Monday, July 31, 2006

Dying to Self

Today I have read and enjoyed Ps 26 (with excitement that tomorrow is 27). Currently I am listening to Chris Tomlin's "Take My Life" - its an amazing song. Slightly different then the hymn, but the same words with a little bridge built in.
Frances Havergal (who wrote the hymn) was brilliant. She memorized the Psalms, most of the NT, and Isaiah - probably in the original text because she knew Hebrew and 2 other languages besides Welsh. No wonder one of the lines talks about letting God have her intellect. He had given her so much of it.
There are a couple of favorite - yet crucifying to Kim - lines this hymn:
Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Consecrated - what does it devote to a purpose with or as if with deep solemnity or dedication (that is from good ol' Mr. Webster). My life - not for my cause or my will - but only for God's...
Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.
These are the two most convicting in the hymn. It shall be no longer mine - that is death to Kim - live to Christ. I won't be on the throne anymore - my heart will be a sacred place for Him and Him alone. Oh, how hard it is - God do this in me. As you did it in David as he pleaded for it in Ps 26
Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind
Verses right after that:
I do not sit with men of falsehood, nor do I consort with hypocrites. 5 I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked.
Does that sound like another psalm somewhere before - hmmmm, Ps 1? It it is to a T. You would almost wonder why God would have to repeat Himself - could it be that we haven't gotten it yet?

On a more northern note - its been an exciting week in Whiteplains. Christ the King church just north of The City. The picture at the top is the three pastors and a group from GA that came up there to help them this week. They have had many new faces, one coming to Christ, more people at the expository teaching of the Word in small groups in the pastors' homes. All this outside of the Bible belt. Exciting times - God lead me...Answer me - honest urgency. Open doors - wherever you would want me to go.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Come Thou Fount and Honest Urgency

There is no use in sitting in Barnes & Nobles trying to read a book (even a Piper one) when you have too much on the brain. But, let's start over...
I was driving down Capital this morning - way late for church - turned onto Burlington Mills and figured I had missed the music. So, I just prayed that the music I was listening to (hillsongs) would be my worship and get me ready for the preaching of the Word. Well, when I got to Rccc they hadn't even started - I was so excited.
Chad - their 3rd service music guy - could go be Chris Tomlin or Charlie Hall or any other lead worshipper megastar these days. God's gifted him on the instruments (piano and guitar) and vocally. We started with Come Thou Fount (well, I thought for sure the writer had to be a puritan - but probably not - a methodist and baptist preacher instead). I love these lines:
"tune my heart" - Pianos and guitars are great unless they are out of tune. The more you let a piano get out of tune - the more expensive it is to fix it. Take my granny's - horribly out of tune, its probably not even worth tuning now. For God to tune your heart is probably much less painful if it is a daily process than a once a year process.
"call for songs of loudest praise" Well, football season is almost upon us. I'm so excited. We shout and cheer for the best (or our fave) team (especially me even if no one is in the house to hear me). How often do I shout in glory of the grace of God?
"interposed his precious blood" - in my behalf - when a stranger (Romans clearly states that) - As Shane and Shane say - in a cross that had little to do with us, the Father of lights bruised His Son.
"oh to grace how great a debtor" - More than money - grace keeps me alive. Grace allows me one more breath - Grace is a much needed "additive" to my life.
"Here's my heart, o take and seal it" - Prov 4.23 - How hard that is though. We let so many little - or big things - get in our way - taking first place in our heart, or just making our relationship with God slip a little. But, Jesus - make you first in my heart - make you first in my thoughts when I wake - last when I go to bed.
"oh that day when freed from sinning" - reminds me of one of my fave S&S songs I've mentioned on here before - Waging War. The only time when i will be free of sin - or the want to sin - is in heaven when I stand before the throne of God and look to Jesus as my hope and Grace of eternity.
Ps 25 - my reading for today...
Just what I needed - the power of the Word to speak right where I am...
Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. 5 Lead me in your truth and teach me,for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.
Sometimes (especially now) I feel like I am waiting all the day long as the Psalmist says. Trusting and waiting is not often the game I like to play - but God demands it.
Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. 9 He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. 10 All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
All that humbling last week must not have taken root - keep doing it - no matter how painful. I want to learn your way - the only way is humility (Phil 2)
Who is the man who fears the Lord?Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose
I say it is always about choices. But, the fear of the Lord would remind me that God holds those decisions in His hand - He knows - He is sovereign. That is the rewarding thought as I struggle to know the future...He is Sovereign. Oh, Lord, please show me those answers - and I would rather sooner than later! But - your timing is perfect
The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant
We sang also this morning Darrell Evans' song "Your Love is Extravagant". One of the lines says "your friendship, intimate". This would go along with this actually says (down in the little notes) - the secret counsel of the Lord - friendship, intimacy - with the God of the universe comes fear first...Oh, to know the fear of the Lord (and get wisdom). I think this is what God is trying to tell me when I start planning - wait Kim, remember to fear me and know that my plan is best - and you'll get wisdom - you'll get my secret counsel - you'll get my friendship.
May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you
May these two things define me as I wait in honest urgency for you to speak...

Friday, July 28, 2006

One question - and its short for once

I make it really short today:
Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.5 He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

Good question to ask myself today...

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Fruit of many kinds

Fruit...ah, it is good stuff. I've been eating tons of it lately...Fuji apples, bananas, blueberries, cherries, applesauce, tomatoes (fruit or veggie?). This is a friend of mine, King (who just got married), in indo eating a coconut - actually drinking coconut milk. i have a picture of me doing it (not my fave thing) but not digital - just hard copy.
But, this quote I saw on Justin Taylor's blog is not the good side of "fruit" I want to be eating...
"Every act of sin is a fruit of being weary of God." John Owen, Indwelling Sin, chapter 4
How absolutely true is that. Because if we were completely satisfied with God - we wouldn't sin. Adam and Eve sinned in the garden when they weren't satisfied with God and wanted to be smarter and know more things and they wanted that darn fruit. Don't get tired of God.
Now, onto to today's reading. The most famous psalm in the world - known by most people - if people ever attend funerals - they here this. Ps 23.
I went into it wondering what I could get from it - because I knew it. But, the Word is powerful once again - go figure.
The two sections that stood out to me were:
He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul.He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
He is leading me right now beside quiet or still waters - very quiet time in my life and I'm rather enjoying it. He is using this time to restore me - to make me satisfied and whole in Him and not dependent on everything I DO for Him to make me right before Him. He is making me aware of sin - therefore leading me in paths of righteousness - but not for me, FOR HIS GLORY! Have you noticed that a lot (ok - all) the things that happen in Scripture is done for the glory of God. I guess that is what Rom 11.32-33 mean!
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.
I heard JD say once that this means that it will haunt me or pursue me hard all the days of my life. I'm very glad for that - because I wouldn't last a day without the grace of God - actually the steadfast love - the covenental love of God. He better not let up!
I was sharing that with a friend today - I hope that helped her maybe get a better view of who God is - and He will use it for His glory in her life. Oh, God keep pursuing her - don't let up - grace, haunt her till she comes to put her faith in You!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

