Friday, December 16, 2011


Early morning, 6 AM December 16, 2011- A-Day. Gotcha Day. Adoption Day.

We can’t call it Foster day, even though we are the Fosters. This is the day we have been awaiting for months, or as Alyvia put it, ALL OUR LIFE. We knew early on that Alyvia would one day be our child and that we would be a forever family, but the waiting has been arduous. We DO understand that the state has to be careful with these arrangements. We DO know that there are many dangers, toils, and snares for at risk children in the world we live in. We thank the Lord that there was a protective system in place that rescued our little girl from peril, but at times it seems that extracting her from that system has become the larger task.

Yet we would do it again, ten thousand times over for the sake of the love that has been built and is building strong bonds and a future and a hope for her success in life. That is our prayer, every day. It will remain so for as long as we live.

What has changed? Everything, and yet not the essential elements of our family’s one-flesh relationship. The love we shared has now opened up to receive another, one whose main need intersected with our main strength to result in a calling to intercede in her life. This is the basic cycle of blessedness designed into the universe God created: It is more blessed to give than to receive. Cast your bread upon the waters and it will come back to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over.

Here is what we wrote to each other on Alyvia’s whiteboard last evening:

Adoption Day is here, Thank you, Lord!- Mama

¬¬I can't wait tille Adoption Day, I cant believe my Adoption is on my Birthday. I’m so happy I’m finally getting adopted, I’v been waiting all my life for this. THANK YOU LORD JESUS- Alyvia

We are three of God’s children becoming one family
We are three separate branches becoming one tree
Two with a strong root, and one grafted in
Together we’ll bear much fruit, and so we BEGIN!- Daddy

We are the FOSTER’s!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Ephesians 2:13

Christ is all and in all
Christ alone can purify
This alone the clarion call
To live is Christ, ‘tis gain to die.

I was lost and gone astray
But now I walk within your way
Brought near by the blood of Christ
Brought near by the blood of Christ
The only hope that can suffice
Brought near by the blood of Christ

Christ is all and in all
Christ alone can purify
This alone the clarion call
To live is Christ, ‘tis gain to die.

This I pray Lord this I pray
Ever in your presence I would stay
Brought near by the blood of Christ
Brought near by the blood of Christ
The finished work in a final sacrifice
Brought near by the blood of Christ

Anthony Foster
November 30, 1011

Monday, November 28, 2011

Jesus Has a Grace for That

I know life is hard but the Gospel is easy
I know there is pain in this place
There are trials, and struggles, and heartaches
And suffering that we must face.

No matter the challenge, no matter the cost
There is power and victory to be had
So whether you’re drowning or hopeless or lost
Jesus has a grace for that.
Jesus has a grace for that
Jesus has a grace for that

Greater than I thought . . . more than I expected
…everything that I could say
Beyond all I hoped for. . . everything I've needed
… but still I continue to pray.

Satan is crushed by the gospel’s Good News
No matter the strength of the lion that pursues
Greater is He that dwells within me
And so now ours is the victory.
Jesus has a grace for that
Jesus has a grace for that

Greater than I thought . . . more than I expected
…everything that I could say
Beyond all I hoped for. . . everything I've needed
… but still I continue to pray.

Anthony Foster
November 1, 2011

Lifted

I lift up my eyes to fix them on your throne
I lift up my eyes- set my sights on you alone.
You lift up my heart from the depths of the grave
You lift up my heart for you are mighty to save.

I lift up my hands so ready to believe
I lift up my hands reaching out to receive
You lift up my soul, on the rock set my feet
You lift up my soul from depths of defeat

I lift my eyes to the hills there where my help comes from
I lift my eyes to the hills there where my help comes from

I lift up my hands and release all my plans
To receive the best blessings of all
I lift up my hands and lay down my demands
As on your great name I call.

For I am so needy to be like a child
Protected and nurtured and no more beguiled
So I lift my hands to receive and to give
The praise that is due you while yet I still live.

I lift my eyes to the hills there where my help comes from
I lift my eyes to the hills there where my help comes from

Anthony Foster
November 28, 2011

Crush the Serpent's Skull

Redux on some lyrics, in a new context...

The bruising of his heel has crushed the serpent’s skull
And all that will be left is and empty voided hull
The power of the cursed one will then at last be null
The power of the cursed one will then at last be null

We will take the bread
and we will drink the cup
And it will be our sustinance
so we shall drink it up
So eat his body drink his blood
From the slaughtered lamb that stood.
This living holy water pours
And so the victory is ours.
And so the victory is ours.

The bruising of his heel has crushed the serpent’s skull
And all that will be left is and empty voided hull
The power of the cursed one will then at last be null
The power of the cursed one will then at last be null

In simple profound gratitude
This blessing we receive
The very blood and life of Christ
Is ours if we believe
This mortal vail is shattered
And now death becomes the means
Unto the end of life itself
Much more than it may seem
This act of warfare on the principalities.

The bruising of his heel has crushed the serpent’s skull
And all that will be left is and empty voided hull
The power of the cursed one will then at last be null
The power of the cursed one will then at last be null

Anthony Foster
October 1, 2011

Monday, October 3, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Victory Song

We will take the bread
and we will drink the cup
And it will be our sustinance
so we shall drink it up
So eat his body drink his blood
From the slaughtered lamb that stood.
This living holy water pours
And so the victory is ours

Victory, victory
Yes Grace shall have the victory
For mercy overflows
To every one who knows
The triumph of the cross, the final victory!

The bruising of his heel has crushed the serpent’s skull
And all that will be left is and empty voided hull
The power of the cursed one will then at last be null
The power of the cursed one will then at last be null

When we remember we must recall
Not just his death but his all in all
From the garden to the grave
The promised seed must save
Through the promised covenant his blood He gave.
Death has passed us by
There is no more death to die
For he bore our Sin and so our sins forgave

The true tree of life has risen
From earth’s devastating dust
Into Him we are ingrafted
And in Him we place our trust.

So we will take the bread
and we will drink the cup
And it will be our sustinance
so we shall drink it up
So eat his body drink his blood
From the slaughtered lamb that stood.
This living holy water pours
And so the victory is ours

Victory, victory
Yes Grace shall have the victory
For mercy overflows
To every one who knows
The triumph of the cross, the final victory!

Anthony Foster
September 27, 2011

For the Glory and the Joy

Even with our quickened eyes
We fail to see the depths of grace
But as we turn our eyes to Christ
Clouds will part as we apprehend your face
We apprehend
What we can’t comprehend
And glory fills this place
Thundering radiance fires our bones
As the weight of glory is made known

For the joy set before you
For the glory to be gained
For the Father to restore you
To the place from which you came
Founder and perfecter
Author and finisher
For Father’s glory you stayed true
For the joy set before you
You endured the cross, and suffered loss
Took our blame, despised the shame
Now you are seated at the right hand of God
Given a name above every other name
We bow low to the earth
And seek to worship all you are worth
Grace and compassion are your throne
And so we worship you alone
You are worthy, you are worthy.
Of the glory and the joy of your throne.

Col 3:13
Anthony Foster
September 23, 2011

Days of Deep Wonder

These are the days of deep wonder
Days of obedience
Deep days of sin torn asunder
Today is the day of recompense
The power to rend our hearts
In the hands of a faithful friend
And though mystery may break us
He is faithful to the end.

Bring the days of the frequent vision
Send each trembling heart on mission
Heneni is our cry
Make our ears tingle and brighten our eye

Help us to cast off all distractions
Help us focus on your grace
Help us understand your mercy
As we seek your holy face.
All that you have spared us from
And all that you have planned
All work together for the glory
Even angels fail to understand.

Your favor is applied
As you draw us to your side
In your presence, father we are undone
Here rests a grace that can’t be won.

Here in the days of deep wonder
The days of hearts crucified
The ultimate circumcision
In a cross where our savior has died
Cut off and broken for our sin
You despised the shame and took the blame
The deep places now arise from within
And we shall never be the same

Your likeness we pursue
And our minds are renewed
In the shelter of your wings
Glory unto glory sings.

Anthony Foster
September 23, 2011

Abba

Now I know Abba’s tender arms
An embrace for a fatherless child
A nurturing place where I’m kept from harm
With my father I’m reconciled
Beloved children reconciled.

