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Posts Tagged ‘Lettie B. Cowman’

Women of Inspiration and Hope

This months’ reviews include two missionaries and a Queen.

lettie b cowmanLettie B. Cowman has been called the “apostle of consolation” through her many devotional books. We all have struggles in our lives. If you are going through a struggle or know someone who is, I highly recommend these books.

 

 

Underwood-LilliasHorton-sm

There is a vibrant church in Korea now thanks to missionaries like Lillias Underwood.
The memoirs that she wrote will keep you glued to your chair.

 

 

Q E IIThis year our friends in the U.K. are celebrating the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II. Though her actual birthday was April 21, the official celebration is June 10-12, 2016.

 

 

 

 

—  Erny, Edward and Esther, No Guarantee But God: The Story of the Founders of OMS International, (OMS International, Greenwood, Indiana, 2000).

This book is actually the story of the founders of the Oriental Missionary Society, now called the One Mission Society. God blessed the efforts of Charles and Lettie Burd Cowman, Ernest Kilbourne, and Juji Nakada as they began a mission to the Japanese in 1901 that is still in existence today. The mission is active in over sixty countries all over the world.

After Charles Cowman died, Lettie ran the mission until 1949. She traveled far and wide and spoke at many conferences. She wrote a biography of her husband, Charles. She has also written many books that have comforted millions of hurting Christians worldwide. She wrote countless articles for periodicals. This indefatigable woman even wrote a book at the age of eighty entitled, Life Begins at Eighty. She presented copies of this book to all of her friends at a party that she gave! You will be blessed as you read about God’s work through the life of Lettie B. Cowman.

 

 

—  Cowman, Mrs. Charles E., Streams in the Desert,  (Zondervan Publishing House,Streams in the desert Grand Rapids, original 1925, this reprint 1976).

Millions of people have been comforted by the devotional works of Lettie B. Cowman. Lettie gained deep insights into the consoling mercy of God when she suffered through the loss of her own husband. She was used of God to comfort others.

After her husband Charles’ death Lettie put II Corinthians 1:3, 4 into practice:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort Who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Lettie nursed her husband Charles through his illness for six years before he died. She often wondered why God didn’t just heal Charles. Where was He? He had healed others. Lettie turned to the Bible for her help. God seemed to be asking her if she wanted her husband to be healed more than she wanted His will for her. Lettie spent hours reading the Bible and scouring the book stores for books on suffering and encouragement. She copied out many truths from books written by others who had trod the path that she had. Little did she know that she was doing this work for others and not just for herself. From the hundreds of words of wisdom that she gleaned from the books she read, Streams in the Desert was born. Everyone should have a copy of one of Lettie’s books for themselves or others.

 

—  Cowman, Lettie B., Springs in the Valley, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, original 1939, this reprint 2016).

Lettie wrote this daily devotional for young people hoping that the insights into God’s Word would be like “springs into the valleys” (Psalm 104:10) bringing them hope and comfort. The opening passage, January 1, sets the stage for the rest of the book:

     “We are entering upon a new Year – surely we cannot but believe, a new age. If we have rightly learned the lessons of the past, there lies before us a heritage of unspeakable blessing, which none of these vivid metaphors can too strongly describe; infinite sources of blessing, for the fountains and waterbrooks are but the figures of God’s illimitable grace. For with Him is the fountain of life. A fountain Fed by Eternal Springs!”

For the next twenty-five years after writing this book Lettie Cowman wrote seven more books and helped with the distribution of Scriptures and Biblical literature. Many of her books are easily available online at Amazon.com or other book sites.

 

—  Underwood, Lillias H., Fifteen Years Among the Top-Knots or Life in Korea, (Kessinger Legacy Reprints, of American Tract Society, 1904).

