March 11, 2015

Stepping Heavenward, Again

Last week I shared my favorite quotes from Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss, but only got to chapter 4 before it got long so am continuing on.  I have been busily copying down more of my Kindle highlights into my commonplace book, as you can see here.

This book not only fills my commonplace, but it fills my mind with good thoughts and feeds my soul.  Sometimes, you find the right book at the right time.

From chapter 4, Katy's pastor speaking:
"You have tried living for yourself a good many years, and the result is great weariness and heaviness of soul.  Try now to live for others."
From chapter 5, a nice bit on habits that Charlotte Mason might have loved:
How much work, badly done, I am now having to undo!  If I had begun in earnest to serve God when I was as young as these children are, how many wrong habits I should have avoided, habits that entangle me now as in so many nets.
And these next two quotes seems to capture the entire premise of the book:
The truth is, the journey heavenward is all uphill.  I have to force myself to keep on. 
I see that if I would be happy in God, I must give Him all.  And there is a wicked reluctance to do that.  I want Him but I want to have my own way, too.  I want to walk humbly and softly before Him, and I want to go where I shall be admired and applauded.  To whom shall I yield?  To God?  Or to myself?
Wow - Doesn't that just boil down our every day struggles?  Chapters 5 and 6 were full of such great passages.  I think I could have copied the chapter 6 in its entirety - it is well worth reading more than once!
Remember that it is His will that you should be sanctified and that the work of making you holy is His, not yours.  At the same time, you are not to sit with folded hands, waiting for this blessing.  You are to avoid laying hinderances in His way, and you are to exercise faith in Him as just as able and just as willing to give you sanctification as He was to give you redemption.
She writes again of Bible study, and this time adds her thoughts on other devotional reading.  I admit that just doing Bible study itself is the extent of my efforts, so I am considering which devotional authors I should try.  I can't read my favorites until I *have* some favorites, after all.
   In reading the Bible I advise you to choose detached passages, or even one verse a day, rather than whole chapters.  Study ever word; ponder and pray over it till you have got from it all the truth it contains.
   As to the other devotional reading, it is better to settle down on a few favorite authors and read their works over and over and over until you have digested their thoughts and made them your own.
Who are your favorite devotional authors?  Have you tried doing Bible study in that way?

This post is linked to A Mother's Feast @ Stronghaven, Keeping Company @ Joyous Lesson, and Wednesdays with Words @ Ladydusk.


  1. Habits have been a big theme in my reading and thinking this week. Thanks for these quotes.

  2. Sounds like a great book!

  3. I read this years ago and really loved it. One of my favourite devotional books is Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for HIs Highest which I just keep reading year after year.

    1. My Utmost for His Highest keeps getting on my radar...I will try to pick that up soon. Thanks!

  4. In Catholic tradition, we call this slowed-down biblical reading "lectio divina," and I admit that I find it so much more fruitful than broad-reading plans. The focused meditation soothes my soul. My favorite devotional book is St. Francis de Sales' Introduction to the Devout Life. An amazingly rich but practical work. :) Anyway, a lovely post with much to think about! Thank you for sharing a peek into your commonplace.

    1. I haven't heard of that one, but will look for it. Thank you!

  5. I love this book! And I read it before I was keeping a commonplace and now feel like I must re-read it.

    1. Oh, you should. I'd like to hear how it was different on the 2nd reading.


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