DOWN A COUNTRY ROAD

COUNTRY LIFE INSPIRES NEW DEVOTIONAL BOOK

Down-a-country-road (1)

In 1991 Eric and Mary Helen Wright followed their dream and moved from Toronto to a country home in Northumberland County. That move inspired the popular book, Through a Country Window. Since that time they have continued to enthuse about the scenes they witness up and down their country road and Eric has continued to write.

On November 21st their international publisher will release to Canadian readers, Down a Country Road – 52 seasonal readings from out where the sky springs free.

In this new volume, Eric Wright shares his observations of growing trees and falling leaves, mischievous chipmunks and farmer ants, wild winds and field tomatoes. These vignettes express not only a deep appreciation for nature but the author’s amazement at the way nature illustrates the wisdom enshrined in the Bible.

Early reviewers write:

  • Delightful journey down a road seldom traveled (Phil Callaway)
  • You hear the country sounds, breathe the unpolluted country air, walk the green fields and you experience peace (Dr. Timothy Starr)
  • Beautifully illustrated throughout with personal stories well worth the read (Deborah Marling)
  • Easy reading, colourful, biblically accurate (Rev. David Bell)

ORDER through www.countrywindow.ca

Eric E. Wright is the published author of nine books. His suspense novel, The Lightning File garnered the Word Guild’s recent award for best mystery/suspense novel as did the second novel in this series, The Lightning File.

PORTION OF TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. The Fingerprints of God

2. A Fresh Look at Weather

3. Changing Seasons

4. Harvest

5. Facing a Hurricane

6. Along the River

7. Rainy Days and Short Memories

8. Benevolent Autumn Art

9. Travelling Mice

10. Woodpecker Wounds

11. Day and Night.

ETC.

Click here to read Chapter One: The Fingerprints of God

 REVIEWS:

Phil Callaway, humourist, author writes: God speaks to us in the storm, but more often in the ordinary of every day. Thankfully Eric Wright has been listening. This book is a delightful journey down a road seldom traveled anymore, a road where the simple is profound, where the extraordinary is commonplace, where the most urgent thing we need to do is stop, hear God’s voice, and listen.

Renee Schaap, Beautiful devotional book…so good to read in ….every evening before I go to sleep, enjoy it so much and are very much blessed by it. One of my favourite chapters is on page 164, Winter Rainbow, beautiful. Thanks again!

David Daniels in Wise Reader, Eric Wright, with a life-time in vocational Christian ministry, both internationally and here in Canada – evangelism, church-planting, pastoral ministry, seminary teaching, writing and editing – brings God’s two books of revelation together in fifty-two superbly crafted seasonal readings. Down a Country Road (Day One Publications, 2008) does for 21st century readers what Jesus did for 1st century listeners – illustrate and reinforce spiritual truth by observing the surrounding creation.

Just as Jesus used “salt and light, trees and flowers, weather and sheep to illustrate divine truth”, Eric Wright draws vital spiritual lessons from observing life in the creation around him. Through fifty-two devotional readings – one for each week of the year, organized by month and following the four seasons – Eric Wright shows us how to see God’s truth in the everyday cycle of life.

Here is a sampling of what is in store for readers of Down a Country Road. A Scotch pine, toppled by howling winds, teaches a vital lesson about the importance of strong inner character. Noxious weeds which provide food for Monarch butterflies reinforce the importance of caring for this beautiful creation. The challenge of removing roots from garden soil – it added a week to Eric Wright’s work one summer – warns us of the ever-present danger of missing roots of bitterness which can grow in our lives. A picnic on the shores of the mighty St. Lawrence River recalls how Scripture utilizes the metaphor of rivers to convey rich truth about God’s relationship with his people.

Wright effectively establishes the importance of these readings in the opening paragraphs of the book:

We drive our ingenious machines along a labyrinth of asphalt pathways to vast malls, office towers, factories and sprawling suburbs. We arrive home, where, with the click of a button, our garage doors open. Inside, we have dishwahsers and microwaves, televisions and stoves, clocks and stereos. Outside, we have domesticated gardens, patios and swimming pools. Satellites orbit above us. We send probes into deep space.

