John Donne and a Song Spit in my face you Jews, and pierce my side, Buffet, and scoff, scourge, and crucify me, For I have sinned, and sinned, and only he Who could do no iniquity hath died: But by my death can not be satisfied My sins, which pass the Jews' impiety: They killed once an inglorious man, but I Crucify him daily, being now glorified. Oh let me, then, his strange love still admire: Kings pardon, but he bore our punishment. And Jacob came clothed in vile harsh attire But to supplant, and with gainful intent: God clothed himself in vile man's flesh, that so He might be weak enough to suffer woe. -John Donne
(In the Beauty of Holiness)
"So I'll stand at your gates once more, As my heart and my spirit soar, And I wish I could love you more, My God and my King."
Verses on my Mind... "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."
Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. -James 5:13-16
None of us ever Graduates from College I'm writing a paper on John Ashbery for my American Literature class, and this poem, "Soonest Mended," struck me in particular. Perhaps it's because graduation is so soon. I still don't know exactly what to do with this poem. But I like the first line here.
"Tomorrow would alter the sense of what had already been learned, That the learning process is extended in this way, so that from this standpoint None of us ever graduates from college, For time is an emulsion, and probably thinking not to grow up Is the brightest kind of maturity for us, right now at any rate. And you see, both of us were right, though nothing Has somehow come to nothing; the avatars Of our conforming to the rules and living Around the home have made—well, in a sense, “good citizens” of us, Brushing the teeth and all that, and learning to accept The charity of the hard moments as they are doled out, For this is action, this not being sure, this careless Preparing, sowing the seeds crooked in the furrow, Making ready to forget, and always coming back To the mooring of starting out, that day so long ago."
Quotable 'I will fear no evil, For my God is with me, And if my God is with me, Whom then shall I fear? Whom then shall I fear?'
Seriously, look up You Never Let Go by Matt Redman. Such a good song.
'For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors and laugh at them in our turn?'
-Pride and Prejudice
Huzzah! That's humility, to be willing to be seen making our neighbors laugh and being encouraged by them, and also to join in with them in their joys. I have to take this slightly differently than I'm sure Mr. Bennett intended it, but even so. I like Jane Austen.
What I want to see is for people to be honest with each other, to be open and willing to learn and to be known. To be willing to truly pour themselves out in love for each other, and to be willing to receive love fully.
I just had a conversation with a couple of people who really encouraged me. When I asked how they were, they did not reply with the usual "good," but said excitedly, "Good, yeah... Just really excited about knowing Christ."
Why don't I hear that, every day? How exciting is it that we can strive to know Christ? As Christians, who follow Christ, what could be more exciting than knowing him?
Whether sunk in an ocean of work, or tempted to give in to stress and despair, no matter how much the sand shifts around me, or tries to distract or deter, nothing, nothing at all can touch the unwavering promise in Christ, and nothing should take my focus away from him.
'I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.'
I can do everything through him who gives me strength. -Philippians 4:12-13
I can be content regardless of my circumstances, absolutely regardless of them, because my identity, my worth, my life, is founded on the solid rock that is Christ, and nothing can take that away from me. It is in the Lord that I place my trust.
I Will Offer Up my Life D D/F# G I will offer up my life A D In spirit and truth, D/F# G Pouring out the oil of love A D As my worship to You D/F# G A D In surrender I must give my every part; D/F# G Lord, receive the sacrifice A D Of a broken heart
CHORUS: G A D Jesus, what can I give, what can I bring G A D To so faithful a friend, to so loving a King? G A D Savior, what can be said, what can be sung G As a praise of Your name A D For the things You have done? Em D/F# G D Oh my words could not tell, not even in part Em D/F# G Of the debt of love that is owed A D By this thankful heart
You deserve my every breath For You've paid the great cost; Giving up Your life to death, Even death on a cross You took all my shame away, There defeated my sin Opened up the gates of heaven And have beckoned me in.
Your blood speaks a better word Than all the empty claims I’ve heard upon this earth Speaks righteousness for me And stands in my defense Jesus it’s Your blood
[Chorus] What can wash away our sins? What can make us whole again? Nothing but the blood Nothing but the blood of Jesus What can wash us pure as snow? Welcomed as the friends of God Nothing but Your blood Nothing but Your blood King Jesus
Your cross testifies in grace Tells of the Father’s heart to make a way for us Now boldly we approach Not by earthly confidence It’s only Your blood
Man. Especially the first verse in this song. It's funny, I feel like I finally get that the only thing in my life that will hold with me always is Christ. I am standing on the solid rock, and as usual, everything else around me is shifting and changing, but I feel like it's so much more than usual. My whole past and present seems radically altered. It's literaly like standing on a great unmoving boulder while a torrent of sand rushes past. And I see that to step away from that rock is to be swept away by the sands.
