Tuesday, May 30, 2006


There are a few things that are completely, entirely amazing. And everytime I think on it, I am again caught in the wonder of it. I've had a lot of time in the past few days just to think. These are my thoughts:

1. God's Word is simple. This is not to say that He is simple. His thoughts are higher than mine, and I wait in anticipation for the moment I will see him face to face and finally know..... But His Word is simple. Everything I need to know is accesible. I don't have to be confused as to His will because it could not be stated more clearly. His will is that I be saved. His will is that I be filled with joy. His will is that I seek Him.

2. God is enough. My mind, my desires, my circumstances argue this point, but the truth is unchanging. he is all-sufficient. He is enough.

3. There is always hope. This too is cause for joy. It is my existance. It is the propelling motion that moves me from one day into the next. It is why I smile. It is why I sing. It is why I anticipate what is to come. There is alway hope.

4. God uses sinners. My comprehension stops here, but faith chooses to accept it. I do not know why he uses sinners, but I rejoice that He does. He has used sinners to touch and minister to my life in amazing ways. And somehow in some ways, He has used this sinner.

So you see. my thoughts are not profound, but they are cause for joy that will not be dimmed. They are things I have always known, but yet I experience them new every morning. And then there is renewed joy.

Isn't God good?
Isn't He so, so good.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

and what remains?

What if I were stripped of everything?

~Take away the job. I'm no longer dorm sup. I never was. I don't work food service. All past employment never happened.
~Take away the abilities and interests. No more writing. No more music. No more art.
~Take away the education. There is no Maranatha, no degree. No A's or awards. I do not have the ability to think critically or even to read.
~Take away my background. No godly family, no America to call mine, no past accomplishments or experiences.
~Take away my friends.
~Take away my ministries.

What is left?
Well, I still have a soul. I have a will. I have a mind. I have a body.
I still have a sin nature.

Stripped of all that I am, all that remains is all that Christ died for. It is what God loved and gave His Son for. It is what He made a plan of escape for. It is what He wants to seek after Him.

I have nothing to impress God with, yet I am not desolate. Stripped of all else, all that remains is hope.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Top Ten ways to convince people to comment on your blog

Number 1, comment on theirs—okay, a little obvious I know, but hey it’s only the first tip. Maybe they’ll get better. (That was not a promise).

Number 2, don’t post for at least a month—granted the only comments you’ll receive will be something along the lines of “Why won’t you post?” But that is something, isn’t it?

Number 3, call up your friends and threaten them—okay, that’s a little extreme, but I have to come up with ten of these. Oh yeah, this would include questioning the intelligence of your readers or the subtle, unspoken, I just won’t comment on yours till you do (see number 1). On a side note, promising not to post if they don’t comment has not been proven effective.

Number 4, debate something controversial—everyone likes to argue. A caution though, it needs to be something people care about. “I hate blogs!” is a little too overused and probably won’t earn you anything more than a few rolled eyes. “I believe The Message to be the leading authority of inspired Scriptures,” however, might draw some attention.

Number 5, Mention names—for some reason everyone likes to see their name in print. Or perhaps they just feel duty bound to respond in light of the recognition. At least it worked with Josh, Rebecca, Valinda, Chelsie, Brittany, etc.

Number 6, write a very short post—it works for RuthAnn anyway (see number 5).

Number 7, be somebody important—okay there’s not a whole lot you can do about this if you’re not, but it’s inevitable, the blogs that are read most widely are commented on most frequently.

Number 8, use big words—I’m not actually convinced of this being the case, but Clint (see number 5) seems to think so, and Chelsie (see number 5 again) tends to comment excessively on word usage.

Number 9, write posts that are not even remotely related to anything “normal” people would find blogworthy, and then make your entry interactive. Post about parenthetical usage, trash, hair gel, starburst, abstraction, swedish fish, blog definitions, bulletin boards, and bald heads. (Can you match the random topic to the owner of the blog?)

Number 10, and for some reason the most popular. Give people an opportunity to talk about themselves—something along the lines of “what is your opinion of….?” Or “what is your favorite….?” What self-absorbed people we have become, but think about it.

And now it’s your turn, what do you think should be the eleventh tip for securing blog comments…..

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Shall we try this again?

