Monday, December 26, 2011
Promised root of Jesse; seed of Abraham
Birthed and Everlasting; Eternal Light of life
Majesty, most Holy One; the Ruler over all --
Yet still, You are a Shepherd; a Watchmen of the sheep
Lovingly You scan the earth, for our souls do you keep.
But we will grasp at anything which makes us feel at rest
Our progeny, our social class; the trinkets we amass
So one he puffs and preens his brow, and catalogues his grace
While another is bowed in perpetual loss, his life in grief, displaced
But both are lost and wandering; impenitent and blind
Untethered; loosely held, and moored in happenstance
For our lots on earth are strangely dealt; and rarely can we see,
The gilded strands, His faithfulness, wielded in Sovereignty
But oh the seed that falls in him, returning all the yield
He may walk alone; no job, no home – a vagrant on this sod
For he now knows, his appraisal is not won by craft or by might
Not in his lacking, his abundance, nor his doing of the right
For a King came down bereft of His throne, Jesus, Immanuel
He, who will roll up the heavens as a garment, the skies as a scroll,
He bore the man’s shame, and bought also, pardon
Taking the Father’s wrath, and annulling our sin
So look at This Shepherd struck down, forsaken, Great Lover of Sheep,
Who died for your pardon, and your soul, longs to keep.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Saturday, December 17, 2011
The psalmist states it: "Until I came into the sanctuary of my God" (Ps. 73:17a). Yes, I've been there, countless times in my ruin, and that perception -- that knowing, has been gone. He says, "I was pierced within," and so have I been. Unspeakable pangs, and wild gushes have sent me back and scrambling.
I'm detailing for a friend, the passage of each church that has lent and supported me these years, and as I've wandered back, it has pried open these portals, and propped a remembrance on which I now lean.
These pages began in a descended silence, and they've taken me again, beyond that divide present in my mind. I wrote of a family that bred draft horses, while reminded of their church moved by oxen in the Vermont winter; of a train ride through a state entirely in bloom; of entering a room of strangers playing banjos and plucking tunes; my first kiss to Montana, and the ineffable feeling of "coming home." I've gone east and west, and still I'm not there. I've felt at once that I could "stay here forever," and yet I've moved along. I look through windows of home and pass there; it is not my own.
This heart! It wants to unfold; to unravel and be upheld, and despite my especially transient nature, my patchwork creation of unattainable home is only complete because I am not yet there. I piece together the sounds, fabrics, soils and scents of what it means to me, and I seek out those who might get me there, but it is not in them; any of it. Home is in heaven, where my Savior awaits me.
But oh how I falter here! Every path beckons, and the day's, how they taunt, but in my inner sanctum, I remember what He's taught: "Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him." (Jn. 14:23). Jesus' words have been terrifying to me of late, but just now today, I find in them, great comfort. I was made for Him, and my only stay will in Him, be found.
I am thankful that I am comprised of longings, and of yearnings so intense, that I must realize that I am eternally made. No created thing will satisfy, and all the darling pleasures that rightly enrapture, and bless my soul, are only, ever, meant to direct my endlessly wayfaring heart to Him.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Sunday, October 23, 2011
I lament the loss of fall, not for the loss of beauty -- which is real and true, but because I never got to know her this year. I've been in limbo, staying in another's house, and it seems my survival mode has superceded my real love, and need of the changing seasons.
Friday at work we were informed that one of our co-workers was killed in a car accident. She was a single mom with three kids. I've spent the weekend reeling in this passing time, and savoring what's left with my dear grandparents.
It's a phenomenon to us humans, that in our attempts to live more fully, we often forget for what we're living. We become sidetracked with any and every number of distracting cares and burdens. I hate the sobriety that is due me, and inevitably comes at these times, but I need it. I come again to Ecclesiastes 7:2 "It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, because that is the end of every man, and the living takes it to heart."
My faith eyes have been so very dim, and as Isaac, I can hardly distinguish what and who is before me. With these fleeting realities, I need grace, and I beckon for it for any who may read this as well... I miss you all.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
arching, careening on paths unborn
scribbling on pages about my mind
unable to compose the forms of lines
endless days of searching
spent on gazes too long
the skyline's endless arching
my lostness in the throng
I am back now to the floor
roving through the store --
house of collected observation
gazing splendor, desired culmination
trimming hopes, and subduing ill
while bending down, remaining still
let it come to pass -- this all,
the predetermined path, a call
for in it I will walk as such
loving nothing half as much
As the discovery made those days ago--
as I recall the things I know;
vapor passes and burns away
as with the dawning of a day
and I am such with life and breath
condense me to great spring rain
that a passing mist would give great gain
and the withering grass preserved ere long
as the fading mist rises in a song
Clumsy words, and faltering steps
I am a particle, composing at best--
Little vain arrangements of all that I hope
and wishing right now they be lifted to float
For there is such a push that in them I feel
and without You, I descend, plummet-- I reel
Grant what is best, for I see only shadows
and the shading of all that has risen, then fallow
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
that strives against a gracious Hand --
Who carves a path that he can own
and blazes a trail to walk on alone.