And looking at that, no wonder when we push God aside and don't take time for him, things begin to feel like they're falling apart. I can only pray that God hold me close and keep me moving in the direction he wants me to go in. So much is in the air right now, and there's so much that I just don't know how to deal with, or what to do about. But God knows, and that's good enough for me. Keep me steady, Lord.
Blankness I head home in an hour or so, but somehow I can't quite picture it. I think of driving up the road I lived on for ten years, walking into the kitchen of the house I lived in last year, and then drawing a blank on what on earth the staircase looks like. I try picturing my grandparents, with just my grandma. I can't seem to do it yet.
I'm bringing Crime and Punishment home with me, to read for the third time, for my Russian Literature class. My favorite book so far has been Dead Souls, by Gogol. Russian literature really tries to answer life's questions, though I usually end up with a more blurry idea of things. They do help you think of better questions though.
I wonder if it's okay that I don't know how to feel right now. I don't want to leave Gordon. The thing is, there are so many people here who need prayer as well, that I know of, and that I don't know of. Where do we go? I guess it's like that verse in Psalms, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path..." we can only see the step right in front of us, and all around is the darkness of uncertainty. But we know that the Word and the Will of God will guide us to where we need to be if we trust in him.
Learning to Run 1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
I never thought that learning to run could be so hard. Things try to drag us down and keep us from going forward: despair, selfishness, and the unwillingness to reach out to God and ask for his help. It's hard, but we have to keep moving.
Philippians 3:10-11 is an awesome set of verses that I'm trying to keep in mind. "I want to know Christ, and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead."
I want to know Christ....Let us fix our eyes on Jesus... no one ever said that following Christ would be easy (okay, so people said it ALL the time...), but the thing is, that's the one goal and meaning in this life. To love God, serve him, and learn to walk like Christ.
I can only pray that I can throw off the sin that makes me want to be selfish instead of selfless, to stop moving when things get hard instead of running forward with perseverance, and my tendency to lose focus. "I want to know Christ..." I want to know him, and I want to know the God who would love us so much that he would give up his only, perfect son to be crucified by the hands of sinful men in order to save those same men. Teach me a humble, loving heart Lord, and help me fix my eyes on you.
How Deep the Father's Love for Us "How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure, That he should give his only Son, to make a wretch his treasure, How great the pain of searing loss, the Father turned his face away, As wounds which mar the chosen one, bring many souls to glory.
I will not boast in anything: no gifts, no power, no wisdom, But I will boast in Jesus Christ; his death and resurrection, Why should I gain from his reward? I cannot give an answer, But this I know with all my heart: his wounds have paid my ransom.
What is Love? Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. -Psalm 143:8
It's so helpful to highlight when reading, especially in Psalms. There's just so much! I saw this verse just now, and wanted to post it. Almost every morning, I try to remember this verse. "Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love..." and thinking about what it really means to live for Christ. This verse is a way I start my day thinking about God and the blessing of having a new day to live.
But I've been really wondering lately about what love is. A lot of times we throw around terms like this, "love," and don't even pause to question ourselves about what love is. To live for God is to live a life of love. Here are a few more thoughts, from Thomas Merton's No Man is an Island. This is on the first page.
“There is a false and momentary happiness in self-satisfaction, but it always leads to sorrow because it narrows and deadens our spirit. True happiness is found in unselfish love, a love which increases in proportion as it is shared. There is no end to the sharing of love, and, therefore, the potential happiness of such love is without limit. Infinite sharing is the law of God’s inner life. He has made the sharing of ourselves the law of our own being, so that it is in loving others that we best love ourselves.”
Our purpose in life is God, and God is love.
"And this is my prayer. That your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ- to the glory and praise of God."- Philippians 1:9.
Paul's prayer is that we grow in our understanding of love. May it be so. : )
So, that's what's been on my mind today, and I hope that I can really explore what love is, and take it to a new level. It's amazing how often God blesses you, and it's only when you pause and really start thinking that you realize that his love is so much greater than you could ever imagine.