Bible instead of on evolution, Mother Nature, or the latest manipulations of life by science?
In Born Again Dirt, Noah Sanders encourages Christian farmers to evaluate their farming methods in light of Scripture. This book looks at various Biblical principles related to agriculture and provides examples of practical application. Topics covered include:
-Designing farms as beautiful, fruitful homes.

-Honoring God’s design in farm production

-Growing crops that honor the Lord
-Marketing as ministry

-The idolatry of modern agriculture
-Advantages of the farming lifestyle

-Starting a farm and making a living.
Without claiming to have all the answers, Born Again Dirt seeks to inspire you to develop a vision for God-glorifying agriculture. This book is a must read for any Christian who is a full time farmer, backyard gardener, or for anyone who desires a more Biblical view of agriculture.” — from the back cover

This, in short, is an excellent book.
In these 190 pages, Noah explains how while we Christian farmers might indeed truly be born-again farmers, we often farm—even unknowingly—according to the world’s methods which are, ultimately, based on unbiblical and pagan concepts. He exhorts a return to Scripture for the true foundation of our farming and agricultural mentality. Nothing like this has been written before; it’s definitely a groundbreaking book (har, har).
Born-Again Dirt is also a fantastic example of someone taking Scripture and seeing what it says about a very specific area of life. We often talk about how Scripture is applicable to all of life, but I’m not sure we always treat it that way. Here, Noah goes through the Bible pulling various principles and patterns from its pages and casts a vision for what truly God-honoring agrarian endeavors should look like. I would like to see books like this written on music, on architecture, on painting, on business models—on every aspect of life!
All in all, I think this is the most important book on farming and agriculture (second to Scripture) that a Christian can have in his or her library. Even if you don’t have control over any land whatsoever, this is a must-read, simply as a great case-study of someone applying Scripture to a very specific topic. Click here to purchase it.
AGE RANGE: All ages.

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March 4th, 2012

Another Excerpt from “It’s (Not That) Complicated”

In my review of It’s (Not That) Complicated a few weeks ago, I joked that I couldn’t post too much of the book or I might find myself in legal trouble somewhat quickly; therefore, I posted a few quotes and linked to a lengthy excerpt on the Botkins’ blog. Well, Anna Sofia and Elizabeth have posted another lengthy excerpt on their blog, free for all to view!

There are plenty of people who have technically kissed recreational dating goodbye, but are still looking for romantic flings outside of marriage. They want the fun of being in boyfriend-girlfriend relationships without purpose or commitment. Enter flirtship, the popular new alternative to dating and courtship. It’s like dating, only you don’t go out – you use email, chat, or phone, or just pair off whenever you’re in the same vicinity. Either way, you’re definitely – though not officially – well, apparently, anyway – boyfriend and girlfriend.

Click here to read the rest. You too, fellow guys.

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March 1st, 2012


All too often, we are like little children whose Father has placed a blindfold on our eyes, taken our hand, and commanded us to trust and follow after Him. We know not where we go; and though He leads us, and though we know He sees everything, we nevertheless often follow haltingly, fearing that we might run into an obstacle that will hurt us. We speculate on where our Father is leading us, and when things take an unexpected turn, we fear the worst. We tremble, we rework our speculations; we exert needless energies in anxiety and worry.

Whate’er my God ordains is right: His holy will abideth;
I will be still whate’er he doth, and follow where he guideth.
He is my God; though dark my road, He holds me that I shall not fall:
Wherefore to Him I leave it all.

Oh that we might trust our all-wise Father more. He has no blindfold over His all-seeing eyes; and not only can He see what we cannot, but also He’s not just meandering about, simply leading us randomly around obstacles: He has a definite plan—and in that we may rest.

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5–6)
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

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