His mind becomes dull, and futile at best --
he shuns what is known, and fills in the rest
A chink lies exposed, is breeched, and then grows
A hungry hollow; an insatiable foe
If only we knew, and could see all along
The things that appeal are often so wrong;
But they seize and trick, and we are deceived,
and barter what's right, for what we perceive.
But in comes grace when we're losing our way,
and out of the darkness opens full day --
Lies are exposed, and true love revealed,
and those little desires lose their appeal
For what can compare to heaven come down;
eternity near, sin's grip loosed and unbound?
Nothing compares, and I implore you this day;
Be warned, be saved, return to the way --
His ways are pleasant, His paths full of peace,
and momentary holds in Him will find release.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
The steep hillside was carved and soft. There were rutted pathways running parallel along the slope, and scattered in these waving lines were women and men with old, broad-brimmed hats and flapping garments. The weather was as I picture Ireland, and it seems that was why each person was scuttling along with a perceptible haste. Each woman seemed to possess a handful of flowers, and it was obvious a funeral was to be had.
Juxtaposed in this little reverie came the thought of an old-known soul. He lost his way a bit back, and has since destructively made his way through woman after woman in hopes of re-collecting his spilled hope. I know not whether the funeral was for this man, or some other unrelated. I woke stirred, and laid there for quite some time considering this crooked sphere upon which we've all landed.
A friend spoke last night out of Zechariah 4:10, which says "despise not the day of small things." I ate those words, and apparently as I slept, they were digested into a great, sobering mass of nutrement.
Our lives consist of "small days," and while my eyes perceive my days as most insignificant, this is not so. Everything great comes first in small, seemingly unrelated spasms of hope, and if we hold out long enough, temples are built, great evils collide, and great good is wrought. I want to know this; to press it in and down, and birth it daily in my life. I desire this with every drifting tendril of my fraying soul, and I desire this for all.
I decided last week to forego my grad school ambitions, and take to the relishing of my small days. I am hoping to embark on a little bit of a writing adventure. Thanks to my wonderfully encouraging friends, and the recommendation long ago from Deb Cory, I will be endeavoring to record a memoir of sorts, detailing some of the cracked paths that have brought me here. I think of nothing but words, Him, His Creation, people, and sewing these together in some redeeming work of His love. I know not the shape, length, or gravity of such a foolish endeavor, but I can't think of anything more impractical to which I'd pour out my life! I thought I'd share this with you all...
Saturday, July 23, 2011
I'd like to call the winter in, and bolt the summer out,
but the season it grows fervent still, and leaves fall--
their sun-scorched boughs hang languid long
and I am about them, with a sweaty brow
I have the urge for going, and I play these songs
to subdue their call -- for frosty mornings, snow
and all, that accompanies the shifting tide --
the turning times, and the death that brings forth life
I awoke today and found the frost perched on the town
It hovered in a frozen sky, then it gobbled summer down
When the sun turns traitor cold
And all the trees are shivering in a naked row
I get the urge for going but I never seem to go
I get the urge for going
When the meadow grass is turning brown
Summertime is falling down and winter's closing in
I had me a man in summertime
He had summer-colored skin
and not another girl in town
My darling's heart could win
But when the leaves fell on the ground, and
Bully winds came around, pushed them face down in the snow
He got the urge for going
and I had to let him go
Now the warriors of winter they gave a cold triumphant shout
and all that stays is fying, all that lives is getting out
See the geese in chevron flight flapping and a-racing on before the snow
They've got the urge for going, and they've got the wings so they can go
I'll play the fire with kindling now, I'll pull the blankets up to my chin
I'll lock the vagrant winter out and bolt my wandering in
I'd like to call back summertime and have her stay for just another month or so
But she's got the urge for going and I guess she'll have to go
She gets the urge for going when the meadow grass is turning brown
and all her empire's falling down.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
As paper gives when wet, this weight has slipped and split, and as gems are buried in veins of earth and rock, so these jewels have been tucked in me unaware. Pain has been seeping and spreading, and with it, my mind has darted and latched onto fear and anxiety. Couple pain with years of waiting, and little revelation, and you've got yourself despair soup with little prep. I forget how guarded I must be, and last week, that figurative stake that'd been driving into my spine suddenly brought life, and with it, the realization that the Lord was so gracious to press me so...
I'd begun listening to sermons on pain, suffering, and the discipline of the Lord, and as those choice words landed and lodged in my heart, my soul began to be restored. Hebrews 12 was the text for the three sermons, and those known texts became so beautiful and dread, that I had to stop, often. It is great shame that such time is wasted in believing lies. Unfortunately, greater shame comes from the actions that flow from our cracked perspectives... Nevertheless, grace shows us a better way, and enables us to turn and walk upon it.
Grief, sorrow, and loss seem never to stay at their sequestered lots. They lament, droop, and come out to browse all those around them. The browsing could be enough, but this soul voyeurism is treachery, and treason is trailing right behind. Sorrow tempts and assails us with irrationality, and it is brittle ground upon which to stand and assess the God of our circumstances. Undoubtedly it is vexing to consider the seemingly random events that daily unfold all about us, and indeed, this is precisely why Truth must be the filter through which we view everything, and especially in our vulnerability.