Crying out Abba Father
At the cross we lay our pain
You turn our loss into gain
We cry out for the souls of men
Crying out for your presence again

We need Your presence to live in
Forgiveness is given
Your power to use
Your wisdom to choose
We shall cry out
Cast away all doubt
Cast ourselves upon your grace
Abba Father, Abba Father
Let us see your face
Fill our hearts and fill this place

We need
Your strength to endure
Your love true and pure
Your interceding prayers
Your mercy and your care
We are crying out
Our prayer becomes a shout
We cast ourselves on you alone
Crying abba Father, Abba Father
Abba Father make your glory known
As we stand boldly before your throne

Anthony Foster
September 22, 2011

Where Faith Becomes Sight

Oh to the deep places I would flee
Escape the darkness and bask in your light
Hid in the rock carved out for me
I’ll seek the place where faith becomes sight.

My heart and soul cries out to you oh Lord
My shepherd and redeemer on you I call
The mists have gathered on my moors
And of the next step I’m unsure.
Come guide me lest I slip and fall.

Take me to the place where faith becomes sight
Open up my eyes so I can see the obvious light
Empower the obedience of faith by your grace
All our desires are set right
In that place where faith becomes sight

Before that one day when we see face to face
We still can see clearly in your glorious light
If we will bind your Word to us while we live in this place
We will have wisdom to do what is right

You will not abandon me
You will part the veil so I can see
Reveal the warp and the woof of your will
Calm my storming heart and peace instill.
Take me to the place where faith becomes sight
Open up my eyes so I can see the obvious light
Empower the obedience of faith by your grace
All our desires are set right
In that place where faith becomes sight

Anthony Foster
September 22, 2011

Higher Passion

Every thing of who we are
Every thing of how we live
How we move and how we breathe
A picture of Christ gives.
Trust his timing trust his plan
Trust when you don’t understand
Love the Lord with all your heart
To love each other we must start

Knowing Jesus and making Him known
Living full throttle for Christ alone
As highest passion fills our eyes
This thought alone our heart occupies

A higher passion- on which all other passions are based
A higher ground- on which our sure foundation is placed
A higher calling- a narrow and bright way
A dawn where the broad shadows have no sway.

Anthony Foster
September 22, 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Be fruitful and multiply

Multiply our joy
Multiply our peace
Multiply our patience
And our faithfulness increase

For the fruit we bear
The gifts we share
All come down from above
So Lord we pray
Each and every day
That You will increase our love.

May our kindness grow
May our goodness show
May our gentleness find gain
May our self control
Like righteousness roll
Down upon our lives again

This is our pursuit
For each and every fruit
That the Spirit in us births
Will meet many needs
And bear many seeds
That can sprout and grow in worth

Anthony Foster
September 25, 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Freight Train

Bringing peace beyond all knowledge
Powering over this terrain
Over mountains and through valleys
Coming like a mighty train

A miracle like a freight train –a special delivery.
Miracle like a freight train bearing down on me
Runaway runaway grace poured out on me

Unstoppable, it’s roaring
through the landscape of my mind
Undeterrable, its running
right on schedule-on God’s time

A miracle like a freight train –a special delivery.
Miracle like a freight train bearing down on me
Runaway runaway grace poured out on me

It rumbles through my comforts
Ease is crushed beneath its wheels
Pleasure takes on a new meaning
In the light this miracle reveals

A miracle like a freight train – take me where I cannot see.
Miracle like a freight train bearing down on me
A miracle like a freight train –sent down from eternity
Miracle like a freight train bearing down on me
Runaway runaway grace poured out on me

Anthony Foster
August 30, 2011

Strongest of All

Sing this song to the Lord
Sing this song to the Lord
He has triumphed gloriously
He has cast our sin into the deepest sea
Raised us from the pit and made us sons
Given us the power to overcome
Separated us from that by which we’re bound
Now in the strong man Jesus we are found.

March on my soul in might
March on my soul in might
Destroy the gates tear down the walls
For our Lord is stronger than all
Our Lord is strongest of all.

Breaker King, great is your majesty
Burn in the heart that is set free
You consume our stubble with your fire
Place in us a pure and holy desire
Stronger than the desires of this age
Strong man give us strength to rage
With a holy anger without sin
See compassion’s fires begin.

March on my soul in might
March on my soul in might
Destroy the gates tear down the walls
For our Lord is stronger than all
Our Lord is strongest of all.

Anthony Foster
September 15, 2011

Cling

Separated, isolated
behind walls rising within
We were chained and devastated
By a lousy load of sin

For we made the ties that bound us
There was darkness where you found us
That does not have a name
It left us broken and ashamed

You were forsaken when you bore our sin
In your own body on the tree
That we being dead to sin
Could live eternally

To be the righteousness of God
For all the world to see our God
In your suffering, grace is now revealed
And by your wounds we are healed

You were hated when you came
And yet you bore our scorn
Despised the shame and took our blame
So we could be reborn

And by your cross love is revealed
By your stripes our wounds are healed
And your death became the final offering
And so to you Jesus, we will cling.

Christ has triumphed gloriously
Cast our sins into the deepest sea
To remember them against us no more
You give the power to forgive
You give the power now to live
You give the reason our souls can sing
And so to Jesus we shall cling.

Anthony Foster
September 15, 2011

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The hard places in Adoption

Are perhaps not what you would think. This journey in the last year especially, has necessarily taken us away on weekends in terms of visiting new places and training, which has disconnected us from the body of Christ in serious ways. I have had to step back from any teaching commitements and have been unable to sustain consistency in most other commitments in any meaningful way.

It is a somewhat lonely road. On top of this, the necessity for secrecy required by the fact that adoptive children are wards of the state can be a challenge. We cannot, for instance share details of the joys, pictures, specific challenges and such with our friends in any detail. So there is an isolation that creeps in on that level for the good of the child. We pray that our friends will continue to lift us up and and one day soon we will be able to joy in the sharing of what is up in our lives.

All that being said, we are experiencing blessing on a level that was unforeseen as well, and getting to know ABBA in ways that we could only approximate before adoption became the focal point of our life.God is so very good.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Glorious Surprise


The Lord is merciful to me
Amazing mercies now I see
Grateful tears now fill my eyes
Stunned by this glorious surprise

Oh great grace, flow over me
Deliver me and set me free
Thank God for what His love denies
Saved by this glorious surprise.

As we play out the story
Our lives are rearranged
From glory unto glory
We see our lives are changed
And as we are transformed
The old man in us dies
And Christ in us is formed
As the glory of this truth we realize

Though I am poor and I am weak
His grace sufficient I will seek
His clarion call bids me arise
Moved by this glorious surprise

Though I am a frail child of dust
On future grace I choose to trust
On this great hope my soul relies
Drawn by this glorious surprise

As we play out the story
Our lives are rearranged
From glory unto glory
We see our lives are changed
And as we are transformed
The old man in us dies
And Christ in us is formed
As the glory of this truth we realize

To my poor finite mind give rest
Make me a man who knows he’s blessed
My prayer that I may be made wise
Changed by this glorious surprise


Anthony Foster
June 28, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friend of the Fatherless

You were born in the fields of the fatherless
Cut down at the root and left there alone.
Jesus came as a friend to the fatherless
Picked you up and brought you home.

Life is hard in the fields of the fatherless
For its wounds cause the spirit to groan
Jesus comes as the friend to the fatherless
He knows the plans he has for His own

Now our friend, faithful friend of the fatherless
Walks the ground where so many seeds were sown
And the cut off the cast out the distressed
Are gathered up to be never disowned

So child come in from the fields of the fatherless
Enter in to be nurtured and known
You’ve been called and chosen for blessedness
For in this new work, God’s glory is shown.

June 24, 2011
Anthony Foster

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bringing Beauty From ashes

We all know loss, we all know what it costs
To follow our own way
To suffer when we go astray.
There are times when it is not our fault
Beyond our control comes the assault
To devastate our life
The world and the devil know how to dish strife!

But when you’ve been betrayed
Bereft, abandoned and afraid
There is a Savior who will do what it takes
There is a Savior who will never forsake.

From the ruined and wrecked
The good true tower He’ll erect
From broken pieces of shattered dreams
He restores, reconciles, and redeems.

