Friday, November 2, 2012

The One Political Post of my Life

At this point in the election cycle, I am just as tired of politics as everyone else.  I hesitate to add another voice to the overwhelming conversation, particularly on a venue such as this where no "real" dialogue can take place, but I found this video very striking (particularly the clips from Reagan's speeches which I had never heard before) and I wanted to share it.  I would encourage you to wrestle through the ideas proposed here as you prepare for the election next week, not just in regards to our presidential candidates but in regards to all of your elected officials.  (p.s. Please hang in there through the first 3 minutes and focus your attention more on what is presented in the second half of the video....the point I want to promote is not that any one *person* is better or worse than another or that personal attacks do us any good in slogging through these issues.  The point is to consider the *ideologies* these people serve and what is best for the future of our country.)

Two thoughts about the video:
1) I think the whole golf-game thing is a load of crap.  The President of the United States arguably has the. most. difficult. job in the WORLD.  If the person serving our country in this way was not allowed to have constructive times of relaxation or rest, I am afraid to think about what it would do to him both as a President and as a human being.  Also, the job is about much more than how that one individual spends their time.  The President alone does not accomplish the promises Obama made.  He and his TEAM work toward those things.  If he plays a round of golf while his team and other elected officials are working, I am totally okay with that.

2) The video makes fairly clear that government is not the solution to our problems, but it doesn't state what IS the solution (I suppose one could argue it implies that "conservatism" is the solution which, I would argue, is still government and therefore is still not the final solution).  In a very limited space (I could talk about the solution for hours), I will simply say this: the solution is THE CHURCH.  So, as you think about limited government, don't stop there.  Think also about how you can be engaged in and through your church to help those in need in you community.  We can't JUST limit government and leave people with legitimate needs high and dry.  There are thousands of people who need real, tangible HELP for a variety of reasons.  I would just rather see that help offered in the name of Christ than in the name of America.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Grace and Peace to You. And Change. And Shelter. But Mostly Grace.

Psalm 94:19: When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.

I am at the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation (CCEF) National Conference this weekend and I just came from a session in which my heart was moved in a way it hasn't been in years.  As a matter of fact, it surprised me in such a way that it caused me to momentarily reflect on how different life feels right now than it did just one year ago.  But the reason life feels different is not because all of the the struggles and frustrations of life have gone away.  Not at all.

It is different because I am behind the Rock.

At the conference, Pastor Novenson spoke about the Psalms as "embedded journalism" (the practice of allowing journalist to travel with soldiers so they can write from the front lines).  He used this as a word picture for David's cries throughout the Psalms; David is writing from the battlefield, often asking for enough belief to get him through the next few moments. We focused specifically on Psalm 61:
Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint.  Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.
Pastor Novenson spoke of how, in the midst of a battle, a struggling or wounded soldier may cry out "Help me!" or "Lead me!" to a fellow soldier.  In Old Testament times, the warrior would often be taken behind tower walls or to the top of a high rock where they were protected and could see the status of the battle.  Here, they received the two things they needed the most: safety and perspective.

However, just because the warrior is behind the rock doesn't mean all is well.  The war is still going on.  Further, that particular battle is still going on.  But everything is different.  The soldier's heart is pounding, he is breathing heavily, and he may be leaning against the wall with weak knees, but suddenly, everything feels different because he is safe.

It is here, behind the Rock, that I find myself.  The battle rages on and some of my wounds feel raw.  My heart is pounding and my spirit feels so weak it is often hard for me to lift my face out of the mud.  But everything is different because I am behind a Strong Tower and his grace sustains me.

Oh, how deeply I wish there was a switch to throw that would change everything!  I would flip it in a heartbeat.  Yet it has not been God's good pleasure to provide such a relief.

Relief from suffering is such a grace.  I would love to never have another moment of depression in my life.  I would love for every relational interaction to be "easy" and "fun."  I would love to never again be tempted to sin, especially in areas of habitual sin.  And yet is not sustaining endurance a grace as well?  Could it be an even greater grace?  A grace that not only glorifies God (as blessing always does) but that also does me good by drawing me into him (as blessing in my life rarely has done...a mark of immaturity, no doubt, but a true experience nonetheless...)?  Was not the cross the most intense experience of both grace and suffering in the history of the world?  If I identify with Christ's suffering on a daily basis, could it be that I am blessed to experience more grace than my brothers and sisters who do not get to experience his sustaining power getting them from one moment to the next?

Yes, yes that could be.  I am beginning to think not only that it's possible but that it's true.  Grace.  All of it is grace.


Grace and peace, Paul says.

Grace and peace to you.

And to me.

A dear friend once shared a story from which I have derived one of my favorite lines.  A girl overslept one morning in college and in her frantic frenzy to make it to work on time (or was it to a test? doesn't matter), her sleeping roommate rolled over in bed and groggily offered a sweet yet poignant comfort:

"There is grace for people like you."

Ever since I heard that story, I say that all. the. time.  Mostly to myself.  Sometimes to others.  Occasionally to others in reference to myself.  You know, to remind them that there is grace for people like me.

I still like that line, but I am changing it.  The change is minor, but significant.

Grace is for people like me.