It seems we like formulas, and for this reason, our looking onto the lives of other's tricks us unknowingly, and assessments are formed that become to us as solid as stone. Little doubts take root, which began as imprints -- like crow's feet on sand -- and in little time, these sprouts sprawl, and the dropped seeds divert the streams which contain life. The living Word finds little unoccupied territory, and thus the Truth is squelched and choked, and finds soil only where lies have not yet prospered.
To be continued...
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
as lightning flashes and thunder claps
Hushed aspens quake at the eve's prelude
And wind lifts the weather to suit the mood
Breezes catch blooms tossed by the trees
And place them about the path and my feet
The crickets glad choir reminds of a noise;
Whiteness as silence with fullness of voice
The oak trees hang, and touch down on ends;
Their long arms flex, and sway when they bend.
Small observations; life infused at the core
One lie replaced, and the truth to restore
Silence then breaks down the drone of the day;
It whispers and hems the tatters and fray
It leads me to stillness apart from mere rest
It moores and it anchors, it hangs and it tests
For truth then is seen, when activity is nil
And the eyes of the One upon me are still
No variation, no shadow in Him; all Light --
His blaze breaks my mind; terrorizes my nights,
Until I turn, His justice must be satisfied,
For a sinner as I looks only to be gratified --
Until His grace breaks open the sod,
Lands living seeds which no man can trod.
I am doomed but by what He brought --
Full grace and truth, no more the onslought
Of a prisoner's wage and a bastard's lot,
But now the free passage of the Son He begot.
I stand in this grace, as only by Him,
Rejoicing that I too can be free from my sin.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
I've been giving this much thought, because, while I've always felt this to some extent, it seemed different before. Perhaps, at this point in my life I am satisfied with the relationships I already have, and I'm not looking for clumps more. Perhaps I've frittered away so much of life in socializing that I'm tired of it comprising such time -- maybe I'm getting old -- but one thing is sure: I'm not satisfying the desires of others, and I am quite frustrated.
I write this all because I really am desiring some feedback. I need not consolation if chastisement is due, and if anyone has some life to give me, I invite you to do so. I hope you are all well as summer makes her full approach in every corner of the northern hemisphere.
Monday, June 20, 2011
"I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in compassion, and I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. Then you will know the Lord. " 2:19
"Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king; and they will come in trembling to the Lord and to His goodness in the last days." 3:5
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge..." 4:6
"and they have played the harlot, departing from their God" 4:12
"so the people without understanding are ruined." 4:14
"Their deeds will not allow them to return to their God. For a spirit of harlotry is within them, and they do not know the Lord." 5:4
"I will go away and return to My place until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face; in their affliction they will earnestly seek Me." 5:15
"Come, let us return to the Lord. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, that we may live before Him. So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; and He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth." 6:2-3.
"For your (MY) loyalty is like a morning cloud and like the dew which goes away early." 6:4
"and the judgments on you are like the light that goes forth. For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings."
"Yet they have not returned to the Lord their God, nor have they sought Him." 7:10
"and they do not cry to Me from their heart..." 7:14
"they turn, but not upward..." 7:16
"though I wrote for him ten thousand precepts of My Law, they are regarded as a strange thing." 8:12
"Sow with a view to righteousness, reap in accordance with kindness; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord until He comes to rain righteousness on you." 10:12
"I led them with cords of a man, with bonds of love, and I became to them as one who lifts the yoke from their laws; and I bend down and fed them." 11:4
"...My heart is turned over within Me, all My compassions are kindled." 11: 8
"For I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath." 11:9
"Therefore, return to your God observe kindness and justice, and wait for your God continually." 12:6
"Yet I have been the Lord you God since the land of Egypt; and you were not to know any god except Me, for there is no savior besides Me. I cared for you in the wilderness, in the land of drought. As they had their pasture, they became satisfied, and being satisfied their heart became proud, therefore they forgot Me." 13:4-6
"Return, O Israel to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled because of you iniquity. Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to Him, "take away iniquity and receive us graciously, that we may present the fruit of our lips." 14:2
"For in You the orphan finds mercy" 14:3
"I will love them freely" 14:4
"His shoots will sprout, and his beauty will be like the olive tree and his fragrance like the cedars of Lebanon. Those who live in his shadow will again raise grain, and they will blossom like the vine, His renown will be like the wine of Lebanon." 14:6
"Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoeveris discerning, let him know them. For the ways of the Lord are right, and the righteous will walk in them, but transgressors will stumble in them." 14:9
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
I am amazed at how quickly the mind forgets what it knows, and the heart forgets what it loves. Days slip and sulk in their folly until something triggers reality back to the spirit and a prodigious cascade of lost time spills out onto a sloppy canvas of celebration.
I shed tears at strange times. I am struck straight by the sad beauty of humanity, and a few days back as I walked the block, I encountered a lone woman retrieving the mail with her cat. Her hair was managed, and her clothing appropriate, but all over her countenance was silence speaking of spilled life, and confused loss in passing years. So much pain, so much loss, and now -- with a few houseplants, a rusty gate, preoccupied children and surly grand's, the woman holds in her heart those last morsels of what was, and trades the current reality for a daily spin through her memories, fearful of death and disgusted with life.