From ashes of hope left in the void
Remnants of promises now destroyed
By sin and rebellion, evil and pain
Given to Jesus our loss becomes gain.
He takes broken pieces as a sweet offering
And beauty from ashes Christ brings.

Anthony Foster
June 15, 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Adoption: The Heart of the Gospel

Click here for the full message.

Eight Similarities Between Godʼs Adoption of Us and Our Adoption of Children

1. Adoption was (for God) and is (for us) costly.

2. Adoption did (for God) and does (for us) involve the legal status of the child.

3. Adoption was blessed and is blessed with Godʼs pouring out a Spirit of sonship.

4. Adoption was (for God) and is (for us) marked by moral transformation through the Spirit.

5. Adoption brought us, and brings our children, the rights of being heirs of the Father.

6. Adoption was (for God) and is (for us) seriously planned.

7. Adoption was (for God) and often is now (for us) from very bad situations.

8. Adoption meant (for all Christans) and means (for Christian parents) that we suffer now and experience glory later.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

There Is No Void

Out of the fullness of one flesh
Out of the joy of our hearts
Love overflows this vessel
This marriage of which we’re a part.

As covenant keepers He keeps us
There is no void that we are trying to fill
We share the acceptance and we share the trust
There is only abundance and only His will.

For we are partakers of blessing
All covenant children of grace
Adopted as heirs now confessing
Sheer joy at being embraced

There is room at our table
So come on inside
For God makes us able
To protect and provide.
For you now have a place
A forever family
An inheritance of grace
A new identity

For there’s always a risk in loving
But there’s more risk in standing alone
Come join us as children of promise
We were orphans but now we are home.

For we were all orphans and widows
Before we were found we were lost
Our dancing was founded in mourning
And we sing as we’re counting a cost

There is room at our table
So come on inside
For God makes us able
To protect and provide.
For you now have a place
A forever family
An inheritance of grace
A new identity

Come become a child to the Father
The children that the Spirit bears
For our firstborn brother made the way
For our adoption as children and heirs.

Anthony Foster
June 4, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

March 15, 1907, The Children’s Corney (sic): My First Speech



At the close of my first school the scholars were all required to get speeches to recite the last day of the school. I had learned very well and had not got as far as baker in my spelling book and could read a little in my First Reader. So it was decided that I should have a speech. They had some little trouble to find one to suit me and a good deal more in learning it to me. I must make a bow before I began and one when I closed and must speak out loud.

Now a little fellow who will do just as you tell him is a funny thing. So I made up my mind to speak it according to directions. You can see now how I am going to get into it. After a number of scholars had spoken, I was called upon to speak. I took my place upon the floor but felt a little nervous when the people all looked at me. They all seemed perfectly composed until I made my first bow, when a little blushing smile ran over the audience and the faces before me continued to redden while I spoke which reached its height when I made m first bow. I knew that I was doing something curious but I did not know what it was.

Now I had followed the directions a little too closely for my own good. They all thought I had said my speech real well, except that I bowed a little too low; I spoke out too loud and stood with my feet most too wide apart, so if you want my picture, you can take a little stuffy, dark complected fellow in tight clothes in that position and doing things with a vengeance and you have it. Oh yes! I promised to tell you what the speech was. I am a little ashamed of it, but I will tell it.

See the chickens ‘round the gate,
For their morning portion wait
Throw some crumbs, and scatter seeds
And let the hungry chickens feed;
Call them; Oh! How fast they run
Gladly, quickly, every one.

You are ready to ask, “did any one else speak?” Yes, almost all the scholars. But the one that interested me most next to my own was “uncle” Dave Harris (?) He was much older than myself and being a good scholar and a fine speaker, he said his speech well. He had a lengthy speech about a sly fox that went to rob a hen roost. Now “uncle” Dave was so graphic and so real in his description that the scene seemed actually happening right there before us. We could see the fox so plain when he was trying to get through that tight crack in the hen house that I almost got him by the tail. But when he got in and “uncle” Dave began to describe the havoc he was causing inside, I could hardly stand it.

That was my first exhibition and things seemed so real, but I was delighted when the fox tried to come our and could not come out. He had grown larger since he went in and I remember seeing the old farmer kill him with almost as much reality as if it was actually happening right there before me.

All this was years ago, and yet it is as fresh in my memory as it was then.

C. W. R. (C. W. Ridgway)

July 19, 1907, Children’s Corner: Usefulness

There are almost as many ways of being useful as there are people to be useful; and almost every one may be useful in some way if he desires to be. People are not always useful according to their ability. Some people who possess every means of being useful are perfect drones, and spend a life of idleness and dissipation that makes them a burden rather than a blessing to society, while others who seem to be cut off from every means of usefulness are a perfect blessing to every one they meet. It has been well said that the rich know nothing of the pleasures of the poor and I am proud to say myself that happiness is more equally divided than prosperity. And there is no pleasure like that of doing one’s duty under trying circumstances. I have known people who have cheerfully gone down into the very dregs of poverty and hardships that they might be useful to the dear ones who were dependent upon them for support and comfort. There is a virtue in necessity, and the person who apparently sacrifices his own happiness and pleasure that he might be useful to his loved ones increases his own pleasure ten fold. Many a mother has washed all day and with the greatest of pleasure has carried home her scant earnings to her expectant little ones with a pleasure that the rich have never known. Many a mother has trimmed the midnight lamp while bending over the sewing machine with her little ones sweetly sleeping around her, possibly dreaming of the good things papa used to bring. Don’t tell me there is no pleasure in performing the most ardent tasks if prompted by the pure spirit of love.

Nothing is difficult beneath the skies
Act well your part, there all virtue lies.

Many a father has gone to the hardships of life with that pure, noble, and manly feeling that makes even drudgery a pleasure, looking beyond the hardships to where his sweet wife and happy children are deeming nothing too hard that be useful to his dear dependent ones; such a man is the noblest work of God. He can tread the earth with a buoyance that the sluggard never knows. Even little children can be useful in increasing the happiness of those around them. Many little children are perfect little sunbeams scattering light and pleasure everywhere they go. “Agnes came into the room smiling, her mother said, where have you been, dear? At the Brown’s; and oh, mother, Walter was cross, but I happied him up so that he got all over it, and the baby cried and I had to happy her up too!” I tell you, I love little children who can happy people up.

Johnny said to his mother one day, “ I do not want to wear my good clothes today, Tommy Blake is coming over to play with me and he has no good clothes, and he will be happier if I dress common. Johnny wore his common clothes, and when Tommy came they had such a nice time playing together. That was good, sweet charity on Johnny’s part, and made a happy evening for both; for we generally increase our own happiness when we try to add to the happiness of others. Sometimes an apple that is hardly enough for one, when divided becomes plenty for three. Some children are called upon so early in life to be the staff and support of the family. I know a young man only fourteen years old whose father died and left a widow and three girls almost entirely dependent on him for support. When the neighbors came together to consider what might be done, some thought the mother could take in washing and that the little girls might find homes among the neighbors. The young man, with tears in his eyes while his lips quivered, said: “While this willing arm can find anything to do, that shall never be.” He kept his word, and the people were good enough to employ him, and boy as he was they gave him mans wages, and the family is all together yet.

There are times when even slavery itself is a pleasure. I will not trouble you to mention all the useful callings in life, for every person who follows an honest calling is useful in his time and generation. See how the world is pressing to the front, each one desiring to be useful in his own particular calling. We should be thankful that we live in this enterprising age. Not only the public spirited and high pressure people are useful, but many of the humble and retired people are quite as useful.

Many of the good old mothers who save garden seed for the whole neighborhood and gathers her simple remedies for the sick, who can cook meals and make nice, sweet butter, and who don’t talk about her neighbors, who dresses modestly when she goes to church, who has good advice for the boys and girls; such women as that are more useful than the high-flying kind who keep the whole neighborhood in a stew by their wonderful news packing propensities.