You see, it's not just that there is a little extra grace lying around reserved for those of us who really need it.  No, grace is especially, uniquely for those who feel their desperate need for it.  Every page of Scripture is about God actively pursuing dirty, rejected, naked, ashamed, hurting, desperate people.  Dr. Ed Welch goes so far as to say that if you do not relate to the experience of shame in your life (an ambiguous feeling that he breaks down into the biblical triad of feeling unclean, rejected and/or naked) then you should question if you are one of God's people because His grace is uniquely aimed toward those people.  In Hosea 2, these are the people He calls "my people" and who He says will call Him "my God."

People like me.

Pastor Novenson said another thing that I hope sticks with me forever.  He said that sometimes he thinks life hurts like heaven which seems worse than having it hurt like hell because heaven wants us to change and hell hopes we never do.


Biblical change.

The class I am currently taking online through CCEF's School for Biblical Counseling (SBC) is titled Dynamics of Biblical Change and it is changing my life.  As one of my fellow SBC students stated, I have not necessarily learned anything new about God that I did not know before, but the class has helped me learn how to see God and apply Scripture to the details of my life in a way that nothing else ever has.  I am eight weeks into class and it has been the single most transformational influence on my Christian life so far.  I highly value the time I spent at Bethlehem Baptist Church and Camp Lebanon and the ways they helped form my theology and my understanding of Christian community/ministry, but those precious seasons now seem like mere prep work for the transformation taking place via the catalyst of CCEF.

Oh, thank you Jesus.

My, how much has changed in a year.  Throughout the past few years, I have often thought that life hurt like hell.  And there is some truth to that.  In the face of shattered dreams, difficult relationships, painful personal slights and perceived failures, I refused to change.  And it sucked.  Now, it hurts like heaven.

It is still hard.  It is a deeper kind of pain - one that cuts to the very core of who I am, and I often find it hard to catch my breath when I am laying face down in the mud with my heart pounding.  But the good news is that while I lay breathless in this mud, I am behind my Strong Tower and His consolations cheer my soul.  I am safe.  And it is glorious.

I am so glad grace is for people like me.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Life: Babies, Prayer and Tricks

Last weekend I was at the cabin with my parents and one of my sisters.  It was nice to have a quiet weekend with just the four of us, although I wish my other sister could have been there, too!  She was working hard saving lives at the hospital, though.  NBD.  I'm looking forward to going back this weekend when all five of us can be there as well as our dear friends, the Karlsgodts.

Some families that stayed at the cabin for a week bought Han a new flatscreen TV.  It's so nice!  We tested it out last weekend by watching The Last Castle.  You guys, it is SO good!  I had never seen it before and I LOVED it.  Unfortunately, when Hannah was asking if we wanted to watch it, my dad asked "Is that the one where...." and proceeded to state what happens at the climax of the movie.  With no spoiler alert.  But even though I knew where everything was going, it was still great.  Go see it.  Now.

On my way home from the cabin, I stopped by the Hanson's and spent some more time with Svea.

I. Love. That. Baby.

My dear friend Emily also welcomed her little man, Ezra Russell Lee.  Another perfect baby specimen.

I am SOOO looking forward to meeting him on Monday!!!  (Hey Em, can I come see you on Monday on my way back from the cabin?)  Penny is so excited to meet him, she's spinning in circles!

I started working 4 hour shifts back on the floor.  Man, when I don't work for two months, I forget how much I love what I do.  I was a little hesitant about getting back in the saddle...I'm not sure exactly why...but when I am there at the bedside of a patient, all of that hesitancy fades away.

I. Love. Being. A. Nurse.

Almost as much as batman enjoys riddles.  (I'm a bat!)

If I was Batman's nurse, my first intervention would be to give him a throat lozenge.

I am continuing my study in Romans 1.  One of the exercises this week was to read through all of chapter 1 and list out anything describing Paul, Jesus Christ, God, saints and ungodly men.  It was quite enlightening!  After the lists were created, the author asked if you saw yourself in any of the traits that you listed.  What a great exercise, rightfully leading to both confession and praise.  For example, my list included things like:

-loved by God (saints)
-receive grace & peace from God & Jesus Christ (saints)
-encouraged by the faith of the saints (Paul)
-strengthened by spiritual gifts (saints)
-without excuse for not knowing God (ungodly men)
-exchange the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man (ungodly men)
-worship the creature rather than the Creator (ungodly men)
-filled with covetousness and envy (ungodly men)
-haughty, boastful (ungodly men)

This exercise led to a sweet time of prayer, praising God for the way I reflect Him, his Son, Paul and the saints of Rome and also mourning the ways in which I reflect the ungodly men.  Praising him for his grace and asking to be rescued from this body of death, asking that the gospel would be proclaimed through my life and not suppressed by my ungodliness.

The time in prayer was especially sweet because it felt like the first truly genuine communion I've had a long time.  I've been praying, but it's been very structured.  Which isn't bad.  It's just....different.  Do you struggle with prayer like I do?  It is the most variable part of my Christian walk...the first thing to go and the last to return.  And it is SO significant!!!!  But that's another post.

In times of drought, I have found that I can not form my own words.  Even if I try writing them (which is usually how I pray, even when my words flow fluently).  So I borrow other's words.  And I get my spirit to mean those words as much as I can in that moment.  For example, for the last two months, my prayers have consisted almost entirely of three things:

1) The Nicene Creed: I need a daily reminder of what I believe.  And when I'm not talking to God on my own, I find it helpful to at least make some true statements about who He is as a reminder to myself.  I have the Nicene Creed written out on a sheet of paper that I keep on my desk and I read it before I study in the hopes that as I study the details, I don't lose the big picture.  I have found it to be a very meaningful spiritual discipline.

