Sunday, December 30, 2007

Arrayed and adorned

"I delight greatly in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God. For He has
clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of
righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a
bride adorns herself with her jewels."

--Isaiah 61:10

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Trust quote

"Trust the past to God's mercy, the present to God's love and the future to God's providence."

-- St. Augustine

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Reminder

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to help you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future . . ."

--Jeremiah 29:11

My grandmom and me

Monday, December 24, 2007

Carol of the Bells

Answer by Sarah McLachlan

I will be the answer
At the end of the line
I will be there for you
While you take the time
In the burning of uncertainty
I will be your solid ground
I will hold the balance
If you can't look down

If it takes my whole life
I won't break, I won't bend
It will all be worth it
Worth it in the end
Cause I can only tell you what I know
That I need you in my life
When the stars have all gone out
You'll still be burning so bright

Cast me gently
Into morning
For the night has been unkind
Take me to a
Place so holy
That I can wash this from my mind
The memory of choosing not to fight

If it takes my whole life
I won't break, I won't bend
It will all be worth it
Worth it in the end
'Cause I can only tell you what I know
That I need you in my life
When the stars have all burned out
You'll still be burning so bright

Cast me gently
Into morning
For the night has been unkind

Messiah

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Wonderful by Chantal Kreviazuk

I'm alone is this life, and these old jeans are too tight
And now I can't pick my feet off the floor
I try to laugh but I cry
My dignity is undignified, guess I'm really on my own
Love is like a little boy, no I'm not paranoid
But I'm on to you, yeah yeah
Well I'm not seventeen and I don't want to be
So why am I hiding

Is it too late to call you on the phone
Too late to tell you I'm alone
I want to wake you from another lonely night
Too late to wonder where you are
Too late to hold you in my arms
'Cause if you're looking for wonderful
I'm wonderful

I'm a very simple girl
And I don't fit into this world, the city lights leave me in a daze
And even though we've never met, you know what I'm trying to forget
Some things you can't change

Is it too late to call you on the phone
Too late to tell you I'm alone
I want to wake you from another lonely night
Too late to wonder where you are
Too late to hold you in my arms
'Cause if you're looking for wonderful
I'm wonderful

I'm underneath
Underneath
I'm underneath
I'm underneath

Is it too late to call you on the phone
Too late to tell you I'm alone
I want to wake you from another lonely night
Too late to wonder where you are
Too late to hold you in my arms
'Cause if you're looking for wonderful
I'm wonderful

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I can't help falling in love with you (Pride and Prejudice)

Kiss Me in the Rain by Barbara Streisand

I remember sitting on the front steps
Feeling the softness of a warm summer rain
I see the reflections of my mind
All the sadness all the pain
Visions of yesterday,
How fast they slip away
And though my dreams have come and gone
With one wish I can say:
Kiss me in the rain, and make me feel like a child again
Bring back all those memories

Kiss me in the rain, and make me feel like a child again
With the feeling that I get,
I don't even mind if we get wet

And if I drift outside myself
Please don't turn away
I'm searching for the innocence
I've lost along the way
Come join me in my fantasy
Step out of space and time
There's only one thing left to do
So if you wouldn't mind

Kiss me in the rain, and make me feel like a child again
Bring back all those memories
Kiss me in the rain, and make me feel like a child again
With the feeling that I get,
I don't even mind if I get wet

Kiss me in the rain, and make me feel like a child again
Bring back all those memories
Kiss me in the rain, and make me feel like a child again
With the feeling that I get,
I don't even mind if I get wet

Come on kiss me in the rain
Oh, won't you kiss me in the rain
With the feeling that I get
I don't even mind if I get wet

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Broken by Lifehouse

The broken clock is a comfort
It helps me sleep tonight
Maybe it can stop tomorrow
From stealing all my time
And I am here still waiting
Though I still have my doubts
I am damaged at best
Like you've already figured out

I'm falling apart
I'm barely breathing
With a broken heart
That's still beating
In the pain
There is healing
In your name
I find meaning
So I'm holding on (I'm holdin on)(I'm holdin on)
I'm barely holding on to you

The broken locks were a warning
You got inside my head
I tried my best to be guarded
I'm an open book instead
And I still see your reflection
Inside of my eyes
That are looking for purpose
They're still looking for life

I'm falling apart
I'm barely breathing

With a broken heart
That's still beating
In the pain (In the pain)
Is there healing
In your name
I find meaning
So I'm holding on (I'm still holdin on)(I'm holdin on)
(I'm still holdin on) (I'm holdin on)
I'm barely holding on to you

I'm hanging on another day
Just to see what, you will throw my way
And I'm hanging on, to the words you say
You said that I will, will be okay
The broken light on the freeway
Left me here alone
I may have lost my way now
But I haven't forgotten my way home

I'm falling apart
I'm barely breathing
With a broken heart
That's still beating
In the pain (In the pain)
There is healing
In your name (In your name)
I find meaning
So I'm holding on (I'm still holdin')(I'm holdin' on)(I'm still holdin') (I'm holdin' on) (I'm still holdin')
Barely holding on to you (I'm still holdin on)
Barely holdin on to you

Monday, December 17, 2007

Out Is Through by Alanis Morissette

Every time you raise your voice
I see the greener grass
Every time you run for cover
I see this pasture
Every time we're in a funk
I picture a different choice
Every time we're in a rut
This distant grandeur

