Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Today's Tunes

For as long as I can remember, I have been a music lover. My third grade teacher told me I was the "singingest" kid she had ever met. This was my introduction to the notion that my singing might not be welcome to all who could hear. I have some regret that I have never pursued any musical endeavors. But I am ever the music fan, and it's never too late to pick up a guitar and starting beating on it!

Music can be a mysterious, I dare say, magical influence because of its ability to evoke emotion of all kinds. I find in it compassion for my trouble, encouragement for my dreams, and beautiful expression for my ideas and emotions.
As with all of God's good gifts, music can become an idol, and I know that it has been for me at times. But, surely there is an appropriate place in the life of a believer for this part of God's creation that is so well-suited for praising his glory.

I've always enjoyed sharing with others my experiences with music. I build playlists to accomodate a particular mood, though what I listen to changes daily. I don't want to limit my experience or yours by giving this list a label. So, here is what I will call my current playlist. I'll put some favorite CD's in the sidebar along with an ongoing playlist.

What's Up?4 Non Blondes
And Your Praise Goes OnChris Rice
What Have We BecomeDC Talk
Take it to the LimitThe Eagles
Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me YetJars of Clay
TrinityJennifer Knapp
Live in PeacePaul Rodgers
The Man You Want Me to BePhil Joel
Painting Pictures of EgyptSara Groves
SoulSatellite Soul
Hold on to JesusSteve Curtis Chapman
Alan Watts BluesVan Morrison

Friday, August 24, 2007

Bertrand Russell

"One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important."

~ Bertrand Russell

Implicit in this quote are 3 things:
  • One should avoid having a nervous breakdown.

  • One should avoid the belief that one's work is terribly important.

  • One can (help to) avoid having a nervous breakdown if one rejects the belief that one's work is terribly important.

How can the first be argued against? But, some work really is terribly important necessitating an alternate treatment for the approaching nervous breakdown.

Implicit in my response is the belief that my work (in response and analysis) is terribly important. Rather, I merely indulge "the little grey cells" in a little exercise.

Implicit in my explanation is the belief that perception of my work is terribly important. This is, in fact, the case; I anticipate the approaching nervous breakdown to arrive at any moment.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Kind

So very different in meaning, these words are not only identical, but also appear to have a closely related heritage.

Kind1
Kind2    Kin
    Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

    ~ Genesis 1:11-13


    Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

    ~ Romans 1:28-32


    The men were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!"

    ~ Matthew 8:27


    There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.

    ~ 1 Corinthians 12:4-6


    But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives

    ~ 2 Peter 3:10-11


    But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

    ~ Luke 6:35-36


    Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

    ~ Ephesians 4:32


    Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.

    ~ Thessalonians 5:15-16


    His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

    For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

    Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    ~ 2 Peter 1:3-10


    One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb." And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.

    The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.

    I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.

    ~ Revelation 21:9-11, 18-27

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Holy, Holy, Holy!

I remember prayer used to be a different experience for me than it has been for a long time. Sometimes, I even found it difficult to stop blessing the food. I'm sure that some of this came from my strong feeling of gratitude, which has waned as my heart has wandered.

But I was never any sort of 'prayer warrior'. My experience was not unique or unusual. I know that prayer to the one true, living God can be a strengthening, encouraging, peaceful experience for everyone. After all, in it we encounter God himself. Could we expect any less?

But my prayers have changed. I have lost some of my sense of gratitude, though it can be restored by the grace of God. Hallelujah!

And I have learned a routine. I use certain language for every one of certain kinds of requests. I may talk about 'traveling mercies' or say 'lift up to you', 'pour out your blessings', 'be glorified' or say 'Lord', 'God', or 'Father' at the beginning and end of every sentence. None of these are necessarily bad, but after a gloriously celebratory wedding banquet, my prayers are like the 1000th thank you note — routine.

I see now that I have even allowed my perception of God to become corrupt. Jesus is with us in our temptation (Hebrews 2:18, 4-15-16), so I forget he is not with me when I give in to temptation. I request God’s work in this world and he does answer. But, I forget that he remains not of this world.

God is not routine. He is not worldly. How else could he save us from the destiny of this world? God is holy.

When we pray, we 'step into' Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is the bridge spanning the great chasm between the fallen world and the holy God. He is unique and superlative in every way. God is holy.

We are rightly taught to 'walk in the Spirit', 'live by the Spirit', and 'pray in Spirit and truth'. Speaking at least for myself, I must pray with reverence to our holy, though supremely gracious and loving God, in order to have any hope of living by the Spirit. We can pray reverently without any comprimise to intimacy. And how much greater joy will prayer be if it serves additionally to remind us of our Father’s supremacy over all that is in the world!


    In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:

           "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
           the whole earth is full of his glory."

    ~Isaiah 6:1-3



    Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

           "Glory to God in the highest,
               and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

    ~Luke 2:13-14



    Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come."

    ~Revelation 4:8

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Self-effacing


efface
self-effacing



    When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: "When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, 'Give this man your seat.' Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, 'Friend, move up to a better place.' Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

    ~ Luke 14:7-11


    Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

    ~ James 4:7-10


    Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,

        "God opposes the proud
            but gives grace to the humble."

    Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

    ~ 1 Peter 5:5-7

Monday, August 06, 2007