We have arrived at the pinnacle of history! We are the lords of all we survey, sovereign over nature – a concept invented in the eighteenth century. We, the sophisticates of the twenty-first century, arrive in state-of-the-art hospitals and leave in elegant, gilded boxes.

Is this all there is? Absolutely not! God’s providence undergirds all of life. The operation of the created universe is so dependable that we often take it for granted: the rise of the sun in the morning, the tides that sweep our oceans, the hearts that pump life through our bodies and the kidneys that expel poison from our systems. These are not the result of blind forces, nor do we exist in a serendipitous moment in almost infinite time. We have not happened upon the luck of the draw in a cosmic game of chance.

Hebrew partriarchs, psalmists and prophets knew that the reality of God as Creator and Ruler of the universe is the most foundational fact of existence…(page 11).

I highly recommend this book to anyone desiring to see how God reveals himself, and his truth, in the everyday rhythms of life. Down a Country Road may be purchased online from the Author, at Amazon Canada, Amazon USA, or Christianbook.com.

Rev. David Bell, Associate Pastor, Fellowship Baptist Church, Cobourg wrote: “I have not come across a devotional book like Down a Country Road . . . easy reading. It flows like good conversation. The descriptive language is colourful and picturesque. . . . I appreciate its biblical accuracy and application . . . I would certainly encourage the reading and use of this book to our congregation and to others as well.”

Dr. Timothy Starr, Pastor to Singles and Seniors, Peoples Church, Toronto wrote: “Down a Country Road is one of those volumes you come back to, again and again. . . . Reading through the pages you feel like you are in the country. You can hear the country sounds . . . breathe the unpolluted country air . . . walk across the green country fields. And you experience peace!

“But it is not all nature. Eric Wright blends in an application with each visit . . . he leads us to the altar of God with insightful prayer that echoes in our hearts. . . . Keep it by your bedside and let the meditations be your closing thought of the day. That is what I plan to do!”

Reviewers for Evangelical Press wrote: “This manuscript is conservative, evangelical, reformed, non-charismatic (but not polemically so), Its basis is the premise that God has spoken through the ‘world book’ (natural revelation) and that from creation we can see and learn much about God, ourselves, the gospel and the Christian life. The ‘spectacles’ of Scripture are used to read creation rightly. It has a solid Scriptural basis throughout with frequent quotations of verses from Scripture . . . It has a good vocabulary and turn of phrases are used to paint word pictures that are evocative and stirring, and which encourage the reader to look with the eyes of faith at our surroundings. It provides thoughtful and keen observations on everyday life in the Canadian countryside through the various seasons of the year. The subject mater covers many of the main areas of the Christian life. The devotions are not date-specific and therefore can be read as and when at the reader’s own pace without a sense of falling behind in a reading scheme.” David Clark adds, “We believe that such a book has a real potential and will fill a unique position in the market.”

Marie DisBrow, housewife from Alaska wrote: “I look forward to seeing your book in print. . . . I believe many will be encouraged and uplifted by your unique style of devotional writing.”

Ludger D. Rienstra, retired pastor and missionary volunteer, wrote: “Eric Wright’s seasonally based devotional book, Down a Country Road, is a welcome change. . . . Although I have been a Christian for many years, and have on many occasions been blessed by the daily devotionals offered in booklet form, . . . Eric’s devotional book format offers fresh insight, depth and imagination. . . . There has always been a natural kinship between the lessons of scripture and the lessons of nature. Eric’s devotional book, Down a Country Road, has not only captured many of those lessons, he has captured them imaginatively, artistically and accurately so that the integrity of scripture is maintained throughout. . . .This new format will undoubtedly be welcomed by a devotional readership anxious to be challenged emotionally, intellectually and spiritually.”