2) Shane & Shane's song "Beg":  This song has been the cry of my heart for the past 2+months.  I need him to move.  Badly.  So I just keep singing.  And begging.
Here I am, one more day of not loving Him the way He asks, in fact my heart is singing praises to the things that make me feel alright.  So I'm sinking fast like a stone heart should, and on the way down I've done what I could to try and try to turn this stone to flesh. 
So here I am, got my deeds for the day all my cute little words about how I am saved.  (Am I saved?)  Could I love you with my mouth like a church kid should? At the end of the day, my words get burned as wood.  Oh, but I was good. 
I'm haunted by my God who has the right to ask me what by the nature of my rebellion I can not give. 
So I beg for you to move.  I beg for you to move.  I beg for you to break through.  I beg for you to move.  I beg for you to move.  I beg for you to break through.

3) Shane & Shane's song "Vision of You": Another beautiful cry from the heart.  All we have are songs unless he comes.  Every spiritual discipline in and of itself is utterly meaningless unless He is in it.  So beg for Him to move.  And even though He's here, ask Him to come.
Come meet us, King Jesus, oh wind of change blow through this temple.  Sweet Spirit of God, come mend our hearts, for all we have are songs unless you come. 
Come free us, King Jesus, it's the only way that freedom's given - from You and You alone in the work You've already done - for all we have are songs unless you come. 
Awaken what's inside of me.  Tune my heart to all you are in me.  Even though you're here, God come.  May the vision of You be the death of me, and even though You've given everything, Jesus come.

Penny and I are off to the cabin for the weekend.  If you need anything, you can find me in my hammock by Lower South Long Lake!


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

My Military Medallion

I received one of the deepest honors of my life this afternoon.

Little did I know, as I walked into the hospital to work the 4th of July holiday, that by the end of my shift I would be moved nearly to tears by my pride for our country and my love for the men and women who have sacrificed great things, even their lives, to make my home the country it is today.

One of my patients was a Vietnam vet and what a dear, dear man he was.  Despite my busy shift, I managed to pop my head in as often as I could to hear another story or listen to his perspective on life.  I even stayed half an hour after my shift to hear some of his more extended stories.

This sweet man was suffering fairly intense pain from an L1 disc extrusion, one of several chronic health issues he deals with after surviving two helicopter crashes during the war.  He seemed to think highly of me right away, and the feeling was mutual.  Before I even knew he was a vet, while assessing his pain, I asked him what a goal would be for his pain.  And then, to clarify what I was asking, I said (as I always do), "I know zero is always the goal, but what would be a tolerable level of pain for you."

His response: "Two.  Zero isn't my goal.  I wish I could always be at a two.  Low enough that you can still function, but always there, reminding you of reality.  Life is hard and it seems more and more people are trying to walk through it pain-free... physically,'s just not realistic. A pain of 2 is enough to remind you that you're mortal and it helps you really appreciate those days when you actually are pain free."

Had we never started our conversation about the war, I still would have walked away with respect for this man and his outlook on life based on this first interaction.  But, thankfully, I walked away with more.  Much, much more.  I walked away deeply endeared to this man and grateful for those who have served in so many ways.

I could have listened to his stories all day and then some.  He fought at Landing Zone X Ray during the Battle of la Drang - the battle depicted in the movie We Were Soldiers.    He is personal friends with General Moore (and his family). He recognizes the scenery and names in the movie because he was there.  On those days.  In that brutal, bloody battle.

He was a part of the 1st Calvary Division which played a significant part in the development of air assault via helicopter in the Vietnam War.  Here's a little snippet from Wikipedia regarding air assault during the Vietnam War:
The 11th Air Assault Division assets were merged with the co-located 2nd Infantry Division and reflagged as the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), continuing the tradition of the 1st Cavalry Division. Within several months it was sent to Vietnam and the concept of air mobility became bound up with the challenges of that campaign, especially its varied terrain - the jungles, mountains, and rivers which complicated ground movement.

The first unit of the new division to see action was the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, led by Lieutenant Colonel Harold G. Moore. The 7th Cavalry was the same regiment that Custer had commanded at the ill fated Battle of the Little Bighorn. On November 14, 1965, Moore led his troops in the first large unit engagement of the 1960s Vietnam War, which took place near the Chu Pong massif near the Vietnam-Cambodia border. It is known today as the Battle of Ia Drang Valley.

This unit gave common currency to the U.S. term "Air Cavalry". Units of this type may also be referred to as "Airmobile" or with other terms that describe the integration of air and ground combat forces within a single unit.

That's him.  That's my patient - 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment.  He spoke of some of the challenges he and his men encountered as they did all of the work to develop the dimensions of the aircraft and the size/weight of their equipment so that all of the men could fit on the helicopters with all of their gear and still be under a certain weight.

It didn't sound easy.

He told me about how the ambulances had gurneys bunked two on a side and how he laid on the bottom bunk while the man above him bled to death.  And as I pictured him as a young man laying there while another's lifeblood literally rained down on top of him covering him in death, suddenly working in the hospital on the day that we celebrate our country's independence didn't seem so inconvenient.

