31 May 2006

"Yet I Will Rejoice"

This is how to deal with God. Praise Him before you are delivered. Praise Him for what is coming. Adore Him for what He is going to do. I do not think there is a sweeter song in God's ear than the song of one who blesses Him for grace that has not yet been tasted, who blesses Him for answers that have not been received but are sure to come.

The praise for past gratitude is sweet, but even sweeter is the praise of full confidence that all will be well. Therefore, take down your harps from the willows and sing a song of Zion (Ps. 137:2,4). "Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls -- yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like hinds' feet, and He will make me to walk upon my high places" (Hab. 3:17-19).

Though you have no income to meet your needs and are brought to poverty's door, nonetheless, bless the Lord. His mighty providence cannot fail so long as one of His children needs to be provided for. Your song, while you are in distress, will be sweet music to God's ear.

Go in the name of God. Meet your difficulties calmly and fairly. Do not have any plans or tricks, just commit yourself to God. This is the way you may confidently find deliverance. If you can only trust and praise God, you will see marvelous things that will utterly astonish you.

- Charles Haddon Spurgeon

30 May 2006

2 Corinthians 4:7-16

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you. And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.

29 May 2006

This Body of Death

Carry it well and carry it all the time | Andrée Seu

Paul wrote of being afflicted, crushed, perplexed, struck down, and "always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies" (2 Corinthians 4:10).

I am carrying around death these days. I carried it to work today. I carried it into the shower, and off to bed. I want, with Paul, the moment-by-moment death working in me that allows Jesus' moment-by-moment life to shine.

Death comes in two varieties; take your pick. I'm familiar with the dull, half-conscious subsiding into a miserable fog. Better is the embracing of fresh death served up every moment. Or rather, fresh slaying—because this kind doesn't happen to one but is chosen.

It refuses all self-made refuges and self-anesthetizing (think of giving birth and passing up the epidural) because it desires death's lucidity. It asks, What would happen if this time I didn't weave a cocoon of numbness around myself? Will I die? (An interesting inquiry.) Jesus would have to do something, wouldn't He? This is virgin terrain for me.

What are "the sufferings of Christ" (2 Corinthians 1:5)? I submit, they are any sufferings of any kind that are suffered in Christ and not AWOL from Christ—whether their origin be persecution or personal folly.

Paul Simon sings of "50 ways to leave your lover." Let's posit ways to render a broken heart unprofitable:

Tactic No. 1 is sour grapes; tell yourself you haven't lost much. Diminish the other in spurned petulance. The gain is temporary relief from the unbearable; the casualty is truth. I'm resisting this, since it is not Christ's "carrying around death."

Tactic No. 2 is nursing hope when it is wiser to abandon hope. I choose to carry around death rather than ersatz life.

Tactic No. 3 is the acrid satisfaction of getting in the last word. I'm biting my tongue and carrying around death.

Tactic No. 4 is drugs, alcohol, and sleep. Not options for me.

Tactic No. 5 is fantasizing. "There is always something they prefer to . . . reality" (C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce). I say no to fantasy (20 times a day) and prefer to carry around death.

Tactic No. 6 is stoicism. Not allowed (Ephesians 4:32), since we are to make the head hard and the heart soft—rather than the other way around. The hard head says: "I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame" (Isaiah 50:7). The soft heart refuses to build bulwarks against future relationship hurts.

I'm watching my emotions carefully: Sad is OK; maudlin is not. By His grace we stay the course and "do not swerve to the right or to the left" (Proverbs 4:27). Constant communion with God avoids all 50 ways of flinching from sanctifying pain.

Carrying around death includes resisting the urge to talk too much. Beware of trying to get from people what you can only get from God. Your momentary indulgence will leave you feeling sullied, with your pain unabated. Keep grief clean. Remember too, even the friends who like you best spend no more than five minutes a day thinking of you. God thinks of you all the time; talk to Him.

Walking around with a hole in your heart is not something to be alarmed at, or dispatched at all costs. It feels similar to dieting pangs, and both are workable. (See, I'm writing an essay.) But suffering is a waste of pituitary secretions unless you suffer with Christ. "We felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead" (2 Corinthians 1:9).

I used to be a mystic in hermeneutics. I thought "always carrying in the body the death of Jesus" in 2 Corinthians 4 referred to my static positional status in Christ. I wasn't practicing daily dying but avoiding it like haggis. Now I'll own death, since Christ owned death for me, and we'll just see.

Today I read how Peter's mother-in-law had a high fever and Jesus took her hand and helped her up and she began to wait on Him (Mark 1:31). Jesus, please take me by the hand and heal me too, so that I can get up and serve You again.

28 May 2006

Consider the Heavens

One of my favorite pastimes (when I am home) is to sit in my backyard and watch the sun set. Because I live out in the country, there are fields as far as the eye can see that stretch out behind my house, meeting with a vast expanse of sky. I get the greatest pleasure just staring at the sky. Last night I watched the sun set, journal in hand, and stretched out on my driveway.

8:20 PM

Sitting on the driveway again to catch the last traces of sunlight. The sky is clear except for a few wispy clouds with traces of golden orange and pink around the edges. I love looking at the sky -- it's God's canvas on which He paints shadows and traces of His own beauty. As the sun sets deeper into the horizon, the outlines of the clouds blaze with striking color. Rays of pink shoot from behind the clouds that hug the horizon.

Watching the sun set reminded me of Psalm 8:3-4 --

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?

The sky is one of the most amazing (if not the most amazing) things God has ever created. It baffles me just to lay outside and stare at the heavens. Just think what Isaiah 34:4 will be like!

All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved and the sky rolled up like a scroll; all the starry host will fall like withered leaves from the vine, like shriveled figs from the fig tree.