This is for the handful of you who were astonished to hear that I have never read Pride and Prejudice. And for the few of you who have been rooting me on through all my vain attempts. It started two years ago when my high school English teacher found out. I'm told this is intolerable--especially for an English minor! With the best of intentions, I bought a copy (for a quarter). I think in my first attempt, I made it as far as page 7 before I got sidetracked, and the book found itself back on the shelf. So over the past 2 years, I have tried at least 6 times to get into that book, each time resulting in increased failures. I never made it past chapter 3. Understand, this is not at all like me. I love to read just about anything I can get my hands on. With each attempt, I grew more proud and prejudiced toward this exasperating book.

After all, this directly defies the "Rules of Readership Satisfaction" #1. which of course states that the first few pages of any book should immediately draw the reader into the story. I fear the second rule was also in danger of being violated. Any book that prompts a reader into a slumber on more than one occasion is thus vanquished to the new function of 'doorstop.'

However, due to the number of gasps I received at the neglect of this precious classic, I am giving it yet another chance. Drum roll please.....I am past chapter 10 and could scarcely put it down in order to write this post.

Those of you who are loyal to the end to this book, please don't have me drawn a quartered for not appreciating it from the start. (I think that is also somewhere in the "Rules of Readership Satisfaction"--something about the proper recourse towards those who refuse to pledge their allegiance to the value of good books).

I will blame my original perception of the book, not on its character which I had thought boring, but on the fact that I must have been too busy. Thus any book of substantial length would have received the same treatment. For all intents and purposes, I am sufficiently hooked and will see this book to the last page (at least once).

Monday, May 15, 2006

The End of the Beginning

One of my favorite kid books is a book by Avi called "The End of the Beginning." If you haven't read it, you need to. But if you haven't read the Phantom Tollbooth, read that one first. They're similar, but Phantom Tollbooth is better. Back to the other book which is the one I actually wanted to write about--It's the story of an ant and a snail and their journey from the beginning to the end, or rather from the end to the beginning.

The two adventurers were going along. Avon was singing.
"Stop!" cried Edward. "We've reached the end of the branch."
With great care the two creatures edged to the very tip.
"The end of the branch," said Avon.
"The beginning of the sky," said Edward.
"Which is it?" asked Avon. "The beginning or the end?"
"It depends what there is more of, the tree or the sky. Think of all the things that get in your way along the branch--leaves, bark, other creatures, a million things to slow you down. Now look at the sky."
Avon looked. "There's nothing there."
"Exactly. Which means it will take longer to climb the branch. And if it takes longer, the branch must be bigger. And if the branch is bigger than the sky, that means we're at the sky's end, but only at the beginning of the branch."
"You mean," asked Avon, quite amazed, "that after all this time, we're just beginning? I had no idea how far you have to go before you can start. Almost makes me want to stop."
"You can't do that either," said Edward severely.
"Can't very well stop if you haven't started, can you?"
"Edward," cried Avon. "I never knew how important it was to start before you begin."
And turning around, they began.

("The End of the Beginning" by Avi)

Bear with me—how many times have I thought I was at the end, when in fact it was only the beginning? The end of high school, the start of college. The end of college, the start of the rest of my life. The end of a semester, the start of the summer. I could go on, but that’s only the surface of what I’m trying to get at.

When God brings us to the end of ourselves, it is the beginning of His work. And what hope! “That He which hath begun a good work will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

My work, futile as it is, stops where His begins, and His work is perfect. He will not leave the job half finished. He will not cut corners or neglect details. He is thorough, going beyond every expectation. When I have drained all of my resources, if I have not yet tapped into His, I have not yet begun. At the end of my weakness is the start of His strength. When I come to the end of myself, I have at last begun to see what He can and will do in His power alone.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Abba Father

This may be the only time I ever post a picture that qualifies as "uncheckable," but please don't miss the purpose. I do so for a reason.

Have you ever realized that human comforts are insufficient?
Have you ever needed someone to understand but discovered that such understanding is not earthly?
Have you ever crawled onto the lap of God, and with childlike dependency, begged Him just to hold you?

"And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

When I consider the omnipotence of God, it seems beyond my reach. It is the attribute of God that most sets Him apart from me when I realize how big He is and how small I am. It is the trait of which I am most fearful. But when I consider the role that His strength plays in my weakness, it becomes personal.

