Wednesday, March 30, 2011

More grace in Christ...

I have really been challenged as I have read  Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change (Resources for Changing Lives) by Paul David Tripp. I am constantly feeling convicted, and this selection from a few days ago is no exception:

As sinners we all tend to recast our own history in self-serving ways.  We hide behind the difficulties and pressures of the situation or the failures of others.  We look for external explanations, not internal ones. We are more impressed with our own righteousness than we are horrified at our sin.
~Paul Tripp, Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change (Resources for Changing Lives), p.181

Guilty as charged.  To all of you, Gentle Readers, who I have used to puff up my own self-righteousness, I ask your forgiveness.  And from those of you who have suffered because of my love for my own sin, I also beg forgiveness. It is grace that keeps me from being immobilized. It is grace, which is greater than all my sin and inability to be righteous, that saves me.  Thank you, Lord Jesus! I cling to this truth, so aptly put by Puritan Thomas Watson, that there is even more grace in Christ than there is sin in me.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Feeling blessed...

After I finished teaching today, I headed to ABQ. My sweet dh is arriving late tonight after working hard in other parts, and I am using that as an excuse to have a mini-vacation.  So this afternoon I swam laps in a hotel pool, had a light dinner down in the lobby, and am reading, watching movies, and blogging as I wait to pick Dave up. I feel very blessed.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sabbath Songs...

We sang this today, though we usually sing it at Christmas time.  It was a perfect fit for our sermon on Christ's Second Coming. I have always loved the imagery in the third verse (from the book of Revelation.)

Rejoice by Todd Twining

Verse 1
All the earth rejoice
Your Creator reigns
As the only awesome God
The Alpha and the Omega
Who was, is, and is to come
Let the oceans roar and the mountains sing
He provides for all He has made
So be comforted as He rules with grace
Rejoice, all the earth, rejoice
Verse 2
All the world rejoice
For the baby comes
As a humble prince in the night
The Word made flesh, Emmanuel
The Everlasting Light
Let the warmth of heaven reach the coldest heart
With the gospel of His grace
For His heel will bruise the serpent’s head
Rejoice, all the world, rejoice

Verse 3
All the church rejoice
For your King returns
On a white horse wearing a crown
He will break the sky with the angel’s shout
Descending from the clouds
Then the dead will rise from the land and sea
All His people will ascend
We will reign with Him for eternity
Rejoice, all the church, rejoice

Monday, March 21, 2011

Geocaching adventures...

Yesterday was a warm, if slightly hasy, day in Northern New Mexico.  After wonderful worship and a fellowship dinner at church, the fellowship continued as a group of friends from church went hunting for our first geocache hide.  We went along to watch, and it was great fun!  And afterwards, Dave and I made out 100th geocache find.  And look at the view:

If you've never tried this fun past time, give it a whirl!  It takes you to lovely places you would never otherwise see, and it's a great way to get your geeky friends (or self) off the couch and into the great outdoors!And who doesn't love a treasure hunt, Gentle Reader?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sabbath Songs...

A Debtor to Mercy Alone by Augustus Toplady, 1771

A debtor to mercy alone, of covenant mercy I sing;
Nor fear, with Thy righteousness on, my person and off’ring to bring.
The terrors of law and of God with me can have nothing to do;
My Savior’s obedience and blood hide all my transgressions from view.

The work which His goodness began, the arm of His strength will complete;
His promise is Yea and Amen, and never was forfeited yet.
Things future, nor things that are now, nor all things below or above,
Can make Him His purpose forgo, or sever my soul from His love.

My name from the palms of His hands eternity will not erase;
Impressed on His heart it remains, in marks of indelible grace.
Yes, I to the end shall endure, as sure as the earnest is giv’n;
More happy, but not more secure, the glorified spirits in Heav’n.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring is come...

"Daffodils" by William Wordsworth (1804)

I wander’d lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretch'd in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Breastplate Prayer

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
I bind this day to me for ever.
By power of faith, Christ's incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;
I bind unto myself today.
I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of the cherubim;
The sweet 'well done' in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors' faith, Apostles' word,
The Patriarchs' prayers, the Prophets' scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin souls.
I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun's life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.
I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.
Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.
Against all Satan's spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart's idolatry,
Against the wizard's evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Monday, March 14, 2011


I will admit it.  I hate the time changes.  I suppose others do, too.  Did you know that the first workday after this spring change is the most dangerous working day of the year? And apparently it's not just work accidents that increase.  So take care out there, Gentle Readers! And perhaps we need to begin a new grass-roots movement: LTCA: Leave The Clock Alone.  Wanna join me?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sabbath Songs...