My tendency to want to do away feels natural
My urgency to dream of softer places feels understandable and I know

The only way out is through
The faster we're in the better
The only way out is through ultimately
The only way out is through
The only way we'll feel better
The only way out is through ultimately

Every time I'm confused
I think there must be easier ways
Every time our horns are locked on toweling throwing
Every time we're at a loss, we've bolted from difficulty
Anytime we're still made of final bowing

My tendency to want to hide away feels easier and
The tendency is picturing another place comforting to go and I know

The only way out is through
The faster we're in the better
The only way out is through ultimately
The only way out is through
The only way we'll feel better
The only way out is through ultimately

We could just walk away and hide our hands in the sand
We could just call it quits, only to start over again
With somebody else

Every time we're stuck in struggle, I'm down for the count that down
Every time I dream of quick fix I'm assuaged
Now I know it's hard when it's through
And I'm damned if I don't know quick fix way
What formerly was treatment silent's now outdated

My tendency to want to run feels unnatural now
The urgency to want to give to you what I want most feels good and I know

The only way out is through
The faster we're in the better
The only way out is through ultimately
The only way out is through
The only way we'll feel better
The only way out is through ultimately

The only way out is through
The faster we're in the better
The only way out is through ultimately
The only way out is through
The only way we'll feel better
The only way out is through ultimately

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Run to the Battle by Steve Camp

Some people want to live within the sound of chapel bells
But I want to run a mission a yard from the gates of Hell
And with everyone you meet I'll take them the Gospel and share it well
And look around you as you hesitate for another soul just fell
Let's run to the battle, run to the battle.

Do you have your armor on? We're in the middle of a raging war
We've been training for so long—have we learned to use His sword?
We may not be ready but we serve a mighty Lord,
And He's made us more than conquerors, so what are you waiting for?
Let's run to the battle, we got to run, run to the battle.

He has trampled down the enemy and has given us the victory;
When we pray we learn to see that His army—we are marching on our knees
There'll be times when we grow weak; let's keep our faith alive.
Let your faces shine with glory, for He's helped us to survive.

And in that final hour when you feel like you're ready to die
Will you hear the trumpet sound? Will you hear the warrior cry?
Run to the battle, we got to run, run to the battle.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Collide by Howie Day

The dawn is breaking
A light shining through
You're barely waking
And I'm tangled up in you
Yeah

I'm open, you're closed
Where I follow, you'll go
I worry I won't see your face
Light up again

Even the best fall down sometimes
Even the wrong words seem to rhyme
Out of the doubt that fills my mind
I somehow find
You and I collide

I'm quiet you know
You make a first impression
I've found I'm scared to know I'm always on your mind

Even the best fall down sometimes
Even the stars refuse to shine
Out of the back you fall in time
I somehow find
You and I collide

Don't stop here
I lost my place
I'm close behind

Even the best fall down sometimes
Even the wrong words seem to rhyme
Out of the doubt that fills your mind
You finally find
You and I collide

You finally find
You and I collide
You finally find
You and I collide

Leeland

http://www.myspace.com/leelandmusic

The day you tarry

"The way that you wander is the way that you choose;
The day that you tarry is the day that you lose."


--from the movie Jeremiah Johnson.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Love and Affection by Clannad

You play games in the street
Who to trust and who to meet
Sweet justice hard to find
Say the same with deceit
Take no blame in defeat
Sweet justice hard to find

All I wanted was love and affection
All I wanted was love and affection

Lonely child roams around
As someone else goes underground
All trying to make ends meet
Trouble staring, is life so cheap?

All they wanted was love and affection
All they wanted was love and affection

Broken dreams in the street
True sensations, the stories leak
Sweet justice hard to find
Cant simply speak my mind

All I wanted was love and affection
All they wanted was love and affection
All I wanted was love and affection
And all they wanted was love and affection

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Dark Night of the Soul by Loreena McKennitt

Upon a darkened night
the flame of love was burning in my breast
And by a lantern bright
I fled my house while all in quiet rest

Shrouded by the night
and by the secret stair I quickly fled
The veil concealed my eyes
while all within lay quiet as the dead

Chorus

Oh night thou was my guide
oh night more loving than the rising sun
Oh night that joined the lover
to the beloved one
transforming each of them into the other

Upon that misty night
in secrecy, beyond such mortal sight
Without a guide or light
than that which burned so deeply in my heart

That fire t'was led me on
and shone more bright than of the midday sun
To where he waited still
it was a place where no one else could come

Chorus

Within my pounding heart
which kept itself entirely for him
He fell into his sleep
beneath the cedars all my love I gave

And by the fortress walls
the wind would brush his hair against his brow
And with its smoothest hand
caressed my every sense it would allow

Chorus

I lost myself to him
and laid my face upon my lovers breast
And care and grief grew dim
as in the mornings mist became the light
There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair
There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair
There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair

The Wind in the Willows

Sunday, November 25, 2007

About three pounds' worth

"I would like to buy three pounds' worth of God, please.
Not enough or explode my soul or disturb my sleep,
But just enough to equal a cup of warm milk, or a snooze in the sunshine.
I don’t want enough of Him to make me love a black man, or pick beets with a migrant worker.
I want ecstasy, not transformation.
I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth.
I want a pound of the eternal in a paper sack.
I would like to buy three pounds of God, please."

