Lord Jesus, give me a deeper repentance, a horror of sin, a dread of its approach. Help me chastely to flee it and jealously to resolve that my heart shall be Thine alone.
Give me a deeper trust, that I may lose myself to find myself in Thee, the ground of my rest, the spring of my being. Give me a deeper knowledge of Thyself as saviour, master, lord, and king. Give me deeper power in private prayer, more sweetness in Thy Word, more steadfast grip on its truth. Give me deeper holiness in speech, thought, action, and let me not seek moral virtue apart from Thee.
Plough deep in me, great Lord, heavenly husbandman, that my being may be a tilled field, the roots of grace spreading far and wide, until Thou alone art seen in me, Thy beauty golden like summer harvest, Thy fruitfulness as autumn plenty.
I have no master but Thee, no law but Thy will, no delight but Thyself,no wealth but that Thou givest, no good but that Thou blessest, no peace but that Thou bestowest. I am nothing but that Thou makest me. I have nothing but that I receive from Thee. I can be nothing but that grace adorns me. Quarry me deep, dear Lord, and then fill me to overflowing with living water.
Taken from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, edited by Arthur Bennett
Vicky sat at the kitchen table. Since the break-up two years ago she’d tried hard to leave painful memories behind. She pulled her long, brown hair into a ponytail. She knew she was blessed to have a place with a back yard. And she’d dropped two dress sizes, placing her at the ideal weight for her frame. But still not as slim as the woman Bob left her for. Now she had no job and no husband. Just as she poured her first cup of coffee, the doorbell chimed.
A woman with gray hair and bright blue eyes stood on the step outside. “Hello. I’m Emily from across the road,” she said, smiling. “I hate to disturb you, but your dog’s barking in my back yard.”
“Sorry.” She grabbed Luke’s leash from a hook on the back of the door and extended her hand. “I’m Vicky.”
“I wouldn’t mind, but my son works nights. Are you on vacation this week?”
“No, I lost my job.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
Vicky hurried after Emily. She spotted her golden retriever sitting in the midst of Emily’s garden. Begonias scattered pink, yellow, and coral around him. She sighed, realizing she must do something about her gate.
As Vicky was leaving, Emily touched her arm. “Good luck finding work. Let me know if I can be of any help, dear.”
Vicky smiled. “Thank you.”
Back home she flopped onto the settee and drank cold coffee while Luke sprawled across her feet. “There’s still you, old fella, and a friendly neighbor.”
She hoped her melancholy would soon pass. Tears stung the back of her eyes, and she reached down to stroke Luke’s coat. “You’ll go for a run this afternoon and then I must fix that latch.”
New routines felt strange as the weeks dragged, and Vicky grappled for some semblance of normality while looking for another job. She now had time to spend with her grandmother at the nursing home and to volunteer her services there.
Leaving the house one afternoon, she spotted Emily standing at the curb. A man—not much taller than her own five-feet-eight—was unloading bags from Emily’s car. Vicky crossed the street.
“This is my son Ben. Ben, Vicky,” Emily said, jerking her head toward him.
He turned around. Vicky held out her hand and smiled.
“Er, sorry, no free hands,” he said.
Vicky’s gaze shifted from his warm brown eyes to the packages piled up in his arms.
As Ben walked away, Emily leaned over and whispered, “Not so friendly with women since his girl broke their engagement last summer.”
She squeezed Emily’s arm and attempted a smile.“I’m off to do some shopping and then the fitness center.”
Seated in the car, Vicky watched in her rear-view mirror as Ben walked back to where his mother stood. Where had she seen him before? She searched her memory, but with no success.
Shopping done, she walked the short distance from the car to the gym, flipping through a magazine as she went.
“Can you read and open the door too?” a deep, masculine voice said.
She looked up to see Ben. He shifted a duffel bag to his shoulder and stepped back into the lobby to let her in. “Vicky, isn’t it?” He swiped his forehead with the back of his arm, perspiration running down his cheek.
She dropped the magazine into her oversized bag. “And you’re Ben.”
“We meet again,” he said, still holding the door.
Vicky smiled. “Looks like you’ve had a good workout.”
