Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Silly little poem I like...

What is Black?
Black is the night
When there isn't a star
And you can't tell by looking
Where you are.
Black is a pail of paving tar.
Black is jet
And things you'd like to forget.
Black is a smokestack
Black is a cat,
A leopard, a raven,
A high silk hat.
The sound of black is
"Boom! Boom! Boom!"
Echoing in a empty room.
Black is kind-
It covers up
The run-down street,
The broken cup,
Black is charcoal
And patio grill,
The soot spots on
The window sill.
Black is a feeling
Hard to explain
Like suffering but
Without the pain
Black is licorice
And patent leather shoes
Black is the print
In the news.
Black is beauty
In its deepest form,
The dark cloud in a thunderstorm.
Think of what starlight
And lamplight would lack
Diamonds and fireflies
If they couldn't lean against
-Mary o'Niell
I have read this poem several times out a a treasury I read to C. and occasionally just to myself.  What is Black? always makes me smile, pause and reflect.  I just like it.  I don't agree with all of it - but some of it is stellar - the last 5 lines, for instance -  or the the four line beginning "Black is a feeling" - and I love the 2 lines immediately following about licorice and patent leather shoes -  because it feels like yesteryear.  My very favorite part of the poem is the last 4 lines.  Now, there's a not so "little ones" - truth for ya- it usually takes long past being grown to even start to get a handle on that!

Monday, November 28, 2011


Apostasy doesn't sneak up on people who are keeping faith,  God is not in the business of cutting off sincere believers just for kicks.  He is not the wanton boy who tortures flies for sport.  He does not send faithful believers to hell at the last judgement.  He is kind and good, and merciful to those who have even the smallest grain of faith.  Those who enter the body of Christ in baptism, trust in and confess Jesus, seek Him in His Word and at His table, serve His people humbly, live in fellowship with brothers and sisters, seek to produce the obedience of faith - these have nothing to fear.  They are included within the "us" that Paul says will never be separated from the love of God in Christ Jesus, and they are assured of that every time they hear God address them in word, in water, and in bread and wine.  If we are doing all the things that Jesus means by "abiding" in Him, we can be sure that we will be in the Vine to the end.  Faithful believers will not discover on the day of judgement that they were reprobate after all.  Happy marriages do not end in divorce.  God doesn't spring divorce on a faithful bride.

This is not self-trust, since all these forms of "abiding" in Christ are gift of God that are effective through the work of His Spirit. ...
...But we never come to the place where we mature from trust to works.  -Dr. Leithart, "The Baptized Body"
Have you ever had the conversation with a friend about whether they are saved or not.  I have some friends and several family members I regularly discuss the mechanisms of faith with.  This past week, a thought occurred to me for the very first time, "Am I one of His covenant children?" Strange thought - I know.  Growing up in an evangelical church with a decidedly Armenian bent, I often, maybe daily, asked the question, "Am I saved?"  Looking at that some would say that they are entirely the same question - however, they are definitely not, because the second one puts the oness on self and the first, on God. 
I am, by nature, pretty trusting, I trust God, so I don't really dig up truth to proof text the trust, rather, truth makes my trust in God deepen. 
Some people go from trust to truth, to deeper trust to deeper truth, and so on.
Others seem to really distinguish truth and error, from that believe God alone is true truth and therefore put their trust in Him - this then is the process God designs to  bring them to trust in Him.

All that to say, I had to laugh audibly when I read this today, trust can never be divorced from the object of that trust (duh!) The more we know of Jesus, we know His kindness and love, we see Him, and His efficacious actions and care of us. At the end of the day, if I asking if I am His child - then it is just one more "it's all about me" moment, instead of glorifying Him.  After all, it really is all about Him. Furthermore, the best dreams we can imagine are really just collateral little blessings of glorifying and enjoying Him.  Maybe we shouldn't be asking - where do I fit, maybe we should be asking - so, just how Big is GOD?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Curse of White Picket Pleasantry

When does life get easy?  

When does life get good?  
Life doesn’t get good.
It is good. 