Though He is omnipotent, He is not distant.
Though I fear Him, it is not with terror.
Though I cower, it is in awe.
Though His arms are mighty, they are open in an embrace.
I run to Him.
How can I not?
He's my Abba.

Friday, May 12, 2006

He is Sovereign

I have no choice but for the moment, to set aside all trifles and meaningless thoughts, to put on hold all the cares that have suddenly lost significance, and consider the soveriegnty of God. When my heart cries "Why," alongside of thousands of other why's, the question turns to a plea. Please, show Yourself sovereign. Please, prove Yourself sufficient even in this. He will. He always has, but for the moment, I do not like this course. I wish to see it undone, but it cannot be.

I heard one faculty member say to another, "It will be interesting to see how God will work." It will, won't it. What hope Christians have with that one truth. He has not drawn back His hand. He will continue. He is soverign.

Today it hurts. Today there is confusion, emotion, questions. But today, by choice, I must find thankfulness and rejoice in my God. That and pray. Pray for those who hurt far more than I. Pray for those who are thrust into new decisions and change. Pray for those I can reach by no other means than prayer.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

for the Love of God

Lord, what will you do with a soiled heart?
Soiled with sin, slid through the mud of complacency, splattered with the filth of my wrong. You cleanse it, exposing the dirt and wiping it clean of the grime that has built up over each year. You replace my sin stains with your blood stains, making me as white as snow. But I am proud, and I would cleanse my heart myself. Yet all I have done is smeared the dirt.

Lord, what will you do with a cold heart?
This heart that has chosen not to feel at all rather than feel the anguish of its guilt. This heart that will enter sin willingly accepting the pleasure of the moment with the excuse that confession can come later, knowing forgiveness can be called for when the deed is done. Oh twisted heart and perverted mind. Cease!

Lord, what will you do with a cracked heart?
Held together with weak adhesives, fearful of being broken, yet unusable in its present state. Lord break this heart, but if you will break it, restore it.

I am touched, Lord, with the knowledge of your love, but I would know the realization of it. I have experienced your love, yet I cannot hope to comprehend it. I loved you in return, yet I cannot hope to match it.

A closing quote that expresses my thoughts quite well:

"Love forever suffers when the loved one suffers. I sometimes think that the difference between God's love and my love at its highest lies just there. I love, and if the one I love is untrue to me, I suffer. Why? Because I have lost that love. God does not suffer in that way. He suffers because the one who ceases to love Him is suffering. There is an element of self in our love. There is none in Gods."

("Hosea-The Heart and Holiness of God" by G. Campbell Morgan)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

bits and pieces

This is called I'm so tired I can't think straight, definitely too tired to sleep. So I'll post a nonsense whatever. As of today, the dorm is starting to feel empty. I don't mind. I'm not one of those people who prop a chair against the door and sleep with a baseball bat. I'm the one who forgets to close the door at night. Monday, I spent the day moving furniture in the dorm--getting rid of the old bunks and replacing them with the ones that were in the houses. Today and tomorrow I have meetings all day with the deans and other dorm sups. Yesterday, my meetings were canceled and I had the whole day to myself. I'm not ready for boredom yet. There's too many things I like to do. I managed to get about 3 hours of practicing in yesterday. That was a happy thing. Hope I can keep that up this week. I haven't been able to do any serious practicing in a couple of months, and I miss it. Then I had time to start reading a commentary on the book of Hosea. That has been rather fascinating. I'll probably write a post on it once I've had time to compose my thoughts. It's strange being in the dorm and not having someone peak their head in every few minutes. It was strange not preparing for devos Monday night. It's strange doing an entire project in one sitting without being interrupted. I've decided I like things better the other way. I miss my girls. I'm sure there are plenty of interesting thing I could have written about tonight, but my mind is kind of a blur. I'll probably read it tomorrow and wonder why I even bothered to record my thoughts. So, there you have it--a look into my mind when it is not fully functioning. And I promise to write something better next time.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

My family

These are the most important people in my life. I love them dearly. I don't claim to have a normal family, but who wants to be ordinary when there are so many other options.