27 May 2006

Prince Charmy

Taylor is really into this Disney princess thing. Everything is princess... and pink. Yesterday she was playing princess with me while Gracie napped. I sat on the couch writing in my journal and sipping my second glass of diet Dr. Pepper. Taylor walked up to me and placed a pink crown on my head, informing me I was Sleeping Beauty. Haha... I wished. Then I'd have an excuse to nap.

Five minutes later, Taylor told me, "Now you're Snow White... and you get Prince Charmy, okay?" I suppressed a loud laugh. "Where's Prince Charmy?" she asked.

"Umm..." I giggled. "He's standing next to that bookshelf." Taylor proceeded to talk to the invisible Prince Charmy and offer him some tea. I had such a hard time trying not to laugh too loud.

Another five minutes passed before Taylor informed me that (once again) my identity had changed.

"You're Belle now and you get the Beast."

"Oh great... can't I just keep Prince Charmy?"

"Noooo! Snow White has Prince Charmy and you're not Snow White anymore. You're Belle, and Belle gets the Beast!" Taylor stomped her foot.

"All right then..."

2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.

What I've been doing the past few days...

Yeah, I'm sure you really want to know.

Wednesday was back-to-back jobs (I'm working two this summer). Leave home at 7:30 AM, return around 10:30 PM. Looong day.

Thursday I met with the G sisters at church and we practiced our song -- it's sounding great! Home for two hours and lunch, then back up to the church to spend a few hours helping the G family label and case hundreds of Song of Solomon CDs in the media room. The girls and I went to another building on the church campus to help stuff thousands of bulletins for Sunday. Then back to the media room to help Mrs. G and William finish up the CDs. I had a lot of fun hanging around with them, even though they joked around about that being the last day I spent with them. "She's getting to know us too well," laughed Mrs. G, as I sat quietly casing CDs, chuckling to myself. Coming from a crazy family myself, hanging out with other families is nothing new for me. I enjoy just observing people -- especially families -- because you see more dimensions to people in a family context.

Friday was work again. I took the girls to the library and to run an errand at Wal-Mart for our outing. Left their house and went straight to a slumber party for my Awana girls at my friend Molly's house. It was very spiritually nourishing to talk with Molly and Lindy about the Lord. I enjoy the company of older godly women -- just sitting and listening to them, hearing how the Lord has worked in their lives, learning from their mistakes. It's such a blessing to have older sisters in Christ to talk to. Fell asleep around 4 AM on the floor while the girls were watching Phantom of the Opera. (I can fall asleep anywhere on anything at anytime through anything.) Woke up three hours later -- I can't sleep later than 7:30 AM no matter what time I go to bed -- and chatted some more before coming home to help Mama clean the house. I've been gone so much, I haven't had the time to help her. So that's what I'm about to go do... clean. Not my favorite pastime, but it makes Mama happy.

Tomorrow I want to go to the college student service and meet some new people. That will be fun.

He Will Carry Me

This has got to be one of my favorite songs ever -- I can't listen to this without crying (of course, I've become quite a basket-case over the past year) -- by Christian artist Mark Schultz. I really want to get some of his CDs... when I have the money. *sarcastic laugh*

He Will Carry Me

I call, You hear me.
I've lost it all
And it's more than I can bear;
I feel so empty.

Your strong, I'm weary.
I'm holding on ,
But I feel like giving in --
But still You're with me.

(Pre-chorus and Chorus)
And even though I'm walking
Through the valley of the shadow,
I will hold tight to the hand of Him
Whose love will comfort me --
And when my hope is gone,
And I've been wounded in the battle,
He is all the strength that I will ever need --
He will carry me.

I know I'm broken
But You alone
Can mend this heart of mine
Your always with me

And even though I'm walking
Through the valley of the shadow
I will hold tight to the hand of Him
Who's love will comfort me
And when my hope is gone
And I've been wounded in the battle
He is all the strength that I will ever need
He will carry me
He will carry me

And even though I feel so lonely,
Like I have never been before,
You never said it would be easy,
But You said You'd see me through the storm.

And even though I'm walking
Through the valley of the shadow,
I will hold tight to the hand of Him
Whose love will comfort me --
And when my hope is gone,
And I've been wounded in the battle,
He is all the strength that I will ever need --
He will carry me...
He will carry me...
He will carry me.

26 May 2006

Psalm 119:169-173

169 Let my cry come before You, O LORD;
Give me understanding
according to Your word.
170 Let my supplication come before You;
Deliver me
according to Your word.
171 My lips shall utter praise,
For You teach me Your statutes.
172 My tongue shall speak of Your word,
For all Your commandments are righteousness.
173 Let Your hand become my help,
For I have chosen Your precepts.

25 May 2006

Busy Bee

Yesterday was another long work day. Left home at 7:30 AM and didn't return until 10:00 PM. Working two part-time jobs will keep you busy! Mom has been on my case lately for "not taking care of myself." She tells me I am not immortal. That just busted my bubble. *laughs* I know what she's saying, but she also understands that I need to keep very busy.

Today, I'm going to hang out with the G sisters (yay!). We're going to practice our piece again, do some stuff in the tape ministry, help stuff church bulletins, etc. Tomorrow is work again, from 8 AM to 6 PM, then I head straight to a slumber party for my Awana girls. (I'm not expecting to sleep that night at all.) Then back home around 11 AM on Saturday -- will probably sleep the remainder of the day. Sunday is just church, since Awana is over for the school year, and I think I'll go to the evening service for college students and meet some new people (which is always fun).

Whoah, I need to stop blabbing and get ready to leave (again). If I'm not very present in the blogosphere, now you know why. Sarah doesn't call me Carey the Busy Bee for nothing!