Ray Wiseman, biographer, columnist and speaker, wrote: “The sample pieces I have seen of Eric Wright’s devotional book, Down a Country Road, reflect Eric’s sound biblical understanding and excellent writing style. My own frustration with the simple devotions published in so many booklets and one-year books has made me wish for something, not only longer but also with more depth. A book like the one Eric has proposed would go a long way in filling that void.”

Retirees James and Sandra Grant of Port Hope commend Down a Country Road for three reasons. “First, it is written from a Canadian perspective. Second, although many people now live in cities, they enjoy being reminded about the beauties of God’s creation. Eric does this through tying his experiences in nature to Bible truths. Third, because this devotional is not one to be read daily, busy people will be able to meditate on the readings once or twice a week as they have time without feeling guilty that they are five days behind! We look forward to reading this book in its published form.”

Lenard Latchford, a supervisor with General Motors Canada, wrote: “Devotionals from Down a Country Road are interesting, thought-provoking and convicting. Down a Country Road does an excellent job at directing me (the reader), to the scriptures . . . I really enjoyed the personal approach found in this one as the author bared his soul in a significant way.”

Deborah Marling, former Director of Children’s Ministries, Cobourg Alliance Church wrote: “I am always looking for ways to encourage and build up youth and adult volunteers. Devotional books in particular are helpful. This book is written in chapters that give a little more than the traditional one a day devotional page. This makes it meatier and more fulfilling in particular for the Christian who wants to read more than just a paragraph. . . . This book ties in beautifully with creation . . . well written, interesting, thought-provoking, beautifully illustrated throughout with personal stories well worth the read.”

Ruth Richmond, I just now came to the computer to tell you how much I have been appreciating “Down a Country Road” Empathy learned through pain has had a special meaning for me.. I also didn’t remember that you had had such a troubling time. The practical lessons learned have been a good reminder to look for the message in each circumstance. You are pretty open about your doubts and you are giving us a chance to grow from your experiences. Thank you.

 Chapter One: The Fingerprints of God

 Read Psalm 96

We drive our ingenious machines along a labyrinth of asphalt pathways to vast malls, office towers, factories and sprawling suburbs. We arrive home, where with a click of the button our garage doors open. Inside we have dishwashers and microwaves, televisions and stoves, clocks and stereos. Outside we have domesticated gardens, patios and swimming pools. Satellites orbit above us. We send probes into deep space.

We have arrived at the pinnacle of history! We are the lords of all we survey, sovereign over nature—a concept invented in the eighteenth century. We, the sophisticates of the twenty-first century, arrive in state-of-the-art hospitals and leave in elegant gilded boxes.

Is this all there is? No. There is the earth beneath our feet and the infinitely complex interplay of force and matter that sustains our lives. Creation is so dependable we often take it for granted: the rise of the sun in the morning, the tides that sweep our oceans, the hearts that pump life through our bodies and the kidneys that expel poison from our systems. The result of blind forces? Fate? A serendipitous moment in almost infinite time? The luck of the draw in a cosmic game of chance?

In truth, we are not the afterbirth of mindless forces beyond our ken. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”[1] All peoples—as attested by their legends—knew this to be true. Over time their pristine belief in the Creator degenerated into idolatry and animism. But God determined to maintain a beachhead of belief by choosing a people to bear witness to his creative majesty. The echo of this belief reverberates throughout the pages of Scripture.

Hebrew patriarchs, psalmists and prophets knew that the reality of God as creator and ruler of the universe is the most foundational fact of existence. Melchizedek bore witness to this truth. “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth.”[2] Moses sang about “Your Father, your Creator, who made you and formed you.”[3] King David added his voice. “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.”[4] Solomon exhorted young people to establish a life-long pattern of faith in the Creator. “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth.”[5]

Recognition of God’s creative genius inevitably leads to a renewed faith in his wisdom and power. Often that is just what we need. Isaiah encouraged weary Israel. “Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”[6]

When they were in despair, Jeremiah gave Israel hope through prophecy of a new covenant bringing forgiveness for past transgressions. He reminded them that God’s promise was as certain as the rising of the sun. “This is what the Lord says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—the Lord Almighty is his name.”[7]