Joan Baez's song rolls again through my mind as I think of this life, and how wearying it is. There's simply no way around it. Squealing babies are born on the grief of pallbearers shirttails, as no time seems to elapse in the season switches, and the mourner's cries. Greatest joy is embroidered in the threadbare cloth of seaping sorrow, and it is only by grace that we might see the glory in any of it at all.
I got a little turned around on my walk after I saw the lone woman, and by the time I returned, my back was completely aflame. I laid down and cried. I wretched about for comfort and began to sputter and spit my needs to God. With a gracious response, the words of that mornings reading came: "casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you." Smeared requests lifted from my lips, and all those crowding cares were dismantled and seperately sent up to my Maker. The thought that the one who made me, and who upholds this wild world cares for me was almost too much.
I laid down that night to realize that the stacking cares had again surrounded me. I'd forgotten what had earlier soothed me, and I took to rooting through my memory for what had seemed so right. I remembered feeling like I had backed myself into a shelter, as if on my side -- lying down. The Presence enveloped me with a great yellow soothing, and I was drawn under a canopy, functioning as the world's umbrella. The fullness of the earlier verse appeared in my mind: "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you at the proper time. . . Casting all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:6-7.
The sweetest injection of joy and peace came to me as I slipped into night. That mighty hand of God, which provides grace to know, love, enjoy, perceive, understand, live, move and have my being -- that Mighty hand provides my place of rest. Granted, it is the most obvious place for the creature to be, but how oft are we otherwise, and inviting of His opposition? Dear ones, recall with me those sweet times at His feet, when you saw Him as He is, and you as you are, and that just, righteous, mighty, omnipotent hand led you into His presence, and thus into worship. Please, lay aside any encumbrance, and all the sins that so easily ensnare, and run with me this race marked for us. Only He can pull us down, and only He can raise us up.
I cannot speak of the benefits wrought to my soul, for they are the ineffable glories known to a dead heart made alive, but I will spend my days trying, and hope that some souls might furthered in this process as well. It really is a wonder that a Holy God could not only have, and execute a plan of Redemption, but also, as He exacts every detail in this restorative process, He takes the praise of a little sinful creature and transmits their sullied conscience with His Son's final cry, creating a raining crescendo, that falls unstoppably upon His Majesty. Oh to grace, how great a debtor, daily I'm constrained to thee...
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
I met a man today whose air was 1951, and whose countenance breathed dignified humility. He was handsome, with unaverted, aqua eyes. There are men who use the depths behind those globes to captivate and seize women, but this man was not so. His eyes engaged -- but as they were designed! I was startled by the direct simplicity he communicated, and the purity of his conduct and conversation. He was in his military attire, and I learned he was an army chaplain returned from Afghanistan and had a hankering for some lamb. I was blessed to serve him. Our brief encounter tripped me to my humble posterity, and the imagined rooms in my dear loved one's lives. My great grandma Flossy McNulty was a stern Irish woman who had birthed five girls under the age of six when her husband bled to death in her arms. She raised my grandma and her sisters in real poverty, and with a tenacity that embosses these memories I've never had. My grandma has spoken of the little apartment that housed the six females, and that the littlest one slept on top of a cabinet, as there was no other space for her tiny body. They baked breads and pies to sell, and after many an obstacle, they each grew up, and out of that life, and into more sorrows that were wrapped in the joy of expectation.
My grandma inspires me, to say the least, but I've not always felt this way towards her. She's been prickly most of my life, and has offered encouragements in the form of word slaps; she's been removed, distant, aloof. Much has changed in the past few years. We write letters to one another, and as yesterday was her 85th birthday, my heart clenches to think of an empty mailbox. She opens every letter with "Hello beautiful," and concludes with an Irish poem or jingle she thinks I'll like. Our discourse is always about the seasons, fields, wildflowers, recipes, or the animals she's seen on their daily rides. She is enamored with the Potter County beauty that has held her all her life, and while few would perceive her beauty, depth, and love, I'm struck by her. It's a wonder I can think of little more than paisley earth tone prints, barefooted children, canned pears, or a ham and leek "supper" known only to a few. I am thankful for the daughter she had who birthed me, and for the simple, frugal ways I've only known by which to live.
Shame has long-tossed and furled itself around my life regarding my family. Those tawdry old taunts are growing dim though, as the banner of love spreads back out on my simple Pennsylvania heritage. I dug through the dumpster tonight with a frenetic zeal, as I rediscovered the origin of my frugality, and the delight that must have buoyed those women when beauty and hope was not waving itself about. I see my Grammies doilies on old tables, frayed fringes of her exhausted little pants, and the sweet wrinkles that are set upon a face as regal as marble, and as simple as cotton. She'll never read this post, and I'm a little glad; it's almost shameful for us to enjoy the things housed in my musing memories. I move along to the basslines that would stir her, and as she relishes a polka, I am lulled by lifted guitar glides, fiddle slides, and the cherry pairing of undulating bass and creamed vocals. I am full, and I just had to share with you all.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
I just dozed some, and in my half sleep I slipped into a most delightful reverie. I thought on one of my favorite souls, and our first mingling together. The little pumpkin was nine when we were entwined, and in the ensuing months, I saw the life flight of a child's soul believed in, loved on, and lifted up, and out of our little, brittle world. We were driving home one night when she unrolled the window, smiled mischievously in my direction, and yelled to all the passerbys. Her liberty startled her mind, and with a blushing shame, she waved at those whose attention she caught. I laughed, smiled deeply, and wondered how much love my heart could bear without bursting. She grabbed my hand as we rolled down the canyon, and I thought much of childhood as I watched this little person grow. Straddling the desire to be older, and the wonder she was able to embrace and enjoy as a child, it seemed she viewed me with a confusion that beckoned an answer. She saw how I too could feel the ticklish tremors of life lived here, and how I could also be 26. I had no answer, and we just stared and smiled, while a chord as thick as taffy tightened around us. Our lives parted some time ago and few words have given voice to the sweetness experienced over that year. When I saw her last November, her little fingers hesitantly reached out across a nearly two-year silence, and clasped what might well have been my entire being.