C. W. R. (C. W. Ridgway)

May 10, 1907, Children’s Corner: Danger Line

I was a little troubled at first whether to call it dangerous or safety line; for on one side of the line is safety and on the other side is danger. So it is a matter of some importance as to which side of the line we are on. When we used to play marbles we had what we called a “dead” line; if we fell beyond that line we were all right, but if we fell behind the line we were dead for that game. Now society has a moral line that people are expected to live up to if they wish to be respected; and all the good deeds and good qualities of life are on one side of the line and all the bad deeds and bad qualities are on the other side. So that we can easily see which is the respectable side of the line and also which is the safe side. And yet it is not always easy to keep on the safe side as some may think; surrounded as we are with the evils and temptations of life. It requires a great deal of moral courage to keep to the right. And yet the love of God, the hope of happiness, and the desire to be respected all require that we do so. Now there comes a period in almost every life when we are more subject to temptation than we are at other times. There is a transition period when we pass from youth to manhood. When one has the size and assumes the importance of grown up people and yet lack the experience that is necessary to succeed in life. I might illustrate by a little comparison. One bright spring morning two pretty pigeons with their bright plumage of gold and silvery hue alighted in our yard. They were shy at first, but as we did not molest them they soon became tame (they had come to stay), and began to gather sticks and feathers and to carry them t a corner under the eaves of the house where they laid eggs and set and hatched two young pigeons. They were squabby looking things and they remained in the nest in perfect safety under the care and protection of the parent birds. But there came a time when the old birds thought them old enough to be set out. So they undertook to learn them to fly. Then is when the danger came; for with their first effort to fly they found themselves almost helpless upon the ground and it was all we could do to keep the old cat from getting them. I learned a lesson from all this and thought how often children are exposed to danger when first entering into society. The evil one is ever watching for such opportunities and many a one owes his ruin to some fatal time when he had not the wisdom and prudence to resist the first temptation. There are many things that people are expected to practice if they wish to be respected and useful. And people cannot be very useful unless they are respected. One of the first things children should learn is to be obedient to parents. They should also be truthful and honest so people may believe everything they say. But if they practice evil habits a tree is soon known by its fruits. Intemperance is another evil that is blighting so many youths of our land that I would love to give timely warning to avoid that. No youth ever begins to drink expecting to be a drunkard. And yet it is a habit that steals on its victim so stealthily that he sometimes finds that he has formed an evil habit even against his own will. Hence the importance of resisting the first temptation. The youth who never drinks can never be a drunkard. It would be impossible to mention all the good fruits one is expected to practice or all the evil ones we are expected to avoid. We have the Scriptures and also a conscience that will guide us aright if we will heed their timely warning. Let us be careful how we pass the danger line, it is sometimes very hard to get back.

And yet I would not say anything to discourage those who have already erred, for many have repented and reformed and lead happy and useful lives. I would hold out the banner of hope to all. It is so sweet and safe to live with God’s blessing resting upon us that children should early learn to love, serve, and honor God who has done so much for us.

C. W. R. (C. W. Ridgway)

May 24, 1907, Children’s Corner: How to Write a Composition

There are but few things more trying on a child than writing his first composition.

It usually takes him about a week to select his subject or rather to make choices among a dozen subjects already selected. The next thing after selecting his subject is to find something to write. He will dip his pen in the ink and sit and think while big thoughts pass through his mind, none of which seems to suit him, while he again and again dips in the ink. I seldom see a fellow fishing in the ink stand for ideas but I think of the city man who came out to the country to fish; he came as usual, well equipped with fine fishing tackle; he drove up to a nice pond and with a great deal of dignity arranged himself on the bank for fishing, he unrolled his line, sent his hook to the middle of the pond and waited for a bite. When the wind stirred the waves he would lift his line suddenly to see if he actually had a bite. A farmer passed that way and asked what he was doing. Fishing, sir, was the answer. When the farmer laughed outright, and said no use fishing there, there never was a fish in that pond. So there is no use in fishing in the inkstand for ideas, there never was an idea in the ink stand. I know that from experience. I have dipped in there many a time. The better plan is to write the first thoughts that present themselves, then others will come which he may continue to write, and the faster he writes, the faster the thoughts will come until he will not be able to write fast enough. The reason we do not write is not because we can’t think but because we want better ideas than we can think. The better way is to write the thoughts as they come and then go through and pencil such sentences as we do not want, leaving the better ones. When, after a little revision we will be surprised how well we have done. It is well after defining the subject to separate it into its different herds or branches and deal with each sub topic separately. For instance: he takes animals for his subject, he will see that it can readily be divided into two parts, domestic, or tame animals, and wild animals, naming each in turn and dwelling at length upon each species until he could almost spin his composition indefinitely. Almost any subject is capable of being divided into parts which will aid the writer very much in treating it.

As for the Children’s Corner, you will pardon me if I name a few subjects that might be written up by way of practice. I would analyze several of them myself, but we are taking up too much of Mr. Barrall’s valuable space. Parents would do well to help the children a little along this line. These are easy subjects for beginners when divided into parts: Education, friendship, visiting, farming, teaching, city and country life, flowers, flowers, school life, pets, trees, etc.

The children join me in thanking Mr. Barrall for the courtesy he has shown us.

C. W. R. (C. W. Ridgway)

April 19, 1907, Children’s Corner: A Little Trip.

A few days ago I had occasion to go to Mt. Washington, so early one morning I hitched up old Prince to the buggy and started.

I will first tell you where I live so you may have some idea of my route. I live on the South side of Salt river, six miles east of Shepherdsville. The river was deep and the ford difficult, so that I had to go by the bridge at Shepherdsville. If you will go with me I will write in the plural and say we, as I do not like too many I’s, especially big I’s.

After passing over a little rough road near our house we came out onto the county road leading from Shepherdsville to Greenwell’s ford. One of the first places we passed was Pate Swearingen’s. He owns and occupies his father’s old place. Following the decline in the road we came to James Ash’s; he is a blacksmith and runs a shop. Going on down the creek we crossed at a place commonly called Hecker’s ford. Up the hill a short distance we came to Ed Weller’s cottage home. Looking across the valley to the east we saw George Kulmer’s pretty home. Farther on we saw W. C. Parris’, an aged and respectable citizen who has raised a large family of boys. Going down the hill from there we came to the south branch of Cedar Creek, which we followed half a mile, where we came to Lick Skillett where Port Thompson keeps a dry goods and grocery store. Mr. Asa Davis also lives at the Skillett and his wife keeps the telephone exchange at that place. We do not think that place should be called “Lick Skillett,” for the people there are a thrifty people and do not lick the skillet, especially when it is hot. We next came to John Bolton’s saw mill where there were great piles of lumber; then we came to J. E. McGruder’s nice home with his clean country store in one corner of the yard. Farther down the pike is W. M. Combs’, he keeps a fruit nursery and raises fine stock. In a beech grove near the road is Glenn Ellis, where they also have church and Sunday School. Then we come to the Lee mansion where Mrs. Hamilton lives. Looking northward from where we saw Mr. Pope’s fertile fields and his splendid home in the distance. The hazy distance rendered it doubly beautiful. Next we came to Wm. Simmons’ fine stock farm where a number of young horses and mules were playing in the pastures. We then came to Buffalo run, a small creek which took its name in the early times from the numbers of buffalo and other wild animals that roamed over its rich valleys. Next was George Maraman’s new and beautiful home; who also occupies his father’s old homestead. We next came to Salt River Station, a thrifty, growing village on the South side of Salt river. From the station we followed a nice piece of rock and gravel road to the new bridge. On going out of the bridge on the north end a splendid view greets us in the shape of Main street, which forms a pretty avenue with its shade trees and fine buildings on each side. We followed Main street to the public square where we turned to the east and going through a rock walled culvert we found ourselves out on the open road to Mt. Washington. A short distance to the right was Paraquet Springs, but we had not time to stop there. Two miles on the road became rough, and going down a rocky place we came to Floyd’s Fork bridge, a nice new iron bridge painted red. The next two miles brought us to Tom Bridwell’s. He owns and occupies my old homestead. The house I planned and had built myself, and Messrs Quincy Bolton and John W. Whitledge done the carpenter work. We next came to Mr. Hardin James fish farm with its clear, deep ponds, where he raises German carp fish. We once went with Mr. James to see him feed his fish; he fed them on crumbled up biscuit bread; the pretty bright fish scrambled over their food like a gang of little pigs. A short distance brought us to Pleasant Grove school house, and near it is Pleasant Grove Baptist church, both new. Next was J. B. Proctor’s store. He is doing a thriving business. We stopped at John Lloyd’s for dinner and also at “aunt” Mag Stallings’ to deliver some carpet to be woven. One mile from there we camp to a place known as the brick house, where Washington Simmons lives. Mr. Simmons is quite old, yet he has a vivid remembrance of early days, which he loves to talk over. Another half mile brought us to Bethel church (Methodist) a large handsome church capable of seating several hundred people.