–Wilbur Reese

Friday, November 23, 2007

Beauty and power

“She looked out into the sunshine. Her full face was not soft; it was controlled; kindly. Her hazel eyes seemed to have experienced all possible tragedy and to have mounted pain and suffering like steps into a high calm and a superhuman understanding. She seemed to know, to accept, to welcome her position, the citadel of the family, the strong place that could not be taken. And since [her] children could not know hurt or fear unless she acknowledged hurt and fear, she had practiced denying them in herself. And since, when a joyful thing happened, they looked to see whether joy was on her, it was her habit to build up laughter out of inadequate materials. But better than joy was calm. Imperturbability could be depended upon. And from her great and humble position in the family she had taken dignity and a clean calm beauty. From her position as healer, her hands had grown sure and cool and quiet; from her position as arbiter she had become as remote and faultless in judgment as a goddess. She seemed to know that if she swayed the family shook, and if she ever really deeply waved or despaired the family would fall, the family will to function would be gone.”

--John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath (The Viking Press: New York, 1939), 100.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Beautiful things

"The people in flight from the terror behind--strange things happen to them, some bitterly cruel and some so beautiful that the faith is refired forever."

--Steinbeck: John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath (The Viking Press: New York, 1939), 166.

All who are thirsty

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!

Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.

Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?

Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.

--Isa. 55:1–2

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

If necessary, use words

"Preach the gospel at all times - If necessary, use words."

~~Saint Francis of Assisi

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The problem of evil

"I have a very basic philosophical response, and I’ve written on this many other ways. It runs something like this: the philosophical problem is actually far more intense than the skeptic actually thinks it is. The philosophical problem, or the problem of pain, is actually more complex and complicated than the philosopher actually thinks it is when he or she raises the question. . . .

"They raise the question of evil, and I’m telling you, it is more complex than they think it is. Why? Because one must question the questioner. If there’s such a thing as evil, you assume there’s such a thing as good. If you assume there’s such a thing as good, you assume there’s such a thing as a moral law on the basis of which to differentiate between good and evil. If you assume there’s such a thing as a moral law, you must posit a moral law giver, but that’s whom they are trying to disprove and not prove. Because if there’s not a moral law giver, there’s no moral law. If there’s no moral law, there’s no good. If there’s no good, there’s no evil. What is their question?

"Now you may question the last jump: why do you actually need a moral law giver if you have a moral law? The answer is because the questioner and the issue he or she questions always involve the essential value of a person. That is, you can never talk of morality in abstraction. Persons are implicit to the question and the object of the question. In a nutshell, positing a moral law without a moral law giver would be equivalent to raising the question of evil without a questioner. So you cannot have a moral law unless the moral law itself is intrinsically woven into personhood, which means it demands an intrinsically worthy person if the moral law itself is valued. And that person can only be God.

"Second, the question is not only more complex philosophically; the question’s more complex experientially. You see, most people end in despair not from disappointment through pain but disappointment with pleasure. The loneliest moment in life is when you have just experienced what you thought would deliver the ultimate—and it has let you down. That’s the reality. Oscar Wilde once suggested, “There is no passion that we cannot feel, no pleasure that we may not gratify, and we can choose the time of our initiation and the time of our freedom.” He was the quintessential hedonist, yet he confessed that “desire at the end was a malady, madness, or both.” He said that he had become numb to feeling; he’d lost the capacity to feel pleasure. At the end of his life, he sent for a minister and admitted that only Christ was big enough to forgive his sin. This was the definitive man on sensuality. Thus, the question is far more complex philosophically and experientially."

~Ravi Zacharias, Our Disappointments Matter to God, 2007. Adapted from a message by Ravi Zacharias based in part upon a chapter from his most recent book, The Grand Weaver: How God Shapes Us Through the Events of Our Lives (Zondervan: 2007).

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Crossroads

"And the Lord said: My people, when you stood at the crossroads, I told you, Follow the road your ancestors took, and you will find peace."

--Jeremiah 6:16

Friday, October 5, 2007

Just finished reading: The Inner Voice of Love

I just finished reading The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom by Henry J. M. Nouwen. I recommend it.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Just finished reading: The Five People You Meet in Heaven

I just finished reading The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. Very interesting story.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Lord, with glowing heart I’d praise Thee

Lord, with glowing heart I’d praise Thee,
For the bliss Thy love bestows,
For the pardoning grace that saves me,
And the peace that from it flows:
Help, O God, my weak endeavor;
This dull soul to rapture raise:
Thou must light the flame, or never
Can my love be warmed to praise.

Praise, my soul, the God that sought thee,
Wretched wanderer, far astray;
Found thee lost, and kindly brought thee
From the paths of death away;
Praise, with love’s devoutest feeling,
Him Who saw thy guilt-born fear,
And the light of hope revealing,
Bade the blood-stained cross appear.

Praise thy Savior God that drew thee
To that cross, new life to give,
Held a blood sealed pardon to thee,
Bade thee look to Him and live.
Praise the grace whose threats alarmed thee,
Roused thee from thy fatal ease;
Praise the grace whose promise warmed thee,
Praise the grace that whispered peace.