The early Christians followed a similar pattern. Persecuted believers gathered together and prayed, “Sovereign Lord, you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them . . . enable your servants to speak your word with boldness.”[8] When pagans in Lystra wanted to sacrifice to Paul and Barnabas as if they were gods, Paul responded, “Why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them.”[9] In Athens Paul declared that the unknown God they worshipped ignorantly was, “The God who made the world and everything in it.”[10]

The most important truth in the New Testament is the revelation of God’s redemptive glory through the salvation of sinners. The theme of redemption does not, however, eclipse the theme of creation and sovereign rulership. Indeed, our redeemer, Jesus Christ the Lord, is revealed to be the One through whom the Father sustains the universe.[11] “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”[12]

The fact that the triune God created all things and continues to sustain them is foundational in Scripture. He is no absentee landlord who set the universe in operation and then left it to run on its own. He is the God of today “in whom we live and move and have our being.”[13]

We are not left to fend for ourselves in some merciless corner of cold space. The saints of the ages call to us. “Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.”[14] Let the truth sink in! God, the infinite creator of all things, has chosen to cherish us as a shepherd cherishes his flock.

There is a profound difference here, however. Sheep see their shepherd but no man has ever seen God. Sheep hear the call of the shepherd; people very, very rarely hear the actual voice of God. Because of the silent, invisible nature of God we may quickly lose perspective and drift through life as if God doesn’t exist. Fortunately, God left behind a silent witness to his majesty, the very creation itself. But we must look. We must listen.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.”[15] To sensitive souls everything joins in a thunderous silence proclaiming the wonders of God.

As we would expect, Jesus’ sensitivity to the message of creation led him to give his disciples lessons about salt and light, the rising of the sun and the falling of the rain. He pointed out the need to store treasure in heaven rather than hoarding treasures on earth where “moth and rust destroy.” He drew lessons from the birds of the air and the flowers of the field.[16]

The Scriptural injunction is clear, we can only maintain perspective if we go through life recognizing that:

This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears/  All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres /This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought /Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas—His hand the wonders wrought.[17]

That’s not easy. We spend most of our lives inside climate-controlled buildings. Without care we quickly lose perspective, forget God’s presence and live as if everything depended on us. Through the help of the Spirit, we need to cultivate the habit of recognizing God’s fingerprints wherever we look in creation so we can lift our hearts in spontaneous worship and thanksgiving.

If we live in a city and have little exposure to the countryside, we can still see God’s infinite skill in the fingers that we use to play over the computer keyboard, the smiles of our children, the sunshine that streams in through the windows.

Let me confess at the beginning of this book that I have as much difficulty as you maintaining perspective. I have to keep reminding myself to look closely in order to see God’s handiwork in the world around. The devotions that follow incorporate the lessons I’ve drawn for my own life from the scenes along our country road.

Blessed Lord open my eyes to recognize all the evidences of your creative majesty along our country road—and beyond. Help me to see your hand in the passing seasons, in the creatures of the forest, in the plants along the stream, in the sky above and in the earth beneath. Help me to live from day to day, to serve others, without forgetting to worship you. Help me to draw strength and comfort not only from the Scriptures but from the evidences of your wisdom and power spread out all around me. What an awesome God you are! The whole earth is full of your glory. Artist! Engineer! Sculptor! Playwright! Father! Redeemer! Friend!

[1] Gen. 1:1  [2] Gen. 14:19  [3] Deut. 32:6  [4] Psalm 24:1  [5] Eccl. 12:1  [6] Is. 40:28,29  [7] Jer. 31:35  [8] Acts 4:24,29  [9] Acts 14:15  [10] Acts 17:24  [11] See John 1, Colossians 1 and Hebrews 1  [12] Col. 1:17, See also Heb. 1:2,3  [13] Acts 17:28  [14] Psalm 95:1-7  [15] Psalm 19:1,2  [16] Matt. 5:13, 45; 6:19, 26,28  [17] Text by Maltbie D. Babcock

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