We must speak of Dr. Moore, an aged and respectable physician so well known in this and other counties. On arriving at Mt. Washington Mr. Ed Showalter’s children came out to talk with us; we are always glad to see them. We traded some at the store ten went to W. A. King’s and stayed all night. Next day Paul Jones came home with us. We returned by the same route and got home about two o’clock in the evening.

C. W. R. (C. W. Ridgway)

April 10, 1907, Children’s Corner: Good Children

We love the pretty springtime
With all its buds and flowers
It’s sunny slopes and grassy meads
And sweet and sunny bowers
Its orchards white with flowers bright
With fruitful nest in store
For it matters not how much we have
We always want some more.

Most children are good, and many would like to be better than they really are. Children generally possess a desire to be good, useful and pleasant, and we should encourage them in such habits. We should let them know that we appreciate their good qualities and actions. It will encourage them. I am not one to put a bad meaning upon every thing that children do. Inexperience may some time lead them into error, Then should be kindly advised and pass over the error as lightly as possible. In fact a little prompting in advance might save the child from many errors which would be better than fault finding afterwards. Many little children would like to know what is right and would receive any good advice gladly and profit by it. I believe that almost any child, if taken in time, might be trained to be good, useful, and happy, and when children fail to turn out well the fault is more often in the training than in the child. Their moral surroundings has much to do with their spiritual growth and happiness and everyone should see that their moral surroundings are good. It is a real pleasure to observe some children in their walks and actions in life. They are pleasant, sweet, and affable in all their ways and goodness seems to be almost natural with them. They have nice manners and they move in an easy, natural way, and seem to make friends of every one they meet. Such children are a delight to parents and a pleasure to everyone. Happy the parents who have such children, for nothing gives parents more pleasure than to see their children turn out well. Most parents know something of the evils and temptations that beset children in their course through life . and when they see them possessing good moral qualities that will make them strong to resist the evil it is a great source of pleasure to them. May God bless the children and help them to be good.

C. W. R. (C. W. Ridgway)

March 29, 1907, Children’s Corner: Possibility

Now I suppose we must begin like grown up people, with a little poetry:

I love my home, my happy home
Where mother rules as queen
Where papa’s lord of all around
And everything is clean.

Possibility looks mighty big in children’s corner and I tried hard to find a smaller word that would answer my purpose, but when we know the meaning of the word we will find that it is not a bad word after all. The Dictionary defines it as “the power of being or doing” and that is what we want to talk about. Many children who may read this are capable of being and doing wonderful things; in fact the human when developed possesses capabilities almost beyond limit. When God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul he entered upon a wonderful life. Possessing that spark of Divinity that made him akin to God, himself being created in God’s own image and after His own likeness thenceforth to be a living soul. How wonderful! Someone may say children cannot understand such talk, but in this day of Sunday Schools and early religious training for children they soon acquire a knowledge of the Scripture, and the subject of the creation is familiar to almost every intelligent child. Someone asked a good man how soon children understand the Scriptures. His answer was “so soon as they knew the meaning of words and could understand anything else.” Hence the importance of early training. The children of the present rising generation will soon be called upon to take the places of the older people and to fill the places of honor, trust, and responsibility. No wonder we look with pride and hope to the children of today. The children of today will be the men and women of tomorrow, and so much depends upon the child- life as to what his future may be. The habits and character he forms now will, to a great extent, shape his future destiny for good or bad. Now we live in a wonderful age and in a wonderful country where people can be almost anything they desire to be if they use the means necessary to accomplish that desire. This country furnishes so many opportunities for starting in life one can begin almost any vocation, calling or profession in a little way, and if he proves capable and deserving he can continue to rise in his favorite calling, until he reaches the object of his desire. If he seeks politics, if he can be elected even to some small office, he may hope by faithfulness in the discharge of his duty to succeed to still greater honors. And if better still, he seeks to be useful in his Master’s cause, he may begin in the Sunday School or in some humble church work with unlimited hope. The same may be said of all useful callings, yet we would not have any boy or girl think that success in life can be gained without effort. It requires the same diligent effort on the part of the rich and the poor alike. Success in life cannot be bought with money, but it must be acquired with worthy effort.
C. W. R. (C. W. Ridgway)

March 22, 1907 A Happy Rendezvous

Allow your boys and girls to subscribe to good magazines and to buy a new book occasionally. Have music of some kind and consider it a duty you owe your children to give them an education. If they have a talent for music give them music lessons if for drawing give them lessons in drawing; or if any of the arts, cultivate that talent to the best of your ability.

If you would have the farm become a happy rendezvous have it well lighted; oil is much cheaper than to have your children wonder off, you know not where, for they will go where it is bright and attractive.

Allow them to invite their friends to their home and assist in the entertaining. Do not call your children up at 4 o’clock to feed the horses or milk the cows; it does not make the morning very attractive for them, and in time they will dislike the farm. Give them time to live, and take time yourself to see a pretty sunset, a bright flower by the wayside or listen to the happy notes of the birds.

Unless the farm home can be made into a happy meeting place do not turn their faces toward the city disgusted with life on the farm. If they hear the only song of work, work, work, from sunrise until sunset it becomes monotonous, and they see that each day brings them no nearer the goal than the day before so they lose interest and grow dissatisfied with their daily duties and cares.

A holiday now and then, a pleasant, cheerful greeting each morning, work seasoned with a little sport all along the way is cheaper than having your children go to the city.

(C. W. Ridgway)

March 8, 1907, The Children’s Corney (sic): My First School

I was the oldest in a family of seven children, and after I began to arrive at the age of six years, it was a question of some importance as to how I was to be sent to school; we lived 1 ½ miles from the school house and no children came our way, so some plan had to be devised for me to have company. Now I had a cousin Joe who was a large boy and a fine manly fellow. So my Papa proposed to board him if he would go to school from our house and he let me go with him. He gladly accepted the offer. So the time came to go. I had looked forward to the time with a great deal of pleasure until the time actually came, and I began to feel curious about leaving home. I remember my Mama had fixed us a good dinner in a little new split basket. Fried pies, eggs, lean meat, preserves, etc., which was a great inducement to me (I being a greedy little fellow). Now my papa had supplied me with a new blue back spelling book in my hand and 7 nice marbles in my pocket and dressed in a nice clean suit that was rather small for me, we actually started for school, cousin Joe and I. I started off rather reluctant and when I got half way across a little meadow in front of the house, I began to slow up and like a Texas pony, I came to a standstill and refused to go any farther. Joe tried to persuade me to come on and told me about the good dinner in the basket and the fun we would have at school. But not an inch would I move. Joe finally called to Papa that I would not go. He came out in the yard and told me that I must go on. I still refused, when he picked up a switch and started down there. I then started on in a little trot, crying as I went. I followed on and we finally got to school. I would describe the school house and surroundings, but it would take too long. The room was filled with scholars of all sizes and ages, from 6 to 25 years. I had not been there long until I began to cry and kept it up at intervals until noon. At noon we sat on the door step and ate our dinner. After dinner the scholars all engaged in school games (the first I had ever seen and which I thought was awful funny). I stood up to cousin Joe and he actually laughed out loud. In the afternoon I did not cry so much and was glad to get home that evening. But the next morning at that same place I balked again with the same proceedings. And ever after when I would come to that same place I would feel like I wanted to stop.

I expect I have said enough for this time. Next week I will tell you what my first speech was and how I said it.
C.W.R. (C. W. Ridgway)

C. W. Ridgway: February 17, 1907, The Children’s Corner:

The weather has been so cold and the little ones have been housed up so much that I thought it would be nice to write a little especially for the little ones. I used to teach school myself and I always like children and still feel a great interest in them, and it is natural that my thoughts should turn to them during these shut-in times. Most children go to school when they can, and I think it would be nice to talk about school. In the first place we will give you a few little problems that might be interesting to you, (now all this is for the little children and we hope older ones will not criticize). Now for the problem: Suppose you are eight years old and Mama is 32 years old, when you are 32 how old will Mama be?