These snippets are not unrelated -- at least in my mind -- and I hope they might be brought to you all somehow. Let's braid these three together: we have the short story, the call in Thessalonians to a simple life, and the precious, childlike love with my little friend.
Various offshoots of these themes have plagued me this year as I perceive subtle contradictions to abound regarding the country behind that "door" to the other world. The gospel I know speaks of the least being the greatest, and the first -- last, but as I've lived more, I've come to love less. I've no accolades to list about my life, and while Scripture condemns this, Christian culture seems promote it, and so I flounder. I've been making choices for my life according to what seemed most "noble" for this cause of Christ, and while I love and adore all people of this world, I know not where or why I'm proceeding as I have. I've been pressed and pushed, and ashamed to delight so deeply in pie-baking, hammocks, seeds, and simplicity. I've sought to seek the "greater" things, and with this I've adopted a shame and condemnation I simply cannot shake. My ambition's are not as all the other folks at my school, and just this week I accepted this.
I drank 1 Thes. 4:11's powerful tonic, and with an abandon I've missed, I plucked all the little wildflowers from about the roadside and skipped in my soul. Scripture says that I am to make it my ambition lead a quiet life and to work with my own hands... I can do this, for I was created for it. I am to live simply as I was designed, and as we are further implored throughout the whole of Scripture, I am to LOVE others. Greatness often follows a love of goodness, and so instead of seeking greatness, I will take again to delighting in Him who is goodness complete.
As for my little friend, it goes like this: our little isolated encounters speak to me of my true country, and the exchanges present there. They speak of a freedom and controlled wrecklessness to love uncovered, and with the hesitancy present here to cover and hide from the other. There is a smiling exposure and delight, and a mingling of souls present seldom in our lives and homes.
These three profundities (they are such to me) have convinced me of the essence of the life I am called to live. I have been wooed and lulled into a love relationship with a living God, wherein the treasures of heaven have been offered to my feeble heart through His word, and communicated [delightfully] daily through His Creation and people. Because of this love, I am compelled to love as well, and with an abandon present as my heart is forever held and protected in Jesus. This love drives me to the things He has given me to love, and because of His love for me, and my love for Him, the vaccuum that is a life without Him, is filled, and unknowable joy is given to do the simple tasks of this earth with -- and for, others. I may stay in Columbia, SC, rock on to Niger --or return to PA, but if I am delighting in my God, I am quite positive that He will bring all the good works out of my life without my even considering them! Hallelujah -- I am free.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Friday, May 20, 2011
It seems I can become enamored with anything that inspires, and thus, the quasi ghettoes and racial blends of this place draw and keep me still. I spin into such anomalies, and study them until I am able to trace eternity therein. I am consistently struck by sorrow, and the untamed driftings of humanity. It seems they are set always upon the foreground of harmony and order, and I am ever-stunned by the paradoxes that are wed in every scenario of this life.
Evermore, I perceive the proclivity in myself to slip in this sorrow, and akin to my kind, I allow lies to burrow and attach themselves in the created crevices where hopes oozed and evaporated in their want of expression and consummation. The fight is fierce, and this dogged youthfulness rises up and attacks despair, while being knocked down with the same sort of bullheaded tenacity characteristic of youth. I am aging though, and it seems disappointment, sorrow, and despair ought not malign me with such a ferocity as they do, and yet I find myself kicked by them, and as inspiration would have it, I am drawn in, and held here...
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Further down in Romans 8 we read, "In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." I say thank you, Lord, for I know not even what presses me down, and know that only You will raise me up.
My dad wrote an email yesterday on the day of his 32nd wedding anniversary. He spoke of those years ago, and how he could have never imagined what would have come out of their union. He spoke of time's fleeting, and how he could see that he'd aged, but he couldn't really recall when it'd happened, or even what he used to look like. It was so very beautiful to me, and taking it all to heart, I ask my heavenly Father what it is He'd have me to do while sojourning briefly on this earth. This theme leads me to Moses...
I visit psalm 90 often, and it's lessons always reach me in my throat. I am likened to the withering grass, a three hour watch in the night, and all my finished years are exhaled in a sigh... My life passes as dandelion seeds in the breeze, and if fortunate, some love may linger as perfume on one's sleeve. I am a vapor and I live as if an eternity. It is toilsome to consider, and yet the answer is simple: "Let Your work appear to Your servants and Your majesty to their children. Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; and confirm for us the work of our hands; Yes confirm the work of our hands." (vs. 16, 17).