Lord, this bosom’s ardent feeling
Vainly would my lips express.
Low before Thy footstool kneeling,
Deign Thy suppliant’s prayer to bless:
Let Thy grace, my soul’s chief treasure,
Love’s pure flame within me raise;
And, since words can never measure,
Let my life show forth Thy praise.



--Francis S. Key

Just finished reading: The Grapes of Wrath

I just finished reading The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. I very highly recommend it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Swing Time - Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers

Quote on Puritanism

"It does not seem possible to deny that the Puritans (using the word in the broad and inclusive sense) were strongest just where evangelical Christians today are weakest, and their writings can give evangelicals more real help than those of any other body of Christian teachers, past or present, since the days of the apostles. This is a large claim, but there is a solid basis for it. Consider the characteristics of Puritan Christianity.

Here were men of outstanding intellectual power, in whom the mental habits fostered by sober scholarship were linked with a flaming zeal for God and a minute acquaintance with the human heart. All their work reveals this unique fusion of gifts and graces. Their appreciation of God's sovereign majesty was profound; their reverence in handling His Word was deep. They understood the ways of God with men, the glory of Christ the Mediator, and the work of the Spirit in the believer and the church, as richly and fully as any since their day. Nor was their knowledge a mere theoretical orthodoxy. They sought to 'reduce to practice' (their own phrase) all that God taught them. They yoked their consciences to Scripture, disciplining themselves to demand a theological, as distinct from a merely pragmatic, justification for everything they did. They saw the church, the family, the state, the arts and sciences, the world of commerce and industry, along with the personal world and involvements of each individual, as so many spheres in which the Creator and Lord of all things must be served and glorified.

Then, too, knowing God, they also knew man. They saw him as essentially a noble being, made in God's image to rule God's world, but now tragically brutified and brutalised by sin. In the light of God's law, lordship, and holiness, they saw sin in its threefold character: as transgression and guilt; as rebellion and usurpation; and as uncleanness, corruption, and inability for good. Seeing these things and knowing as they did the ways and means whereby the Spirit brings sinners to faith and new life in Christ, and leads saints to grow up into their Saviour's image by growing downwards into humility and an increasing dependence on grace, the Puritans became superb pastors in their own day. By the same token, they can, though dead, yet speak to us for our guidance and direction.

For we evangelicals need help. Where the Puritans called for order, discipline, depth, and thoroughness, our temper is one of casual haphazardness and restless impatience. We crave for stunts, novelties, entertainments; we have lost our taste for solid study, humble self-examination, disciplined meditation, and unspectacular hard work in our callings and in our prayers. Again, where Puritanism had God and his glory as its unifying centre, our thinking revolves round ourselves as if we were the hub of the universe. The hollowness of our vaunted biblicism becomes apparent as again and again we put asunder things God has joined. Thus, we concern ourselves about the individual but not the church, and about witness but not worship. In evangelising, we preach the gospel without the law and faith without repentance, stressing the gift of salvation and glossing over the cost of discipleship. No wonder so many who profess conversion fall away!

Then, in teaching the Christian life our habit is to depict it as a path of thrilling feelings rather than of working faith, and of supernatural interruptions rather than of rational righteousness; and in dealing with Christian experience we dwell constantly on joy, peace, happiness, satisfaction, and rest of soul with no balancing reference to the divine discontent of Romans 7, the fight of faith of Psalm 73, or any of the burdens of responsibility and providential chastenings that fall to the lot of a child of God. The spontaneous jollity of the carefree extrovert comes to be equated with healthy Christian living, and jolly extroverts in our churches are encouraged to become complacent in carnality, while saintly souls of less sanguine temperament are driven almost crazy because they cannot bubble over in the prescribed manner. Whereupon they consult their pastor, and he perhaps has no better remedy than to refer them to a psychiatrist! Truly, we need help, and the Puritan tradition can give it."
 

--J.I. Packer

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Just finished reading: Getting Serious About Getting Married

I just finished reading Getting Serious About Getting Married: Rethinking the Gift of Singleness by Debbie Maken. I very highly recommend it.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Just finished reading: The Book of Romance

Just finished reading: The Book of Romance: What Solomon Says About Love, Sex, and Intimacy by Tommy Nelson. I very highly recommend it.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Just finished reading: C.S. Lewis' space trilogy

I just finished reading C.S. Lewis' space trilogy: Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength. I highly recommend the first and second.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

That Particular Time by Alanis Morissette

my foundation was rocked my tried and true way to deal was to vanish
my departures were old I stood in the room shaking in my boots
at that particular time love had challenged me to stay
at that particular moment I knew not run away again
that particular month I was ready to investigate with you
at that particular time

we thought a break would be good for four months we sat and vacillated
we thought a small time apart would clear up the doubts that were abounding
at that particular time love encouraged me to wait
at that particular moment it helped me to be patient
that particular month we needed time to marinate in what "us" meant

I've always wanted for you what you've wanted for yourself
and yet I wanted to save us high water or hell
and I kept on ignoring the ambivalence you felt
and in the meantime I lost myself
in the meantime I lost myself
I'm sorry I lost myself. i am

you knew you needed more time time spent alone with no distraction
you felt you needed to fly solo and high to define what you wanted
at that particular time love encouraged me to leave
at that particular moment I knew staying with you meant deserting me
that particular month was harder than you'd believe but I still left
at that particular time

Just finished reading: For Women Only

I just finished reading For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men by Shaunti Feldhahn. I highly recommend it.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Just finished reading: The Chronicles of Narnia

I just finished re-reading The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. I can't recommend them enough.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Just finished reading: Open Embrace

I just finished reading Open Embrace: A Protestant Couple Rethinks Contraception by Sam & Bethany Torode. I highly recommend it.