24 May 2006

Proverbs 31 for Men

My pastor has been teaching on the Song of Solomon for the past two months and a few weeks ago, expounded verses 9 - 16 of chapter 5, calling it "the Proverbs 31 for men." Men, you just thought you got off easy. Nope. There's a passage for you too.
The Daughters of Jerusalem
9 What is your beloved
More than another beloved,
O fairest among women?
What is your beloved
More than another beloved,
That you so charge us?
The Shulamite
10 My beloved is white and ruddy,
Chief among ten thousand.
11 His head is like the finest gold;
His locks are wavy,
And black as a raven.
12 His eyes are like doves
By the rivers of waters,
Washed with milk,
And fitly set.
13 His cheeks are like a bed of spices,
Banks of scented herbs.
His lips are lilies,
Dripping liquid myrrh.
14 His hands are rods of gold
Set with beryl.
His body is carved ivory
Inlaid with sapphires.
15 His legs are pillars of marble
Set on bases of fine gold.
His countenance is like Lebanon,
Excellent as the cedars.
16 His mouth is most sweet,
Yes, he is altogether lovely.
This is my beloved,
And this is my friend,
O daughters of Jerusalem!

When I used to read this passage, I was lost. His eyes are like doves... washed in milk? What?? His legs are like marble pillars? Is she saying he is stocky? His countenance is excellent like trees? Is she saying his face is wooden? Of course, if you took this literally, this passage does seem a little bizarre, but after my pastor explained I was like... WOW. That is the best way I can say it... WOW.

I'm working from a few scribbly notes and mostly my memory, so this is all I've got for now until I can listen to the sermon again...

The daughters of Jerusalem (or the chorus, if you will -- a prevalent part in ancient drama) ask the Bride, "What is so special about this guy?"

Verse 10 In ancient Israel -- and even today -- the majority of people are olive complected with dark hair. Red-heads are not a common sight. To take this from a literal point of view, Solomon may have inherited his father's ruddiness, for David was described as "ruddy." To take this a step further, this man is rare. He stands out of the crowd -- he's one in a million (or in this case chief among ten thousand) -- he stands above the mediocrity of the day.

Verse 11 But I thought he was just established as ruddy? This verse -- if I recall correctly -- speaks about the man being a strong spiritual leader lead by God. I'm working from my scribbly notes in my notebook. Need to listen to that sermon over again.

Verse 12 He is gentle. The way he looks at his bride does not change. He is affectionate, kind, and tender towards this woman. His emotions are pure towards her -- he is constant.

Verse 15 He is a strong pillar in her life -- he is always doing his job -- honest, consistent, persistent

Verse 16 "This is my beloved and this is my friend." Not only is he her lover, but this man is her best friend. The Hebrew translates as "companion." She is proud to call him her friend.

That's all I have for the moment, folks. There was a bunch more, but I need to listen to the sermon again and take better notes. Of course, we can see who this "model man" reflects -- Christ -- our heavenly Bridegroom.

23 May 2006

Dangerous in Old Navy

Today was nice and relaxing -- something I almost never get anymore. I got out of the house for a couple of hours to run some errands and just happened to go into Old Navy. That is one store in which I could max out a credit card. I am dangerous in there. Did get a pair of khaki pants and a couple more t-shirts -- major staples of my wardrobe (khakis, jeans, t-shirts, flip-flops). I actually enjoy clothes shopping now. Since December of 2005, I've lost 35 pounds and three clothing sizes. Hurrah! Still got a ways to go, but slow and steady wins the race. Jer and I were looking at pictures of me from last year. It was encouraging to see the difference. Maybe I'll post the pictures. Nah... maybe not. I need to go do some sit-ups.

This is driving me crazy...

Attention, Bible scholars...

There is this quote I have been told is from Proverbs, but cannot find.

"The eyes are the windows to the heart."

I could not find it in Proverbs, so I looked in Ecclesiastes. Nada. Maybe this is in the Psalms? I've heard it more than once, but never been able to find its origin. A prize to whoever can find me the reference first -- or the origin of this saying.

Public Apology

The post "Family First" was unecessary and unwise for me to say in public. I've already deleted the post and apologized to Julia. My point is to apologize to all of you for parading some personal matters that should have stayed personal. Even though I had no intent of bashing anyone, that was very foolish of me to post something like that. I feel like I've had to frequently apologize for that big mouth of mine as of late. Sorry everyone.

22 May 2006

The P-31 Model

The P-31 Model

21 May 2006

For my Mommy

Mama, I'm sorry I didn't post this on Mother's Day, but I just wanted to declare my thanks to you in public. You have been the solid spiritual influence in my life -- something I can't thank you enough for. Thank you for training me, not only in the Word of God, but taking charge of my education and homeschooling me for twelve years. I know you sacrificed much to raise me and my brothers. Your sacrifice does not go unnoticed. Thank you for being my best friend, crying with me, laughing with me, and even getting into cat-fights with me. Thank you for exhorting me and pulling me aside when you see me faltering on the narrow path.

You didn't get the chance to be honored when I stubbornly refused to have a highschool graduation, so this is my feeble attempt to honor you before others. "I love you" doesn't quite do justice, so all I can say is that I hope to be such a strong and godly influence in my children's lives as you have been in mine. Thank you, Mama.

Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many daughters have done well,

But you excel them all.
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.

Proverbs 31:25-31

20 May 2006

Swing Blues

Last night was our Awana awards ceremony. I was planning to take Jer with me to go to a swing dance function at a Baptist church (yes, dancing at a Baptist church) after the ceremony. Mom said she didn't want me going without Jer as a "bodyguard," so I had to take him. I really wanted to bring him anyway because he's my best friend and I like "hanging out" with him.

After the ceremony I was looking forward to tearing up some dance floor when Jer announced that he wanted to go straight home and do Algebra homework. I couldn't go without him and obviously couldn't leave him, so I complied and took him home so he could do homework. Then of course he plays video games and finally does his Algebra homework around midnight... Humanly speaking, I should have been upset, but Ephesians 4:26 says not to "let the sun go down on your wrath." The sun had already set, so being mad at my brother was out of the question. *laughs* No, really, I wasn't. It had to have been the Lord. I used to really struggle with anger and bitterness, but the Lord has been so merciful to sanctify me. Hardly anything bothers me now, and I have my heavenly Father to praise for that.