An aweful and frightening task

Ok - you must hear me out on this and don't get all bent out of shape about the title.
Lately - I've been to weddings and know of weddings coming up (its summer - everyone gets married in the summer. But, I've also been the listening ear to many who are struggling in their marriages (both Christian and non-Christian). I've pretty much decided that it is much easier to be single than married. All I have to worry about is myself - yes, I guess that means I'm selfish.
Going back many years (gosh, almost 9 years), I remember sitting with Chuck - who was engaged to Corrine - in Phyllis and Billy's living room. We were there on a class asssignment. We asked them many questions separately - then brought them back together to answer some. The thing they said was key to making a marriage successful (and their's is) is to love God more than you love your spouse. That is definitely true in their marriage. They said if you are pursuing your relationship with God it would make all the difference in your marriage.
As I've been thinking about the flippancy with which our culture and church (just look at the Christian divorce rate) hold marriage - it is worrisome.
I was talking to a friend recently saying that I didn't want to get married b/c I thought it was hard enough representing Christ to a lost and dying world just being single - "being created in the very image of God". How much harder it would be to represent Christ to a lost and dying world by reflecting the relationship between the Church and Christ? How "awe"ful and frightening is that. That is so much responsibility. Its hard enough to be responsible for myself and my relationship with God - but not someone else, too.
I'm reading the Marriage chapter in Desiring God tonight. The opening verse is Eph 5.28-30
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Ok - so I expanded it a little. Even Paul says this mystery (the relationship) is profound. This is what I want in a marriage - and what I see lacking in so many...
- a husband who will santify me by leading me in the Word each day and loving Jesus more than He loves me
- a husband I can respect
All other is merely accessories. This is how God designed marriage - to be a reflection of the relationship between the church and Christ. Christ came to die - gave up his life - serve - for a church He is continually santifying in His Grace.
Please - a lot of you are probably saying - she isn't married - she has no room to talk. Yes, but I do know marriages are hard - I don't have to be married to experience that. Christians - let's show a lost and dying world what a godly, biblical marriage should look like. Wives...submit to your own husbands. husbands - love your wives as Christ loved the church - sanctify her and present her blameless to Christ (that is a lot of pressure by the way), wives...respect your husbands - don't laugh about them and make fun of them or put them down even for the faults he might have. Let me and the other single people out there have marriages to look at and say "I want mine to look like that".

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I'm not a painter

So where does that blog title come from? If you would look around my house or my parent's house - you would realize that my mom is a painter - but I didn't get any of those wonderful talents. I think she got all of them for the family!
But, I am not a painter - but I know in order to paint a piece of furniture there is a process. The part of the process I want to talk about tonight is the stripping process. I would think that if the piece of wood could feel anything - that it would be quite painful. I don't even know what all goes into stripping - but I know it must be done.
That is kind of how I feel where I am with God right now. He is the master painter (kind of life the master potter as it says in Mal 3). Right now is a stripping period in my life - He is stripping many things I held dear away - so that I am completely satisfied with Him - and Him alone. Just like in painting- it is a process. It doesn't happen instantaneously (one of the biggest words you'll find on this blog). It occurs over time. It is painful - because I die to Kim. I die to the things I want or think I need, I'm humiliated - all so that Christ can live and dwell in me. And just like with painting - I don't know all that has gone into or will go into this stripping process in my life.
But, I look forward to seeing what the finished product will look like.
Today I was in Ps 21.
v 2
You have given him his heart's desire and have not withheld the request of his lips.
What is my desire - from the above conversation - hopefully it is be more like Christ. I would think the apostle Paul would definitely say that, David would, Joseph would, John would. All these people I would like my life to look like (imitate me, as I imitate Christ - as Paul said). Shouldn't that be the request of my lips?
v 6
For you make him most blessed forever; you make him glad with the joy of your presence.
Kind of reminds me of Ps 16.11 - Let me be glad after I have dwelled in your presence. There my true joy lies.

Monday, July 24, 2006

sermons and the word

Oh, how everyone just loves Mondays!
Today hasn't been bad though. Woke up "on the wrong side of the bed" thinking about some of the stuff last night - that also means I woke up late. So, I was a little late for work. It was a slow morning for me, but thankfully the time flew by. Then one of my friends came by in the afternoon - he got a new job at Duke! Congrats Garrett! You'll do great! Don't let it go to your head though! (That link is to his www, you need to go there, especially if you are a parent of a young kid who loves spiderman and has a birthday coming soon!) Tonight wasn't bad - had the evening to myself which I love. Exercised, cleaned, made dinner, watched Project Runway (you gotta wonder about some of these designers), and now I'm here.
Wanted something to read during lunch to supplement the Word, so I chose a Piper sermon to read along with Ps 20. Thought both so applicable.
I asked some people last night to pray for wisdom for me. That is what I need. It seemed like every email or something I got today was hoping I was serving faithfully. My Dad said, yes I could pray for wisdom, but experience and reading the word is going to be the answer to that prayer. God gives us the Word - we need to "study to show thyself approved, rightly dividing the Word of truth". I read Ps 20 and was convicted over what my desires are - especially when they come to ministry. And then Piper's sermon said how often we pray for things but don't study the "wonderful things of the word" - Ps 119.18.
verse 4-5 of Ps 20
May he grant you your heart's desire and fulfill all your plans! May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the Lord fulfill all your petitions!
I remember reading this while in Indonesia this summer. I was so excited - God was going to fulfill all my plans! How cool would that be. But, what really are my desires? Why do I want to teach at the Summit church? I listened to yesterday's sermon by JD - his idol is success. I would say mine is similar - I want people to think I'm good teacher and I want my name to get out there in the world. I want to be a successful trainer and teacher of teachers. But, what does God want from me. He wants me to die to those desires, die to Kim, and live to Him - actually let Him live through me. (Phil 3). So, what desires is God going to grant in my life - those that shine on Him and not on me - that make Him famous and not me.
The other part of the psalm that I loved was 7-8
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright.
The contrast here...what are my chariots and horses: the fact that I can cook, sing, write, teach, organize...But where does my trust need to be - in the NAME of the LORD. As I sang Saturday in the wedding - "age to age He stands" - His name is forever - He is standing - He is Sovereign. If I place my trust in the above listed things - I, along with those things, will collapse. But, only the name of the LORD will stand eternally. Wouldn't I rather place my trust in HIM?
As I pick up Valley of Vision - I again turn to the prayer titled Reproofs... I've read it many times...
"Blessed be thy name for anything that life brings. How do poor souls live who have not thee, or when helpless have no God to go to, who feel not the constraining force of thy love, and the sweetness of communion? O, how admirably dost thou captivate the soul, making all desires and affections center on thee."

more pics from the wedding

More pics are here. I wish I had more - but oh, well. i got in trouble today at work for not having one of MG in her gown - so this is one of the whole wedding party - its a big one. The other picture is from Friday night with the toothless Jessi - she's cute! She also was practicing taking a picture of her daddy!
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Saturday, July 22, 2006

Wedding Spectacular

The wedding of the century is over. The day was great - tiring on my feet. But, the service was very much a celebration of the greatness and provision of perfect gifts from God. The choir (led by Jason Douglas) did great! The whole place sang How Great Thou Art, How Deep the Fathers Love for Us, How Great is Our God. My pictures after the pictures before the wedding didn't turn out, there must be a gliche on the disk - but I got some good ones. Not everything is about pictures.
This first picture is of me and Candace - Chris' sister. She lives in Atl. We've had fun during the times we have gotten to hang out!
The next is one of Chris with Candace and Colleen (his other sister). You can tell they are all related!
Then, its most of the girls from AR - Cindy, Gina, and Carayee. The last is of the flower girl, colleen's daughter MacKenzie, who she carried down the aisle.
Many blessings to Chris and Michelle! Congrats!