Monday, April 30, 2007

The crust of self

"With every morn my life afresh must break
The crust of self, gathered about me fresh;
That thy wind-spirit may rush in and shake
The darkness out of me, and rend the mesh
The spider-devils spin out of the flesh –
Eager to net the soul before it wake,
That it may slumberous lie, and listen to the snake."

--George MacDonald

Just finished reading: Moby Dick

I just finished reading Moby Dick by Herman Melville. I highly recommend it, and enjoyed it thoroughly. I could not put it down.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Just finished reading: The Divine Conspiracy

Just finished reading: The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God by Dallas Willard. I highly recommend it. This book is in a class by itself. Beyond excellent ... extraordinary.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

What it's all about

Today I got to share the Gospel with someone who really needed help. It's amazing how much and how often we talk about about Jesus' being our substitute and our need to share that good news with others. This evening I got to walk someone through the Old Testament, and show how the sacrifices all pointed to the perfect sacrifice, Jesus. It was seeds, and God knows what He'll do with them, but we are called to be faithful to that calling, and it is so good to always have it ready, on the tip of our tongues and overflowing in our hearts.

Just finished reading: Mere Christianity

I just finished reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, again. I had read it many years ago but was glad to go back to it. I highly recommend it.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Precious life

My grandmom is really sick and I've spent a lot of time with her recently. She's in the hospital, and has been for a while.

Last night I just sat by her bed for several hours, holding her hand, stroking her hand, as she was clearly in a lot of pain. Today I was with her again, reading Psalms for quite a while, then just sitting and chatting.

Situations like this remind me again of the preciousness of life, how brief it is, and how much of a privilege it is to be able to share God's love with those around me--especially with those whom I know I'll spend eternity with.

What a sad thing to see such pain, but what a joy to know that someday we'll be together in glory, and to be assured that God works all things together for good.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Funny story

Two brothers were notoriously immoral. They were synonymous with the vice that had overtaken their city. When one of them suddenly died, the surviving brother asked the local pastor to perform the funeral service. He offered him an enormous sum of money if, in his eulogy, he would refer to his deceased brother as a saint. After much pondering, the pastor agreed.

As the service came to an end, the pastor (in the thick of his description of the departed individual) said, “The man we have come to bury was a thief. In fact, he deserves every vile description the mind can muster. He was depraved, immoral, lewd, hateful, and the scum of the earth. But compared to his brother, he was a saint!”

Sinful or just sick?

The following quote is from Hobart Mowrer, "Sin, the Lesser of Two Evils," American Psychologist, 15 (1960): 301-304. Mowrer was an atheist, and he committed suicide in 1982 at the age of 75. He was a professor at Yale, Harvard, and president of the American Psychological Association.

"For several decades, we psychologists have looked upon the whole matter of sin and moral accountability as a great incubus, and acclaimed our liberation from it as epic-making. But at length we have discovered that to be free, in this sense to have the excuse to being sick rather than being sinful, is to court the danger of also becoming lost.


This danger, I believe, is betokened by the widespread interest in existentialism which we are presently witnessing. In becoming a-moral, ethically neutral, and free we have cut the very roots of our being, lost our deepest sense of selfhood, and identity. And with neurotics themselves, we find ourselves asking, who am I, what is my deepest destiny, and what does living really mean?"

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Note to self

From the note-to-self on a post-it note on my bathroom mirror:

"Now is the time to make the life choice. Stop worrying. Stop complaining. Just confidently enjoy what you can today, and trust Him to provide for the future. He makes all things beautiful in His time."

Monday, March 19, 2007

Numbered

Lord, teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."


--Ps. 90:12, 91:2

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Just finished reading: Sacred Marriage

I just finished reading Sacred Marriage: What if God Designed Marriage to Make us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy? by Gary Thomas. I highly recommend it.

Fragile Vessels

A wise man once wrote that "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life." To live with dreams of what life could be and never see those dreams fulfilled creates emptiness and despair, because our lives are meant to be filled to overflowing with intimacy, romance, beauty, laughter, and joy.

Yet, many of us find ourselves ignoring our desires so we can ease the pain of our broken hearts and unfulfilled dreams. We tell ourselves the lie that it's all right for others to trample on what means the most to us. But if we're honest with ourselves, and if we truly have hope, we eventually admit the reason we protect our hearts so little is that we really don't think we're worth much at all. That admission is merely the first step to the healing and love that we desperately need.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Eating and drinking

The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.

On the other hand the French eat a lot of fat and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.

The Japanese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.

The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.

Conclusion: Eat and drink what you like. It's speaking English that kills you.