Miss Susie has 26 scholars and she wishes to treat them on oranges at 24 cents per dozen, what will it cost her to give one orange to each scholar?

Now for the little boys. Suppose you buy 2 dozen lead pencils at 2 cents each and sell them 2 pencils for 5 cents; how much do you make on the 2 dozen pencils? Next: Suppose you buy a yellow pony for $20 and a saddle for $4, you pay $16 down and then work 20 days at 35 cents per day, how much will you owe on your pony?

We might go a little farther and take in scholars a little larger. Suppose you have a cord of wood for sale and you sell 44 inches in length of the pile to one person for 42 cents and the balance of the cord to another customer at the same rate, how much will the second person pay for his part of the wood, and how much will you get for your cord of wood?

History. When did Kentucky become a State and who was President of the United States at the time?

Grammar. Would you say Papa come home Saturday, or Papa came home Saturday?

Geography. Which is farthest North, Washington City, Cincinnati, or St. Louis? Answer first, then look.

Before I close I wish to say something about Sunday school. When the weather is too bad to go to Sunday school we ought to study our lesson at home. This quarter’s lesson is so interesting. We learn how God’s special providence is over all His people, we learn how God took care of Noah and all his family and all the living creatures that he saved in the Ark. It is certainly a strong lesson in favor of trusting God. God’s care is not only over His people, but over all the living creatures that He has created. We are told that not even a sparrow falleth to the ground without His knowledge.

During the coldest weather and while the snow lay deep on the ground, I went to mill, and just in front of me a little gray squirrel crossed the road; he had evidently been to mill too, for he was hurrying homeward with a head of sorghum in his mouth. We can see the providence of God in providing for the little squirrel.

I will give you a Scripture verse on the subject: “Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap or gather into barns, yet your Heavenly Father feeds them; are ye not much better than they?”

We will not trouble the little ones to send their answers to the paper, but take them to Mama, she will tell you if they are right.
If you like all this I may write again.

Yours truly, C. W. R.

Series of posts- Wisdom from my GGGrandfather

I recently discovered a trove of articles written by my Great Great Grandfather in 1907. I have been moved and humbled by his wisdom. I truly have a lot to look up to and to live up to in this man. I am grateful to God that I have had the privilege of getting to know him better through his writings and am inspired to apply his wisdom in my own life as a husband, a father, and a leader.

All entries are from a local newspaper, The Bullitt County News, which ceased publication in 1911.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Beloved One

You left your home in glory
To be made in the image of man
So that your image within us
Could come to understand
That by your word the world consists
Your word works and wonders exist
Forever to endure
For your mercy is sure.
For your mercy is sure.

You are the Word that was made flesh
Incarnate God, Creator
And every creature ever made
Shall bow sooner or later
Every planet, every star
Every nation near or far
Shall obey your sovereign will
For at your fountain hearts are filled.
For at your fountain hearts are filled.

Hearts are filled when e’re they yield
To the Lord who made the earth
Christ created all the universe
It declares His matchless worth
Behold what manner of Love is this
That sick sinners should become
The chosen children who are His
Adopted daughters and sons
Conformed to the Beloved One

You are the one who wrote our lives
You are the one who ever guides
The One on whom we cast our cares
See the tablets of our hearts laid bare
And from the depths of souls unbound
Sweet shouts of grace ever resound
Sweet shouts of grace ever resound

Hearts are filled when e’re they yield
To the Lord who made the earth
Christ created all the universe
It declares His matchless worth
Behold what manner of Love is this
That sick sinners should become
The chosen children who are His
Adopted daughters and sons
Conformed to the Beloved One


This may be, I believe, the 2000th hymn Spirit hath visited me with. Will check later.
Anthony Foster
May 2, 2011
Soli Deo Gloria!

True Shepherd

There are footsteps none can follow
Lest they take them to the pit
And the pathway there is broad as it can be.
There is truth that some can’t swallow
Cannot make good sense of it
Yet it smells and tastes like pure reality

There’s another path that’s narrow
Very few will walk that way
And this truth cuts to the marrow
And will crush those feet of clay
If they are found in darkness on that day.

For this way it is a sheep-path
And it’s trodden down and worn
By the flock that has escaped God’s wrath
It has left them shaved and shorn
Devastated by the shears
That cuts them off from all their fears
They only cling to the shepherd now
They only sing to the shepherd now
Who will lead them home somehow.

So lead us sinners home
Lead us sinners home
We follow the one true shepherd
He is leading sinners home.

For the shepherd laid his life down
So the sheep may pass this way
For the shepherd took his crown
That His Father gave that day
Love became a living offering
In a Shepherd crowned a Mighty King
And a Savior of the sheep who went astray.

Oh King, lead us sinners home
Lead us sinners home
We follow the one true shepherd
He is leading sinners home.


Anthony Foster
May 1, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

As We Arise (Easter Pledge)

Christ has become our only dream
The risen reality that redeems
Bearing our cross we bear much fruit
Running the race in holy pursuit

We pledge to live what we believe
We will not live like those who grieve
We rise like an eagle when he flies
Giving you glory as we arise

Fixing our eyes upon your throne
No other God but you alone
Lifting us up on wings of grace
You transformed all the dreams we chase

Satan may scheme to take us down
But we'll respond as those who’ve found
The Hope and peace that never dies
Giving you glory as we arise

Our destination in the race
To become a people full of grace
To rule and reign with you as your own
And to finally know as we are known

And so to live is Christ and to die is gain
This is our joy as we remain-
Resurrection power that never dies
We give you the glory as we arise.

Anthony Foster
April 19, 2011

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Called to the Cross

Here is God's good and perfect will
Here are His purposes fulfilled
To change us till we are transformed
Into the likeness of Christ conformed.

Called to the cross, called to suffer loss
Bid to come and die
Bid to come and self to deny
Take up your cross and follow
Take up your cross and follow
Follow the Master for He paid the cost

Enter into His sufferings
A living sacrificial offering
And in that poor and lowly place
He exalts the weak by His Grace.

Called to the cross, called to suffer loss
Bid to come and die
Bid to come and self to deny
Take up the cross and follow
Take up the cross and follow
Follow the Master for He paid the cost

For all of us sinners
Are losers or winners
For all of us fell at the fall
Though bereft and depraved
By His mercy we’re saved
Made alive now to answer His call.

Called to the cross, called to suffer loss
Bid to come and die
Bid to come and self to deny
Take up the cross and follow
Take up the cross and follow
Follow the Master for He paid the cost


Anthony Foster
April 17, 2011

Hiatus

No blogging in the month of March and most of April is gone... sorry folks but life is a happenin' thing...

You Have Set Your Throne on High

You have set Your throne on high
May Your Kingdom come on Earth
Your redemption draweth nigh
As we manifest your Worth.
In Your good and pleasing, perfect will
Revealed as a sacrifice
We live in this and so fulfill
The sufferings of Christ.

So set your throne in us
Your slaves who have become
Your children, heirs and living trust
Until your Kingdom comes
For as You died and then were raised
As your power in us attains
We live and move to see you praised
Your Sovereign grace e’re reigns.

You have set Your throne on High
And from Your mercy seat
The call of the cross bids us come and die
And to worship at Your feet.
And so we boldly enter in
Your presence shall never depart
As we leave behind what might have been,
Build Your altar within our heart.

So set your throne in us
Raise us to the heavenlies
The sanctified who were declared just
By the truth that set us free
For as You died and then were raised
This same power in us attains
We live and move to see you praised
Your Sovereign grace e’re reigns.

April 17, 2011
Anthony Foster

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Eight years old!

Can't believe I have been blogging for over 8 years. That is alottagloggin, and it's been fun. Now Facebook shares in the fun, but I will keep on posting lyrics and news, clues, and views here ad infinitum...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Hills are Calling Me

The hills are calling me today
And waters gush from virgin clay
And I will leave plow and team
And follow the bright winding stream

Traveling its course along
What a beautiful silvery song
The pebbled brook sings just for me
And I am filled with ecstasy

To the hills I will lift up my eyes
And see the living Lord arise
This is where my help comes from
There I will rest till my day comes.