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This is me and michelle during rehearsal.

This is Veronica, Julie, and me at the rehearsal dinner - at Croasdaile Country Club in Durham. It was a very nice buffet dinner and then a share time and the girls from AR had put together a video from the people in AR - that was cute!
The next picture is of me and the new Mrs. Welch - Sarah. I hadn't seen them since the wedding - they are back and so doing well!

The last picture is of Michelle and the Moms at the bridesmaids brunch. On her left is Marquie (sp?), MGs mom, and then there is Mama Gaynor - Jackie. Posted by Picasa

A Fountain of Sweet Water

A Piper book is sitting on my coffee table right now - God is the Gospel. Every good news we receive in life is b/c of God - His grace. But, the greatest "good news" is the gospel - is God Himself - that we get to be in His presence! When we get focused on other things...that is when we start putting our hope and attention to those things. Even in the good things, the celebrations in life - may we hope in the God of the Gospel - the God who is the Heavenly Lights (James 1.17). The song I'm listening to right now is Captivate by Watermark. "Captivate us Lord, Jesus - with you". One of my fave songs by the best female singer in any music today - in my humble little opinion.
This is a busy day (pictures will be uploaded tomorrow night) with the wedding spectacular - but today is also Rick and Stac's 6th wedding anniversary - that is them at the top. They have two kids: jacob and noel. Rick just had knee surgery - get better soon! Stace has been a good friend of mine since we met - will be real and honest with me, and shows me most how to keep her trust in a rock solid belief in the sovereignty of God. Happy anniversary guys - I love you, hopefully may see you at some point in the near future - its been almost a year since the Piper conference. Thank you for your continued advice, love, and theology (learning).
Ps 18 today
This was sung to the Lord by King David when he had been delivered from Saul - his greatest enemy probably. But at one time, I'm sure David had respect for Saul - as his sovereign. I wonder if this deliverance had any sense of bitterness to it? Anyway...
Verses 1-3 give great names that we can use as we call upon the Lord in bitter, hard, and even great times: Lord, strength, rock, fortress, refuge, stronghold, God, deliverer, shield, worthy, salvation.
Verse 30 speaks of God's truth...
This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. This God refers to all the things before hand - the one strong, defeater of the wicked, keeper of the pure, giving glory to His Own Name.
Verse 49-50 - David was literally going to take the doing of the Lord into the nations. He had defeated Saul and now David was going to be able to go further into the world with the name and Lordship of Yahweh.

Bitterness isn't my refuge, friends or events aren't my refuge. God is my refuge - my stronghold - my strength, my rock, my deliverer. May I ever rest in that.

In the words of a puritan prayer:
" When thy blessings come I begin to idolize them, and set my affection on some beloved object - children, friends, wealth, honour...Cleanse this spiritual adultery and give me chastity close my heart to all but thee." (prov 4.23)

And in closing another line from the above prayer:
"Fill me with grace daily that my life be a fountain of sweet water."

Friday, July 21, 2006

A Quiet Reprieve

I am enjoying a much needed quiet moment for a little while before I have to be at the rehearsal and subsequent dinner till late. I'm glad I get a litle reprieve - even though I'm enjoying the day so far.
I'm in Ps 17 today - very hard to stay my mind on Scripture today when the sin of pride is so prevelant today. God - please allow my mind to focus on you and your glory for just a little bit of time today - right now in this quiet restful place (my loveseat in my living room with Chris Rice Living Room Sessions playing). Thank you for this space of quietness...
I wonder if David (before writing this psalm) had been going over the past few days/hours in his life to see if he had done anything wrong. I wonder if he spent time in confession and then cried out this song to God. He knows that his pureness only comes from Him - his refuge and beautiful inheritance (as we saw in 16). But, I wonder if he is just in a dry place and is not sensing the Spirit's power in his life or kingship and is wondering what he has done wrong.
I love verse 7
Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand. The little note at the bottom of this says: distinguish me by your love. May others see a difference in me that is only the love of Christ. May my enemies (the enemies of the cross) see something different in me - your Love and Spirit.
The other one I love is 15
As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness. The only way we stand in God's presence and behold His righteousness is by Christ becoming sin so that we migh become the righteousness of God. David says - when I awake...That means every moment he is awake, not one single minute gone from his day - let me be satisfied with your likeness. May you conform me to your image and may I be satisfied with just that. Just that - isn't that enough? Oh, God, mark it in me!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Oh the things I miss...

Ok - so this is a great way to end a day...
Oh, the things I miss...
1. Getting to watch all the FL sports on tv b/c I lived in the good state. I didn't have to wonder what game I was going to get. If the Bucs were playing - we watched that. Gators were on on Saturday. It was great!
2. Getting up in the morning to see the sunrise at the beach in St. Aug. I didn't mind getting up at 6 every morning b/c I got a spectacular view each morning and enjoyed the ocean breeze each night. that was the life
3. I miss being around so many guitarists: James, Bobby, Jill, Jeremy, Wendy, Brad, Ame, Tonya - it was the life back then!
4. I miss seminary days when I had to spend all day reading the really thick books. I visited some friends' blog today for the first time and enjoyed reading through their list of "fave books". You should go check them out. I put one on my list of books to get and others on a list of must read - because I already have them. Great discussions there too!
5. I miss the days growing up when I read things and didn't question them - or just saw people for who they were - not wanting to know what they thought on theological issues. It is great too - but sometimes I think (and incorrectly so mind you) that those days were better. Praising God for the mind I do have, however!
6. I miss the days where my Dad paid for everything and part time jobs were the only ones needed. Not having bills to worry about or pay was the life. Just ask Dad - hey, can I have 20$. Or buying groceries - whatever we wanted, not what was on sale or was the Harris Teeter special buy.
Just some good ole' days...
Now, onto Ps 16...This was the basis for a class I taught my first full semester at The Summit. It was called Full Joy - for the last verse. "in your presence there is fullness of joy, or pleasures forevermore"
This psalm is all about the Christ who was coming. It signifies many of the prophecies that Christ the Messiah would fulfill. That last verse is so good though.
My heart is glad in you
You are my chosen portion
You are my beautiful inheritance
You are my refuge
My whole being rejoices
You are my good. (the whole monergism/synergism thing that I've been thinking about lately)
In your presence there is fullness of JOY - FOREVER. Not in anything else. Just finished watching a show and the preview of next week's episode stated something like I want everything no matter who it hurts (but having to do it is SIN and sin causes pain and in the end death). And it won't give you everything anyway...
Thank you for directing my paths, answering some questions, letting me think back to what yu have brought me through and the joys you have given me here on earth - oh but that they are just a mere glimpse (a taste) of what you have for me in YOUR PRESENCE!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

