Monday, January 31, 2011

The Contrite Heart

The Lord will happiness divine
On contrite hearts bestow;
Then tell me, gracious God, is mine,
A contrite heart or no?

I hear, but seem to hear in vain,
Insensible as steel;
If aught is felt, 'tis only pain,
To find I cannot feel.

I sometimes think myself inclined
To love Thee if I could;
But often feel another mind,
Averse to all that's good.

My best deserves are faint and few,
I fain would strive for more;
But when I cry, "My strength renew!"
Seems weaker than before.

The saints are comforted, I know,
And Love Thy house of prayer;
I therefore go where others go,
But find no comfort there.

Oh make this heart rejoice or ache;
Decide this doubt for me;
And if it be not broken, break --
And heal it, if it be.

-William Cowper

This poem reminds me of Psalm 51 "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me..."

It seems if it was written at a despondent or darker time of Mr. Cowper's life.  It is funny that we, modern Christians, find these times a surprise to the human experience rather than part of the cycle of living.  I find my expectation and understanding of the "good life" has been so skewed by the false gods of  comfort, materialism, relational peace and prosperity that I forget - this world is... not heaven, it holds but shadows of it. An ever recovering Romanticismcist, I suspect.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

On Opening a Place for Social Prayer

Jesus! where'er Thy people meet,
There they behold Thy mercy seat;
Where'er they seek Thee, Thou are found,
And every place is hallow'd ground.

For Thou, within no walls confined,
Inhabitest the humble minds;
Such ever bring Thee where they come
And going, take Thee to their home.

Dear Shepherd of Thy chosen few!
Thy former mercies here renew;
Here to our waiting  hearts proclain
The sweetness of Thy saving name.

Here may we prove the power of prayer,
To strengthen faith, and sweeten care;
To teach our faint desires to rise,
And bring all Heaven before our eyes.

Behold, at the commanding word
We stretch the curtain and the cord;
Come Thou, and fill this wider space,
And bless us with a large increase.

Lord, we are few, but Thou are near:
Nor short arm, nor deaf  Thine ear;
Oh rend the heavens, come quickly down,
And make a thousand hearts Thine own.
-William Cowper

As Christians gather is homes, churches, santuaries, fields and more, bless us each and all  Lord Jesus Christ, we are one, tho' many, yours, tho' diverse in language, place, harvest field and customs.
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, light from light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and became truly human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father [and the Son],
who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
LORD God, you are good, wise and true.  The very source of Life, we give you praise.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Seeking the Beloved

To those who love the Lord I speak;
Is my Beloved near?
The Bridegroom of my soul  I seek,
Oh! when will he appear?

Though once a man of grief and shame,
Yet now he fills a throne,
And bears the greatest, sweetest name,
That earth or heaven have known.

Grace flies before, and love attends
His steps wheree'er he goes;
Though none can see Him but His friends,
And they were once his foes.

He speaks;--obedient to His call
Our warm affections move:
Did He but shine alike on all,
Then all alike would love.

Then love in every heart would reign,
And war would cease to roar;
And cruel and bloodthirsty men
Would thirst for blood no more.

Such Jesus is, and such His grace;
Oh, may He shine on you!
And tell him, when you see His face,
I long to see Him, too.
- William Cowper

This is another favorite of mine.  What a wonderful picture of Christ.

The Hymn "Be Still My Soul" was written as a poem based on Psalm 46:10, it was later put to music.

Be still, my soul:  the hour is has-t'ning on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When dissappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul, when best, thy heav'n-ly Friend
Thro' stoney ways leads to a joy-ful end.
-Katharina von Schlegel  c. 1725
Put to the music of Jean Sibeluis' Finlandia (about 175 years later)

Thursday, January 27, 2011


The billows swell, the winds are high,
Clouds overcast my wintry sky;
Out of the depths to Thee I call,--
My fears are great, my strength is small.

O Lord, the pilot's part perform,
And guard and guide me through the storm;
Defend me from each threatening ill,
Control the waves,--say, "Peace! be still."