Tonight we went to visit some long-time family friends for dinner and fellowship. Hannah, Grace, Miriam, and I did swing, cha-cha, waltz, polka, and rumba after dinner with plenty of laughs. Grace and Miriam are 9 and 7, so I can still pick them up and swing them around -- all those fancy swing moves. I tried to get Jeremy to come dance with us so he could learn some more moves, but he refused because it wasn't "cool" and dancing is "embarrassing." As it is said in Yiddish --

I did discover that this swing dance function I missed (at the Baptist church) happens twice a month, so the next one should be around June 9th. Jer said he'd go but won't dance with me -- he'll just stand in the background and chase away any guy who asks me to dance. Not much point in me going then, eh?

Questions to Put Forth

I should have explained a little more in the previous post "Daughters." This song -- of course -- is a secular take on fathers and daughters (duh). Let me pose some questions for discussion...

The first stanza (or verse) of the song does present a very interesting (and usually true) point -- something I will discuss -- is that a woman's initial perception of men comes from what she sees (or doesn't see) in her father.

Fathers, be good to your daughters -- Daughters will love like you do...

I would agree with Angie's (IBEX Scribe) comment for the previous post. Her situation with her father sounds rather similar to mine. For the Christian woman who hasn't had a great relationship with her earthly father it is harder to visualize a "good" relationship with a man, but for me this has only deepened my relationship with the Lord. I have to depend even more on my Heavenly Father.

You are the god and the weight of her world...

Any woman -- Christian or no -- who heavily depends on a man like this is in a very dangerous position. Women who think like this will be broken at some point. Men -- no matter how good they are -- are still sinners, and to put them on such a pedestal will eventually bring a crushing blow. The Lord Jesus Christ -- the only perfect Man -- is the one who should be the God and weight of our world.

According to the chorus, daughters love like their fathers do. This would pose a question of
how much does your environment affect you? Also, refer to Kelly Clarkson's "Because of You" and Lindsay Lohan's "Daughter to Father (Confessions of a Broken Heart)." Both girls blame their fathers for their problems. [And just for the records I do not listen to nor like Lohan or Clarkson, I am using their songs for illustrations. Can't stand... ugh... don't get me started.]

Do your family relationships affect your relationship with God and how you relate to Him?
God created family relationships to mirror a different facet of Him -- Bridegroom, Father, Brother.

Any more questions for discussion are greatly appreciated. Your comments and input allow me to write better!

19 May 2006


Proceeding each essay/post (mentioned in the previous post), I thought it would be fun to introduce a short story, poem, etc. that corresponds with the intended topic for discussion. So, in preparation for "I Need You to Love Me," let's discuss the song "Daughters" by John Mayer. Though Mayer (to my knowledge) is a secular artist, his song has some interesting points to discuss. Click here to listen to the song. Lyrics are below...

"Daughters" by John Mayer

I know a girl --
She puts the color inside of my world.
She's just like a maze
Where all the walls continually change;
And I've done all I can
To stand on her steps with my heart in my hands.
Now I'm starting to see
Maybe it's got nothing to do with me.

Fathers, be good to your daughters;
Daughters will love like you do.
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers,
So mothers be good to your daughters, too.

Oh, you see that skin?
It's the same she's been standing in,
Since the day she saw him walking away;
Now she's left
Cleaning up the mess he made.

Fathers, be good to your daughters;
Daughters will love like you do.
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers,
So mothers be good to your daughters, too.

Boys, you can break --
You'll find out how much they can take.
Boys will be strong,
And boys soldier on,
But boys would be gone without warmth from
A woman's good, good heart.

On behalf of every man
Looking out for every girl --
You are the god and the weight of her world.

So fathers, be good to your daughters;
Daughters will love like you do.
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers,
So mothers be good to your daughters, too. (3x)

17 May 2006

What you can expect to see this summer...

Feminism and Christianity
The Great Divide?

The Beauty Myth
Thoughts on Eating Disorders

I Need You to Love Me
On Fathers and Daughters

Suicide and the Christian Teen

Some of these may have several parts (separately published) or turn into books -- taking my love of wordiness -- but I think there are potentially some great discussions to accompany these topics I've chosen to write lengthily about. Does anyone want to vote on what they'd like to see first? The first one will take me a long time and may turn into a book, so be warned!

Trying to Keep Busy

Today... well, actually yesterday since it's 12:25 AM as I write... was another long work day. Thirteen hours. Since the spring semester finshed, I've pretty much been working a full 40-hour week. Summer is proving to be just as busy as the school year. I don't think I'll be slowing down any time soon.

There are also three trips to look forward to, along with a few one-day events. While browsing through my city's events planned for the summer I discovered a Middle Eastern dance troupe that will be coming in July. Fascinated with the Middle East, I'll take any chance I get to immerse myself in its diverse cultures.

I even devised a schedule for myself on off days. Bizarre, I know. Tommorrow... eh, today... I will try to test it out, although it doesn't look like I'll be waking up at 5:30 AM.

Sorry, for the mindless blabbing. You could probably care less about my cluttered schedule, but do not fear, I promise my next post will be intellectually stimulating. I am just trying to keep myself very busy so as to keep my little self out of trouble. Hey, it works. When you're dead tired, trouble is too much effort.

Proverbs 16:1-3

Last night in my Bible reading, I "happened" to come across Proverbs 16 -- a chapter I felt very relevant to my life at the moment. (Don't you just love how the Lord does that?) Verses 1-3 particularly caught my eye.

1 The preparations of the heart belong to man,
But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.
2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
But the LORD weighs the spirits.
3 Commit your works to the LORD,
And your thoughts will be established.