Very little matters but a clearer picture of this. The present, with all its claims and boastings, too will pass away -- and so very quickly! In every sphere we seem to live out of what we do, and accomplish, instead of who we are. We've abandoned the unseen, and set up camp by sight. I spend more time pining over what I don't know, instead of doing what I do. I forget that when I don't know the big picture, I am to simply do the next thing. Spring has never not followed winter, and as surely as unseen life pushes through frozen ground, so too will my life continue to sprout and grow in the care of a benevolent and loving Creator. So, like Moses, I ask the Lord to "teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom." (Vs. 12).
Monday, May 2, 2011
Sunday, May 1, 2011
I grew up on this song, and when I stumbled upon it tonight I just had to post it. Three greats here, only perhaps in a questionable fashion era... Nevertheless...
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Monday, April 18, 2011
I've not been so consistently cognizant of this theme since I made the transition to follow Jesus, and the lessons provided to teach me have been most humbling and painful. It is, perhaps, at these times when the chasm is most obviously seen, existing between my crazy soul, and God's extravagant grace. It is truly now when all surrounding my existence seems superfluous and base, and my desire to go and be free of all this is most exacerbated.
I was reminded that the conversion of a man is depicted when "wisdom enters his heart," and, thus makes his abode therein. Wisdom blows about this world as seeds cast in wind, and seldom do they find lodging in the heart of men. Wisdom's seed, when allowed to root and grow, not only make a man wise to life, but also to death. Wisdom enters a man and shows evil in seeming good, and brings to light good in pervading evil. The Spirit of God, when permitted to rule the spirit of man through the ministry of this Word, will gird and guide this vessel to the truest paths of peace and security, but it is our duty to trust that what He says is for our good, and that only in Him, and His ways will we find rest for our souls. No other path will lead us to life, and no other Law can bring us liberty.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
I recalled with a painful intensity, the outstretched allure in taking one's life. Mounting cares surround and taunt, and having no lift, they pile until they suffocate and whelm. My heart bunched and slid as slipping sod, and I took to the floor while I thought on this a spell. It became strangely familiar to wish for an end to this all, and with an unfurled spirit, I laid out my cares.
At times like these it seems my only posture is a huddle, and it is here that I burrow deepest for refuge. Refuge. Shelter. Security. Peace. Do you have this?
I realized I was transported to New Zealand yesterday because it was then that my cares had so compounded that my spirit broke, and my soul was first restored. My friend had taken his life just before my departure, and my plan was to do the same if I didn't uncover the answers to my soul. The intensity of his newly exhausted life, my questions, and the vastness of a completely unknown land precipated all that lead me to my Refuge.
It seemed as if I'd been trying to park my soul in every other created thing, and only -- always, to alternately intensify my need, exacerbate my misery, and falsely pacify my need for something greater--something not of this world. This is common to man, as our hearts are consistent only in their deceptions, and their deluded assertions insist that this next thing will satisfy; a tweaked circumstance, a handsome man, the adoration of the masses, the gaze of passerby's -- you fill in the gaps with your hearts desires, and remind yourself of the time your wishes were granted, and all your thirsts were quenched.
Have you recalled that time? It never has been, and will never be while your search is of this earth. We've been given an eye to see what's beyond this all, but the sight herein is granted only by faith. Nothing of this world has ever, or will ever lastingly quell the insatiably bottomless pit of your heart. Again, our eternal souls were made for more, and their habitation and refuge are to be found in an eternal God.
My heart smiled upon this truth as I again began lifting each care unto Him. I thought of how faulty every other structure is in securing an eternal soul, and as I sat crouched, I contemplated the glory that is housed in the heart that has peace with God.
Who can stand before God? Five moments of silence magnify the riots that rage within us, and I propose that if we were to listen to the treasonous utterances of our crooked vessels, we'd be horrified to consider actually standing before a holy God. Tell me, is there not lust, hatred, greed, pride, and wickedness enough to press you down? Do these things not demand of you your vitality, vigor, life, and peace, and give -- in exchange, an unsatisfied desire for more, a guilt that never flees, and a base pattern of existence that would bring shame to the most proud? I pray that it would, and that this kindness would bring you low to take you high. There is another way, and wisdom says that "her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace" (Prov. 3:17). I do not tout religion, for her trappings are just as the bridle of sin, but I show you a better way; a way unfettered and free.
No one can stand before His Maker without a covering for His sins, and I ask you all this day, wherein do you find that refuge?
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary ’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.
Grace, grace, God's grace,
[Marvelous grace, infinite grace.]
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within,
Grace, grace, God's grace.
[Marvelous grace, infinite grace.]
Grace that is greater than all our sin.
Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross."
for from its station I find relief --
And carry no more, my sin and shame,
but rest them on His finished claims.
My sins they swallow, whelm, and gale,
but Christ He rose, and tore the veil.
My entrance now is set and sure,
and leaves my cowering here no more.
His love it draws, and restrains my heart;
it straightens every crooked part,
and since now only my dim eyes see
the mercy of His majesty,
I am drawn and betwixt no two,
for His goodness He has shown anew.
of covenant mercy I sing,
nor fear with Thy righteousness on,
my person and offering 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." Anon.