My Sin and Reproach Gladly Bear

Does that title look familiar - I've been singing it since lunch - but only about 8p did I finally figure out which hymn it came from - "The Old Rugged Cross" (lalalalalalalala - it is playing on my computer)
So, I've been singing and thinking about this song today. This cross is so dear - this is what Christ did for me - the chosen of God (Rom 8, Eph 1) - did for me. He died on an emblem of suffering and shame - not a glitze-fied cross like so many we see today.
I was talking about forgiveness today with a friend - asking for it, granting it, receiving it, and knowing how hard it is. So, as I left for lunch I was praying that God would give me something in the Word that would shed some light on the whole forgiveness thing. I read the main passages (that are found in any good concordance), but not a whole lot. So, I started reading my passage for today - Ps 15.
Then - thank you Spirit!
Who can dwell in God's presence - it gives us characteristics (all done by the Spirit's work in us):
1. walks blamelessly (walks is continual action)
2. Does what is right - even when it is tough
3. Speaks truth in his heart - not only from his lips but also in the depths of his heart
4. Does not slander with his tongue - O Lord, guard me from gossip against others
5. Does no evil to his neighbor - what does that look like for me?
6. Nor takes up REPROACH against his friend. So, I looked up the word in and it hit me so hard that this is what I had been doing to this friend for a couple of months... "an expression of rebuke or disapproval". By my turning away from her - I was taking up reproach against her.
7. Despising vile people (but loving them like Christ loved his enemies and witnessing to them about the love of Jesus). We can hate what they do - but still love them like Christ loved.
8. Honor those who fear the Lord. Currently, one of the books I am reading is Contending for Our All by John Piper. It is a biography on the lives of Athanasius, John Owen, and Machen. I finished Athanasius tonight and then just plunged into John Owen's life (since I'm reading some of his work right now).
9. Does not put his money out at interest - O Lord, grant me forgiveness in that area and help me please b/c I can't do it on my own.
10. Doesn't take a bribe against the innocent - I still don't quite understand this one - anyone care to shed some light feel free to let me know.
He who does these things shall never be moved.

I want to dwell in the presence of the Lord - to sojourn there (inhabit, remain, stand surely, abide) - these things must be evident.
Thanks to the Cross of Christ (and only that) can I do these things - the old rugged cross.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Eat Well, Speak Truth, Think Rightly

The main theme in my current teaching, reading, hearing, and thinking seems to be SIN. I know - it is such a fun topic to think about - but we must do it as believers - I think it is part of the work of sanctification. Not to dwell on the actual sin of course, but to dwell in the place where we are continually convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit. The heading of this blog came from a closing thought Rach sent me today in an email - also having to do with many things we have been struggling with as of late.
The chastisement (discipline) of the Lord is something Prov 3.12 talks about - hence I heard it Sunday night at WXR. It is something God does to those He loves and delights.
I taught on it this weekend as I looked at the life of Uzzah in 2 Sam 6 and then David's sin with Bathsheeba in 2 Sam 11 and the coming conviction in ch 12. Some girls got it, some girls it went right over their heads - but I pray the Spirit would convict them that sin is more than just the wrong things we do - it is a disease that infects all of us and our only Cure is Jesus.
In my Psalms reading (14) today - it is in there in a roundabout way. In verse one the psalmist talks about the person who says there is no God - is a fool and does nothing right. Now, I definitely believe there is a GOD and he is the YAHWEH God. But, how many times does the way I live my daily life reflect the folly of my own heart? Do my actions speak louder than my beliefs?
I've also been reading two books recently: The Screwtape Letters (CS Lewis) and
The Mortification of Sin (John Owen) both having to do with Sin. The first I picked up this weekend while I was teaching about sin and how it is always against the very WHO of God - His glory, His Name. It was amazing to me the depth and creativity of which Lewis wrote - from the side of a demon to a novice demon. There are so many things that we do on a daily basis that is sin - that we wouldn't even count as sin. How often do we gossip or think negatively, or worry w/o even thinking about it? The second is definitely on the other side of the spectrum from Lewis' book. It talks about (in a way only Puritans can write) about the dying to self and putting away of the flesh. That is such a convicting book. Pick both of them up (and accompany them of course with Scripture and as another random book - Valley of Vision) and read. I pray the Spirit would convict you as He has been doing me.
Here is a quote from John Owen - not knowing where it is from - but definitely one worth reading:
Sin aims always at the utmost; every time it rises up to tempt or entice, if it has its own way it will go out to the utmost sin in that kind. Every unclean thought or glance would be adultery if it could, every thought of unbelief would be atheism if allowed to develop. Every rise of lust, if it has its way reaches the height of villainy; it is like the grave that is never satisfied. The deceitfulness of sin is seen in that it is modest in its first proposals but when it prevails it hardens mens' hearts, and brings them to ruin.
My prayer - as Rach and talked about on Sunday - is that God would be glorified in my life by the mortification of sin in my flesh - that I may "walk by the Spirit so that I may not gratify the desires of the flesh" - and this is only done by the Spirit - b/c I by myself can't do it.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Ps 13 vs Prov 3

Monday was pretty decent. Today in reading Psalm 13 - it struck me to how similar it is to the sermon Pastor Bill preached last night and last Sunday morning at WXR. He's been in Proverbs and I'm of course in Psalms - but the similarity here is great.
David had to have been in a place of trouble, whether it was personal troubles, spiritual dryness, or difficult battles for the country, he wasn't feeling the blessing of God's nearness. Solomon seems to almost be writing to someone who is in similar hard times in Prov 3 because he is encouraging them to do what they know to do: read, trust, honor God, be humble...
David asks how long God is going to forsake Him - he waits. Solomon says the answer - do not lean on your own understanding of the situation - but completely and wholly trust in God and He will make your paths straight. The joy that David feels after pouring his heart out to God is very similar to the joy that we find in Prov 3:
Ps - But I have trusted in your steadfast love;my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord,because he has dealt bountifully with me.
Pr - Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;bind them around your neck;write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.
Prov 3.12 is kind of evident that we will go through times when it seems the Lord is far, or that He is being hard on us, or that we don't feel JOY - but the answer the "why" comes in the last verse of that section: for the Lord reproves him whom he loves,as a father the son in whom he delights. He loves us and delights in us. That is why He wants to make us more like His son - so that He might get the most glory FOR HIMSELF from us.

So, when life (like it often seems to me right now), doesn't make sense - cling to what you know (for more on that pick up Piper's When I Don't Desire God), - read the whole thing at the link - know that God is going to get glory from you, don't lean on your own understanding, TRUST and wait (as Shane and Shane says).

