Teacups in the Jungle

Life stories from a missionary mama

On Boxing Day, Danny and I were driving out from the village, to head to town. We had spent Christmas in the village with our friends and we were on our way to Manila to attend a missionary conference. We chatted on the way to town about things that had happened in ministry and life over the past months, and we dreamed and planned ahead into the New Year, setting some goals for the months ahead. 

The day after we drove out of the village, (the day after we discussed all our hopes and plans and dreams for the next year), the Lord brought a verse to my attention. It wasn’t a verse I was expecting to come across, but when I read it, I knew that the Holy Spirit was directing me to this verse for this new year of 2015. 

Deuteronomy 4:9 Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons;

It can be exciting and refreshing to look ahead and to make goals and New Years resolutions. We all want to change in some ways, to become better at what we do, to live our lives on purpose so that it can be full of good things. But, the Lord does not want my heart and my soul to be full of good things, He wants my heart to be His. He wants my heart to be fixed on Him and to be affectionately responsive to all He is doing in my life. It is unsettling to think how quickly our lives can become full with good things and yet depart from the best. 

Doing something diligently means doing it thoroughly and well. It’s the opposite of doing it lazily or shoddily. If you are tireless, persevering, and do things with great care, then you do things diligently. This is an adverb that goes with hard and careful work.

Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

We can easily grow cold when we are not diligent to keep our minds on the Lord. We can start to live life on our own strength and our peace and joy hinges on the circumstances of our lives, instead of on the never changing love and promises of our great God. However, keeping our souls diligently is not just a one-time decision for each day. It is not based on whether we spend time doing our devotions or not. It is so much more, because it involves our heart and out of our heart flows the decisions we make each day and how we chose to live. If Jesus is forefront in my mind, when I am worshipping Him with all my heart, it will effect the care I take over the things I watch, the words I speak and where I let my mind wander, to name but a few. To keep my soul diligently invites God into all parts of my day as I commune with Him and depend upon Him, to live as is pleasing to His Holy Name. 

I love that the last line of this verse is included right here. It reiterates to me that this, “keeping of my soul”  isn’t all about me. Though keeping my soul diligently is for my best and for the Lord’s glory, it has a great impact on the ones I love and who I live most closely with. We are to pass on our experience with God, by sharing these truths, stories, examples and this way of life with our children. Sometimes we try to shield our families from the hardships, the difficult things that happen, and true, we need so much wisdom as we raise our little loves. But, we can also keep them in the dark from seeing the wonderful answers to prayer and how God alone can turn even hard and difficult things around, for His great glory. I think back to the months we endured with Izzy being sick and the time when we had to be apart, as a family. (This is the post from that month.) Those were difficult things to explain to a three year old and yet, today she only remembers, Jesus answered prayer and he made her better. In Sunday School a few months back, when the question given to the children was, “Who did Jesus heal?” (answer that particular Sunday being the paralyzed man) her immediate response was, “Me!” She hasn’t forgotten this simple fact and when we talk about it, it reminds her of God’s goodness and answers to prayer for her

To be are aware and thankful for the presence of Jesus in our home, means He can never just be set aside for bedtime stories, grace before dinner and Sunday School on a Sunday morning. He interrupts our lives and our schedules in the most beautiful of ways and incredibly, eternity can be reverenced in the smallest moments of our days. What a joy to know, that when we keep our souls diligently as parents, we are nurturing an environment which will help our children to also be mindful of Jesus. I can think of no greater thing I long for more of in my home; than for my children to think affectionately of Jesus and to know Him as their personal Saviour. It takes away all the labels of being a “stay-at-home-mom” a “missionary-wife” or whatever label we may feel burdened or limited by and it elevates this “keeping of souls” to the greatest endeavor we could ever be part of; teaching little hearts about Jesus. 

I have been thinking over this verse since I first read it and began wondering, how do I keep my soul? How do I guard my heart? I found so much hope in this verse:

Philippians 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

I cannot do it on my own, but praise God, He is the one who can keep our hearts and our minds. It is through Him and the peace that we have in knowing Jesus, that our souls will be guarded. So, as I seek to keep my soul diligently, for me it means talking to God throughout the day. Not letting my mind be filled with worry, because being mindful of the God of this world, does not give space in my mind to worry about my future. I want above all else to  live in the present with my Redeemer and to live as one who is forever grateful to have been bought by the precious blood of the Son of God. 
As I finish this tonight, the words of the hymn, “Come Thy Fount of Every Blessing” come to mind. 

Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let that grace now, like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, oh, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

Just like the Israelites, the Lord knows we too, are prone to wander. We can set aside the best, for good and idols that were never meant to be given priority, sneak in and they begin to rule our days.The enemy can be so subtle, by distracting us with normal things; work, helping others, busyness, success, social media, leisure, entertainment and all the time keeping our minds off our souls. As I head into this new year with lots of plans and hopes led out for our family and ministry, I trust I will be diligent to guard my heart and my soul above all else, lest I become distracted from my first love; Jesus. 

And this is why I keep coming back to this little blog…because it helps me to remember. 

Love, Philippa. 

If you want to listen to “Come Thy Fount of Every Blessing.”

PS: If anybody gets to the bottom of my wordy blogs….I am trying to decide what to do with this little blog this year. Is there any ideas out there? Anything you would like to hear more about? Less about? I am always glad for input! 🙂 Feel free to email me at anytime at philippa_brooks@ntm.org and of course there is always Instagram where you will find me as @pippyjbrooks. 

11 thoughts on “2015 – "Bind My Wandering Heart to Thee."

  1. Deb says:

    Do whatever you want with your blog! It is always timeless. God has blessed you with the ability to discern truth, over and over again. I am always inspired by you, challenged and convicted, and motivated. God is using your gift of writing and I always benefit. Thank you, Philippa. I love, love, love, that Izzy knows she has been healed by Jesus!


  2. Moriah says:

    I needed to read every word you wrote tonight! I love how you said that following God doesn't mean just reading a devotion, but that it is a matter of heart! That is so true, and something I needed to be reminded of. I'm praying for your family as you diligently serve God! Thank you for sharing your heart! ❤


  3. jeff noel says:

    Philippa, your words are a reflection of what's on your mind and what's in your spirt. They are beautiful, real, and inspiring. To some the length is perfect, for others, closer to a marathon.

    In your own words:

    “If anybody gets to the bottom of my wordy blogs.”

    As you try to decide what to do with your blog in 2015, perhaps a compelling question to ask yourself is, “Why?”.

    Why blog?

    And then to repeat the question (“why?”) with each new answer. Ask why enough times and you'll eventually reach the headwaters of “why”.

    If your answer inspires you, great.

    If it doesn't, also great.

    Be creative on your next step after discovering if your answer(s) inspire you or not.

    Philippa, peace and blessings immeasurable to you and everyone you love.


  4. Pip, God gave you a rich gift when He combined your soft heart toward His things with a capability to express that heart so well “on paper.” Don't quit! Your writings bless, inspire, encourage and convict many, including me. Someday they need to be gathered in a book.


  5. Dear Debbie, you are always my encourager in the comments section and I am always grateful for your words. (Plus I can always hear your voice when I read what you have written.) Thank you for cheering me on from afar, especially on my needy, self-conscious-about-sharing-my-heart-on-the-www-days. 🙂 Love, Philippa.


  6. This comment has been removed by the author.


  7. Thanks so much for your input Jeff and for your email. Just letting you know I did receive you comment here, since you thought maybe it hadn't posted. I am amazed your are able to blog so often, but I guess having shorter post helps a lot with that. I am a wordy girl…..though I am working on trying to shorten my posts a little. 🙂
    Blessing from the Philippines.


  8. Dear Donna,
    This comment from you tonight was a great encouragement to me. I have never thought of myself as a “writer”, but I sure do love to write. 🙂 I go through phases were I feel timid and self conscious about sharing my heart and life so publicly, but it is hard to keep it all inside. So, thank you, for your words tonight, they have given me a little more courage to keep going. Hugs from Palawan and wishing I could share a buko shake with you instead of catching up in the comments box! 🙂 Love, Pip.


  9. Moriah, I am not sure how I managed to post two comments and then delete them. oops. Our internet is really slow here tonight and it is messing with my blog a bit. Anyway, I sent you an email and I look forward to staying in touch. Thanks for all your prayers. Love Philippa.


  10. Go where God leads you in your blogs. They are your unique experience of the Everlasting God whose everlasting arms carry you through every trial/situation in your life. Sharing those experiences with us helps you appreciate the Lord more and they give us encouragement. Rhonda


  11. Thank you Rhonda for your comment. I agree with you so much in that it helps me to write out situations and experiences to see how the Lord has been working in my life and how faithful He always is to us. I sometimes feel like I write the same things a lot, but I seem to need lots of reminders in my life and maybe others do too. 🙂 I hope all your family are well. Thanks for reading along with me. Love, Philippa.


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