Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sabbath Sentiments

'For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.' (Lamentations 3:31-33)

'God does not willingly bring affliction or grief to us. He does not delight in causing us to experience pain or heartache. He always has a purpose for the grief he brings or allows to come into our lives. Most often we do not know what that purpose is, but it is enough to know that his infinite wisdom and perfect love have determined that the particular sorrow is best for us. God never wastes pain. He always uses it to accomplish his purpose. And his purpose is for his glory and our good. Therefore we can trust him when our hearts are aching or our bodies are wracked with pain.'

~Jerry Bridges, Trusting God

Friday, July 18, 2008

Happy anniversary, Dave!

This was Dave and myself 28 years ago tomorrow. We were babies then, with so much to learn!

On our first wedding anniversary, Dave wrote a sweet "Marriage Alphabet" poem for me, and on our 25th anniversary, I wrote one back to him. So at 49 or 50 years, it will be his turn again: and every 25 years or so is plenty! Mine isn't very good poetry-- and I have some excellent poets in the family-- so you will have to be generous with me! But Happy Anniversary, Dave! I'd marry you all over again!

A Marriage Alphabet (after 24.5 years)

Always together, from where we began.

Boys, we’ve watched grow from a child to a man.

Care is the way we look after each other,

Dying to self for the love of another.

Every day cuddling when the day is done.

Father and Friend, you’re a wonderful one!

G is for Grace, on which we depend,

Hope which will carry us through to the end.

“I” is for each of us, forming a “we”.

Jesus, is making a “one” of us three.

K is for kitchen, where we make a great pair,

Laughing and Loving and cooking out there.

Your Mom now has joined us as part of our home.

Never is when I will leave you alone.

One and Only: for me that is you!

Pain is for changing and growing anew.

Q is for Quicken, which helps with my math.

Running is always a part of your path.

Saving and dreaming and planning together,

Tenderness, Trust increasing in measure.

Useless are Satan’s attempts to defeat us,

Verily going where Jesus may lead us.

Wanting you still after all of these years, after

X-rays and chemo and trials and tears.

You are God’s perfect plan for me.

Zealous for you I forever shall be.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sabbath Sentiments

“Quit you like men.”

Be men! In courage; not cowards, turning our back on the foe, or giving way in danger, or reproach, or evil days. In solidity; not shifting or shadowy, but immovable as the rock. In strength. As the man is, so is his strength. Be strong! In wisdom. Foolishness is with childhood, wisdom with manhood. Speak and act with wisdom, as men. In ripeness. The faculties of men are ripe, both for thinking and working. They speak ripe words, think ripe thoughts, plan and execute ripe things. In understanding be men! In all things; what you do, and what you refrain from doing, be men. Act the manly part; let nothing effeminate, luxurious, sickly, childish, puny, little, narrow, be seen about you. Christianity makes men, not babes. Adorn the doctrine of Christ by your manliness. In the Church, in the world, in business, in conversation, — in prosperity and adversity, —quit you like men! Let no man despise thee; and let no man despise the Gospel because of thee.

Taken from The Christian Treasury, Bible Thoughts on 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, 1864.

With thanks to HF, who shared this in his exposition of the scripture passage.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The big read

With a nod to Kris, here's my version of this circulating list... though I'd love to know how this list was compiled... and also, I couldn't figure out how to make Blogger underline or remove underlining. So the underlined ones are Kris' picks that I also loved, but I couldn't tell you which others I loved with underlines, so I placed an asterick in front of them...!


The Big Read was a 2003 survey carried out by the BBC, with the goal of finding the “Nation’s Best-loved Book” by way of a viewer vote via the Web, SMS, and telephone.

The Big Read figures that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books. How do you stack up?

How to Play:
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list in your own blog so we can try and track down these people who’ve read 6 and force books upon them

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
*4 Harry Potter series
*5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Phillip Pullman
10 Great Expectations- Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace- Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
*34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
*73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol- Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince- Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams –freaky.
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Being cut down to size

That's how I feel lately: God is cutting me down to size, reminding me of just who I am before him. I feel like I imagine Ustace felt in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader when Aslan had to painfully cut and scrape through the rough dragon hide he'd grown in order to expose the real boy underneath. It hurt, and it was not any fun, but even as the pain was taking place, there was comfort that it had to happen, and it would be good in the end because while Aslan was not tame, he was very good.

The wonderful words to this song by Jason Gray, from his album All the Lovely Losers, express it quite well:

The Cut by Jason Gray

Under your blade
As you carve out Your image in me
You cut to the core
But still you want more
As you carefully, tenderly, ravage me.

As you peel back the bark
And tear me apart
To get to the heart
Of what matters most
I'm cold and I'm scared
As Your love lays me bare
But in the shaping of my soul
The cut makes me whole.

Mingling here
Your blood and my tears
As You whittle my kingdom away
But I see that You suffer, too
In making me new
For the blade of love cuts both ways.

Hidden inside the grain
Beneath the pride and the pain
Is the shape of the man
You meant me to be
Who with every cut now you try to set free.

With everyday
You strip more away
But in the shaping of my soul
The blade must take its toll
So God give me the strength to know
That the cut makes me whole.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Sabbath Sentiments

There is no need for prayer at all as far as God is concerned, but what a need there is for it on our own account! If we were not constrained to pray, I question whether we could even live as Christians. If God's mercies came to us unasked, they would not be half so useful as they now are, when they have to be sought for; for now we get a double blessing, a blessing in the obtaining, and a blessing in the seeking. The very act of prayer is a blessing. To pray is as it were to bathe oneself in a cool stream, and so to escape from the heats of earth's summer sun. To pray is to mount on eagle's wings above the clouds and get into the clear heaven where God dwells. To pray is to enter the treasure-house of God and to enrich oneself out of an inexhaustible storehouse. To pray is to grasp heaven in one's arms, to embrace the Deity within one's soul, and to feel one's body made a temple of the Holy Ghost. Apart from the answer, prayer is in itself a benediction. To pray is to cast off your burdens, it is to tear away your rags, it is to shake off your diseases, it is to be filled with spiritual vigour, it is to reach the highest point of Christian health. God give us to be much in the holy art of arguing with God in prayer.

~C. H. Surgeon, Effective Prayer