Ben glanced down at his clothes. “Need to shower and change before going into Jefferson.”
“Jefferson! The hospital? So that’s where I’ve seen you.”
His grin widened. “I thought yourface looked familiar too.”
She met his gaze, taking in his strong jaw and the small scar on his cheek. “I worked there for four years until they reorganized my department.”
“It’s six years for me on the fifth floor.”
Vicky took a deep calming breath. “So you’re a psychiatric nurse?”
She felt a tight knot in the pit of her stomach and scrambled for something more to say. Since the break-up, she’d tried with God’s help to force from her mind that brief hospital stay for depression.
“Probably saw you on one of my rare day shifts.”
Vicky threw him an anxious glance. “Possibly.”
“About the job loss. You’ll find another one I’m sure,” Ben said, flashing a captivating wide smile.
She attempted to sound cheerful. “I have an interview tomorrow.”
“Try to be optimistic.” He adjusted his cap over his tousled dark hair. “Maybe we’ll run into each other again.”
“I expect to be home most days,” she called after him, hoping they’d do more than bump into each other.
Two days later, Vicky went to open the front door, dressed in a crumpled blue robe. Who could it be at this hour?
Ben stood with Luke at his side. “Your dog likes my house.”
“I’m sorry he’s a bother.”
“No bother. I just got off work.”
“I though I’d repaired that latch,” Vicky said, regretting she hadn’t even dressed or combed her hair.
He stooped and stroked Luke’s neck. “Have you found anything yet?”
“No . . . not yet.”
Ben stood up. “Don’t lose hope.” He made to leave, then turned. “Would you like me to look at your gate now?”
She smiled. “If it wouldn’t be any trouble.”
“Sometimes it’s just a matter of having the right tools.”
“I’ll pour you a cup of coffee before you start.”
In no time, he had repaired the latch. They watched as Luke cavorted across the lawn. Ben gave a hearty laugh. She laughed along.
“I don’t know how to thank you,” she said, grateful that her dog had a secured space to
Ben gazed into her eyes, smiling. “No need for that.” Then he cleared his throat. “Look . . . are you free this Saturday? I’m going for a hike in the hills.” He patted his waist. “Need to lose weight.”
Luke jumped up and planted his paws on Ben’s chest. He ruffed the dog’s ears. “More room there for him to run.”
Vicky’s heartbeat picked up in anticipation of spending a day with Ben. “Thanks for asking,” she said, her tone masking her excitement. If it hadn’t been for the defective latch, she might’ve never had a chance to get to know Ben.
“Well, need to get some shut-eye. The unit was busy last night.” He smiled. “You know how it goes.”
Vicky studied his intent expression and nodded. She watched him cross the street, her heart surged with the prospect of a fresh start. God continued to watch over her.
The fluttering of a curtain across the road caught her eye. She saw Emily step back from the window. Vicky pressed her nose against Luke’s snout. “So . . . who’s the matchmaker here? Emily or you?”
PAT JEANNE DAVIS has a keen interest in 20th Century United States and British history, particularly the period of World War II. Her longtime interest in that era goes back to the real-life stories she heard about family members who served during the war. When Valleys BloomAgainis a debut inspirational romance set in WWII. She enjoys flower gardening, genealogy research and traveling with her British-born husband. She writes from her home n Philadelphia, Pa. Pat has published essays, short stories and articles online and in print. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.
After fleeing impending war in England, nineteen-year-old Abby Stapleton works to correct her stammer and to become a teacher in America, only to discover this conflict has no boundaries and that a rejected suitor is intent on destroying her name, fiancé, and fragile faith.
As war approaches in 1939 Abby Stapleton’s safety is under threat. Her father, a British diplomat, insists she go back to America until the danger passes. Abby vows to return to her home in London—but where is home? With her family facing mortal danger so far away and feeling herself isolated, she finds it hard to pray or read the Bible. Did she leave God behind in war-torn London too? Then Abby becomes friendly with Jim, a gardener on her uncle’s estate.
Jim can’t get Abby out of his mind. Did she have a sweetheart in England? Was it foolish to think she’d consider him? He curses his poverty and the disgrace of his father’s desertion and drunkenness haunts him. Can he learn to believe in love for a lifetime and to hope for a happy marriage?