In verse 2, I was a little puzzled about the phrase "weighs the spirits." What one earth was that supposed to mean? The Hebrew word for "weighs" is takan [taw-kan'], which means "to be adjusted to the standard" or "to test, prove." Hmm... So the Lord tests or proves the spirits according to a standard? That would make sense. But what about the word "spirit"? The Hebrew word ruwach [roo'-akh] has a long definition. Everyone -- especially my humble self -- thinks that nothing is wrong with their actions, but compared to the standard of the Lord we are nothing more than miserable, sinful wretches... or, as Proverbs often says, fools (which is how I've been feeling lately).

Commit your works to the Lord and your thoughts will be established... Thoughts will be established? You would think the word "commit" would mean somthing like "entrust," right? This is actually not the case. The Hebrew word galal [gaw-lal'] actually means "to roll away, roll together." Roll? Galal is often used in the Old Testament in reference to rolling away a heavy stone. So does this mean you roll your works to the Lord? Doesn't make much sense... or does it? This word is also used in Psalm 37:5, which echoes Proverbs 16:3...

Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.

Also interesting -- galal is used in Isaiah 34:4...

All the host of heaven shall be dissolved,
And the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll;
All their host shall fall down
As the leaf falls from the vine,
And as fruit falling from a fig tree.

Still not quite understanding the relation between "commit" and "roll," I looked at the related Greek word ekdikeo [ek-dik-eh'-o], which means "to vindicate one's rights." Aha! Now I was getting somewhere. Vindicate [surrender] your works [plans] to the Lord.

... and your thoughts will be established... Machashabah [makh-ash-aw-baw'] used for "thoughts" also means "purpose." Kuwn [koon] -- established -- means "to be directed, secured, fixed."

Surrender your plans to the Lord, and your purpose will be directed.

Now that makes a lot of sense. Right now, I'm in a big crossroads of my life. I am facing decisions that will affect me for the rest of my life. Even after finishing my freshman year of college, I am still not quite certain what direction I should take. I also had to make the decision not to date right now (unlike my peers) because I need to concentrate on my studies. Because I know that my plans are often not the Lord's (Isaiah 55:8), I must surrender my plans to the Lord and He will direct me. He will do the same for you too.

The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

~ Psalm 23 ~

16 May 2006

Sorry, Everyone

My apologies to my faithful readers for being inconsistent and rather absent lately in the blogosphere. I actually haven't felt much like writing over the past few days. No, I'm not sick, but it makes one wonder when I don't feel like writing.

15 May 2006

Mother's Day Concussion

Last night was our last club meeting for Awana, so of course we had an extra-long game time that involved some violent dodgeball. When those teenage boys play dodgeball no one is safe (unless they put on helmets and build a bunker). There is no where to hide. Even if you are not playing, there is no guarantee you won't get pegged with a killer volleyball.

Standing around and talking with the other adults in the corner seemed safe -- until I was hit in the back of the head. The ball merely bounced off my hard head -- though it did hurt a bit -- and the other adults watched in amazement as I made no reaction and continued my conversation. (Although I was tempted to cross my eyes and fall over -- just for fun.)

Later on, I joined the game. I haven't really good aim, so I mostly dodged. That is my specialty. Since I am so spritely, the boys had a hard time getting me (when I was actually looking and paying attention). When I wasn't paying attention, I was hit in the face (wearing glasses, no less) and my jaw felt as though it was broken. (Now I smile crookedly... haha... just kidding.) The boys were more careful after that. I hope they felt guilty for hitting a lady in the face.

Of course, my mother said I shouldn't be playing such rough sports -- especially with boys -- and being an accident magnet doesn't help much either. She was really worried and fussed over me (as mothers will). Poor Mom. All these years she's had to put up with my frequent freak accidents -- more than my brothers combined -- and ER trips. Thanks, Mom! I love you!

13 May 2006


Jer had a sleep-over with his youth group leaders and huddle group guys tonight. Being the nice older sister that I am, I drove him (in my car of course, because Mom's van is "embarrassing"). I dropped him off a little early and got a tour of Wes and Troy's apartment, which is actually located in one of the church buildings. Not bad... for a couple of bachelors. I half expected... I won't tell you what I expected. *shudder* Let's just say it was cleaner than I expected.

I then drove to the nearby Wal-Mart to pick up some things for Mom and get the last remaining touches to her Mother's Day present -- along with some Doritos for the guys -- before returning to the Hangar (half-gym, half-loft) to give the guys their Doritos. I knocked on the door. Wes stuck his head out, then turned back and shouted, "GIRL!" I was puzzled at this odd behavior until a sweaty, shirtless guy streaked pass my line of vision. Wes looked a little embarrassed. My first inclination was to scream "Oh my virgin eyes!" but I refrained. Instead, I handed Wes the chips with a slightly stunned look on my face. I think the guys may have been playing dodgeball, but I shall not even try to speculate. Male behavior is beyond my comprehension. God had a sense of humor when He made males.

The Lord formed man from the dust of the earth. Then God scratched His head and laughed, saying, "This is funny."

16-Hour Work Day

Sixteen hours of work -- this is the reason I did not blog yesterday. I started my nanny job yesterday (leaving my house at 7:30 AM) and went straight to another babysitting job as soon as I was finished, finally returning home at 11:00 PM. It wasn't really gruelling, because all the children were well-behaved, but it was a very long day. I didn't actually go to sleep until 2:00 AM because my younger brother, Jeremy, needed some "talk time." Needless to say, I only woke up an hour and a half ago. For someone who regularly rises around 5:30 AM, it's really bizarre to wake and have half your day gone.

The nanny job will be fun, I think. Since yesterday was my first time, the girls and I stayed at home, but we will have plenty of things to do next week (including picnics in the park, story time at the library, etc.). I will actually get to play "mommy." This ought to be interesting. I am almost tempted to wear a ring on my ring finger, simply because of the moral implications of a young woman with two young children without a ring might be -- well, you get the idea.