Admist the roaring sea
My soul still hangs her hope on Thee;
Thy constant love, thy faithful care,
Is all that saves me from despair.

Dangers of every shape and name
Attend the followers of the Lamb,
Who leave the world's deceitful shore,
And leave it to return no more.

Though tempest-toss'd and half a wreck,
My Savior through the floods I seek;
Let neither winds not stormy main
Force back my shatter'd bark again.

-William Cowper

Another poem that reminds me of  Psalm 46, this stanza - is beautifully reassuring in a topsy-turvy world.  He is the VERY Center of all.  Anchored to Him - we rolled through the currents and come out sav'd not mortally wounded.
Admist the roaring sea
My soul still hangs her hope on Thee;
Thy constant love, thy faithful care,
Is all that saves me from despair.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

To Mary

Written in the Autumn of  1793

The twenieth year is well-nigh past
Since first our sky was overcast;
Ah, would that this might be the last!
My Mary!

Thy spirits have a fainter flow,
I see thee daily weaker grow;
'Twas my distress that brought thee low,
My Mary!

Thy needles, once a shining store,
For my sake restless heretofore,
Now rust disused, and shine no more,
My Mary!

For though thou gladly wouldst fulfil
The same kind office for me still,
Thy sight now seconds not thy will,
My Mary!

But well thou play'dst the housewife's part;
And all thy threads, with magic art,
Have wound themselves about this heart,
My Mary!
- William Cowper Compendium p. 745
When you think of Mary Unwin, and her long suffering and care of Mr. Cowper - they were unable to marry because of his second bout with depression in 1773, it is quite incredible that he was a house guest for nigh 30 years. Of the Unwin household Cowper said, "they are the most agreable people imaginable; quite socialable, and free from the ceremonious civility of country gentlefolds as any I ever met with.  They treat me more like a near relation that a stranger, and their house is always open to me."  And so it was.  Don't you love the phrase "free from ceremonious civility" - a nice picture of hospitality me thinks!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Anniversary Day Thank You, Poem and Song

Time evaporates but the memories, foundation, and fruit of this life together remains solid, strong and growing.   Year twenty starts today.  Thank You, God,  we rejoice that from You all blessings flow!

Mrs. Bradstreet beats out Sir Cowper today -

To my Dear and Loving Husband
If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were lov'd by wife, then thee.

If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.

I prize thy love more than whole Mines of gold
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.

My love is such that Rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompence.

Thy love is such I can no way repay.
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.

Then while we live, in love let's so persever
That when we live no more, we may live ever.

- Anne Bradstreet - (1612-1672)
Wife to Judge Simon Bradstreet, Mother to Eight, First Puritan Woman Poet  

 Ok, so my tastes in art are maybe 30% reformed - this is still my fav - meet you in the middle of wherever!

Like a river flows
Surely to the sea
Darling so it goes
Some things are meant to be...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

"Womb"mate Meanderings

Penny Jo and Pammy Ann
It's always better together!

Coffee paired with guilty pleasure,
Hope and hist'ry dance around.
Tales of grace, unearthed as treasure,
Constant chatter, happy sound.

House now ordered, turquoise chic.
Fancies entwined, time bought credence.
Esteem supersedes youthful pique.
Nearness sweet, twin sister audience.

The Cottager And His Landlord. A Fable

A Peasant to his lord yearly court,
Presenting pippins of so rich a sort
That he, displeased to have a part alone,
Removed the tree, that all might be his own.
The tree, too old to travel, though before
So fruitful, withered, and would yield no more.
The squire, perceiving all his labour void,
Cursed his own pains, so foolishly employed,
And 'Oh,' he cried, 'that I had lived content
With tribute, small indeed, but kindly meant!
My avarice has expensive proved to me,
Has cost me both my pippins and my tree.'
William Cowper

(Translated From Milton) - He translated Milton, I love Milton's Paradise Lost.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Preaching vs. Practice

A youngster at school, more sedate than the rest,
Had once his integrity put to the test;
 His comrades had plotted an orchard to rob,
And ask'd him to go and assist in the job.