Speaking of Shane and Shane - I love how they take so many of the words to their songs straight from Scripture - its a great way to memorize the Word!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Tossing of the Garbanzo Beans and Choices

Its been a good but long weekend.
Went to Apex to teach a girls' weekend for my friend Kasey. I've learned that youth ministry isn't really my thing anymore - because I like to go to bed at a decent hour and it is hard to explain holiness to 8th graders. good gracious. But, girls got stuff out of it (or so they said). I got stuff out of what I tought. I started reading the Screwtape Letters too!
Then today a group from WXR went to Sweet Tomatoes for lunch, then went to Target with Vic to get 4$ pair of shoes! I've been waiting on those things to go on sale for forever! I wore them tonight to WXR with my new JCrew outfit. Rach and I went walking (ie sweating) this afternoon. Then we baked, made chicken salad and hummus, talked with some friends, went to church (more on sermon later). Then came back after church and hung out with Matt (worship guy at WXR and friend) for a while and tossed garbanzo beans - that was a blast! One of the last pix we took tonight - i have no clue what happened to it. But, this above is me and Matt, and then Rach mixing up the hummus.
Anyway - the sermon. Out of Proverbs 3.7-12. one of the application questions was...
"Do we revere God enough to choose His over what we want to do" - or something to that affect. It was all about fearing God - does that color the choices that we make - whatever the choices. What a great question. Thanks Pastor Bill.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A Country Girl at Heart

Today's blog is brought to you in part by a friend of mine (who is currently in AZ, but from CO, and is coming back to CH in a month), Meredith! Its her 23 b-day! I've missed her in this time she has been away - but am so excited she is coming back. We worked together at CapFit where we were able to "stay beautiful" - is that what that dude always said? She is a fantastic artist and I have always told her she needs to start her own greeting card company. She eats my goodies and I eat hers. She drives a jeep called the Heel Mobile (props to UNC Tarheels). I love you girl - and can't wait for you to return! Sorry I don't have a picture of her online. I only have one that I know of but it isn't on my computer - it is in a frame on the shelf behind me.
Now to explain the title...
I grew up in Lakeland, FL. Now, Lakeland is pretty big and right in between Tampa and Orlando. But, we lived in the country - but really was only 2 minutes from the mall. What I liked about it was the fact that I could see trees, hear crickets at night, not hear any cars from our house - we were well off the street. My Mom couldn't pay me enough to walk the field in between my granny's house and ours at night. It was pure creepy! I hated bugs and my Dad always had to kill them - and around our house - there were plenty.
But, I was thinking about this tonight and recently. I was walking tonight on a trail in Chapel Hill. For a while there is a period of time when all you hear is the sounds of the woods. I saw the blue clear sky of July, the wind was blowing, there was a bunny I said hello to - (we definitely made eye contact), the crickets were there in full swing and the birds were singing. I listen to the crickets even now - they are chirping away. I don't know if I could ever live for the rest of my life in a city. Even though I love them - I have to be able to hear crickets, see fireflies, hear the birds to wake me up (and none of the fake nature sounds CDs). I want to experience God's creation!
That is what Ps 8 is all about. Everytime I read the bookended lines - I start singing the song. I think we sang this in JR. high choir - or sometime around there. And then tonight - I put a playlist together of songs I had that had to do with creation, or something in that realm. What a treat to be able to enjoy God's splendor in fall leaves, ocean waves (my fave), soft beach sand, crickets, storms, hurricanes, etc. We get to enjoy them.
"O Lord our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth"!

I also watched the first half of Luther tonight. It is the recent movie that was made about the reformer's life: Martin Luther. It is a great movie and pretty accurate to my knowledge. I am also currently reading Contending for Our All by John Piper. I'm in the part about Athanasius - the church father who fought for the deity of Christ. These two men who lived 1200 years apart - had one main thing in common. They both fought for truth when others were going astray. Luther fought against the Church and traditions. Athanasius fought again heretics and heresy. Both stood for truth and didn't mind the controversy that came with it. But, as Piper said in his intro...Biblical Christian Unity is better than controversy. We must know what is tuth (the Bible) and fight for it - do not see it undermined in any way. Tradition is not over the Word at any time.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

What would a good title be?

Busy day today...but it is almost over and has been a relaxful evening. I enjoyed soup and Taebo - what a great match! I got some Piper reading in and now I'm sitting down to complete my QT for the day and go to bed!
Ps 7
What to do when people speak falsely against us. David sung. What do we do - get mad, get even, gossip, yell...He sang - he sang to God who is his only deliverer.
Again, the language is very vivid - lions tearing, rending, leaving nothing behind. And we thought people talked bad about Bush - David always had assissination attempts on his head. There wasn't even any media attention or 2 gun theories.
Oh Lord, if... He was confessing his sins...he was pleading his innocence before a holy and just God. He was saying - Lord, if I have done anything wrong - you be my judge.
David wants God to retain Judgment - to be the judge against him and his enemies. He knows he will be just in it. His righteousness is better than any.
My junior year of high school for a school t-shirt we had on "Rom 8.31 - if God is for us, who can be against us." I wish David had known these words, but Paul came much later - but David knew the theme and he knew the truth behind that verse (even hundreds of years before).
God is the only one who can judge the thoughts and motivations of the heart. We have no right to - we can only tell the fruit. But, God knows the reasons, the whys, the why-nots, the pride, the honesty, the motivations. Is He pleased with mine?
It is more like "God feels indignation every day" Every day by my sin I cause God to grieve and be angry with me. I know my sin hurts God. But - thankfully - the Cross! But, let me not live by cheap Grace (as Bonhoeffer put it) but live by the costly grace of the blood of Jesus.
The pregnancy and demise of sin in 14-16 make me think of the same thing in James. Sin just doesn't happen - we think about it, dwell on it, plot it out, bring others in...all for what? A fleeting moments' pleasure? What is more worthy - a life pleasing to Christ or a life pleasing to myself (not getting into Christian hedonism there - maybe another time)?
Again - David ends this psalm - one of judgment and safety and refuge and pleading - with praise to God for His righteousness and His position, "Lord Most High"

Monday, July 10, 2006

An abnormal Monday

Yes, my Monday was actually pretty good - that is rare - no one ever hears of a Great Monday - only a manic monday (how's that for a song in your head, Cora).
I got word this morning of an update from a church I've been praying for in NY. You can find them linked earlier in a post in mid-June. A former boss of mine loves sports stars who love Jesus...well, John - here is one for ya...I guess there is one good thing to come out of the Yankees program (yes, I'm a Mets fan). Keep praying for the pastoral staff (bryan, shane, and Josh) as they wait for God's timing on a place to start corporate worship in September, a worship leader, and as they teach the Word of God to people who have never heard it.
I had a good Bible study with some of my girls. We were studying fasting tonight, Laura did a great job - she is a teacher you know! There is such a strong correlation between prayer and fasting. Two things were said tonight...we wouldn't live without praying would we, so why would we live with fasting? And I said in response to one of the girls saying that a pastor in the 1700s wouldn't hire a pastor who didn't regularly fast, and I said, well, that is habitual sin isn't it. I didn't even know the truth of it till after it came out of my mouth. That is convicting. Purpose...that is one good key point to fasting. not legalism.
All day I've been concentrating on Ps 6. More good stuff...
David used such strong language here about his state in life...when was this?
Languish - depressed, feeble, weak, almost lifeless
How long? How long what? how long would he remain that way? How long until he died? How long until God rescued him from that? How long would God remain silent?
4, 5:
Turn, O Lord, deliver my life;save me for the sake of your steadfast love. For in death there is no remembrance of you;in Sheol who will give you praise?

The sole reason for our deliverance and salvation is for the sake (the renown) of God's covental love - NOT ME! In death there is no praise of You.

Again with the strong language: moaning, drenched with tears, flood, wastes away...David could have just said "Look Lord, I'm tired - can I get some help down here please?" God would have understood that. But, God - (really writing this Psalm) wanted us to get a look at the despair that David was experiencing - many times we are in the same desparate situation. What do we do? Do we call out to God? Pray? Fast? Meditate on the Word?