Monday, March 7, 2011
I've made it thirty minutes in my study, and the anxiety-laden post is replaced now with the converse answer of His Spirit's presence. "All Creatures of our God and King" just finished, and now "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" is playing, and as that blessed bird of prey is suspended and dangled in the thermals of the day, so is my soul, when filled with His Spirit. "He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark" (Ps. 91:4).
A most precious gift; equally supplied, unable to be denied, and ever so swift in stride. My thoughts have wisked through this - and grace, and I am perched somewhere - clinging to evaporating particles I'd hoped to redeem. More time will not be given, and so I cry with Moses "teach us to number our days that we may present to you a heart of wisdom" (Ps. 90:12). I scratch down these words when I need to be studying syntax, haven't returned phone calls from last week, and straddle mental situations beckoning what I've not offered to give. How did my Lord deal with people, passing days, manipulation; those touching only the fringe of His garment? His food was to do the will of the Father and to accomplish His work, and considering He never sinned, I am perplexed at how I am to emulate His example. I vacillate, and end so often in pleasing people -- which was not as my Lord would do... Oh for grace to please my Lord, and Him alone.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Thursday, February 17, 2011
The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell
The guilty pair, bowed down with care
God gave His Son to win
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from his sin
When years of time shall pass away
and earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
when men, who here refuse to pray,
on rocks and hills, and mountains call,
God's love so sure shall still endure,
all measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam's race--
the saints' and angels' song.
Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky
Oh love of God! How rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
the saints' and angels' song
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
I am always looking for ways of condensing that which is verbose and exhaustive in my mind, but rarely do I find avenues for treading as such. I still cannot fathom how perfect Light came to earth -- to save it -- and took on death, sin, and darkness to absorb the wrath which was rightly due me... I cannot understand this, but oh how I love it!
We were discussing copular verbs yesterday in class, and how they must always be followed by the object which they are linking to the subject. In jest, a student asked about the sentence "I AM," and with all due reverence (this was my perception), a stifled laugh, and silence, I believe we all sat in awe in our limited understanding of English Syntax, the rules of language, nature, and justice -- to consider in a flash He who came -- I AM -- self-existing, without beginning, end, ruler of all, Immanuel, God with us --
This statement could unroll a scroll I could not fill if all my words poured upon it, and my tongue unfastened forever in praise -- these two words are the summation of Creation, and all things seen and unseen, and I tremble to consider my finite understanding of such immeasurably glorious truths. I cannot consider this cruel and beautiful reality and leave unchanged. Hypocrisy would be to behold such radiance and allow none of it to be infused into my hideous, base, and broken humanity. Such dualities are the expression of heaven, and I tremble that such knowledge -- too wonderful for me -- is available, and freely given, without charge, without limit, and now, always, forever...
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Last week I drove over the dam, only to find the moon suspended like a scoop of lemon, fading into a melted hue of pale. Her shape was strange, and her luster was muddled and eery as it spilled onto the reflected water. She seemed odd and comforting, but nothing more as I drove along.
The next night I left work vexed, and went again looking for the moon. The speckled vault was bent and boundless overhead, but that lustrous sliver was tucked away, and not even the denim sky had stains or splashes as a remnant of her light. I knew she must be there, I just could not see her.
Each day hereafter has been a fold in this patterned analogy, and the afterglow of night's lessons are gilding the fleeting moments that tend to drop in loss at the parting of a day.
The night after I couldn't find the moon, I was driving through the city at dusk. I imagined all of the cars, buildings, trees, and asphalt as one dimensional, and at once, in Light, all was rolled up, blazed, and gone. Suspended were the souls, and that Ineffable, Effulgent, Radiance that will dissolve the contents of the universe in a word--was upon us all.
My mind untucked the moon, and while her evasive stunts had left her unseen, her presence was sure. Analogies began sifting, and the words "all the vain things that charm me most" rolled down my mind and out my eyes at the thought of it all. All which I am to live for, is that which I cannot see, and as sure and faithful as the moon, sun, stars, and sky are to me, they too will be removed and cast aside. It is beyond them where truth lies, and they are the simple signposts intended to direct my faith eyes to the unchanging, unseen, and immutable truths that uphold this crazy world.
I hearken to you reader, for your soul, like mine--is daily given to something; be it the fleeting distractions that affix innocently to our eternal souls, or the indestructible and incorruptible that will lead us blameless into glory; at all times we are laying foundation for something. Faith is to give sight while on this sod, and her clarity dependently waxes and wanes as our moments unfold in the expression of our souls. There is so much more to this, but I am late for work... Richest blessings to all...
"Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality." (1 Cor. 15:51-54).
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
George Winston is a native Montanan, and this song is on his "Montana, a Love Story" album. I have been drawn by its solemnity and simplicity, and it seems to speak as deeply to sorrow as to joy. I hope it fills you some.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
My heart has been so hungry, and dear reader, I confess my hunger has not been for God. The past weeks have landed me in sundry lots of hardened plots, denoted as the path of destruction. My mind has been diverted in its cause, and in every way its hunger has grown insatiable for every unwholesome vice known to my youthful state. "Thou hast made me possess the sins of my youth" has been swirling through my mind, and with the passing days, I've sunk into further despondency and divertedness.