He was shock'd, sir, like you, and answer'd - "Oh, no
What! I rob our good neighbor?  I pray you don't go
Besides, the man's poor, his orchard's his bread,
Then think of his children, for they must be fed."

"You speak very fine, and you look very grave,
But apples we want and apples we'll have;
If you will go with us, you shall have a share,
If not, you shall have neither apple or pear."

They spoke, and Tom ponder'd - "I see they will go
Poor man! what a pity to injure him so!
Poor man! I would save him his fruit if I could,
But staying behind will do him no good.

'If the matter depended alone upon me
His apples might hand till they dropp'd from the tree;
But since they will take them, I thick I'll go too;
He will lose none by me, though I get a few."

His scruples thus silenced, Tom felt more at ease,
And went with his comrades the apples to seize;
He blamed and protested, but joined in the plan;
He shared in the plunder, but pitied the man.
-William Cowper  Compendium p. 746

I like this cautionary tale.  Regarding the broad scope of life, it challenges me to look at the areas I concede in when I shouldn't - going along brings culpability. Mostly,  concession comes in the form of keeping my mouth closed to for peace's sake, or hanging back just long enough to see if others will take the lead in on stepping out against something that is wrong.
That's just what this kiddo did, to slide down a slippery slope.  Hmmm... not just a kiddo story.
Could you say a tale has one meaning - but many applications? 

Friday, January 21, 2011

It's a good day to remember...

Jehovah Jirah - The Lord will Provide
The saints should never be dismay'd,
Nor sink in hopeless fear;
For when they least expect His aid,
The Saviour will appear.
This Abraham found:  he raised the knife;
God saw, and said, "Forebear!
Yon ram shall give his meaner life;
Behold the victim there."
Once David seemed Saul's certain prey;
But hark! The  foe's at hand;
Saul turns his arms another way,
To save the invaded land.
When Jonah sunk beneath the wave,
He thought to rise no more:
But God prepared a fish to save,
And bear him to the shore.
Blessed proofs of power and grace divine,
That meet us in His word!
May every deep-felt care of mine
Be trusted with the Lord.
Wait for His seasonable aid,
And though it tarry, wait:
The promise may be long delay'd,
But cannot come too late.
-William Cowper
God's Providence is not only present on the mountain top but in the depth of the valley as well. Abraham, David, and Jonah  were each fallen and faithful. God is not God because I have faith in Him, although, I desire to trust Him  faithfully.  God is God. It is HE who spoke I AM.

Sonnet to Wilberforce, Esq.

Thy country, Wilberforce, with just distain,
Hears thee, by cruel men and impious call'd
Fanatic, for thy zeal to loose th' enthall'd
From exile, public sale, and slav'ry's chain.
Friend of the poor, the wrong'd, the fetter- gall'd,
Fear not lest labour such as thine be vain!
Thou hast achiev'd a part;  has gain'd the ear
Of Britain's senate to thy glorious cause;
Hope smiles, joy springs, and tho' cold caution pause
And weave delay, the better hour is near,
That shall renumerate thy toils severe
By peace for Afric, fenc'd with British laws.
Enjoy what thou has won, esteem and love
From all the just on earth, and all the blest above!
- William Cowper

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Guilt of Making Man Property

Canst thou, the honor'd with the Christian name,
Buy what is woman-born, and feel no shame?
Trade in the blood of innocence and plead
Expedience a warrant for the deed?
So may the wolf, whom famine has made bold
To quit the forest and invade the fold;
So may the ruffian, who with ghostly glide,
Dagger in hand, steals close to your bedside;
Not he, but his emergence forced the door,
He found it inconvient to be poor.
Has God then given his sweetness to the cane-
Unless his laws be trampled on- in vain?
Built a brave world, which cannot yet subsist,
Unless his right to rule it be dismiss'd?
Imprudent blasphemy! So Folly pleads,
And, Avarice being judge, with ease succeeds?
-William Cowper Compendium p.  745

As a friend to William Wilberforce, and the most famous poet of his time, Cowper's poetrycondemned slavery's great injustice and harm of so many. That is noble indeed.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Knowledge and Wisdom

Knowledge and Wisdom, far from being one,
Have ofttimes no connection, Knowledge dwells
In heads replete with thoughts of other men;
Wisdom in minds attentive to their own.
Knowledge, a rude unprofitable mass,
The mere material with which Wisdom builds,
Till smoothed, and squared and fitted to its place,
Does but encumber whom it seems t'enrich.
Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much;
Wisdom is humble that he knows no more.