Ways to amuse yourself and others in an elevator

  • When there's only one other person in the elevator, tap them on the shoulder and then pretend it wasn't you.
  • Push the buttons and pretend they give you a shock. Smile, and go back for more.
  • Ask if you can push the button for other people, but push the wrong ones.
  • Call the Psychic Hot line from your cell phone and ask if they know what floor you're on.
  • Hold the doors open and say you're waiting for your friend. After awhile, let the doors close and say to an empty spot "Hi Greg. Hows your day been?"
  • Drop a pen and wait until someone reaches to help pick it up, then scream, "Thats mine!"
  • Bring a camera and take pictures of everyone in the elevator.
  • Move your desk in to the elevator and whenever someone gets on, ask if they have an appointment.
  • Lay down a Twister mat and ask people if they'd like to play.
  • Leave a box in the corner, and when someone gets on ask them if they hear something ticking.
  • Pretend you are a flight attendant and review emergency procedures and exits with the passengers.
  • Ask, "Did you feel that?
  • Stand really close to someone, sniffing them occasionally.
  • When the doors close announce to the others, "Its okay. don t panic, they open up again."
  • Swat at flies that don't exist.
  • Tell people that you can see their aura.
  • Call out, "Group hug!," then enforce it.
  • Grimace painfully while smacking your forehead and muttering "Shut up, all of you, just shut up!
  • Crack open your briefcase or purse, and while peering inside, ask, "Got enough air in there?
  • Stand silently and motionless in the corner, facing the wall, without getting off
  • Stare at another passenger for a while, then announce in horror, "You're one of THEM!" and back away slowly
  • Wear a puppet on your hand and use it to talk to the other passengers
  • Listen to the elevator walls with your stethoscope.
  • Stare, grinning at another passenger for a while, and then announce, "I have new socks on."
  • Draw a little square on the floor with chalk and announce to the other passengers, "This is my personal space!"

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Tears

Tonight I stood in a hot shower for an hour and cried and cried and cried.

Sometimes when you're heart is ripped to shreds too much, one thing you're realize it does is takes away a part of your capacity to believe you have significant worth. And I don't just mean that it takes away worth, I mean it takes away the actual capacity to believe you have worth.

It's like when people have blood clots or something like that where their brain gets deprived of oxygen long enough, and a part of the brain literally dies, and can't be brought back to its normal usage ever again (at least not at this point of medical technology); the heart feels like it works similarly: after it's deprived of something for so long, it begins to feel that it never did and never will deserve that thing, that I'm just not worthy of it--so much so that even if the proof that I was worthy stared me in the face and shouted my worth at me, I might accept it for a minute or two, but in the next few moments, doubts would immediately creep back in, and I would think, "Yeah, but tomorrow will be different; tomorrow you'll think less of me and the day after you'll be gone."

We all go through that on differing levels of that in life, but there are senses in which certain situations take on an entirely different dynamic. It almost becomes an entity, and actual attacker, who shadows me everywhere and never leaves me alone, always whispering, "You're not worthy, you don't deserve love, you don't deserve affection, and you will always be alone."

I think that whole being deprived thing is why the second book I'm writing is so important to me: I need to feel like even if my soul isn't worth much to people, that perhaps at least my ability to be selflessly affectionate has some value, and even if it's not accepted in reality, that it's at least accepted on paper.
I'm trying, and I'd rather try and lose than not try at all.

And my writing my book, saying, "I affirm that I should be thinking about these subjects," and, "I deserve to someday enjoy them," and, "These things are what makes life right and beautiful and I'm pursuing them with all my heart,"--those kinds of affirmations that I make to myself are part of how I try.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Alanis

No Pressure Over Cappuccino by Alanis Morissette

And you're like a 90s Jesus
And you revel in your psychosis
How dare you

And you sample concepts like hors d'oeuvres
And you eat their questions for dessert
Is it just me or is it hot in here?

And you're like a 90s Kennedy
And you're really a million years old
You can't fool me

They'll throw opinions like rocks in riots
And they'll stumble around like hypocrites
Is it just me or is it dark in here?

Well you may never be or have a husband
You may never have or hold a child
You will learn to lose everything
We are temporary arrangements

And you're like a 90s Noah
And they laughed at you
As you packed all of your things

And they wonder why you're frustrated
And they wonder why you're so angry
And is it just me or are you fed up?

And may God bless you in your travels
In your conquests and queries

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Dance with me

How I would love someone to dance with me tonight ...

If you can

If you can start the day without caffeine,
If you can get going without pep pills,
If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food everyday and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time.
If you can overlook it when those you love take it out on you,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can ignore a friend's limited education and never correct him,
If you can resist treating a rich friend better than an poor friend,
If you can face the world without lies and deceit,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without liquor,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
If you can say honestly that deep in your heart you have no
prejudice against creed, color, religion or politics,

THEN, my friend, you are almost as good as your dog.


(source unknown)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Just finished reading: A Return to Modesty

I just finished reading A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue by Wendy Shalit. I highly recommend it. It is one of the best books I've read in a long time.