My second job yesterday was the twins again. We finished the last two chapters of
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and read the first chapter of Prince Caspian. The twins insisted that I show their dad how to "do it right" and told me of how he was reading it all wrong. I must admit that I probably set a high standard -- acting out as I read, using different British accents for each character, etc. My mother doesn't call me Drama Queen for nothing.

11 May 2006

Love is Patient

Today was music day with the G sisters (Beth, Sarah, and Bekah). We practiced our quartet piece for "Nothing But The Blood" until lunch time. I think we sounded pretty good (providing we only practiced for a couple of hours). We should sound great by June 18th, when we plan to perform at church. You can purchase tickets at... haha... just kidding. Maybe I can somehow post a recording of us singing on my blog -- as soon as I can figure out how to do that.

After lunch we watched the new Pride and Prejudice, with Kiera Knightly and Matthew Macfayden. Even though I despise Kiera Knightly and am partial to Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, I still enjoyed this version immensely. I'm even tempted to get the DVD -- gasp. It's also nice to have a two-hour version of P&P as opposed to the five-hour version. I can't sit through the whole thing (even this one required several pauses and breaks).

One thing that is so endearing to me about Pride and Prejudice is the character of Mr. Darcy. His love for Elizabeth is what all women dream of -- constant, patient love. Even after Elizabeth's passionate refusal and revealing of her utter contempt for him, Mr. Darcy continues to love her, going out of his way to do anything he can for Elizabeth. One of my favorite pieces of dialogue from the movie is Darcy's second proposal to Elizabeth...
"You must know... surely, you must know it was all for you. You are too generous to trifle with me. I believe you spoke with my aunt last night, and it has taught me to hope as I'd scarcely allowed myself before. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes have not changed, but one word from you will silence me forever. If, however, your feelings have changed, I will have to tell you: you have bewitched me, body and soul, and I love... I love... I love you. I never wish to be parted from you from this day on."
Even though Elizabeth had the opportunity to have a comfortable life (Mr. Collins) or a rather romantic suitor (Mr. Wickam), in the end, gentle persistence won. I think that is what many women miss. Most settle for the dashing Mr. Wickams or the offers of a decent life by Mr. Collinses, but few wait out for a Mr. Darcy. Few women are willing to wait for the gentle, patient wooing of a Mr. Darcy, and often settle for something less.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)

10 May 2006

Not Slowing Down

Finals went well. After our English final, Danielle and I went to a hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant for lunch. It was a cute, little place -- if only I could the same about the price. We were celebrating, so I used that as an excuse for spending more than $3.00 on a lunch. After finishing our delicious meal, Danielle and I tried to get the attention of our waiter so we could pay. We didn't want to shout, so tried various odd ways to get his attention -- flashing lights and playing loud annoying ringtones from Danielle's cellphone, waving wildly, and then giggling uncontrollably. Finally, we got his attention, only to find out that we were supposed to pay at the front counter. We could have left ten minutes earlier had we known that, and spared ourselves some bizarre behaviour. I wasn't embarrassed -- only one thing embarrasses me and I'm not telling -- but I did feel a little stupid. Oh well, we had fun.

After lunch, I took my American History final. I thought I'd get a perfect grade on that -- until the end of the test. Right now, I'm so glad to be done I don't care. Of course, I'll care when I get my overall GPA (then break down and cry).

As soon as I finished my history final, I sojourned to the Cupboard, the local organic food store to buy couscous for Mom, soy sugar-free "ice-cream" for me, and falafil mix for fun. Thankfully, my family doesn't like my soy-cream (they think dairy-free and sugar-free "ice-cream" is weird). No clue what to do with the falafil mix, but I wanted to try something new, so I'll find some recipe somewhere. Wonder how that will come out.

Then it was home for an hour before heading to work. Just got home about fourty minutes ago. Tommorrow I'm going to some friends' house to practice our quartet piece of "Nothing But The Blood" and watch the new Pride and Prejudice. Friday is a 12-hour work day. Saturday... I don't know but I'm sure I have something that day. Sunday is our last Awana club meeting for the school year. Guess I'm not slowing down anytime soon. That's okay. I stay out of trouble when I'm busy, but it would be nice to slow down for just a day. Maybe I'll go to the botanical gardens at some point this summer (of course, that's what I said on Spring break).

Past the point of no return... the final threshold...

[Unless you have seen Phantom of the Opera, you have no clue what the title is about. Those of you who know what I'm talking about will be chuckling by now.]

I have my last two finals today. History doesn't worry me... Piece of cake. Literature is what I'm more concerned about. I have to write an in-class essay for my Lit final. Writing an essay in two hours doesn't bother me. Writing an essay on a William Butler Yeats poem I've never seen before -- in two hours -- bothers me.

Certainly, it will be nice to just get everything over and done with, but I
really want to get an A in Literature and am concerned that this final will be a flop and hurt my overall grade. Oh well. Must stop stressing over this. I will just do my very best and leave everything to the Lord.

So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;
Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding
If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.
For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.
He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.
Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.
When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;
Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee.

Proverbs 2:2-11 (Click for NKJV or NIV)

09 May 2006

Musician of the Week

"Somewhere between Nashville and Virginia, driving through the mountains of North Carolina one October day, Beth Champion Mason was struck by the picture-perfect view of autumn colors against an azure-blue sky, and through that beauty God sent a simple message: “I love you.” In that moment, the song “Postcards” was born. It was a moment of clarity and peace, a moment when God was very present. And it was just another stop along a winding journey for Beth.

“I decided to call the new CD Postcards because a postcard tells a little blurb about a certain point along a journey, but it doesn’t tell the whole story,” Beth explains. “To me, these songs are like that – each one describes a point along my journey, but none of them tells the whole story about me or my faith. Every song is just a snapshot. But it seems to me that in life, if you look hard enough, during every point on your journey you can see the ways that God is trying to say, ‘I love you.’”