-William Cowper Compendium p. 740

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Proverbs 1:7

Nine tenths of being wise, is being wise in time. - Theodore Roosevelt
 This was my first Cowper reading and it will probably be my favorite for awhile.
Glimmers of growth in the gospel,
Gaining in grace. (x x / x )
family response:
"I do so like Green Eggs and Ham
I like them Sam I am"
Not Quite.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


In referring to the gospel,
"If I am wrong about it, I have nothing to lose, but if you're wrong, you have everything to lose."


'Tis liberty alone that gives the flower
Of fleeting life its lustre and perfume;
And we are weeds without it.  All constraint
Except what wisdom lays on evil men,
Is evil; hurts the faculties, impedes
Their progress in the road of science; blinds
The eyesight of discovery; and begets,
In those that suffer it, a sordid mind
Bestial, a meagre intellect, unfit
To be the tenent of noble man's form.
- William Cowper Compendium p.741

May we think of freedom, not as the right to do what we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.   -Peter Marshall

Monday, January 17, 2011


There is no flesh in man's obdurate heart;
It does not feel for man; the natural bond
Of brotherhood is sever'd, as the flax,
That falls asunder at the touch of fire.
He finds his fellow guilty of a skin
Not color'd like his own; and having power
T' Enforce the wrong, for such a worthy cause
Dooms amd devotes him as his lawful prey.
Lands intersected by a narrow frith
Abhor each other.  Mountains interposed
Make enemies of nations, who had else
Like kindred drops been mingled into one.
Thus man devotes his brother, and destroys;
And worse than all, and most to be deplored.
- William Cowper Compendium p.739

He finds his fellow guilty of a skin,
Not color'd like his own

It's is Martin Luther King Jr. Day... I knew that I wanted to write something about MLK to go with Cowper's Slavery and at church Pastor quoted Dr. King...
Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.
-Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Providence of God in All Things - 5

Thy fool! will thy discover of the cause
Suspend the effect or heal it?  Has not God
Still wrought by means since first he made the world!
And did he not of old employ his means
To drown it?  What is his creation less
Than a capacious reservior of means,
Form'd for his use, and ready at his will?
Go, dress thine eyes with eye-salve; ast of Him,
Or ask of whomsoever he has taught;
And learn, though late, the genuine cause of all.
- William Cowper Compendium p.737

Part 5 of 5

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things were made through him,
and without him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life,
and the life was the light of men. 
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
- John 1:1-5
An argument for Catechizing in the Toddle Years:
Q. - Who made you?    A. -God
Q. -What else did God make?  A.- God made all things
Q.- Why did God make you and all things?  A.- For His own glory.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Great Little Book for Little Ones!

Loving the Little Years is a new book that came out the end of November by Rachel Jankovic. I read an excerpt from it and ordered it for my close friend who has 4 children under 8.  Also, I talk with parents of twos all the time - so this book was itching for me to get my hands on it.

Well, my friend  hadn't gotten to it... Gee, I wonder why???? So I asked if I could borrow it for a few days - yes, that does make me an  "Indian-giver". BTW - it's already returned.  ... As I sat with coffee cup in hand and cruised this little 99 page book  I filled several pages of my journal with quotes - 5 1/2 to be exact. A good sermon gets maybe 1, a great one - 2 pages.

Anyway, it's the longest entry this year to date. One of my favorite things about a good book is the "ouch" moments it produces.  In actuality, correction from a book is often a little easier than the face to face variety, although I appreciate both...eventually. 

A few  I jotted down...