Quotes to ponder

"As long as I live my imagination of Paradise will retain something of my brother’s toy garden. And every day there were what we called ‘the Green Hills’; that is, the low line of the Castlereagh Hills which we saw from the nursery windows. They were not very far off but they were, to children, quite unattainable. They taught me longing—Sehnsucht …."
~~C.S. Lewis, Yearning for Joy


"It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. . . . There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal."
~~C.S. Lewis


"To have found God and still to pursue Him is the soul's paradox of love, scorned indeed by the too-easily-satisfied religionist, but justified in happy experience by the children of the burning heart."
~~A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

"Just as in earthly life lovers long for the moment when they are able to breathe forth their love for each other, to let their souls blend in a soft whisper, so the mystic longs for the moment when in prayer he can, as it were, creep into God."
--Søren Kierkegaard

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Providence and requitement

There is so much inside the heart yearning to be free that providence is almost bound to bring to pass a time of restitution when all wrongs will be made right and love will be requited. The dreams that put a sparkle in the eyes of a child and hope in a young man or woman in looking to the future are reflections of the place where humanity began--in Paradise, a utopic garden where God and man walked side-by-side, where shame did not exist, and where love flourished. While Eden cannot be regained, in Christ there is the hope of a return to that state of life, but not just in heaven. In the context of a man and a woman, a day can arrive when the lovers face each other--perhaps disillusioned, with all masks removed--and there find that the love of God has renewed all things: that while hope deferred had made their hearts sick, their desire fulfilled has become a tree of life. Because of trust, they can relinquish their fears and simply plunge into love as if purposefully falling backwards off of a high cliff, dropping into love itself, and finding the paradox that what others have tried to do to their demise, these lovers do, and for the first time in their lives, truly live. That is the nourishing of the soul and the rapturous requiting of love.

Laudable exchange

"The Sea/ Laudable Exchange" by John Michael Talbot:

"Leave the things of time for the things of eternity
Choose the things of heaven o'er the goods of the earth
Obtain the hundred fold in the place of the one
And so possess a blessed and eternal life.

(Chorus):
What a laudable exchange!
What a great and praiseworthy blessing!
What a laudable exchange!

Because of this I have resolved to always progress from good to better;
To be faithful in His service, to always progress from virtue to virtue;
To obtain the hundred fold in the place of the one
And so possess a blessed and eternal life."

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Fearful

This stage is fearful. The spotlight seems to be on me, but the light is actually everywhere on the stage, so it's probably just my pride that makes me think it's on me. But I am on this stage alone. The curtains are halfway drawn, though, and there might be other actors behind them. I can't see the audience but they are there; they are as quiet as mice, except for a stray voice somewhere up front. They must be waiting for me to say my lines. I don't know them. Did I ever get them? I can't remember. I'm feeling rather dizzy, and I can't think straight. Others might be waiting for me to say my part, and then they will come up, but I don't know what to do. How did I even get here? What door did I come in? This is all so confusing.

The stage is the biggest I've ever seen in my life; I can't even see the back edge, though I'm pretty close to the front edge. The sides of backstage are far away, too, which makes it rather inconvenient for anyone to whisper me my lines. But then I might not have lines. Maybe I'm supposed to do something. Maybe I'm just supposed to walk somewhere or cry or laugh or sit down or lie down or pretend I'm eating or . . . oh, I can't remember. Did anyone ever give me my lines? I can't figure out my part, and I wish those curtains would close because I feel conspicuous and naked. Oh, my gosh, am I naked? Whew! I'm not. I have a strange outfit on, but they are clothes; that's a blessing.

I wonder how long I've stood up here and talked to myself. Hey, maybe that's what I'm supposed to do. Maybe my part is just to stand here. But that doesn't make a lot of sense. If it were my part, someone else would have come out and started talking to me or something by now. Maybe this isn't a stage. Maybe it's a big cage and I'm being teased like a rat. I wish I could see the audience. I bet they can all see me. I bet there are sixty trillion people out there. No, let me change that. I'm wrong about a lot of things, so if I guess at first that lots of people are out there, I'm probably wrong. I bet there's just one or two people out there. What would one or two people want with me, anyway? They must be judges or critics or something, writing away vigorously on their notepads all the little things that I'm doing wrong. Maybe they're in a good mood today, and they won't notice if I don't say my lines correctly. Lines? What lines? Why did I just say "lines?" I don't have lines, do I?

I am alone, that much I know. If I could just find someone to help me remember, I'd feel a lot more confident. But maybe if I find someone else and he doesn't remember either, then we look really bad. Oh, bother. I am tired. I want to sleep. Maybe that's my part. Maybe I'm supposed to go to sleep. No, that's a silly thought. I wish so much that I could figure out my part. I wish I weren't alone up here. I wish I knew what to do.

Whatever it takes

Lord, do whatever it takes to make me holy ... no matter what it costs me.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Busy day

Busy day! I spent most of today putting up a railing for my grandmom, who's still in the hospital. And spent some time with my adorable cousins Jordan and Morgan, and their mom.

It's amazing how much longer a job takes to do when you have two little girls around asking if they can help, and offering to hammer every nail and pick up every tool for me! It's good practice for when it's my turn, I suppose.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Missions Conference

Tonight at church (www.cosnet.org), Steve Richardson spoke. He's the head of www.Pioneers.org and the son of Don Richardson, who wrote "Eternity in Their Hearts."

Awesome! He spoke on when the glory of the Lord fills the earth, when people will worship Jesus in every language. I got a chance to talk with him after the service, and he was so encouraging.

I signed up for some ministries in downtown Philadelphia over the next few weeks. I am really excited! I really want to be actively serving, and though I certainly consider my second book, which I'm working on really hard, to be a calling, I want to help others along the way as well. I think we're going to the Feltonville are this Saturday, and to Logan the next, and to the Overbrook area the last week of March.