These are my parents, best parents in the world. And they're cool enough I think I would say that even if I wasn't required to. My dad is the most humble man I have ever met. He gets cuter the older he gets. I think he looks very distinguished. He's as steady as a rock. He taught me what it means to trust God. Mom is my friend. She's about the best preacher I ever heard. She doesn't...but she could. Probably the only person I've ever known can pull any Bible reference out of her head, and weave difficult, in depth theology into everyday conversation. My parents are missionaries to St. Vincent in the Caribbean. Yes, the very same island where Pirates of the Caribbean is filmed.

This is my brother. I think he wanted to be in the mafia when he grew up. Or maybe it was the secret service. I hope not or I just blew his cover. Oops. He's really not as dangerous as he looks. And some of my girls who have seen this picture haven't stopped drooling yet. Sorry ladies. He's a confirmed "bachelor till the rapture." Tim is amazing. With only a year between us, he's my little brother who wishes he was my older brother. We've been pretty inseparable since he was like two, I think. I hope that never changes.

This is my sister. She's two years older, but we never let that come between us. She's the one I can talk to about anything. She is friend and confidant. I go to her for advice, and for some reason she comes to me for the same. Anyone who can put up with an annoying little sister (and I did the annoying sister thing well) deserves a lot of praise.

This is my wonderful brother-in-law. We like him. Stephen can fix anything so we break things on a regular basis for him. He takes such good care of my sister. I'm not quite sure how we got along without him before he was part of the family.

And this is my niece, Michelle. For some reason she's obsessed with the violin. I'm sure I had nothing to do with that.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

By His Name

A new form takes shape as ribbons of wood shavings curl away and fall unheeded to the workshop floor. The maker slides his hands over the smooth texture of the wood, cradling his creation--a masterpiece in the making. He expertly shapes the scroll, joins the seams, attaches the fingerboard, aligns the bridge, and fits the pegs.

Nearly complete, he sets the instrument on his bench and moves the tools aside. Then he dips his pen and with a flourish, signs the fragment of parchment. For centuries, the name has denoted the value. Names like Stradivari and Guarneri have made their creations priceless. Yet this name has claimed the creation for the highest worth. With precision, he affixes the title to the belly of the instrument, and it reads--I AM.

The work is perfect in its creation, owned by it's maker's signature, its beauty enhanced by time. As the instrument is passed form the hands of the maker to the hand of the master, the song begins. The bow touches the strings, and the music erupts as the instrument conforms to the master's command. Every string responds to the bow's urging. The notes are rich, vibrating in a prayer of submission, praise and exaltation. Heaven welcomes the sound.

Monday, May 01, 2006


I wonder what it was like for the blind man, blind from birth. His life void of light, void of color. As he was led about by the arm, he had no images to fill his memory, no comprehension of the sights his companions spoke of.

To him, yellow was the warmth he felt on his face on a summer afternoon. Blue was the scent of the dew in the early morning. Pink was a kiss pressed against his cheek. Orange was the sound of laughter. And black, the only color he had ever seen, was the color he knew the least. With nothing to compare it against, it had no meaning. Black was a question.

And then his life was transformed by an encounter with the Savior. His life was never the same.

I wonder what it was like for him the first time he saw a sunset, the first time he witnessed a bird in flight. I wonder what he thought when he saw a person's eyes light up with laughter. I wonder if in those early days, he spent hours gazing into the flickering flames of a fire. Imagine the excitement, the overwhelmed amazement.

Do you suppose a few days later the blind man sat with his eyes closed, his hands cupped over them, trying to block out the light. Do you suppose sometimes he walked the streets with his eyes closed? He would have known his way be every other sense, but not sight. He had no visual landmarks. He would have no work. No one gives alms to a blind beggar that can see. I'm sure he loved the sights, but they were so strange, so unfamiliar. Do you suppose he found his comfort in the darkness?

It seems extreme and unnatural that he could for a moment desire to give up something as precious as underserved sight in exchange for the old darkness to which he was captive. Why then do we? Why do we, who have seen the Light, forsake it for sins committed in the shadows? Why do we, who have known the safety of the Shepherd, wander to the cliffs? Are we just curious? Why do we trade the feast He has prepared for stale crumbs? It seems unnatural, yet we do, so often choosing the familiarity of the old nature.