He spoke a bit about the difficulty of returning home.  He told me about a day when he was standing on a street corner in his uniform (they were repeatedly advised not to wear their uniforms - it was even suggested that they go to the bathroom and change into civilian clothing when they landed back on U.S. soil - but he was proud to be a solider and refused to hide his colors).  A man and woman walked up to him saying all kinds of disrespectful things.  Eventually, the woman spat on his medals.  There was a police officer nearby twirling his baton, so my patient went over to the officer to ask him to come help settle the situation.  When the situation was described, the officer offered a solution - my patient could resolve the conflict by taking his uniform off.  Also, once it was off, the officer suggested he burn it.  According to my patient, "Those were the last words that man spoke that day.  I disarmed him.  Took his weapons.  I was angry.  He lived....yes, he lived, and I'm glad he lived.  I truly am glad.  But I just couldn't listen to a police officer say that.  I spent two weeks in jail for what I did to him."

People are so interesting if you take time to listen to their stories.

Ok, so now to the coolest part.  The deepest honor.  The thing that still has me totally flabbergasted.

In our four short hours together, this patient was repeatedly expressing his appreciation to me.  I gave him my usual line, "No problem!  That's what I'm here for!" to which he replied, " might be trained for something, but there are still people who  do it really well, in a really nice way, and others who...don't.  And you are one of the best I've ever met."

He repeatedly told me that he could tell I was "real."  That was his word.  Over and over.  "You're very real.  I can just sense it.  You're genuine.  You know....real."  I don't think I entered his room one. single. time. without him complimenting me on skill as a nurse, my kindness, and, more than anything, this concept of being "real."  And, my favorite comment, in his sweet, grandfatherly way, was, "I'll love ya forever.  You know that's the truth.  Really.  I'll love ya forever."

But even the honor of all those kind words didn't prepare me for the interaction we had as I bade him goodbye.  He said he had a little something he wanted to give me and pulled the following out of his closet:

It's one of his military medallions that he gives to soldiers for displays of excellence.

For real.

The symbol on the front is the Combat Infantryman Badge.  On the back, It says "Presented for excellence by ***"(blacked out for the sake of patient confidentiality) "LZ XRay 1965" (The landing zone mentioned above in the Battle of la Drang).  The symbol is the Air Assault Badge overlaid with the 1st Calvary Division Shoulder Sleeve Insignia.  He said he wanted me to have it because it was the only way he could think of to acknowledge the excellence I displayed.

You guys, I have not done one. single. thing. to establish or maintain the freedom of this country (other than pay my taxes).  I am the last person in the nation who should have a medallion that acknowledges the excellence of a soldier.  I didn't even know what the Vietnam war was about until I asked my dad about it last weekend and he explained the conflict (which, can I just say, the timing of that conversation and the way it prepared me for my interactions with this patient kind of blows my mind).  It is one of the most meaningful gifts I have ever been given.  I feel truly humbled and honored to have received it.  Gosh, I feel honored simply to have met this man.

I thanked him repeatedly for his service and told him that as I watched the fireworks tonight, every explosion would make me think of him and the sacrifices he made so that I could be here, celebrating this day.

So as you watch the fireworks tonight, keep this man (and the many others like him) at the forefront of your mind - the men and women who suffer the side effects of our freedom, soldiers who need assistance to walk around hospital rooms, who sit in wheelchairs or who lie in graves because they believe in the things this country stands for.

If you had been blessed, as I was, to have spent part of your 4th with this gentleman, he may have had this to say to you:

"Our country ain't perfect, but it's a great place to live.

Enjoy your freedom.

Happy Independence Day."

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Week(ish) in Review, Part III(ish)

This week, I got to meet Svea Sheloa Hanson, the beautiful new daughter of my friends (and pseudo-siblings) Mark & Christy.  It might be the highlight of my year so far.  I cry every time I look at her pictures.  I love her more than I have ever loved a baby.

Foot update
-I am now walking in tennis shoes virtually pain-free.  Yay!
-I finally had my appointment with a podiatrist (foot specialist).  He sentenced me to 3 months of tennies with no chance of parole.  No dress shoes, no sandals, no bare feet.  All summer.  And some of the fall.  :-(
-I was fitted for orthotics to treat my pathologically high arch ("pure" pes cavus, for interested parties) which the podiatrist says is contributing to my early arthritis, my chronic foot ache and my propensity for foot fractures.

Neighbor update
-I invited two of the couples over for lunch last Sunday to join some friends from church for a semi-impromptu meal at my house.  Neither were able to make it.  Made a mental note to give more than a 5 minute heads-up next time...
-The neighbors straight across brought a Pitbull home for a trial run...they're not sure yet if they're going to keep her or not.  She is super sweet.  Penny hasn't met her yet, but I think they would get along just fine.  I am entertained by the thought that Penny's two friends in town might be a Newfie/lab mix and a Pitbull.

Surprise Blessings
My dear friends Guy & Cassie were in southeast MN and had their hotel plans fall through, so I had the surprise blessing of hosting them at my house for a night.  You guys, I have never been so glad that a bride & groom who said they would get a hotel room for their photographer fell through on their promise.  There are few words that could adequately describe how much I love this couple.  Guy is one of the fastest friends I have ever made (it can take me up to two years to feel truly comfortable around someone...Guy and I were like that *crosses fingers* after one day) and Cassie is his kind, compassionate, thoughtful, cutely pregnant wife.  I have not kept in contact with these dear friends for almost a year, and yet our relationship is such that it seems no time has passed.  We had a lovely conversation over dinner and I got some much-needed advice from the techy (yes....there may be more electronic purchases in my [distant] future....).  If it hadn't been for Svea, this would have been the highlight of my week.