Life, the gift reminds us through God glimpses – a two year old’s shocked smile and saucer wide eyes as he lays his hand on a helicopter he just prayed to find, the sideways smirk on the lips of a teen awakening to true truth, or the elaborately laid, labor ladened, far fetched dream of a grounded girl hoping for a chance at the 2016 Olympic team… these moments bode of life’s potential.  They are worth stopping for. These are the seconds that capture my breath.  They beckon my fingers find a pencil and journal - I remember and record the goodness of God in the joyful happenings of life.
Life, the gift reminds us through  God glimpses  – a discussion about hurtful, sinful words and actions; the wolf at the door that promises this time it won’t be fed to satisfaction; or the anxious moment of awaiting the worst feared, has indeed, come – the trials scream harshly, “run away, all is lost.” These are the moments that tear at my heart.  Theses crises beckon my voice find words and wind from the Origin, my Origin– I repentant and remember the sureness of God in the pain-filled ebbs of life.
The sweet Comforter, in this tops and turbulent life, whispers “Be still, know, I Am.”

I hate life mess, I still buffet against it.    My personality seems permanently predisposed to a Pollyanna-like perception.   My default mode has always been “white-picket fence pleasantry” since, well - as long as I can remember. Intellectually, I readily concede this is not only, not  possible- but  ridiculous. His, God's, plan is better than my picturesque perfectly picket-lined houses with dialogue and days lacking dishovelment and disagreement.  His beauty is seen in the disparity between the dark and light...that's why I keep those Ansel Adams pictures flickering - to remind me of truth.   I know, surer than any other thing in life -He is not only real but He is  there, here, and all I truly want and need.
The reality is…mess is here and everywhere, and scattered in throughout, and this world isn’t heaven… it isn’t perfect, yet.   The starkness of His beauty against ugliness of real life is so much more…than that plastic picture my mind so often reverts to as good. 

Nothing, not one thing separates us from Christ; and everything points to Him,  all the glimpses are pictures of Him.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Conquered Captives of His Omnipotent Love

Morning, November 15

“The Lord’s portion is his people.” — Deuteronomy 32:9
How are they his? By his own sovereign choice. He chose them, and set his love upon them. This he did altogether apart from any goodness in them at the time, or any goodness which he foresaw in them. He had mercy on whom he would have mercy, and ordained a chosen company unto eternal life; thus, therefore, are they his by his unconstrained election.

They are not only his by choice, but by purchase. He has bought and paid for them to the utmost farthing, hence about his title there can be no dispute. Not with corruptible things, as with silver and gold, but with the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord’s portion has been fully redeemed. There is no mortgage on his estate; no suits can be raised by opposing claimants, the price was paid in open court, and the Church is the Lord’s freehold for ever. See the blood-mark upon all the chosen, invisible to human eye, but known to Christ, for “the Lord knoweth them that are his”; he forgetteth none of those whom he has redeemed from among men; he counts the sheep for whom he laid down his life, and remembers well the Church for which he gave himself.

They are also his by conquest. What a battle he had in us before we would be won! How long he laid siege to our hearts! How often he sent us terms of capitulation! but we barred our gates, and fenced our walls against him. Do we not remember that glorious hour when he carried our hearts by storm? When he placed his cross against the wall, and scaled our ramparts, planting on our strongholds the blood-red flag of his omnipotent mercy? Yes, we are, indeed, the conquered captives of his omnipotent love. Thus chosen, purchased, and subdued, the rights of our divine possessor are inalienable: we rejoice that we never can be our own; and we desire, day by day, to do his will, and to show forth his glory.
-Spurgeon, C. H. (2006). Morning and evening : Daily readings
This reminds me of Donnes poem "Batter My Heart, Three-Personed God"
John Donne (1572-1631)

Holy Sonnet XIV:
Batter My Heart, Three-Person'd God
Batter my heart, three person'd God; for, you
As yet but knocke, breathe, shine, and seeke to mend;
That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow mee,'and bend
Your force, to breake, blow, burn and make me new.
I, like an usurpt towne, to'another due,
Labour to'admit you, but Oh, to no end,
Reason your viceroy in mee, mee should defend,
But is captiv'd, and proves weake or untrue.
Yet dearley'I love you,'and would be loved faine,
But am betroth'd unto your enemie: Divorce mee,'untie, or breake that knot againe,
Take mee to you, imprison mee, for I Except you'enthrall mee, never shall be free,
Nor ever chast, except you ravish mee.
As yet but knocke, breathe, shine, and seeke to mend;
That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow mee,'and bend
Your force, to breake, blow, burn and make me new.