Take a moment to remember what used to annoy you when you were single.  Are you done howling with laughter yet?
It is no abstract thing- the state of your heart is the state of your home. 
Now, try thinking of disciple as a different kind of nourishment - a sweet means of grace to your children.  Bring that to the table with a smile and a wink - a means of building up little people...Leave that table refreshed.
A well-controlled passionate personality is a powerful thing.  That is what dangerous women are made of.
These people are you.  Your identity is supposed to be intertwined- that is the way God wrote the story, and it is the way he intends us to read it.
Your virtues are your vices are your virtues.
On being overwhelmed-(Let me just precede this one with an "OUCH!")
You know those pain scales at the hospital , where they rate your pain from one to ten? Well, pretend that you are screaming, "Thirteen, thirteen!  Fourteen!' What that should tell you is that it is time to restart the whole thing, stop screaming, and just deal with the fact this is now the new "one". Start over and accept the new "normal."
You will not even remember the work of all this planting when the harvest of joy overwhelms you.
Loving the Little Years is a great book that deals directly with heart issues, it has great content, it is brief, poignant, funny, and probably most notable for young moms - 5 minute chapters.  Absolutely - loved it.

In fact, this book is so good, it has moved to the top of my recommend list for the parents of young children with Shepherding A Child's Heart (P. Tripp) and Heirs of the Covenant (S. Hunt).

The Providence of God in All Things - 4

He calls for Famine, and the meagre fiend
Blows mildrew from between his shrivell'd lips,
And taints the golden ear. He springs his mines,
And desolates a nation at a blast.
Forth steps the spruce Philosopher, and tells
Of homogeneal and discordant springs,
And principles; of causes, how they work
By necessary laws there sure effects
Of action and reaction: he has found
The source of the disease that nature feels,
And bids the world take heart and banish fear.
- William Cowper Compendium p.737

Part 4 of 5

This is an interesting section, the first question I usually hear from an unbeliever, "If God is really  good, (showcasing the doubt that it is possible for God to be good and expalin the state of this world.) than why is there so much pain?

This worldview says the natural state of things should be good and right.  It denies the fallen nature of man and the effects for sin on the world. In is not just unbelievers who are infected with this untruth.  In my heart I still struggle with wanting this to be truth, my bad wv is revealed when I am upset that things are not working properly - even surprised at the fallen-ness of it all.  Plans and ideas do not save, Jesus does, He always will be only answer, because He is the only answer.

We must start from Center accepting that He IS God.
"Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10
So true life begins with knowing God. It begins when a man, oppressed by doubt and uncertainty, hears His voice saying, "Reach hither thy hand and thrust it into My side!" It begins when, standing under the cross, he realizes, as Luther did, "He died for me, for me!" Then the day breaks and the shadows flee away. Love conquers doubt, and the soul, beholding the unveiling of the Infinite in the passion of Christ, cries out, "My Lord and My God!"                   -David James Burrell, "The Knowledge of God"

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Providence of God in All Things - 3

This truth, Philosophy, though eagle-eyed
In nature's tendencies, oft overlooks;
And, having found his instrument, forgets,
Or disregards, or, more presumptuous still,
Denies the power that wields it.  God proclaims
His hot displeasure against foolish men,
That live an atheist life; involves the heaven
In tempests; quits his grasp upon the winds,
And gives them all their fury; bids a plague
Kindle a fiery boil upon the skin,
And putrefy the breath of blooming Health.
- William Cowper Compendium p.737

Part 3 of 5

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law doth he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
- Psalm One

Seriously weighty words.  (Presumptuous - As if HE needs my commentary.)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Providence of God in All Things -2

Did not his eye rule all things, and intend
The least of our concerns: (since from the least
The greatest oft originates;) could chance
Find place in his dominion, or dispose
One lawless particle to thwart his plan;
Then God might be surprised, and unforeseen
Contingence might alarm him, and disturb
The smooth and equal course of his affairs. 
- William Cowper Compendium p.737

Part 2 of 5

Everything was created through him;
nothing—not one thing!—
came into being without him.
What came into existence was Life,
and the Life was Light to live by.
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;
the darkness couldn't put it out.
 - Gospel of John (The Message)

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. -Colossians 1:15-20

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Providence of God in All Things -1

All that glitters is not gold,
and all  gold doesn't glitter.
Happy the man, who sees a God employ'd
In all the ill and good that checker life! 
Resolving all events, with their effects
And Manifold results, into the will
And arbitration wise of the Supreme.
-William Cowper,  Compendium, p.737

(In Five Parts - Part 1 - These are purely my divisions
- mostly chosen because they are  all marked by the end of a sentence.)