Free time update
-I spend a fair amount of time admiring pictures of Svea.  Like this one.

Bible Study update*
I started my trek through Romans.  Two weeks in and I am at the end of Romans 1.1.  It sounds drastic when I say it like that, but there was quite a bit of intro/overview included in that time as well.  But seriously, I am one verse in and I am already feeling challenged and encouraged.
"Paul, a bondservant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God..."  Rom 1.1
I tend to skim over all of the introductions in the epistles.  I mean, Paul is just telling us things about himself, right?  I am anxious to get to the sweet words of Rom 8.  I am ready to wrestle through Romans 9-11.  I know all the stories of Paul's life from Sunday School.  I don't need to listen to him defend his position to the Church in Rome.

It appears my folly in this mindset has been assuming that Paul is primarily talking about WHO he is, when in reality he is talking about WHOSE he is.  This is much more significant.

Notice the three passive phrases in the first verse - another is at work...this is not a work of man, but a work of God

I. "A bondservant of Christ" - He is "doubly owned" by Jesus (owned once by virtue of creation and owned again - as a bondservant - through virtue of purchase)

II. "Called as an apostle" - Another passive phrase.  He did not pursue apostleship.  He was called.

III."Set apart for the gospel of God" - When was he set apart?  Before he was born..."But when he who had set me apart before I was born and who called my by his grace...." Gal 1.15. 

What is so amazing about the when is the horrendous detour between the "setting apart" when Paul was born and the Damascus road.  Not only is the great apostle's detour permitted in order to be an encouragement to those of us who have taken detours of our own, but here, in Romans 1.1, this act of being "set apart," in light of Paul's detour and subsequent ministry, is already pressing us up against the climax of Romans in chapter 11, verses 33-36.  What I pass over as a needless intro is actually preparation for the meat'n'potatoes of the whole book.  

In my overview, I determined that the theme of the book is "the gospel."** As I started to study, I discovered that even the first verse of introduction is ultimately about the gospel.  To quote Pastor John when talking about Paul, the murderer and persecutor of the Church, being set apart from the womb,

"You see something like that and you put your hand on your mouth and say, 'God, what were you about?  Was it that you lost control of Paul?  That you wrung your hands as if 'Oh no, what is becoming of the one that I set apart for the gospel?'  Or are you loosening his leash and permitting, for holy purposes, this man to walk into being the chief sinners for a reason?'  Paul gives the answer to that in 1 Timothy where he says 'God had mercy on me, the chief of sinners that persecuted the church of God in order that he might demonstrate his perfect patience to all who would believe on him after me.'  He did it for you this morning, you sinner who feels who have done so much bad that nobody, especially God in his holiness, could ever forgive.  That's why God let him go! So that when He chose him on the Damascus Road, it would be plain to all, 'You mean you were willing to choose someone like that, who for 30, maybe 40 years, hated what you stand for? And came to a climax with rage against your people and threw men and women in prison in Jerusalem and hated your name?  That's who you choose to spearhead the Gentile mission?'  And God says 'YES! Do you get it?!?!  Do you get Romans?  Do you get the gospel?'  Verse 1 is about the gospel.  Verse 1 is about mercy.  Verse 1 is about sovereign, free grace."*
I have been excited to get to the laying-out of the gospel starting in Romans 1:18 (after the letter's intro).

I was blessed to find myself smacked upside-the-head with it before I even got through the first verse.

God is so good to us in his mercy, in his revelation, in his singular vision throughout every. single. word. of Scripture - to reveal who he is and what he has done so that he might be properly glorified.

Glory. Be.

Mindset Update
-I am still in a bit of a funk mentally, emotionally and socially.  Mostly socially.  I feel significantly better than I did when I first got back from Nepal, but I still am not my usual summer self.  And it's the end of June.  I am anxious for the sun's therapy to take its full effect.
-A few weeks ago I went on a solitude retreat and one of my intentions when I came back was to re-start my Gratitude Journal (not sure when/why I tapered off, but I did).  But I still haven't done it.  I think I'll start tonight.
-In those few weeks, while trying to motivate myself to re-start my Gratitude Journal, I have also been considering the idea of re-implementing Thankful Thursday here on the bloggy as a sort of accountability tool.  The verdict isn't in yet.  Still listing out pros and cons.  But the balance is tipped ever-so-slightly pro.  Stay tuned.

Oh and I am still enjoying the opportunity to spend time with the cutest dog ever.

No more updates this week/end.  I'll be spending a beautiful pre-4th-of-July summer weekend tromping around at the cabin in my tennis shoes.  See you next week!

*Most of these insights and the quote come from Pastor John's sermon "The Author of the Greatest Letter Ever Written" preached on April 26, 1998
** Since "The Gospel" is a fairly wide theme (and yet, I believe, it is unable to be narrowed down any further when considering the book of Romans as a whole), I am primarily approaching the book through Irving Jensen's helpful subdivisions that break the book into the following sections:
1.18-3.11: God's Holiness in Condemning Sin
3.12-5.21: God's Grace in Justifying Sinners
6.1-8.39: God's Power in Sanctifying Believers
9.1-11.36: God's Sovereignty: Saving Jew & Gentile
12.1-15.13: God's Glory: The Object of Service
I get encouraged by the gospel just reading through the subdivision titles!!  I can't wait to get down into the nitty-gritty!!!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Week in Review Part II

Another non-working week has come to an end and it seems that more and more people are asking me if I am getting bored out of my mind having not been to work in the last six weeks.  These are obviously people who do not realize that as long as there is a book somewhere in the world that I have not yet read, I will not be bored.  Even aside from reading, I have been getting a lot done.