Then there comes the switch as often I have found out - it happens in David's writings...
His confidence returns. No longer is David looking at his situation or his enemies - but he is looking at HIs Victor! Of his ANSWER! Of his Deliverer. I'm singing a Rich Mullins tune in my head "My Deliverer is coming, My Deliverer is standing by..." Can't you hear it...lalalalalalalalalalalalalalala!

Anyway, from a heart that is happy Monday is over b/c I'm tired, hoping for a good Tuesday...hoping everyone out there in blog land has had a successful Monday as well!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

did you know...

Today and yesterday are brought to you by that question...
1. Did you know that Jonathan and Sarah got married yesterday - he absolutely adores her and she totally respects him. It is very cool to see. Congrats to them both!
2. Did you know that at this point I don't want to get married because if single life is hard - I learned this weekend that both Christian and non-Christian marriages are hard - why would i want to invite someone else into the hardness with me?
3. Did you know that Jilly got engaged - not this weekend, but I found out this weekend.
4. Did you know that Pastor Bill is a good preacher and Matt let me sing this weekend. I went to WXR in Raleigh and loved singing in the choir - it was so random though.
5. Did you know that there were hiking trails behind Flaherty - that was random too. Rach and I went this morning. I like hiking with her because it pushes me. I told her I didn't like her anymore b/c she made my hamstrings hurt. how dare she? It was good exercise at 615 this morning.
6. Did you know that Frank can cook a really mean steak. I would just let it be the marinade - but the grilling of it has to do something for it!
7. Did you know that one of my former seminary roomies is back in town - April, who was serving in Africa with SP, is now back working at the sem and going around telling people about the ministry God let her do down there. Today was her first time at Moe's...I wonder what she thought...she was digging the queso!
8. Did you know that I want my life to revolve around Jesus and His Word, truth, renown - but then sometimes when Wal-mart is so crowded and they are out of everything and it is still expensive and you wait just as long in line as you do shopping - it is really hard to be patient?
9. Did you know that Pirates 2 is definitely not as good as the first one. I don't think the acting by any of the main people was as good in this one as it was in the first. It had a lot more religious mockery in it than the first one did. It won't be going in my collection. I liked the ending though - it will be a good draw for the third one whenever it comes out.

Ps 5 was today. More good stuff - will I say that about all of them?
5.3 - The Psalmist obeys by praying and preparing the sacrifice in the morning and then what does he do?...He expects God to work. How often to do we pray in unbelief? That is why we often don't get whatever it is we are praying for - because we don't pray in faith.
5.7 - The only way the psalmist could enter the presence of God is by God's abundant steadfast love. So...His more than enough, eternal, faithful, covental, based on Himself, love. That is the only hope we have of seeing His face.

I was listening to some more Shane and Shane (go figure): Waging War:
That I might see the day, this waging war, goes away, to be no more. That I might see His face, and hear Him say, son, welcome home, the over

That is the only time this war between flesh and spirit will be over - when my body is lying dead in a grave and I am kneeling in front of the presence of Jesus - then it will be over. My flesh can never take over and reign anymore. Only He will reign...

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Heaviness for the Emptiness

Good morning! I love the weekends that I usually have a little more free time to spend in the Word, in prayer, in reading, in journaling - I'm not in a hurry to get ready. Also, the fact of getting up early instead of sleeping in till who knows when. Discipline - thank you Spirit.
Today is the wedding of Jonathan and Sarah. I love both of them and know that God is going to use them greatly for the furtherance of his Kingdom. Sarah is one that is definitely set apart - a good wife (Pr 31) - one who knows the Word and fears the Lord. One who seeks after righteousness.
Ps 4 - again, I love looking at things more close - you get a whole new appreciation for the verses that you once just skim over: There are several verses that stick out to me:
v 2 - (I think of The Weight of Glory by CS Lewis - great book that I finally read in Indo last summer, but need to probably read again) - How long will we change the heaviness of God's glory for something that is utterly empty and worthless, not costly at all, things that will burn up?
v 3 - God has severed from the world those who are godly (by the Spirit - not by our empty works)
v 5 - Continue to obey - do what the Law tells you to do in accordance with sacrifices - but don't put your trust in those works. Trust belongs only to the Lord. Our righteousness (good works, sacrifices) are again filthy rags in front of Him. Do them, but don't trust in them.
v 7 - I think of how often I want more money or more things...I look at others who have them and sometimes they are the most miserable people in the world. God gives more JOY then in the richest and fullest of times. Even when they are empty (I think like Habakkuk says) I will put my trust in you and rejoice.

Dispell the love of things in me. Make me obey you but not to put my trust in those things - may my trust and hope and glory lie only in you.

Friday, July 07, 2006

3 Cheers for Friday

Two reasons for the title: yes, we give three cheers for Friday, but also, I read and studied Ps 3 today. One of the times I read it was while eating a bowl of cereal for lunch in the cafeteria in Duke North. It was crowded, and I was hurrying, but it was good times! That's where the Spirit showed me the reality behind the psalm.
2 Sam 15-18 tells the story of what is behind this Psalm. David is King - but his son Absolom wants to be king. So, he gathers all these people to go and be on his side to overthrow the King. Sons were their father's glory back then. Daughters didn't matter as much - and this is evident in the grief that David shows following hearing about his son's death. He wasn't concerned anymore that he was trying to kill David - but only could say - Oh that I would have died instead."
Now, onto Ps 3. This is the scene. David is running for his very life - now somewhere by the Jordan River. It is dark, his breath is heavy. he's probably sweating under his ephah, heart racing, hair drenched (really needing a sun visor), his horses are tired. He is trying to be quiet and still but it is hard when you know this might be the last night among the living. His cry is one of urgency to the Lord. Don't you understand God - don't you see they come - they are coming, come on, do something... David realizes (in faith) that the cave nor the river are going to save him - God is. God is going to be his glory (not his son Absolom). Then, amongst all the commotion - he sleeps. He probably doesn't even realize how tired he is because he is too excited, adrenaline pumping. But, he wakes up in the morning b/c the Lord sustained him. Then, after having the faithfulness of the Lord provide - he realizes that he is not going to perish - God will provide again. Then its almost as if he is standing up with fist raises in the air, ready to charge and go to battle - his assurance is in the Lord.
So, when the bad nights come in, when it seems like everyone is against you, when the things you are good at cease (your glories), realize that God is faithful. God will see you through. He will not let you perish (heaven - eternity). He will not give you something that is more than you can stand (you and Him together). Remember - to wake and know that He is God. No thousands of armies are going to reign over you - God is your glory!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Getting intimate with the Son