Beth’s journey has definitely been a winding one. Born and raised in Southeastern Virginia, Beth loved to sing from a very young age, started playing piano at age 7, and wrote her first song at age 12. She had dreams of a singing career early on, but as she got a little older, Beth was sidetracked from her dreams and dragged down into a life of alcohol and drug abuse. She turned her back on the faith her parents tried to instill in her, and instead tried everything the world had to offer. Even while on this detour, Beth knew that God was the path she was seeking – yet she convinced herself that she had ventured too far for God to still love her. She was wrong. " (From http://www.bethchampionmason.com/bcm.htm)

Make sure you check out the songs "Postcards" and "Tapestry" on Beth's website. Those are my two current favorites.

08 May 2006

Dreaming of Darfur

A few years ago, just months before I began to hear news of the Darfur genocides, I had this graphic dream that still haunts me today. It is so vividly ingrained into my memory. [No dramatizations -- this is exactly as I remember the dream.]


The sun beat down upon my head with intense heat. It was noon, for the sun stood directly overhead. I stood in the dusty courtyard of a dilapidated one-story building, which appeared to be an abandoned schoolhouse. Everything was a hazy beige color - hot and drab.

I wore a black burka -- I didn't know why, but I knew that I would be in great danger if my identity was revealed. Women and children began to fill the courtyard. They looked absolutely frightened -- I'll never forget those terrified faces. I noticed they all had very dark skin, and deduced they were Sudanese.

Then I noticed the men with guns. I hung back in the shadows of a portico. The gunmen took no notice of me because there were other women covered in burkas standing around and watching. The gunmen corralled the group of women and children into a tight circle. Mothers held their children to their bosoms. Some began to cry.

There was a small boy of about two years standing on the outskirts of the group. I motioned him to come to me. The gunmen did not see me hide the small boy in the large folds of my burka.

No sooner was the child hidden, then the gunmen opened fire on the group of women and children. None survived. Their screams, the blood -- every graphic detail is burned deeply into my memory. It was horrifically real.

The next thing I knew, it was dark. I was running with the child in my arms, angry voices shouted behind me. Shots rang out. Far into the night I ran through the brush into the wilderness. Finally, I came upon another ruinous building -- not much more than large concrete slabs propped against each other. The sun began to rise.

Here, the child and I sought shelter. I hid him in a crevice, while I went in search of anything that could be used or eaten. I climbed over a low wall, but what I saw on the other side made my heart stop.

A dark-skinned man in military uniform stood before me, holding a gun. My veil had slipped off during the escape, revealing my fair face. It was over... I raised my arms in a gesture of surrender. My thoughts were with the child. I trembled with fear.

The man smiled warmly at me.

"Do not fear, Sister, it is only a disguise." He turned toward a fallen door, calling "Brother, we have a sister here," and grinned broadly. A fairer-skinned man in similar attire emerged from the door. I immediately recognized him as my husband. [In the dream I could see his face, but as soon as I woke I could not remember it, hard as I tried -- it was really strange.] He embraced me and lead me to a chamber beneath the ruins (after retrieving the child). It was large and cool. Light filtered through the broken concrete. I looked around to see at least fifty other people -- mostly women and children -- all refugees.

My husband and the other uniformed man lead me to a smaller adjoining room. They began telling me of their plans to escape and get help to evacuate the rapidly growing group of refugees. I agreed to protect the refugees until my husband returned with aid.

The next morning, my husband and the other man left. I watched as they disappeared into the brush, holding the child in my arms and wondering if they would return alive.

Then I woke up.

A few months later, when I read of the Darfur killings, chills ran down my spine. I couldn't help but wonder if my dream would one day become a reality.

How to Maintain Your Insanity

At lunch time, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and point a hair dryer at passing cars.
See if they slow down.

Page yourself over the intercom. Don't disguise your voice.

Every time someone asks you to do something ask, "Want fries with that?"

Put your garbage can on your desk and label it "Inbox."

Put decaf in the coffee maker for 3 weeks. Once everyone has gotten over their caffeine
addictions, switch to espresso.

In the memo field of all your checks, write "for smuggling diamonds."

Finish all your sentences with "In accordance with the prophecy."

Don t use any punctuation

As often as possible, skip rather than walk.

With a serious face, order a diet water whenever you go out to eat.

Specify that your drive-through order is "to go."

Sing along at the opera.

Go to a poetry recital and ask why the poems don't rhyme.

Put mosquito netting around your work area and play jungle sounds all day.

Five days in advance, tell your friends you can't attend their party because you're not in the mood.

When your money comes out of the ATM, scream "I won! I won!"

When leaving the zoo, start running towards the parking lot yelling, "Run for your lives!
They're loose!"

Tell your children over dinner, "Due to the economy, we will have to let one of you go."

More Glory For The Lord

This week is finals week! Yipee! I just finished my Speech final and am going down to the commons room to study for my Nutrition final exam (with the company of a quadruple-shot espresso to keep me conscious).

Mom thinks I am sick - which I am, but won't admit for fear of going to the doctor. It will eventually go away, but is making me very tired (you know I'm not feeling well when I'm quiet and drowsy). This will just make finals week a little more challenging and interesting.

"Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:10)

The Lord gets more glory when I cannot do something in my own strength. I just have to lean on Him even more when I know I can't do it on my own.

"For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding." (Proverbs 2:6)

07 May 2006


This is the kind of art I like to do - take plain journals and turn them into works of art...

06 May 2006

One More Chapter!

Last night I babysat my Awana commander's five-year-old twins. We had a lot of fun (in fact, that was probably the most fun I've ever had babysitting). Instead of watching a bunch of movies like the kids initially requested, we took a walk, played six rounds of hide-and-seek, and read several chapters of "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe."

I used different voices and accents for each character, acting out as I read. The children were enthralled. Of course, when centaurs and winged horses were mentioned, I had to stop and draw models for the children. It was so much fun to look at their wide eyes as I read of the White Witch's castle, the children's escape with Mr. and Mrs. Beaver and their enconter with Father Christmas. For me, there is nothing more enjoyable than telling stories -- especially to children.

