The Joy of George MacDonald

George Macdonald River Image

“My Heart the Joy Inherits” (George MacDonald) by Jessica Coupé

Today’s Sabbath Day Thought comes from George MacDonald. He is best known for his children’s fantasy novels—The Princess and the Goblin, The Princess and Curdie and At the Back of the North Wind—yet this Scottish author also wrote over fifty other books including books of sermons, poetry and novels. His works influenced C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, E. Nesbit and Madeleine L’Engle.

You can get his entire works—37 novels and innumerable poems—for less than $3 as an ebook. Most of his work is not read anymore—but hidden in some of his dullest novels (according to C.S. Lewis) are some rare treasures.  

This poem–“A Thanksgiving” written in 1850–describes his gratitude and joy for the thoughts given him.

“I Thank Thee, boundless Giver,
That the thoughts Thou givest flow

In sounds that like a river
All through the darkness go.
And though few should swell the pleasure,
By sharing this my wine,
My heart will clasp its treasure,
This secret gift of Thine.

“My heart the joy inherits,
And will oft be sung to rest;
And some wandering hoping spirit
May listen and be blest.
For the sound may break the hours
In a dark and gloomy mood,
As the wind breaks up the bowers 
Of the brooding sunless wood.”

Isn’t that lovely?  One reason George MacDonald wrote was to keep his large family from starvation.  Here we find one of his other reasons—that other hearts might inherit the joy that was in his.  

As you listen to the divine river of thoughts today what life-giving thought does the Lord bring to your mind and how does it bless you as a result?

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He comes in the Still: Hearing the Voice of the Holy Spirit

screenshot_1575The beginning of it all was a quiet hour among his father’s books,” his son wrote in Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret.

The family was away.  His mother, visiting friends, had broken off her visit to pray for her son.  Meanwhile Hudson, bored with no family home, had picked up a little booklet intending to read until it got “too prosy”.

“As the story merged into something more serious he was arrested by the words: “The finished work of Christ.” Who can explain the mystery of the Holy Spirit’s working? Truth long familiar, though neglected, came back to mind and heart. “Why does the writer use those words?” he questioned.”

So how did God answer the mother’s prayer?  By prompting a question that invited the boy to pause and think.  Pause and open his mind to the answer.  This allowed the Holy Spirit, the still small voice to enter into the pause, to enter in the still and remind the boy of what he had been taught but neglected since childhood.


This led not only to Hudson’s conversion but to the conversion and work of many in China as he founded the Inland China Mission.


As you pray today seeking blessings from the Highest for yourself, family and friends remember the Holy Spirit comes in the still.  Take time to question, to pause and receive the fruits of the Spirit.

Further Reading



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How to Import Notes into the LDS Gospel Library app


On the LDS Gospel Library app you have a category called Notes.  In the Notes section you can create notebooks.  In these notebooks you can create tops and  store quotes and scripture passages that you like.

You can also create your own notes and paste text from your clipboard to the notes also.  So, for example, if your Patriarchal Blessing was typed up you could copy it to your iPad’s clipboard and then paste it into notes.  Or if there is a selection for a BYU speech or an online quote that fits the topic you are studying you could include that also.

Here is how.

Copy Text to Clipboard

If the text you want to add to your Study Notebook is online (at BYU Speeches for example) go to that site and select the text.  Command+C to copy (Ctrl+c on windows).  If the text is not online but on your computer (such as your Patriarchal Blessing) then you could email or dropbox the text to yourself and copy it as above.

Now it is in your iPad’s memory and you are ready for the next step.

Paste Text into Notebook

1) Open up the LDS Gospel Library app.







2) Tap on Notes









3) Tap on Study

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4) Create a Notebook if you don’t already have one.  To do this tap the plus button.  If you already have notebooks but want to create a new one tap ‘Edit’ at the bottom right.  You will then see a plus sign on the bottom left.  Tap that to create a new notebook.

edit notebook







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4) Tap on your notebook.  Tap on Edit in the bottom right.  You should see a faint plus sign at the top of the screen.  Tap that and a text box will appear where you can paste your text.

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5) Tap Save in the top right of the text box.

There.  Now you have text in your Notebook from outside the LDS Gospel Study app!


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How to Bookmark Lessons in the LDS Gospel Library App


“The  less energy it takes to kick-start a positive habit,” Shawn Anchor says in The Happiness Advantage,”the more likely that habit will stick.”

So when the new lesson schedule for Relief Society was handed out I decided to kick-start my potential to read the chapter before Sunday by transferring the schedule from paper (which I was likely to lose) into the LDS Gospel Library itself so I could quickly and easily see the lesson I should be reading.

How did I do that?  Using the bookmark feature of the LDS Gospel Library app.

Here’s how:

1) Open the LDS Gospel Study app on your iPad.








2) Navigate to the lesson by tapping the Auxiliary/Organization (like Relief Society), then the lesson manual (like Joseph Fielding Smith), then the specific chapter you would like to bookmark.

3) Tap the Bookmark icon in the top right of the app.










4)  Tap ‘Add Bookmark’










A red ribbon will appear along with the virtual keyboard letting you type in a name for the bookmark (if you don’t want the title to be the default chapter/talk heading).

6) Type in the date the lsson will be taught along with its name.image-12









7) Tap ‘Done’
There!  All organized.  Now I can skip the Find-the-Paper step and go directly to reading the material.

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End of 30 Ways, 30 Days Challenge

Gospel Study challengeWell, I didn’t end up completing my 30 ways, 30 days Gospel Study Adventure.  It went well for a week then plummeted down never to rise again!

What went wrong?

I think it was the energy it would take to plan, gather materials, read, do and write a blog post about it.  That’s quite a lot to cover for each day.

Too much in fact.

Besides learning I was taking on too much each day I also learned that the many methods of retention work better for me then just straight reading.  Mindmapping, drawing, poeming and other retention methods help me weave the gospel principles and lessons into my soul, intentionally making them a part of my being.

That’s great!

What About You?

Did you participate in the Gospel Study Advnture?  Did you make it to the end?  Leave a comment below.


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