Had some friends over for dinner tonight. I love the depth of our friendship - we just don't get together and goof off (now playing cards is fun and very worthwhile), but we also talk about meaningful things. One of the questions Lindsay asked me tonight was "what is my fave psalm". Could I claim just one - I study them more, I get to like many of them - couldn't claim a favorite.
This picture is one I took in Indonesia this summer. The reason I put it on there is because of Ps 2.8 "Ask and I'll give the nations as your inheritance". This is actually a picture of the holy book for their religion. Their's doesn't contain truth - our's does - because it is the very breath of the only God! And the other was taken in Singapore - all those gods - and not one of them loves you. I am thankful that I serve ONE GOD and that He sent His ONLY SON to die for me, yes, because of His justness, but also, as John 3.16 says - because he loves me! Even as the Summit is doing focus on Durham this week - He loves people and has a plan for those right here in Durham. We worship other gods too - we just may not have such elaborate temples...
Now, onto Ps 2.
Neat how similar verses 2, 4 are to Ps 1. But, verse 4 is opposite. Now it isn't the wicked who are doing the laughing - but God mocks them in their wickedness. God laughs at them - in their attempt to do things that aren't according to Him. But, oh how quickly that changes to wrath.
2.12 - "Kiss the Son" - adjust yourself to Him - not the other way around. so, we start with the psalter asking why the nations do things on their own, and ending it with telling them to put themselves in line with the Son - or else the wrath of God.
How often do I want to do things my way. As Brad prayed tonight for dinner - he said God, lead us - even if we may be thinking we are going one way, you take us a different one. That is so true. I get so set on one thing - that may not be the thing that God has for me. He may want me in a totally different direction. God - let me "kiss the son" all the time - convict me where I am wrong. When I want to do things myself or my way - Spirit - nudge me HARD!
In line with that, Acts 4.28, "For to do whatever thy hand and they counsel determined before to be done." - The Sovereignity, predertermination, and timelessness of God.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Something comparitively Worthless

Which tree would I rather be like - A) one with no leaves in the winter, lifeless or B) one is strong enough to weather the storms (or the fog)

Down day at work - not much going on. I was tired anyway from staying out late last night and partying (no more doing that on a school night). Really though - having a schedule the past couple of weeks really does help - imagine that - discipline - helping?
So, now that I've read the Psalms through...I'm going to go back and take them one at a time. I definitely won't finish it in 15 days, but 5 months will be about it. But, oh, how rich of an understanding I will have of them. God - impart not only knowledge, but let me grow in satisfaction in your Word, and delight in them.
Ps 1
Comparing the blessed life to the wicked life. how many sermons and Bible studies and "health, wealth, prosperity gospel" videos have been done on this psalm? Way too many! Even though I know this Psalm pretty well, there were still things I learned today as I read and studied it.
Chaff - something comparitively worthless. I don't want to be like that. Almost everywhere in Scripture that chaff is mentioned - it talks about it being blown away by the wind or burned up in an unquenchable fire.
Is 5.24 is a great side-bar reference for this first psalm:

"Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble,and as dry grass sinks down in the flame,so their root will be as rottenness,and their blossom go up like dust;for they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts,and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel"

Wouldn't I want to be prosperous - bearing fruit in all I do? What does it take: meditating (as Rick Langston says - talk to yourself about it all day long) - listening to it, obeying it, taking great delight and joy in it, getting complete satisfaction from it, knowing that it is the voice of God (in written form).

Speaking of this though....good post on today about being a Bible-worshipper, then I read again the Frank Page (new SBC president) comment "I believe the Bible to be true, I'm just not mad about it." Shouldn't we take the Bible serious (FP does do that)? Shouldn't we be upset about people who mock it (sit in the seat of mockers)? Should we listen to their counsel?

Rach asked a question yesterday about how do we know what we are convicted about, have ideas about, our traditions - how we do know if we have gotten them from the world or from God (dress code - modesty, alcohol, worship, etc). I think the main answer to that would be is if we can find biblical evidence for it (not proof texting something) - but accurate Bible translation - of a passage where we get our traditions and convictions and "laws" about. Should we ever usurp the authority of Scripture?

God - may I be a person that is blessed and fruitful - one who taked great delight in your Wod. I do not want to be something comparitively worthless. Only you can work that in me, I can not do it without the Spirit's help.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

America's Day Post 2

First - this blog is brought to you in part by America's b-day (go freedom and the red, white, and blue) and also PL Jones - yes, you know who you are! It is your 22nd b-day. PL - is a recent grad of UNC, tv anchor extraordinaire, Capital Fitness wanna-be, pro-spinning class taker, and good baked ziti eater! Truly - good guy. Thanks PL for your friendship and for eating my baked ziti - Enjoy your day!

This is me and Rach in Cary for the fireworks. We saw everyone. I sat beside people from RCCC (Vince, look on for the cool picture of the Lumpy's guy - that's for you). Then I ran into people from WXR (the Mann's and Nate). Then I saw people from the Summit - everyone was out enjoying themselves! I would say we did!
This is the NC Symphony playing. They did a good job!
Next is my piece of all-American dessert - watermelon from Whole Foods. It was yummy and sticky!
Finally is the in-charge Lumpy's kilt wearing guy. He was funny. Anyway, Vince - your wife said you liked ice cream and that is really why you chose the spot you sat in tonight - but really, it was sit under that tree you called a what???
Anyway, onto normal things now. It has been a great day. I love watching fireworks - they make me feel like a kid again (note to self- never bring kids to see fireworks - they scream). I'm sitting back ready for the next big thing just grinnin' away. It is fun! The rest of the day was brought to you buy Shane and Shane. I was reading the end of the Psalms today and most of it I could sing the Shane Psalms CD to. I love being able to learn Scripture to music.
Leave you tonight with this thought: Ps 147.4 - he will satisfy with the finest of wheat. What more could we want? But, what less do we put our hope in...
Oh, Jesus - continue to cause me to yearn for you, to sit in silence before you, to take serious your Word and Your Truth - for you bring life out of it.
Thank you for allowing me to live in a country where it is ok to read the Word and tell people about Jesus whenever I want. May that always be. Don't turn your face away from us lest we die. Posted by Picasa

America's b-day Post 1

This will have to be in two different blogs. This is how our day started out. I made homemade blueberry whole wheat waffles using this. They were so yummy!
Then we went hiking at Eno River State Park up in north Durham. It was a good hike, probably about 3 miles - sometimes very hard, but others (and mostly) pretty normal. It was pretty - good talking time, tons of dogs (and yes, according to the sign, I think they were all leashed!
Now, onto post two today with the rest of the pix and more important stuff!