I was much more social this week.  I am recovering from a fairly severe bout of jet lag/post-Nepal funk-ish-ness and I finally felt like leaving the house and talking to people this week.  I had a lovely new friend over for lunch on Monday and enjoyed a lengthy conversation about God's goodness, what it means to know His will, missions, biblical counseling, singleness, and all kinds of other things that I am passionate about.  Tuesday evening was a lengthy dinner in a park with a dear friend, Wednesday night was filled with new friends at a birthday party and Thursday was dinner with my roommie and Bible study.  Not bad for an introvert. :-)

The birthday party was for a new friend of mine who is a second-generation immigrant from Vietnam.  Her parents came to the U.S. to escape the war.  For her bday, we had do-it-yourself homemade spring rolls with a bunch of different Vietnamese sauces that she made.  You guys, she is the real deal.  It was SO yummy.  Also, she didn't know I played the accordion.  And I didn't know about 15 of the people there.  So that was fun.

Of course all of this fun took a toll and left me pretty tired.  So tired, in fact, that when I went to get an MRI of my wrist, I got in the machine and promptly fell asleep. They apologized about 13 times before the scan for needing to put me in such an awkward position (on my belly with my affected arm extended above my head Superwoman style) and asked me to just hang in there and they would try to get it all over with in 30 minutes.  Well, it took longer than 30 minutes because I could NOT stay awake, and every time I passed through a certain stage of sleep, my limbs would twitch and the movement of my wrist would mess up the scan.  So they had to keep repeating parts of the scan to get a better picture.  At the end, there was just one 5-minute scan left, and I could NOT stay awake and twitch-less for a full 5 minutes, so they actually took me out of the machine, let me sit up so I could wake up a bit, and then put me back in.  When all was said and done, the verdict was good - no broken bones or torn tendons.  Just some swelling in certain areas indicative of a really bad sprain.  And early arthritis.  :-(  The MRI of my foot also showed early arthritis (as well as two stress fractures and a broken toe - hence me still being off work) and osteopenia (decreased bone mineral density and a precursor to osteoporosis) which a) helps explain why every time I have any sort of minimal-impact trauma I manage to break a bone and b) concerns me.

But, I didn't have much time to sit around being concerned about my future bone health.  I was much too busy re-wiring my bedroom.  Do you remember the TiVo I bought last week?  Well, it came in the mail on Tuesday.  As I opened up the box, I threw the HDMI cable aside knowing full well that my ancient hand-me-down TV was not going to have HDMI input.  I grabbed the A/V cable and, much to my surprise, discovered that my TV didn't even have A/V input!  It ONLY had a coaxial cable input.  (p.s. the links are to help my technologically challenged mother understand what I am talking about, so if you already know what those things are, you don't need to click on the links).  In order to use my TiVo effectively, I was going to need a new TV.

So I headed to BestBuy.

Actually, first, I measured my TV.  It was a 20" and I decided on the way to BestBuy that I was going to upgrade to a 26" screen.  At this point, I was fairly excited.  I have never bought a TV before (hence the hand-me-down from 1990) and I was excited to a) not have that dumb tracking line run up my screen every 90 seconds, b) have a 6" wider diagonal on my screen and c) own a TV that is wider than it is deep.  So off I went to BestBuy.

If you've never looked at TVs at BestBuy before, let me tell you a little secret...26" screens look small when you are standing in a huge open space.

So do 32" screens.

37" looks nicer....

Aside from size, I had to make decisions about backlighting (LCD v. a slightly sharper LED), pixels (a sufficient 720 v. a sharper 1080) and frame speed (normal 60 hZ v. faster 120 hZ).  So, standing in front of the 40" TVs, I did what I do anytime I need to make a big decision.

I called my mom.

Big. Mistake.  At one point, she said, quote, "Honey, if you called to have me talk you out of this you called the wrong person."  And she is right.

I should have called my Dad.

Not long after I hung up, I walked out with my new 40" TV with the better backlighting, the higher density pixels and the faster frame speed.  Thanks, Mom.

I went home and proceeded to hook everything up.  After some research and a few phone calls, I discovered that I also needed a tuning adaptor (free) and a cable card ($2/mo) from Charter to get the HD channels through my cable.  And the cable card automatically gives you extended cable.  Which is how this whole thing started in the first place.  I called Charter to cancel my extended cable.  Now, less than week later, I still had extended cable, I just also had a nicer TV and a new TiVo.  Huh.

On Wednesday, I realized that with a nice TV in my bedroom that didn't have a tracking line running up it constantly, I may want to watch movies on it.  But not on my VCR (remember the whole "I haven't bought any entertainment-system-electronics in my life" thing?).  So I bought a Blu-Ray player.  And then, to ensure that I would have someone to watch movies with and that he wouldn't be hungry, I bought a mouse a cookie.  He proceeded to ask for a glass of milk, but I told him no.

I didn't have enough money left to buy milk.  (Hence the osteopenia...)

The TV, along with all the additional electronics (I already had a slingbox and my internet router is also in that corner) are a little too much for the top of my skinny dresser, so when my parents come in July my dad is going to mount the TV on my wall and so shall my shrine to (pointless, time-wasting) entertainment be complete.