In his hand are the depths of the earth
the heights of the mountains are his also.
-Psalm 95:4

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

True Philosophy

Philosophy, baptized
In the fountain of eternal love,
Has eyes indeed;  and viewing all she sees
As meant ot indicate a God to man,
Gives Him his praise, and forfeits not her own.
Learning has borne such fruit in other days
On all her branches: Piety has found
Friends in the friends of science, and true prayer
Has flow'd from lips wet with Castilian dews.
Such was thy wisdom, Newton, child-like sage!
Sagacious reader of the works of God,
And in word sagacious.  Such, too, thine,
Milton, whose genius had angelic wings,
And fed on manna!  And such thine, in whom
Our British Themis gloried with just cause,
Immortal Hale!  for deep discernment praised,
And sound integrity, not more than famed
For sanctity of manners undefiled.

Isn't Theology the Mother of all Sciences because it puts Christ as the rightful Center?
Philosophy is now a bunch of gobblely gook because it has lost its truth.  We have a lot to regain.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Wounded Spirit Healed

I was a stricken deer that left the herd
Compendium of English Literature
Publ - E.C. & J Biddles
Long since. With many an arrow deep inflix'd
My panting side was charged, when I withdrew
To seek a tranquil death in distant shades,
There I was found by one who had himself
Been hurt by the archers.  In his side he bore,
And in his hands and feet, the cruel scars,
With gentle force solicting the darts,
He drew them forth, and heal'd, and bade me live.
-William Cowper p.738

William Cowper (1713-1800) is fast becoming one of my favorite poets, his life was tragic in many ways, yet his verse is filled with the grace and light of Christ's salvation. After raving about Cowper, editor of Compendium states "We might thus fill many pages with encomiastic remarks upon the poetry of Cowper, but the reader would rather taste of the original for himself."  Tangent: His letter "An Epistle in Rhyme" is absolutely "roll on the ground" funny. Love that.

As to the difficulties of Mr. Cowper, he remained unmarried.  He also had at least four serious bouts of depression, the first one being marked by an attempt on his life.  He did however have  a few loyal friends that looked after him, although they were not without jealousies which must have caused Cowper some feeling of isolation.

A survey of Cowper's life makes me ponder what has changed so markedly in the human experience in  the last 250 years that the "Church" in general, overall, (I am not sure which word works best for my meaning) has so divorced struggle from christian life.  We no longer embrace struggle as the common experience of life, nor do we see gratitude as compulsory in the most basics of our blessings.  We, I am filled with entitlement and in great need of repentance. 

Mr. Cowper's poetry is powerful.  I really like it.  "Knowledge and Wisdom" hooked me, "The Wounded Spirit" calls me to gratitude, the others, well I could pontificate... or I can "read and taste the original works".

I had written a poem for Christmas Eve, my daughter's sweet critic, truly, it was spoken in gentleness, made me smiled with joy in the hope of covenental succession (progression-something like that). 
Critic, "Mom, it has really great content, and I see your contrasts, but it is chaotic and lacks rhyme and meter."
My response, "Ummmm. Kay."
Seems I have bad Romanticism chaos running around in this brain of mine.  I want to work on that.

Enter project, posting and reading Cowper for the next 30 days, learning about and trying my hand at real poetry.  "Ummmm. Kay."

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Our First Epiphany

We celebrated our first Epiphany with our Bible Study Group on Wednesday night,  we are trying to recover some of the beauty and tradition of the Christian Calendar.  Wouldn't it be great to say K. hadn't missed out on all those years in this area?  I do trust that covenental succession will proceed from these simple beginnings so that her little ones will have King's cupcakes with hidden treasure, homemade crowns, responsive readings, hymns and the like to celebrate even their earliest memories of Epiphany. 