Top-KnotsLillias Horton Underwood was one of the countless numbers of courageous women who went to serve on the mission field in spite of the dangers. Women who went to places like Africa or the Orient in the nineteenth century were warned that they would return in a coffin. Lillias trusted God and ventured into the interior of Korea as the first white woman ever to do so.
Lillias deemed it a privilege to serve God. In her book she said, “The wonder of it, which will grow, I think, more and more through the eternal ages, is that God should allow us, his poor creatures, to share with him in a work far greater than the creation of a universe, even the founding of an eternal and limitless kingdom of holiness, glory and peace.”
This book is as exciting to read as a novel. God gets the glory as the Underwood’s serve Him in Korea among the “top-knots”, so called because of the way they wore their hair in a knot on top of their heads. Besides the Kessinger Legacy reprint of this wonderful book, you can download it for free on the internet. Go get it; you’ll be really blessed.

 

Greene, Mark & Butcher, Catherine, The Servant Queen and the King She Serves, (Published by the Bible Society, HOPE, and the London Institute in Great Britain as a tribute to Her Majesty’s 90th birthday, 2016).

At an annual Christmas speech, Queen Elizabeth said: “For me, the life of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, whose birth we celebrate today, is an inspiration and an anchor in my life. A role-model of reconciliation and forgiveness, he stretched out his hands in love, acceptance and healing. Christ’s example has taught me to seek to respect and value all people of whatever faith or none.” It is one of the many public references the Queen has made to her Christian faith.

The Servant Queen and the King She Serves uses the Queen’s own words to draw out the central role of her trust in Jesus Christ. This is a beautiful book with great photographsthe servant queen published by Bible Society, HOPE and the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity. It is not expensive; get more than one copy to pass out to friends and take to your church. Roy Crowne, HOPE’s executive director says, ‘The Queen describes Jesus as ‘an anchor’ and ‘role-model’ – as you read this book we hope you will consider how you can put your faith into words.”

This book is available for sale at:

http://www.hopetogether.org.uk/Groups/262514/Queens_Birthday.aspx

 

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We are safer with Him in the dark than without Him in the sunshine.

Lettie B. Cowman, Springs in the Valley

 

Burd-124Millions of people have been comforted by the devotional works of Lettie B. Cowman. Lettie gained deep insights into the consoling mercy of God when she suffered through the loss of her own husband. She was used of God to comfort others.

After her husband Charles’ death Lettie put II Corinthians 1:3, 4 into practice:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort Who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Lettie Burd Cowman was born to Isaac and Margaret Burd in Afton, Iowa on March 3, 1870. Lettie’s parents had moved to Iowa as pioneers with their savings sewn up in their garments. Mr. Burd was able to establish himself as a successful banker.

Lettie grew up in a comfortable home. She was exposed to art, literature and music. The youngest of the Burd children, Lettie was lonely after her older siblings left. She filled her world with books, music, and nature. She appreciated the beauty of the creation and always took pleasure in sunsets and blooming flowers. All of these impressions would be reflected later in her writing.

One day Lettie met a young telegrapher named Charles Cowman. Charles had left home to take a job at the Western Union office. Lettie thought he was lonely and invited him to her home. They became more than friends and they pledged their love to each other, but the couple would have to wait to wed until Lettie’s parents would approve. It seemed that they thought that Charles was not right for their daughter.

Isaac and Margaret Burd were glad when Charles got transferred to a distant telegraph office. They hoped that Lettie would marry a successful officer in Isaac Burd’s bank. But Lettie was adamant – she had given her pledge to Charles.

At the age of 21 Charles returned. Now he was a successful telegrapher having risen up in the company ranks to the position of manager. He visited the Burd’s with a promise of reasonable security and bright prospects for Lettie’s future. But it was witnessing the couple together, so much in love and obviously determined to be together that changed Mr. and Mrs. Burds’ hearts. So on June 18, 1889 Lettie and Charles were married in the Methodist Church in Afton, Iowa.

It was at a Missions conference in the Moody Church in Chicago that Charles and Lettie made a dramatic change in their lives. Lettie had been feeling for some time that her life was too frivolous. Now after hearing the speaker, A. B. Simpson (founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church) give a strong appeal for missionaries, Charles and Lettie presented themselves as candidates for the mission field.