Despite all of my new toys, I did not spend the week sitting in my bedroom watching TV.  As noted above, I was out and about quite a bit.  In fact, I WAS going to watch some shows as well as a movie on Tuesday evening, but I never got around to it.  Earlier in the day I met another neighbor (in the last 6 years, I met one of the seven neighbors on my wing of the driveway; in the past 10 days I have met four more).  He was sitting outside with his mom (who was visiting) eating lunch when I was going out to get the mail, so I stopped to chat while they fawned over Penny.  Turns out he is the anchorman for Channel 6 news.  They were extremely nice, so I stood and chatted for a bit before heading back home.  That evening, as I arrived home from dinner, I saw his mother sitting outside with another guy who I assumed was the guy's partner I heard about earlier that afternoon.  I headed over to introduce myself, was invited to join them for a glass of wine, and headed home 2.5 hours later.  Nik even gave me a hug as I was leaving!  They were SO nice and I am looking forward to developing deeper friendships with them.  I took some pasta salad over on Wednesday and we exchanged numbers.  Now that I have phone numbers for 5 of my 7 neighbors, I decided that a little neighborhood cookout was in order.  That will hopefully be on the docket sometime next week.  I love having (and knowing!) neighbors!!

So, to answer the world's persistent question: No, I am not bored.  Not bored at all.

Just poor.

The good news is I got set up with some temp work starting Monday (I will be working on the financial side of the medical system which I am actually fairly excited is something I don't really understand at all, but I field a lot of questions from patients about insurance and billing, so I'm hoping to learn a lot!).  I will probably miss all of the freedom that comes from not having any sort of schedule, but it will be good to get back to work (and stop spending money).

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mid-Year Resolutions

It's June 12...seems like a good time to post some mid-year resolutions since I missed the New Year's boat this year.  I actually prefer to review my previous year and think about the coming year around my birthday instead of at the turn of the calendar year.  I started thinking about some of these in April, it has just taken me a while to get them on here and several have just developed over the past few weeks.  So, here are some things I am hoping to focus on during my 28th year...
  • Slow down.
  • Study Thailand.  (Find 4 good books about Thailand's history, leaders, current politics/issues, and culture)
  • Go on a solitude retreat quarterly.
  • Set my alarm every morning.
  • Buy a puppy. Train her to be a certified therapy dog.  Visit people in the hospital.
  • Re-start my gratitude journal.
  • Host a weekly women's morning coffee/fellowship/prayer group as a ministry to the women of Salt and Light.
  • Buy a new table that would enable me to host a weekly women's morning coffee/fellowship/pray group as a ministry to the women of Salt and Light.
  • Finish memorizing Ephesians.
  • Leave town less.
  • Visit Westminster Theological seminary when I am in PA in August.  Meet with someone from the Masters of Arts in Biblical Counseling program.  
  • Write out a list of all of the implications of moving to Philadelphia and going to school (church, work, house, tuition, community, family).  Seek God's direction.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Week in Review

I'm not working right now.  I think I have a stress fracture in my foot.  I had an MRI on Thursday and should get the results tomorrow (Monday).  Being immobile while having copious amounts of free time in the summer is bittersweet.  It has been nice to have time to catch up on life, although what I REALLY want to do with all of my beautiful days off is walk, bike, play tennis and do all sorts of other things you can't do with a stress fracture.  But the week hasn't been a complete bust....

I tried making coconut tapioca pudding for the second time.  The first attempt was a disaster.  I threw it away.  I don't remember the last time I made something and then promptly threw it away.  Not sure I've ever done that.  Gross.  I just remembered what it tasted like. Even when I flipped my lasagna onto the floor, I picked it up, washed off the noodles and reassembled.  Anyway, I gave it another shot today and used a different kind of coconut milk.  It's better, but still not like the stuff I had at the Oak Center General Store (a sweet little house/farm/store/concert venue where the farmer's wife and daughters make amazing food for you to eat while listening to local folk bands in the attic of their old farmhouse above the storefront.  Seriously. Love. It.).  I think my issue is with tempering the egg.  Does anyone know how to properly temper an egg?  I added hot pudding a Tbsp at a time - almost 2 cups worth - before adding the egg mixture to the pot, but it didn't seem to matter.  This round of pudding tastes better, but I still ended up with visible egg curdle in my pudding.  Kind of looks like I just added a touch of scrambled egg and mixed it all up.  I'm not used to unsuccessful culinary experiments and, frankly, I don't like it.  With each passing year I feel more and more like the kitchen is my domain and I don't like being shown-up by a hot sugar mixture.  I can't decide if I'm going to let the pudding win or if I will continue to seek victory over it and its finicky ways.  I'm leaning toward admitting defeat.

Speaking of defeat, I killed a red-winged blackbird.  Did you read that?  I killed one.  I'm still trying to wrap my mind around it.  Sometimes when they fly in front of my car, I wish I could hit them, but we all know how unrealistic that is.  Well, earlier this week as I was exiting off of the highway on my way home, I saw one on the shoulder of the exit ramp.  I swear I have a sixth sense for the dumb things.  I see them ALL. THE. TIME.  As I was approaching said bird, I noticed that it wasn't flying away like birds typically do at a certain distance.  Before I could even think about what I was doing, I had turned my wheel and punched the gas at just the right moment, careening onto the shoulder of the exit ramp straight toward the little devil....and I GOT it!  I had an exceptionally brief moment of pure elation followed by a guilty "what-did-I-just-do/who-have-I-become" moment.  I mean, doesn't serial killing start with cruelty to animals or something like that?  But does it count as cruelty if the animal attacked first (and second, and third, and fourth, and fifth....)??  Besides, they are still winning the war.  I just won one little battle.  But, hey, I finally. won. a battle.