I slip away at these times, and I suppose I am like every sin-sick pilgrim to have walked this sod. We are told that Adam and Eve, after sinning, procured leaves to hide their nakedness, and I too, when ensnared in the unholy sins of my nature, weave together the textiles of my choosing, and arrange them "artfully" to conceal my shame.
Unfortunately I believe this arranging is more accurately called justification, and my concealment is nothing more than my avoidance in approaching Him who sees all. Verily, I say this is as rank, base, and pitiful as it gets, and yet I compelled to speak of it, for I believe this theme is one most common to man, and yet lies shrouded in the darkness of our silent hearts. We remain hushed about the plight which knocks and keeps us all down, and in our cowering we look to everything but Him -- who is our only hope -- now, and for eternity.
I've been appalled to see the tenderized portions of my wicked and exposed heart. My flesh is never much progressed in its fallenness, but at these times, my hell-bent state depicts a reality of which I am not always as mindful. I want to say that I am thankful for this, but at present I am mortified and frightened by my wickedness.
I mean not to state my current posture as any more or less grotesque than it is, but to shed light on the blight that plagues and devastates the souls of men. My hand, while needing to reach itself out of its shame and into grace, has been withheld and kept back, and I fear some others have been here too.
It's been dawning in slivers of light, that my receiving of grace at this time seems most incomprehensible because my heart is cracked, dry, and dull in its receiving. I've desired to turn from God and into sin, and it seems impossible to receive grace when one is neither desirous or deserving of it, but this my friends, is the gospel. Romans 5:6 says, "For while we were still helpless, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly," and in vs. 8 "but God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Thanks be to God.
My soul is a yawning pit set on snapping its jaws on life, and clamping its teeth at God, but because of His Spirit in me, that cavern is being transformed from one degree of glory to another, and its chambers are being filled with the resonance of His grace. The sin of our members never slumbers, while we ourselves grow slack, and we are far more needy than any of us can fathom.
I know not why I speak this all to my shame, but am convinced of greater things, and thus am compelled to hang out the translucent fibers of my being. I wish always to unite hearts to one another and to Him, and so, reader, approach Him. However feeble or famished your state, go to Him. Speak to Him as your muttering heart fumbles and your sneaky snares beset you; speak to Him and beg Him for grace. He, unlike us is not surprised by our helpless and broken state, and again He -- not us, knows always that only He can provide our remedy in this awful fight against sin. Sever the root by feeding faith, and feed faith with the irresistible knowledge of God. (John Piper thoughts).
"Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16
Monday, January 24, 2011
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Friday, January 7, 2011
I revert to streets whose pitch rises and falls with the heaving earth beneath. Precious plump stones are broadcast accordingly, and the once straight lines of these passages dip and swell under the pressure and over the surging of gravity's expression. These roads reach upwards, and atop an old hill sits majesty donning her cathedral-cap.
The belfry kisses the day goodbye, while the days fading is braided with tolling tremors, and the advent of evening ushers the death of one, with the life of another.
I capitalize on the struck bell, and a day's noting of the slipping sands of time. Particular moments are secured to be recognized as time stands a little aloof; a hallmark is given to that spilled moment, forever abandoned to eternity.
I'm desperatly trying to abandon enigmas, but it seems truth is cloaked in color and clamor these days... Enter our pomegranates, plums, figs, and crushed grapes. I am hearing these clanging bells amidst a protesting pandemonium of splashed earth, and as a new day dawns, moments inch to the culmination of their proposed dawning.
I see these precious fruits, and consider their day of humble beginning. I am compelled to compare the kernel of man to the culmination of their kind. Their ripened hues are perfected in timely graces, and as the matured fruit deepens, so their glory and flavor is magnified.
Perhaps I feel I am always losing at some race I never entered, and yet I am compelled--thrashed--to participate most fully in this marked out course set for my life. I am likening us humans to ripe fruits, for I wonder how often we mature into that most satisfying, and determined stock for which our Creator destined us. I feel the nibs of the frost and daily stop short of His design. Reader, slough with me the superfluous words of my intended communication, and consider the core of your created prototype; are you living as the season intended, and [by God's grace] preparing to reap the bounties destined for harvest in your life? Is each bell's toll sounding forth on unregretted moments framed in your lifetime?
I am not, and thus, I stir us all to consider those sleeping boughs against our own dormant hearts... I pray something of this resounds...
Monday, January 3, 2011
I've landed myself in the belfry of my musings, and as each thought is concocted and crowned, the expanse of tolls pour forth as the burgeoning town at twilight. The rooftops are infused in ebbing afterlight and the radiant warmth of stored day, wherein the carillon of bells rolls forth from the spire, and reverberates on chords captive to human hearts. This repose is cast on dwindling days, and is as the draping of quantified quandaries realized.
Beauty has declared itself in variant shades of mellow, and each observation recalled is as blushing rouge dipped in dark cherry. Basslines have blended and become as brassy inlay on this evening scape of earth and fruit. My eyes blink merlot, and the warmth of this hue coupled with creations cap on the months of its maturation.
With words as filigree, and images as fabric, could you tell me reader, what lesson is intimated here to us?