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Monday, July 03, 2006

Un-paid advertising

Today's blog brought to in part by paid holidays (tomorrow) and this bands. This is Michael W. Smith who sings (along with tomlin, but he stole the show yesterday) Forever (Ps 136 - which I read today). The girl in the photo is Krista Black-Lovely - famed violinist, surfer, crazy girl, traveler, and best friends with a good friend of mine from Auggie-town - Jill.
It is also in tribute to Thomas and Joy - friends of mine in Texas who are celebrating their 7th wedding anniversary today. Congrats guys - I love you, and the time we got to hang out at the convention was not long enough... This is them this past Christmas with their daughter Rachel.
But, now that the advertisements are onto to the Word.
The 130s were my reading today...
131 - This seems like it is true for this period of my life, for I don't know how long. Jenn taught on silence in our study of disciplines. We watched a Rob Bell nooma video on it that was surprisingly good. Our schedules do not allow us to be silent - but who is to blame for that...
132.12 - very similar to others in the book - success comes with obedience and faithfulness - Ps 112, Ps 1, the life of Abraham and Job
135.18 - the Psalmist is talking about trusting in idols. The ruin of those who follow and listen to them comes in this verse. There is no hope in following idols. They are hard and impersonal. Even our money, materialis, cell phones, time wasters, tv, movies, striving - they are all impersonal and unable to save us. There is no real security in those.
136 - this is why I put the SMitty info up there...
Why should we give thanks to God:
He is good
His steadfast love endures forever (many times)
God of gods (supremacy)
Lord of lords (masterful)
Performs great wonders
138.1 - This is starting to become a major theme in the readings...and one of the most convicting...
I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;before the gods I sing your praise
WHOLE, unified, undivided, non-compartmentalized.
Knowing His Name and his Word He has placed above all things - if I want to be like Him - shouldn't that be true in my life then.
Ps 138.8 - The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me - This is a sure promise. Reminds me of Phil 1.6 - holding steadfast to His word in times of desert and drought or the pastures (as JD likes to say)
139.5 - He is my protector and my keeper - my sovereign one who will never let me go and knows everything about me.
139.23 - Do we dare ask these verbs of God: search, know, try, know, see, lead...Do we really want Him to do that - what would He find?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Oh how I love Sundays

Sundays are always good. Went to the singles' class at the Creek this morning. The lesson was on integrity - complete under pressure. Always a convicting topic. Sermon was on the outward/inward life of the Christian who is Spirit-filled. Love - genuine love - not wanting to gain anything for itself - that's another tough one.
Then I read some in The Horse and His Boy while waiting for Matt and Rach. We went to Cameron Village for lunch and dessert. I'm glad a had a veggie wrap for lunch b/c Matt bought desserts and I had a bite of his inside out peanut butter cup. now, I've gotta try to make it.
Then we took a trip out to Rolesville and saw his house - very Matt-esque. He's done a great job so far remodeling it with "sands of time" paint! Sebastian - his dog - has gotten so big! I couldn't believe it! He weighed like 85 lbs.
Wal-Mart was next - no much going on there. Then I came home and sorted my closet by fits, about to fit, got a ways to fit - sections. now, I know I can pick anything out of the "can fit" section and wear it. My room is also a lot cleaner and I can now see my chair!
Now I'm finishing the night off by reading the Word! Still in the Psalms. Almost done reading 10 chapters a day - then I'll do 5 a day and really concentrate on them more. In Ps 111-130 tonight:
Ps 112.1 - This echoes what Ps 1 says - and I heard that is what Rick preached on today at the Summit - will have to go and listen to that sermon. It also goes more in-depth for the blessed:
1. Many children - mighty in the land
2. Wealth and riches are in his house
3. Light dawns in the darkness - I would think that when the going gets tough, the path is still lit.
4. He will be remembered forever
5. Firm, never fearing, trusting in the Lord
6. Will have triumph over his adversaries
115.1 - Why are we always seeking glory for ourselves: whether it is how we dress, sing, read, preach, teach, play, study, etc. When clearly all the glory - everything we were created for and are supposed to be about - is totally not us. Here the psalmistnsays - give glory to YOUR NAME! Not to us - the Chris Tomlin song - says it great!
116.6 - He preserves the simple? Simplicity - that is definitely not something I am familiar with in my life...what would it look like for me to live a simple life?
117 - To sum up the shortest chapter in the whole Bible - "Hey, you, everyone...God's love is eternal and constant - that's reason to praise Him"
Now, from the shortest to the longest. This is the best stuff in the Bible about the WORD
A - repeat of Ps 1 - how many times must I hear it until I get it. Like Will said in Pirates of the Caribbean to "Miss Swan" - "At least once more Miss Swan."
B - Purity, Wholeness, Delighting, Meditating (kind of what we talked about this morning)
G - Oh that verse 20 would be true in my life: "My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times."
D - Strengthen us to run in your ways - everything else is dust and sorrow
H - V 37 - turn my eyes from worthless things (Ps 4, Ps 101) - funny how God chose to repeat so many things in Scripture - He had to have known how stubborn and sinful we would be in choosing to disobey them.
W - I will keep, I will walk, I will speak, I will delight, I love, I will meditate - oh, Spirit - make it true in me.
Z - Shouldn't it upset us when we see the laws of God being broken. Shouldn't that be appalling to us? how often do I laugh at it, turn my head, not turn the channel or turn the tv/internet off?
H - v 62 - here the psalmist says he praises Him at odd hours of the night because of His laws. How often do I get overwhelmed b/c I can't keep them all or do i just fall asleep while reading them? Are they really that important to me?
T - The Worth of the Word
Y - 75-80 - I wonder what struggles the psalmist was going through at this moment. His whole tone seems to shift - almost a bitter tone to it - one spoken out of pain.
K - Life, in the face of death, comes from the Word, keeping them, and the steadfast love of the Lord.
L - Your word is eternal -just like you.
M - The repition of this psalm. Again, you'd think we would get it by now - but somehow we don't.
N - 105 - one of the first verses I had to memorize at Lakeland Christian. It is on one of the yearbook covers of when I was very young - It is also I think where they get the key phrase "education in the light of God's Word."
S - Out of love for your Word - comes a hatred of evil things. We can't be perfect - but our hatred for the evil in our lives comes from putting ourselves up to the mirror and seeing who we fall short of...
A - 127 - again, the Worth of the Word
P - Why do I turn to everyone else when I need an idea of what to do - I need to just turn to the Word. After I do that, then seek other counsel - knowing that the answers they give better line up with Scripture.
T - Couple of times in there and earlier: God's character side by side with his actions. Boy - remember that. Our character determines how we act. Sort of what David was saying today - if we have been changed by the Cross and the Spirit - then shouldn't our lives reflect that change (a SCC song)
Q - And I like to sleep = what is wrong with me? Oh to be like the Psalmist - who wakes panting for the Word, in the middle of the night.
R - Sum, every one - the completeness of Scripture - you can't take one with the other
S/SH - Not only does he keep them (rote obedience) but he also loves them (passion)
T - Even when we go astray - SEEK ME (Lord, seek me, find me, haunt me)
Ps 121 - This is another one of my fave psalms to sing. I think I'll go listen to the Brooklyn tab version...I mean word for word - what better things to sing - then the Words of Scripture
Ps 124 - Sounds like Rom 8.31. Where do I look to for help - the NAME of the Lord - use it, call on it, scream it out...It is a POWER NAME
130 - where do I place my trust or where do I hope - let me hope, call out, wait, trust, be patient for you - knowing you work alone for your glory.

Good time in the Word - I love just readin it - when I do. You would think that if I loved it as much as I say I do - I would spend more time in it and more time digging into it?? Lord, create in me a passion for your Word and your Name more than anything else in the world.

How long is it till another Sunday...6 short days...

Saturday, July 01, 2006

2 months away

2 months to go...I can't wait. not only will I be going to boston in two months - but more importantly football season will be starting again - WHOOHOO!! Go GATORS!!
Anyway - in me - the best college football player of all time - in every way: physically, leadership, academics, spiritually. This is what he is doing now...and some people think Football is life...

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." Jim Elliot said this and would soon lay down his life in sake of the gospel of Jesus. This is pretty much what Danny did - giving up a career in football to teach street kids in NO about life, leadership, football, and Jesus.