Before me lies the gushing spring
Around its blue mouth tall blades cling
I’ve found the shady hills at last
And trees their cooling shadows cast

They hold me as a bosom friend
I wish the day would never end
God’s hills are wondrous fair today
And I could here forever stay.

To the hills I will lift up my eyes
And see the living Lord arise
This is where my help comes from
There I will rest till my day comes.

After a depression era poem by John B. Cruise

Anthony Foster
February 22, 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Shadow of the Cross

‘Neath the cross I will take refuge
In this dry and weary land
In the glory of His sacrifice
I will hope and I will stand.

Oh the shadow of the Cross
Fall full upon me I pray
Oh shadow of the Cross
Cover me in your refreshing shade
Be my refuge
In this wilderness
Be my place of shelter
And my place of rest
Be the place where I am fully blessed
Neath the shadow of the cross.

In the light of the glory of the Presence
Casts a cross shaped shadow on our walls
And we tremble in this glory
As on our lives this shadow falls

The cross is a tower
Erected on the Rock
Where His outstetched wings
Shelter His own flock

Oh the shadow of the Cross
Fall full upon me I pray
Oh shadow of the Cross
Cover me in your refreshing shade
Be my refuge
In this wilderness
Be my place of shelter
And my place of rest
Be the place where I am fully blessed
Neath the shadow of the cross.

Anthony Foster
February 13, 2011

Blood of Jesus

The blood of Jesus runneth deep
Deep enough to cover all your sin.
There is no depth to which you can sink
There is no thought that you can think
There is no secret place
That’s beyond the reach of grace
Blood that covers, blood that covers
Blood that covers all our sin.

The blood of Jesus reaches wide
Wide enough to overwhelm our sin
There is nowhere man can hide
Where the love of Christ will not abide
He delivers us from that evil place
Such is the scope of redeeming grace
Blood that conquers, blood that conquers
Blood that conquers all our sin.

The blood of Jesus is ever strong
Strong to cast out all all our sin
There is no land beyond His reach
The blood of the Word shall forever preach
Until the day a man dies
It redeems and sanctifies
Blood that casts out, blood that casts out
Blood that casts out all our sin.

The blood of Jesus cleanses clean
Cleanses us from all our sin
It cleanses those who are defiled
Cleanses us and reconciles
And every one who is redeemed
Is cleansed by the blood and we are clean
Blood that cleanses, blood that cleanses
Blood that cleanses from our sin.

Anthony Foster
February 13, 2011

Friday, January 28, 2011

True Grit

What we have in the latest adaptation of True Grit is a film that keeps in cadence with the tone and pace of the original Charles Portis book. The film stays true, to some degree, to the Biblical overtones of the novel, which portrayed Mattie almost as the avenging angel of a wrathful God.

In my opinion, however, this somewhat pedantic adherence to the text stifles the cinematic interpretation. What reads well on the page does not make great dialog. The movie mirrors the same flaws as the original text, so this is no surprise. It is a tale of vengeance, not justice. The result is plodding and sometime boring exercise. More than too much attention is paid to the archaic English that sidesteps contractions so obviously that it seems strained.

My main complaint is for the weakness of the villains in the film. They are neither well-developed or particularly interesting. This might have been alleviated by a scene showing the murder of Frank Ross. The drivenness of Mattie is fueled by a vigilante vengeance that has little to do with her Bible thumping pronouncements.I had the sense in the novel that the biblical references held the plot together and these references, while present in the film, were much more watered down.

It is not justice, but rather the wrath of Mattie Ross and the orneryness of Cogburn that reigns down on the heads of the bad guys. Our hopes for resolution of the characters in the plot is not attended to as the character of LaBoeuf is abandoned abruptly in the film and we are left to wonder about him. Once Mattie gets her vengeance she is repelled into a den of snakes wintering in a pit and is bitten by a snake (another Biblical reference) Cogburn rescues her and the movie seems to end abruptly. After plodding on for two hours, in its ending the story collapses upon itself.

My penultimate complaint is that the plot plods along as it bogs down in the bickering between the lead male protagonists. Thirty minutes into the film and the cast is still hanging out in Arkansas.

For all it’s attention to the text, there are some departures as well. In the book, the elder Mattie seems to be in her sixties; the movie portrays her as somewhat younger. As with the original, she is revealed as the one with true grit. LaBoeuf survives in the film as in the novel (in the 1969 movie, Glen Campbell dies helping Wayne save Kim Darby), and Mattie’s arm amputation is also in keeping with the original. In the book Cogburn did not wear an eyepatch to cover his lost eye, and he was around 40. Bridges seems to play an older Cogburn, though both lawman characters are civil war vets. In most other features, the film stays true to the Portis story. As with the book this film has Mattie as the main character throughout. This remains one big disconnect for me- why has Hailee Steinfeld been nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar? She was clearly the best actor in the film and at age thirteen outshined the luminaries she was cast alongside. Was Oscar to shy to nominate her for best actress?

I was surprised to see that the potential for gore and blood were not realized fully. For that I am grateful. The Coens exhibited remarkable restraint in this right. The biggest strength of the production is the cinematography and sound provided by Roger Deakins and composer Carter Burwell. The score and imagery and decent acting make this a three star movie in my mind- a good film but not nearly an even minor masterpiece.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Pursuit of God

We have been going through the Tozer classic again as part of our nightly devotions. Tozer's prayers have been resounding in my heart as I have been drawn to meditate on God as our portion. Here are some words that flowed from the readings...

Follow Hard

O God, I taste and see that You are good
At your table I am satisfied to feed
I thirst anew and hunger for your food
So painfully conscious of my need

I am desperate for further grace.
I am ashamed of my lack of desire.
Oh Lord my God I seek Your face
Your presence is what I require.

O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee;
I long to be filled with longing for You
I thirst to be made more thirsty still.
And want to quench this thirst anew
Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee,
That so I may know Thee indeed.
Begin in mercy a new work of love
Within me plant Your holy seed.

Say to my soul, “Rise up, my love,
My fair one, and come away.”
Then give me grace to rise above
And fly from this misty lowland I pray.

I would follow up and follow hard
From where I have wandered for so long.
Give me the grace to drop my guard
Deliver me to where I belong.

O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee;
I long to be filled with longing for You
I thirst to be made more thirsty still.
And I want to quench this thirst anew
Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee,
That so I may know Thee indeed.
Begin in mercy a new work of love
Within me, Lord plant Your holy seed.


After A. W. Tozer
A.W. Foster
January 20, 2011

The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing

Father, I want to draw near
But my coward heart falls into fear
Help it give up its toys
And discover new joys
Tear from me those old things I hold dear.

I cannot part with them without bleeding,
I cannot part with them without pain
I do not try to hide from Thee the terror of the parting.
Help me discover the loss that is gain.

Then shalt Thou make glorious the place of Thy feet
On the footstool before Thy Mercy seat
There where Thy radiance is complete
Then my heart has no need of the sun to shine
My heart has no need for another sign
Then there shall be no night,
For Thyself wilt be its light!
Purge from me that very part of my living self,
Destroy every idol
So that Thou mayest enter in and dwell
Without a rival.
Without a rival.
Without a rival.

Father, I want to hold true
But my coward heart fails to seek You
The distractions attain
And my Spirit is drained
Tear from me those old things I pursue
I come trembling, but I do come.
Please root from my heart all those things
Which I have cherished for so long
For they only serve to clip my wings.

Build a refiner’s fire upon this altar
Built a place where I fall down and confess
If I should fail and if I should falter
Fill the brokenness with blessedness
Strip away my possessions
For we’re possessed by what we own
I would have Thee for my portion forever
Possessing nothing but Thee alone!

Then shalt Thou make glorious the place of Thy feet
On the footstool before Thy Mercy seat
There where thy radiance is complete
Then my heart has no need of the sun to shine
My heart has no need for another sign
And there shall be no night,
For Thyself wilt be its light!
Purge from me that very part of my living self,
Destroy every idol
So that Thou mayest enter in and dwell
Without a rival.
Without a rival.
Without a rival.