Romans 10:14

This is a sketch I did of an Indonesian woman and her baby when I was sixteen, inspired by Romans 10:14.

05 May 2006

Study of Zephaniah

Last night I was praying the Lord would show me what book I should next study in my morning devotions, when I came across the book of Zephaniah. I have a particular fondness for 'unused' Old Testament books (my favorites are Hosea and Habakkuk). Though I study the books of the New Testament thoroughly - Romans being the most frequented - I think it is crucial to study the God of the Old Testament in order to better understand the same God of the New Testament and today. It is truly amazing to think that He has been the same over the entire course of human history. He is "the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." (James 1:17)

Here are some of the notes I took from my research this morning...
  • Zephaniah = "Yahweh [the Lord] hides"
    - Prophet employs priestly vocabulary (1:4-5, 7-9; 3:4,18)
    - No exclusive evidence that author was officially associated with the temple
  • Prophesied in southern kingdom during reign of Josiah (640-609 BC)
    - Before or after Josiah's great reform (621 BC)? Unknown, but most likely before
    - Ninevah had not yet been destroyed (2:13-15), therefore the prophet's message was spoken prior to its destruction in 612 BC.
  • Zephaniah would have been a contemporary of Jeremiah and may have been instrumental in bringing about Josiah's reforms - sins he attacked (1:4-6) were abolished by Josiah's reforms.

Focal Point: A foreign enemy - the Lord's sword of judgment - will inflict severe destruction upon Jerusalem. (Scythians? Assyrians? Babylonians?)

Zephaniah's treatment of the subject is extensive...

  • The day is near (1:7).
  • It will be a day in which the wrath and anger of Israel's sovereign Lord will be directed against the wicked (1:15, 18; 2:2,3).
  • It is a day of darkness and gloom (1:15).
  • So determined is the Lord to root out evil that He conducts a thorough search to ensure that the wicked will be found and destroyed (1:12).
  • In that day pride will be vanquished (3:11) and the humble saved (3:12,17).
  • The Gentiles will also come to faith in the true and living God and will "call on the name of the Lord" (3:9, Joel 2:32).

Second Point: The prophet's recognition og the importance of the Lord's covenant with His people (complaints against Judah reflect the Lord's anger at their neglect of the covenant obligations).

Zephaniah sees the judgment as transforming the world by bringing all people's works, both good and evil, under Divine scrutiny.

I realize some (if not most) of you are yawning by now, but for those of you who find this interesting - do I have any study partner volunteers?

04 May 2006

The Abomination in my Livingroom

Over the past year, I have become more annoyed with the television. Every chance I get, I will turn the stupid thing off. More often than not, I find the TV utterly irritating.

Due to the investment of my techno-brother David, we got a satellite dish thing (I don't know what to call it) last year. One hundred eighty channels. Who has time to watch 180 channels? Personally, if it were up to me, there wouldn't even be a TV in the house. I can't stand them.

Maybe once a week, I will actually sit down and watch an entire 30 minutes of a travel show. The rest of the time, I cannot (1) sit still long enough to actually finish a program, (2) abide the annoying and often perverse commercials, or (3) even stand the noise it makes.

However, I do like watching the occasional movie. I can (1) pick what I want to watch, (2) when I want to watch it, (3) fast-forward through scenes I don't like, and (4) pause it every 15 minutes to get up and stretch. My laptop has a DVD player, so what's the point of having a TV?

We didn't even have a TV in our house until I was at least five. At first I was entranced by the thing, but now I border on absolute hatred.

*steps off soap box* Thank you for reading my rant.

03 May 2006

Jesus Smile

During my lunch break, I like to visit the on-campus coffee shop, owned and staffed by Christians. I'm on a first-name basis with the guys who regularly work there, and they know what to get me the moment I walk in -- a medium iced tea.

"Look at that beautiful smile," remarked Corey, one of the employees. "Now that's a Jesus smile."

"It's infectious, especially when they bubble over like that," pointed out a woman purchasing a cup of coffee.

Praise the Lord that people can see Jesus in me before I even open my mouth. That reminds me of a song by Joy Williams ("Do They See Jesus In Me?") ...

Is the face that I see in the mirror
The one I want others to see
Do I show in the way that I walk in my life
The love that You've given to me
My hearts desires is to be like You
In all that I do all that I am

Do they see Jesus in me
Do they recognize Your face
Do I communicate Your love

And Your grace
Do I reflect who You are
In the way I choose to be
Do they see Jesus, Jesus in me

Well, its amazing that You'd ever use me
But use me the way that You will
Help me to hold out a heart of compassion and grace
A heart that Your spirit fills
May show forgiveness and mercy
The same way You've shown it to me


Well I wanna show all the world
That You are the reason I live and breathe
So You'll be the one that they see
When they see me


02 May 2006

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

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.

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

I've always heard "everyone's got their 'thorn in the flesh,'" but wondered what Paul really meant by this term. Was it like one of those little thorns from a rose bush? No, the Greek word used for "thorn" in this passage literally means "a pointed piece of wood, a pale, a stake." Ouch. That gives rise to more vivid imagery than a little thorn from a rose bush. Whatever Paul was struggling with must have been excruciatingly painful -- not necessarily a physical ailment (though it may have been), but perhaps a sin in his life that he grappled with.

"For this I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me."

In the Bible, there is a particular significance to saying something three times in succession. I remember hearing this taught a while back and cannot remember the full significance. Does anyone have speculations about this? Thoughts? Ideas?

01 May 2006


Today we finished watching "Glory" in history class. I had a hard time trying not to cry. If I watched it at home -- no problem -- but I wasn't about to cry in history class.

The movie was excellent. Of course, with Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington, who can go wrong? Cary Elwes is always a bonus, but I still can't separate him from his role in "The Princess Bride." Now have huge crush on Matthew Broderick.