At first they wanted to go to India, but Lettie’s health would not allow for it. Instead they trained to go to Japan. Two other men teamed with them who would help in founding the Oriental Missionary Society. (Today it is known as OMS.)

The Cowman’s arrived in Tokyo in 1901. Their first home was just twoCharles-and-Lettie-Cowman-from-The-Scriptorium-204x300 meager upstairs rooms in a building in downtown Tokyo. This was a far cry from the comfortable home in America, but Charles and Lettie were devoted to giving the Gospel to the Japanese people.

In 1912 the Cowman’s began the “Every Creature Crusade” from which the Japanese Church would arise. Between the years of 1912 and 1917 (when the Cowman’s would be forced to return to America) over ten million households in Japan received a copy of the Gospel.

While in Japan the Cowman’s watched the Korean Church being planted, mostly by Americans. They rejoiced in the work of God as through the sweat and the blood of the martyrs the Korean Church would become one of the foremost examples of a modern New Testament Church in the world.

Charles literally burned himself out for the Lord. After sixteen years of daily meetings, overseeing the Bible institute, the “Every Creature Crusade”, and preaching tours in Korea and China, Charles’ health failed. He and Lettie returned to the United States.

Lettie nursed her beloved Charles for six years. She spent her time reading hundreds of books. She read books and poems to Charles to give him the strength to endure his pain. After the long battle Charles succumbed in September of 1924.

Charles’ death was devastating for Lettie. They were childless and Charles meant everything to her. They had had a “marriage made in heaven” and were completely devoted to each other. She wrote in her diary, “This is a living hell on earth!” This is the only entry in her diary that is so downhearted and pessimistic. Lettie had prayed that God would heal Charles. Why didn’t He? What does this mean about how God honors the prayer of faith for the healing of the sick? (See James 5:14,15.) Had not hundreds of people lifted up Charles to God for healing? Where was He?

Lettie turned to the Word for her help. God seemed to be asking her if she wanted her husband to be healed more than she wanted His will for her. Lettie spent hours reading the Bible and scouring the book stores for books on suffering and encouragement. She copied out many truths from books written by others who had trod the path that she had. Little did she know that she was doing this work for others and not just for herself. From the hundreds of words of wisdom that she gleaned the books she read, Streams in the Desert was born.

While doing her research, Lettie came across a piece of paper in her Bible addressed to her. It said, “Go on with the unfinished task.” This was her husband’s passion – the unfinished work. Lettie knew that she must go on with it. But how could she do this alone? Lettie found the help she needed when she turned her worries into praise. I will not follow Satan into gloom, she decided. Lettie’s life became one of continual praise. She wrote two devotional books at this time – After All There is God and Praise Changes Things.

Lettie wrote a biography of her husband, Charles Cowman: Missionary-Warrior. She also wrote Springs in the Valley and a book for young people, Mountain Trailways for Youth, and a book for the elderly, Traveling Toward Sunrise.

And that was not all. This amazing woman assumed the leadership of the Oriental Mission Society (now the One Mission Society) until 1949. She traveled far and wide to speak at conferences. She wrote countless articles for periodicals.

This indefatigable woman even wrote a book at the age of eighty entitled, Life Begins at Eighty. She presented copies of this book to all of her friends at a party that she gave.

Lettie still wanted to continue speaking but her eyesight began to fail. She spent the last years of her life corresponding with countless other hurting people giving them words of wisdom and solace.

Finally, she was ready to go and be with Charles. On Easter Sunday, April 17, 1960 at the age of 90, Lettie rested from her task. In her papers the following poem was found:

Finish thy work, the time is short.
The sun is in the west
The night is coming down,
Till then, think not of rest.
Rest? Finish thy work then rest.
Till then, rest never.

The work of the One Mission Society continues today in over sixty countries around the world.

 

 

 

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