After A. W. Tozer
Anthony Foster
January 20, 2011

Removing the Veil

Lord, how excellent are Thy ways,
And how devious and dark the ways of man
To newness of life in You transform us
Show us how to die, that we may rise again

The veil of our self-life rend
Tear it from the top down
As You did rend the Temple veil
That your glory might be unbound.

You have formed us for Yourself,
And our hearts are restless
Till they find rest in You
There to be forever blessed.

In full assurance of faith we draw near
And in daily experience we would dwell here.
Here on this earth so that we may be
Accustomed to the fullness of glory
When we enter Your heaven to dwell with You there.

You have formed us for Yourself,
And our hearts are restless
Till they find rest in You
There to be forever blessed.

After A. W. Tozer
A.W. Foster
January 20, 1011

Apprehending God

Quicken to life every power within me,
That I may lay hold on eternal things.
Open my eyes that I may see,
And hear the unheard song the Spirit sings.

With the eyes of the Spirit let me see
Enable me to taste only Thee
To know that Thou art good will begin
To make heaven more real to me
Than any earthly thing has ever been.

The soul has eyes with which to see
And ears with which to hear.
From long disuse feeble they may be,
Give a life-giving touch to mine ear.

Obedience to the Word more secure
Will enable the heart that is pure
To clearly hear the clarion call
Our faculties grow sharper and more sure,
Christ will become to us the great All in All.

His Presence is the glory and the wonder of our lives.
His Presence is the glory and the wonder of our lives.

After A. W. Tozer
Anthony Foster
January 20, 2011


Universal Presence

O God and Father, I repent
Of my sinful preoccupation,
My focus on visible things.
The world has formed my vocation.

Thou hast been here and I knew it not.
To Thy Presence I have been blind
Open my eyes that I may behold Thee
In and around me
Through me and to me
Over and under in everything I see.

Give an affinity for
A bent toward
A response in sympathy
A firm desire
A holy fire
Place a fervent faith in me

Help me to dwell in your Presence
All of the days of my life
Help me to live in reverence
To live and move and be in Christ.

After A. W. Tozer
Anthony Foster
January 20, 2011


Thy Speaking Voice

Lord, teach me to listen.
Lord, teach me to listen.
The times are noisy
And my ears are weary
With a thousand raucous sounds
Which continuously assault...
Bring the clamor in my soul to a halt.

Lord be Emmanuel
Give me the spirit of the boy Samuel
When he said to Thee,
“Speak, for thy servant heareth.”
Help me to hear clearly.

Let me hear You speaking within my heart.
Let me get used to the sound
Make the tones of Thy Voice so familiar
So that in your Word of Life I am found
And when the sounds of earth die away
And the music of heaven is given sway
And as silence reigns in hearts that rejoice
We hear the music of Thy speaking Voice.

Let me hear You speaking within my heart.
Let me get used to the sound
Make the tones of Thy Voice so familiar
So that in your Word of Life I am found
And when the sounds of earth die away
And the music of heaven is given sway
And as silence reigns in hearts that rejoice
We hear the music of Thy speaking Voice.

After A. W. Tozer
Anthony Foster
January 20, 2011


Gaze of the Soul

O Lord, I have heard
A glorious good word
Inviting me to look away to Thee
And to be satisfied.
So to my life I’ve died
And turn my eye Godward to Glory.

My heart longs to respond,
But sin has clouded my vision
Till I see Thee but dimly.
Be pleased to cleanse
Me from my sins
By Thy precious blood set me free.

Make me inwardly pure,
Thy glory to endure
And with unveiled eyes
Gaze upon the prize
To receive the blessed cure.

So I'll gaze on Thee all the days
Of my pilgrimage on earth.
Then shall I will be prepared to behold
The full splendor of Thy worth.

Perfect love shall cast out every fear
In the day when Thou shalt appear
Glorified as man’s desire
In Thy saints and admired
By those who will receive
By all them that believe.

O Lord, I have heard
A glorious good word
Inviting me to look away to Thee
And to be satisfied.
So to my life I’ve died
And turned my eye Godward to Glory

After A. W. Tozer
Anthony Foster
January 20, 2011


Restoration

O God, be exalted over my possessions.
Let not your gifts to me become transgressions
Nothing of earth’s treasures shall give me pride
If only in my life--You are glorified!

Over my friendships You I exalt
I am determined that You shall be above all,
Though I must stand deserted and cursed
Alone in the midst of the earth.

Be exalted above my comforts and pleasures
Though it mean the loss of worldly treasures
And the carrying of a heavy cross
I shall keep my vow and count as gain my loss.

Be exalted over my reputation.
To please You may it be my ambition
Even if I must sink into obscurity’s stream
And my name be forgotten as a dream.

Humble me that You may rise above.
Ride forth upon me as You did ride in love
Into Jerusalem on the humble beast,
Let me decrease that Thou may increase,
Let me hear the children unto Thee cry
Hosanna in the highest.

After A. W. Tozer
Anthony Foster
January 20, 2011


Meekness and Rest

I would be simple and artless
And meek as a little child.
Deliver me from posing and pretense
A man that’s without guile.

Forgive me for thinking of myself;
In beholding Thee, find a peace that is True.
That you may answer this prayer
I humble myself before You

Lord, make me childlike, like a child
Make my heart be reconciled
From the urge to compete Deliver me
From pursuit of prestige or position set me free
Lord in your meekness may I find rest
Reduce me to childlike blessedness.

The heart of the world is breaking
Lay upon me grace that I may find rest
Replace a load of pretense and pride
With your easy yoke of self-forgetfulness

Lord, make me childlike, like a child
Make my heart be reconciled
From the urge to compete Deliver me
From pursuit of prestige or position set me free
Lord in your meekness may I find rest
Reduce me to childlike blessedness.

After A. W. Tozer
Anthony Foster
January 20, 2011


Sacrament of Living


Lord, I would trust Thee completely;
I would be altogether Thine;
I would exalt Thee above all others.
I desire Your desires to be mine.

To feel no sense of possessing
Anything outside of Thee.
I want constantly to be aware
Of Your Presence overshadowing me!

I long to rest in sincerity of heart.
So fully in the Spirit to live
That all my thoughts may be as sweet incense
Ascending to Thee as True worship I give.

And every act of my life may be
An act of worship consecrated to Thee
And every act of my life may be
An act of worship consecrated to Thee

Therefore I pray in the words
Of your great servant of old I have heard,
“I beseech You to cleanse the intent of mine heart
with the unspeakable gift of Thy grace,
That I may perfectly love
And worthily give You praise!”

And every act of my life may be
An act of worship consecrated to Thee
And every act of my life may be
An act of worship consecrated to Thee

May my life itself be a sacrament
The whole world a sanctuary, I ask.
All my life a priestly ministry
As I perform my never so simple task.
I will hear the voice of the seraphim
Saying, “Holy, Holy, Holy,
Is the Lord of hosts: All praise to Him!
The whole earth is full of His glory.”

After A. W. Tozer
Anthony Foster
January 20, 1011

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Our trust and test

We will weep with those who weep
And laugh with those who laugh
This is deep calling unto deep
The paradox of compassion’s path

Rejoice with those who rejoice
And mourn with those who mourn
This is the consecrated choice
The blessing to which we are born

To enter in with empathy
Longsuffering with sympathy
Where deep despair and joy sublime
In tension make a perfect rhyme

We will ache with those who ache
And be blessed with the blessed
This dust shall die for love’s own sake
For this is our trust and test.

Anthony Foster
January 9, 2010

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Social Happiness...

The link is at

http://www.typotex.hu/index.php?page=en/content&content_id=2288

so you can copy paste into browser in case the one below does not work...

Social Happiness

From Typotex:

"We found that social networks have clusters of happy and unhappy people within them that reach out to three degrees of separation. A person's happiness is related to the happiness of their friends, their friends' friends, and their friends' friends' friends-that is, to people well beyond their social horizon. We found that happy people tend to be located in the center of their social networks and to be located in large clusters of other happy people. And we found that each additional happy friend increases a person's probability of being happy by about 9%. For comparison, having an extra $5,000 in income (in 1984 dollars) increased the probability of being happy by about 2%.

This premise holds that happiness, in short, is not merely a function of personal experience, but also is a property of groups. Emotions are a collective phenomenon.This is worth thinking about in light of Scripture...