Good stuff. It did my heart good to start moving in that direction again.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Good things

Good things everyone should do or at least consider:

1. Pants (trousers) first, then shoes.
2. Read Titus.
3. Respect anyone and anything Irish unless it's satanic or they are criminal, etc.
4. Love the sin, hate the sinner.
5. Buy soccer shoes.
6. Speak French.
7. Write your seven with a slash.
8. Lern houw two spel.
9. If you are one in a million, then there are 4,000 people just like you.
10. Never quote in a language you can't speak.
11. Write poetry
12. Sleep on your back.
14. Never skip #13.
15. Never knock on wood.
16. Wash your face every day.
17. Stop people and ask for their business cards.
18. Take pictures of everything.
19. Invest in a pair of comfortable shoes.
20. Don't eat the green stuff.
21. Don't make long, boring lists of things for your friends.
22. Sleep.
23. Color.
24. Sneeze.
25. Vote.
26. Listen.
27. Love God.
28. Always capitalize God's name and His pronouns.
29. Write to me.
30. Listen to Rich Mullins, Michael Card, and John Michael Talbot.
31. Watch the sunrise.
32. Bake cookies.
33. Drink hot cocoa with whipped cream.
34. Use crayons all your life.
35. Paint at least one room in your house pure, bright white.
36. Make your Christmas tree ornaments by hand, and make some to give as Christmas gifts to family.
37. Have a garden.
38. Write a real letter instead of an email from time to time.
39. Laugh and smile for any and all reason, or for no reason, just to make someone else smile.
40. Watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
41. Eat ice cream.
42. Go out late at night in the rain and dance in the streets.
43. Don't kick cats down the stairs (too much).
44. Find someone you love and stay with that person forever.
45. Read just for the pleasure of it.
46. Bake brownies.
47. Watch Veggie Tales.
48. Go to Art Museums and parks.
49. Collect something--stamps, teapots, paper money, dictionaries, candles, wine bottles, knives, lamps--anything. Just collect something so that you have something to work on that is fun and that you can look back on thirty years from now and remember where and how you picked this one or that one up on this trip or in that country, etc.
50. Take time to sit in the darkness alone and take a couple of deep breathes, be quiet so you can feel your own heart beating, and pray. Repeat often.
51. Keep praying.
52. Pet kittens and puppies.
53. Find someone who knows less than you--anyone at all--and tell them something you learned, something exciting, especially if it relates to the Bible.
54. Act silly.
55. Splurge on expensive desserts every once in a while.
56. Listen to Bach.
57. Learn to listen to people, even the boring ones.
58. Learn to take notes in church.
59. Keep a journal and go back and read what you wrote years ago.
60. Kiss with your eyes closed.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Legacy

Several years ago a team of New York state sociologists attempted to calculate the influence of a father life upon his family and future generations. The study included two men from the eighteenth century, Jonathan Edwards and Max Jukes.

Max Jukes rejected Christianity. He chose a life of unprincipled behavior and crime. Among his 1200 descendants were:

440 lives of outright debauchery
310 paupers and vagrants
190 public prostitutes
130 convicted criminals
100 alcoholics
60 habitual thieves
55 victims of impurity
7 murderers


The research team concluded that not one of Max Jukes known relatives ever made a significant contribution to society. This notorious family cost the state of New York $1,200,000.

Jonathan Edwards is regarded as one of the most brilliant an influential men of American history. He was a gifted pastor and exceptional theologian. Edwards’ preaching ignited the flame that led to the Great Awakening, and he later served as the president of Princeton College. Among his male descendants were:

300 clergymen, missionaries, or theology professors
120 college professors
60 doctors
60 authors
30 judges
14 college presidents
Numerous giants on American industry
3 U. S. congressmen
1 vice-president of the United States

Source: Steve Lawson, The Legacy, (Sisters, Multnomah Books, 1998), p.13.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Prayer

“O Lord, support us all the day long, until the shadows lengthen,
and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed
and the fever of life is over, and our work is done.
Then in thy mercy, grant us safe lodging, and a holy rest,
and peace at the last.
Amen.”

Book of Common Prayer

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Just finished reading: The Sacred Romance

I just finished reading The Sacred Romance: Drawing Closer to the Heart of God by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge. I highly recommend it.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Just finished reading: Heaven is Not My Home

I just finished reading Heaven is Not My Home: Living in the Now of God's Creation by Paul Marshall. I recommend it.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A new heart

“There is a widespread belief in the church, today, that the heart is desperately wicked – even after a person comes to Christ. It is a crippling belief. And it is untrue.

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit in you and move you to follow all my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. – God in Ezekiel 36:26-27”

http://www.ransomedheart.com/goingdeeper/online-studies-the-heart.aspx

Monday, January 15, 2007

Golden sand

... the loneliness, the tears, the disillusionment, the sense of time slipping through my fingers like golden sand.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

The injustice of suffering children

"Few realities are more haunting than a child who lives day to day devoid of hope for the future. My greatest hope for our world today is that we would restore hope to suffering children.

Because the children of today hold tomorrow in their hands, it is essential that they believe that the world around them can change for the better.

Someone once said that defeated armies do not fight very hard. If children lack hope for the future, as adults they will not be willing to fight against the injustices of the present.”

--Brittany Brendsel