Contrary to the popular perception of wife and motherhood as mundane and unspectacular, I see these roles as the most exciting opportunities of my life.  Just as the family can be the root of the deepest pain, I believe the family can be the root of the deepest joy.  I thus aspire to sacrificially fulfill both roles  and so bring about an environment of growth and love for my family.            -K. Essay to A. College, 2011
Things like cupcakes, laughing, eating, communing together, discussing truth, loving one another in community, the walking out of life in a long series of trifflings is exactly the "stuff" of living. Each event in and of itself is not super signifigant, yet they are not in the least trivial.
"The human house is a paradox, for it is larger inside than out." - G.K.Chesterton

"As for me and my House, we will serve the Lord." - Joshua
We will not do it  perfectly, not even close; but as we continue to fall on the Rock, we will be broken and not crushed, ever putting our hope in what lies ahead.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Favorites of 2010

My Lists of Books, Songs and Moments for 2010
  • Books
    1. Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl  -N.D. Wilson - I think this is a mind twisting look at the theology and plan of God, it is full of metaphors and unexpected, descriptive one-liners. It made me laugh out loud at my own absurd self-absorption.
    2. A Long Obedience in the Same Direction -  E. Peterson - I now own The Message,  something I thought I would never do, and I have actually read some of it.  My favorite chapter in Obedience is about Psalm 125, which pictures God as the mountains round about us. This book speaks to me about fully trusting in God and His sovereignty.
    3. Married to a Difficult Man - E. Dodd - This book is about Jonathan and Sarah Edwards, their life, marriage and ministry.  I came away saying to myself, "Who lives life this?"  The gentleness and piety they showed towards each other and others was amazing. It is  a great defense against the Romanticism which has strangled our modern idea of marriage.  This led me to read Edwards Seventy Resolutions which are mind boggling. 
    4. Grand Illusions - G. Grant This is a book full of information about Planned Parenthood, Sanger, Abortion, Sex Ed in School and how the PP machine is almost everywhere.  I learned a lot of  specifics and how they are interrelated. Illusions was helpful in my discussions with friends and family who have teens in public high school.
    5. Compendium of English Literature- C. Cleveland. E.C.& J Biddle Publishers. 1848.  Bunyan, Burke, Cowper to Swift, Tydale, and Watts - Just a few of the almost 100 names on the index of authors. Compendium is my oldest book and one of my favorite to browse.  Reading Cowper's "Knowledge and Wisdom" from its musty pages makes me want to gain the wisdom of those that have gone before. 
    6. Ideas Have Consequences and excerpts from Reflections on the War in France - R. Weaver and E. Burke respectively.  Interesting and Prophetic. These books challenged me to see and pray for the larger picture of life that is not only outside my home's front door, but crouches in, if given opportunity. Worldview and Historical connections were engaging to the point of addiction.
    7. Garden Graces - G. & K. Grant.  I love quote books and gardens.  Letters Home and Shelf Life in this series are also very good, but Graces is my favorite. This was my "go to" gift for gardening friends and family. 
    8. Clementine Churchill- Biography of a Marriage - M. Soames.  A great biography written by their daughter.  I really enjoyed the excerpts of personal diaries and letters that essentially spanned over their lifetime.  "And her children will arise and called her blessed" comes to mind.
    9. Moral Problems in Hospital Practices - P. Finney.  This is basically a treatment guidelines book for catholic nurses at the turn of the century. Problems challenged me on the definition of sanctity of life and in turn how we should view it as Christians. Not an easy subject... or maybe it is? I am still mulling it over.
    10. Frugal Gourmet-  J. Smith.  I really like to read cookbooks, and this is the one I read most often, second to my stalwart standby, Betty Crocker. The little intros to the recipes are fun.  