He is the prime mover and we-not; we are but to respond to His irresistable love and work in us.  I have myself asked and I have friends struggling with wanting to grow up in all things - right now. But it just doesn't work that way.  God moves us through circumstance and time to grow us.  It is He that brings us to completion -

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Why did God make you and all things?

"Because I like them... ("and" as Auntie prods with a smile) For his own glory."

I just read Susan's little cutie notes, and Trisha has tons of little blessings and it got me thinking about C. and his journey and my journey with looking for God's faithfulness in our children.

Two is my favorite age - hands down!  I teach twos, I love twos, they're fun and wild and full of wonder.  They are great! They trust so fully that it always amazes me and causes me to praise God, I can't help it, when I see their faith, mine is elevated.

Last night, C and I were zooming around the grocery store as we have guests coming and I was sale shopping.  I told him what we were looking for and we were chatting along.  Well, we couldn't  find the salad dressing ( silly me, I was looking for the words "salad dressing" not condiments - brain bubble) So we were laughing, surmising where those sneaky dressings might be and on the third trip around the store the signage finally hit me. Anyway, I zipped down the aisle and C.  screeched out, "The RANCH! THANK YOU JESUS for finding our ranch.  Auntie let's sing the Amen song. (we sang the Amen song- in our version we throw out truths about God and then say "sing it over") C. calls out "God is great. "(We sing the Amen song again).  An older gentleman on the aisle passes, smiling, I wondered what he might be thinking - I thought to myself, why would ever think God works more in the hearts of adults than children, I'm pretty sure I have that turned around and discombobulated. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Miniatures and Morals the Christian Novels of Jane Austen...

I opened last night - and I like it.  It promises to be a fun book.  I really enjoy Austen and Dr. Leithart's insights to Austen clearly states what I have nebulously tried to put my finger on for years. Hooray for people who can state things clearly.  I am not one of those people, but admire it greatly.  A few of my quote favs so far...
Syntax is character.  How someone speaks manifests the quality of his mind and character as much as or even more than what he says.
We begin to realize that men can be cads without kidnaping women and confininf them in dark towers, and women can be vicious without poisoning theit rivals.
Fun, my niece was actually reading "Pride and Predjudice" on her phone as I was reading the book.  Funny, this techno younger generation makes me want to have hope and throw it away at the same time.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Jehovah Jirah - The Lord Will Provide

The saints should never be dismayed,
Nor sink in hopeless fear;
For when they least expect his aid,
The Savior will appear.

This Abraham found, he raised the knife,
GOD saw, and said, "Forbear;"
Yon ram shall yield 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 th' 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.

Blest proofs of pow'r 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-delayed,
But cannot come too late.
I was flipping through my poetry journal Monday night and I stopped at The Wounded Spirit Healed, - love that one. This poem was in front of it and these lines sunk right into my heart knowin' I'd be needin' 'em this week for sure...

Blest proofs of pow'r and grace divine,
Wait for his seasonable aid,
And though it tarry wait:
The promise may be long-delayed,
But cannot come too late
I've just walked through one of those experiences that loom larger in your mind than in reality - God walked me through the tears and the restless nights and I, of course, find He was in the center all the time, just as I hoped.  I wanted not to doubt, to push away tears and sleep soundly, but I struggled.  Now, I  find myself looking back to say, "Why did it take so long to come to a place of rest?" 
I have this friend, she's a bit older than me, but nothing rustles her, she's always at peace, I want to be like that.  I've have grown in this area - I guess God doesn't start where we should be, but where we are and some of us have a lot longer roads than others.  It makes me happy to trust my daughter's road will be shorter than mine - and I can't wait to meet her children, if God so choses to bless her with them, and watch their roads and HIS provision through them.
In some ways, many ways, my daughter has a faith that is more mature, it is so different from where I started.  The place where faith originates matter.  Those in the camp 'man chooses God', have a long hard road, my daughter, by God's grace doesn't know that camp or road. She doesn't think in those catagories. My husband has been faithful to lead us starting with and to God's grace and God at the center of all.  I am thankful for his headship in this household.  I am thankful for the fruit I see in my daughter.  I am thankful that her road will look different than mine.
So, Three cheers to covenantal succession - I'll drink to that! And thank the Lord for HIS sweet provision... the Dos Equis in the back of my frig that's been waiting a celebration will be sitting at our dinner table tonight.