Abby couldn’t know the war would last a long time, nor that she would fall in love with Jim—soon to be drafted by the U.S. Army—or that she’d have to confront Henri, a rejected suitor, determined by his lies to ruin her reputation and destroy her faith in God’s providence. Will she discover the true meaning of home?
PAT JEANNE DAVIS has a keen interest in 20th Century United States and British history, particularly the period of World War II. Her longtime interest in that era goes back to the real-life stories she heard about family members who served during the war. When Valleys BloomAgain is a debut inspirational romance set in WWII. She enjoys flower gardening, genealogy research and traveling with her British-born husband. She writes from her home in Philadelphia, Pa. Pat has published essays, short stories and articles online and in print. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.
When Valleys Bloom Again can be purchased here: Amazon.com
My soul clings to the dust; revive me according to your word. Ps. 119:25
David here asks for his soul’s refreshing and renewing. And he asks it in accordance with God’s Word. Commentator John Gill explains:
“Such who are quickened together with Christ, and who are quickened by his Spirit and grace, when they were dead in trespasses and sins, have often need to be quickened again, and to have the work of grace revived in them…”
This quickening—reviving—is accomplished, he says, via the Word of God. Just as we are originally born again through the Word, so we are refreshed and strengthened again and again by the same means.
But most of us think of “revival” as something greater than the individual’s renewal. Churches sometimes have “revival” meetings, hoping for a visitation of the Spirit. In the book of Acts, we do see these larger visitations. Thousands were converted under the preaching of the apostle.
And we see these things in history. The Great Awakening of the late 1730s and early 40s affected both sides of the Atlantic; here in the New World, George Whitefield preached again and again until he finally gave up the ghost in Massachusetts, the morning after his last sermon in 1770. It is estimated that 80% of the population heard him at one time or another.
Whitefield sometimes preached in the fields, often because the local ministers wanted nothing to do with him. Every class of people came to hear. In my novel, The Shenandoah Road, two characters discuss such a scene:
“Ye should have been there and heard him preach. I still think on it. In some ways, it was ordinary. Straight gospel preaching. Much like Tennent’s. But the crowds …” His brother’s voice cracked with feeling.
John forgot the heat. He’d not heard his taciturn brother so moved.
“Every kind of person attended the open-air meetings. Negro slaves. Indentured servants. Fancy gentlemen would sit in their carriages nearby, and skinny apprentices perched in the trees. Butchers came with bloody aprons and stood next to ladies in fine muslin.”
Sam paused. His eyes brightened with tears. “They would weep. Sometimes only tears, but occasionally sobs would erupt from deep within the crowd.”
“Why?” Da had written him, but not with such detail. “Why would the gospel make them cry?”
“Well, ye see, most of these folks considered themselves Christian already. Philadelphia is full of all sorts: Presbyterian, Quakers, Baptists, and even a few Congregationalists, as ye know. And aye, some didna claim any sort of religion. But most did. And they wept because they realized their hope of heaven was false. Again and again, I would hear someone say, ‘I was raised in a Christian home. I’m a member. I know my Catechism. I give to the poor. But all that means nothing now. My only hope is in Christ.’”
John fixed his gaze on his brother. “So these folks closed with Christ?”
“Oh aye, many did.” His brother’s mouth twitched. “So ye see, the weeping wasn’t just of sorrow. There were tears of joy as well.”
My character says it was ordinary preaching, but that’s because Presbyterians of the day were fiercely orthodox and preached well-constructed gospel sermons, much like the Puritans. But many ministers of the day were hirelings. It got so bad that even the doctrine of regeneration—the “new birth”—was strange to many. Whitefield restored basic gospel doctrine to the masses.
The Reformation itself was an extended “revival” of sorts. The great truth of justification by faith was rediscovered, and salvation by grace was heralded all over Europe.
Do we need personal or corporate revival? Solid doctrine—the Word of God, rightly divided—is the bedrock.
Lynne Tagawa is an educator, writer, and editor who loves coffee and chocolate. Best of all, she is the grandma of five. Author of Sam Houston’s Republic and the Russells 18th century series, she lives in south Texas with her family.
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