  • Songs- My most listened to CDs and Songs
    1. "Better Together" - Jack Johnson  - Favorite line - "Love is the answer for the most of the world's questions..."
    2. Pull Up a Chair- Nathan George Clark 
    3. My Cry Ascends- Greg Wilber -"Come, Ye Desconsolate" Favorite line - "Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal."
    4. Come Away With Me- Nora Jones, "Seven Years."  Favorite line -"Crooked little smile on her face, tells a tale of grace that's all her own." - I can't hear that line without smiling and seeing K.'s  itty bitty  face in my mind's eye.
    5. His Story- Elvis
    6.  The Ministry Years- Keith Green
    7. Blacklands - Brother Down
    8. Live - James Taylor
    9. For the Bride - John Micheal Talbot
    10. "Stuck Like Glue" - Sugarland - the mid-section rap is hilarious.

  • Moments - Two on my List
    • The Singing of the Doxology while stuck in a foreign country by a friend.  When I grow up... I want to revert first to trusting in God, instead of feeling anxious, and then remembering to trust!
    • Crossing the 5K finish line with my daughter "in all our glory" LOL- for her - definately! for me - not so much.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Musings as We Head into 2011

Beginnings are exciting .  A new year, fresh with promise, just like a new day, but in grand proportion, is weighted with hope and promise. 
Last year, the Colossians passage, that He is the Center of all things, was  my reoccurring theme.
Psalm 46:10 - is on my mind for this year.  I focused on this  same scripture my junior year of college.  I had a scripture border that went all the way around my little dorm room. (It was burgundy roses with hunter green accents- haven't seen that motif in a few decades!)
 Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
Be still - I continue learning to stand in the footsteps of the past - to follow those that have gone before.  I will be intentional in my reading list of church fathers. I am reading Luther on Prayer and though it is old as dust, it's my first time.
Life takes balance, and I struggle with that, still, even in my forties. I keep thinking shouldn't I have this down by now; I don't. I'm a starter - love a good project, helping someone out, chatting with friends, or browsing through a new book -  but, keeping things in order or being regimented about schedules and chores- I'm simply, a terrible mess.  I love to have visitors after Church; however, I am also thankful having Sunday guests forces me to mop floors on Saturday.
Being Still takes balance, I want to focus on stillness of heart resting in Him whether I'm meditating, learning weathered truths or cleaning house.

He will be exalted - He is Center, He is everything, and therefore only He is exalted, it is always about Him.  He alone deserves my worship, praise and adoration.  At church, Pastor spoke of how "the beautiful things of of life are meant to point you to the greater... that all these (wonderful gifts) bear God's fingerprints" -and He is the real object of our desire - the Lord Jesus Christ. 

I've included a link to the RC Sproul website where I took these Jonathan Edwards quotes regarding his 70 Resolutions.  I've read through the resolutions a handful of times this year.  At some point, I plan to make resolutions of my own.

A few things Jonathan Edwards said struck me, "We do not seek merely blessings but the one who blesses." and paraphrasing to put it in reference to our family, " We resolve to live according to His will.  Blameless in His sight - it is not to us BUT RATHER to Him all glory belongs."
I had to smile this morning when Pastor started to read his missional statement, I had just written one in my journal yesterday... I don't generally share my prayers on the net, but this one I will.
I am wretched, poor, weak, broken, selfish, and helpless to save myself. Lord Jesus Christ, I am in need of your holiness, glory, strength, wholeness, love and sufficiency to walk in a manner that brings you glory and not shame.   Father God, by your will, through the help of your Holy Spirit and in responsive gratitude to the lavish love and work of our Lord Jesus, I trust you will enable me to walk in the minutes, hours, days, weeks and months of this year in obedience to your Word, which is our perfect rule for faith and obedience.  Grant me mercy, O God, that I may see your goodness in the land of the living and be still and know that you alone are God.  That I would join in exalting your name with all nations, that I will join with the earth to exalt you, that in my home and through my calling, as wife, mother, daughter, friend, teacher I would reflect your goodness and act in a manner which reflects truth regarding your character. 
Pastor Edward's prefaced his Seventy Resolutions with this, it is also an appropriate ending to this year's prayer:
Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God's help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these resolutions so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ's sake.