O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing by Charles Wesley,  1739

O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of His grace!

My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the earth abroad
The honors of Thy name.

Jesus! the name that charms our fears,
That bids our sorrows cease;
’Tis music in the sinner’s ears,
’Tis life, and health, and peace.

He breaks the power of canceled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.

He speaks, and, listening to His voice,
New life the dead receive,
The mournful, broken hearts rejoice,
The humble poor believe.

Hear Him, ye deaf; His praise, ye dumb,
Your loosened tongues employ;
Ye blind, behold your Savior come,
And leap, ye lame, for joy.

In Christ your Head, you then shall know,
Shall feel your sins forgiven;
Anticipate your heaven below,
And own that love is heaven.

Glory to God, and praise and love
Be ever, ever given,
By saints below and saints above,
The church in earth and heaven.

On this glad day the glorious Sun
Of Righteousness arose;
On my benighted soul He shone
And filled it with repose.

Sudden expired the legal strife,
’Twas then I ceased to grieve;
My second, real, living life
I then began to live.

Then with my heart I first believed,
Believed with faith divine,
Power with the Holy Ghost received
To call the Savior mine.

I felt my Lord’s atoning blood
Close to my soul applied;
Me, me He loved, the Son of God,
For me, for me He died!

I found and owned His promise true,
Ascertained of my part,
My pardon passed in heaven I knew
When written on my heart.

Look unto Him, ye nations, own
Your God, ye fallen race;
Look, and be saved through faith alone,
Be justified by grace.

See all your sins on Jesus laid:
The Lamb of God was slain,
His soul was once an offering made
For every soul of man.

Awake from guilty nature’s sleep,
And Christ shall give you light,
Cast all your sins into the deep,
And wash the Æthiop white.

Harlots and publicans and thieves
In holy triumph join!
Saved is the sinner that believes
From crimes as great as mine.

Murderers and all ye hellish crew
In holy triumph join!
Believe the Savior died for you;
For me the Savior died.
With me, your chief, ye then shall know,
Shall feel your sins forgiven;
Anticipate your heaven below,
And own that love is heaven.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Last weekend's get-away

Last weekend we were the guests of dear friends, Bob and Rachel, who are building an amazing house in the collegiate peaks area of Colorado.  The weekend brought gray skies and blustery winds, but warm fellowship.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A little Joy with EJF

I received many new pictures of Emma yesterday, and just had to share a few.  Thank you for indulging me, Gentle Readers.  Isn't she adorable?

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Happy birthday Elsa!

May you have the kind of day that is filled with the joy and love that you bring to our lives!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

A prisoner of hope...

In my bible readings this week, I finished off the book of  Zechariah.  Strange book, Zechariah. It is chock full of strange imagery and apocalyptic visions.  It is a strange book.

But one phrase in the book captured my moral imagination.  Zechariah talks about God's people being a "prisoner of hope" (and I failed to mark it as I read it, and of course, had a dickens of a time finding it.  Thank God for searchable bible databases! ) It says in Zechariah 9:12:

Return to the stronghold,
      You prisoners of hope.
      Even today I declare
      That I will restore double to you.

So, I have been pondering this idea of being a "prisoner of hope".  That means I can't escape it.  No matter how hard I try to be discouraged or how thoroughly I am tempted to despair, I am a prisoner of hope. That hope binds me, and in some way, defines me.  And earlier in that same passage, Zechariah describes the source of that hope:

 9 “ Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
      Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!
      Behold, your King is coming to you;
      He is just and having salvation,
      Lowly and riding on a donkey,
      A colt, the foal of a donkey.
So I am a prisoner of hope in Christ; and not dependent on my feelings, my righteousness, my successes or failures.  That hope depends not on my emotional color du jour, but on that humble King, bringing salvation.  What a great place to be held captive!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

A generous God...

Last week I saw my oncologist, and got nothing but good news.  I still have a full tank of iron-- we'll recheck that in a couple of months.  And I am almost to my three-year anniversary of being diagnosed with breast cancer.  That means I get to go to mammograms and ultrasounds just once a year. That means no tests until November!!!   That feels like being set free!  And all my scopes came back good and clean, with nothing to worry about.  So I feel, once again, like a free woman for a while.  God is so very good to me.  He showers blessings on me that I do not deserve. Join me in praising Him, Gentle Reader! May you know His generosity as I have!