You guys, I tried burning incense this week.  I bought an incense burner in Bolivia in 2005 but I have never used it.  I found some incense I thought I liked in Nepal and excitedly bought a pack so I could finally break in my burner.  I really like incense.  It reminds me of sitting around a plate of rice with a goat head on it and wearing our hijabs in the UAE or of walking into a variety of street-side shops in Nepal.  So I was looking forward to having a new "thing."  "That girl who burns incense."  Well, let me tell you, burning an incense stick at 8pm on a Monday night in the kitchen of your townhouse in Rochester just doesn't have the same....ambiance.  I still really like the scent of it, but I was also constantly worried it would set off the smoke alarm.  And I couldn't shake the feeling of it being a Monday evening in Rochester.  Something just didn't mesh.  Ah well.

I bought the Romans "Precept upon Precept" series from Precept Ministries.  39 weeks of study, 195 lessons in all.  I also obtained the entirety of Pastor John's Romans Sermon Series. 225 sermons.  Over 160 hours of preaching.  I intend to listen as I work my way through the Precepts study.  So, if you're looking for me any time in the next five years, I'll be in Romans....

I went to the clinic to donate platelets on Tuesday.  I usually have to wait a year after I travel, but I was told that since Kathmandu is not a malaria area, I was okay to give again right away.  Well, it turns out that one of the cities we were in is 30 feet below the malaria elevation cutoff (which is 12,000 feet above sea level).  30 FEET!  I told them I stayed on the "higher end" of the city, and reminded them of how tall I am, but it turns out mosquitoes can still bite your ankles and therefore my blood is bad for the next 343 days.  Boo.

I spent some time with the cutest dog in the world.

I went to The Avengers (I. LOVED. it!!!!  HIGHLY recommend.  Jeremy Renner is one of my favorite actors, and I was a little sad when he got overtaken right away, but all's well that ends well.  Hoping his character will be even more prominent in the sequel) and Men In Black III (I liked it for what it was....Brolin's impression of Tommy Lee Jones is spot. on. and reason enough to go see the movie).

I met some more of my neighbors.  A new couple moved in across the driveway in November and I have never made the effort to venture over and meet them.  I saw she was out in the yard one afternoon planting flowers, so Penny and I headed over to make a friend.  We hadn't been chatting for too long before Penny attracted another neighbor whom I have met briefly but never really talked to, and the three of us stood in the hot summer sun and had a lovely conversation.  Yesterday I happened to notice smoke billowing from that neighbor's grill, so I headed over, rang their doorbell, and helped them put out the raging fire that was consuming their dinner.  I felt bad for them and their ruined dinner, so I took some pasta salad over today.  I like feeling neighborly.

Tuesday was a monumental day for me.  I paid off my home equity loan/second mortgage/lien/whatever else you want to call it.  YAY!!  Now my only remaining debt is the primary mortgage on the house.  If I can stick to my plan, Lord willing, I will have that paid off in 7 years and be completely DEBT FREE!  Woo hoo!!!

I, along with 3 of my colleagues, presented a proposal to the Nursing Administration at work.  I won't go into a lot of detail since we are still working out details/agreements, but I will say that having the opportunity to affect the operation of a hospital-wide system and remake one of the roles in the nursing department at one of the world's leading health care institutions is pretty darn cool.  I even had one of those "wait-a-minute-...-am-I-really-doing-this" moments.  Also, it turns out our Nursing Administrators are really nice, down-to-earth people.  I love living in the Midwest.

I bought a TiVo.  I was actually calling TiVo to cancel the service to my current TiVo. I was also talking to Charter, asking if they could remove my expanded cable package but leave the cable box to function as a DVR.  If you ever want to do a study in contrasts, talk to customer service at TiVo and Charter in the same day.  Un.Be.Lievable.    When all was said and done, I returned my cable box/DVR and bought a TiVo box to replace it.  It is true that it has a few more features than the cable box, but honestly, more than anything, trusting that TiVo will work with me regarding any future issues, that they will be fair in their business and that they will be honest with me was 85% of what swayed my decision.  They were incredible.  Like, Apple incredible.  Dare I say....maybe even better....

Oh, and, last but not least, I spent three minutes reminiscing about the good 'ole days....

....and then I grew a few ideas in the garden of my mind.  But those are things for a different post....

Monday, April 30, 2012


For an explanation of the Poetry Month hymns, go here.

(How else did you expect me to end a month of hymns???)

Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye, heavenly hosts;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

The Love of God

For an explanation of the Poetry Month hymns, go here.

(One of my absolute favorites, and arguably the most "poetic" of the month's poems....I love the imagery of the sky being scrolls and the ocean being ink and still not being able to exhaust the love of God in writing.  Beautiful.)

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.

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.

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.

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure

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.

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Down at the Cross

For an explanation of the Poetry Month hymns, go here.

Down at the cross where my Savior died,
Down where for cleansing from sin I cried,
There to my heart was the blood applied;
Glory to His Name!

Glory to His Name, glory to His Name:
There to my heart was the blood applied;
Glory to His Name!

I am so wondrously saved from sin,
Jesus so sweetly abides within;

There at the cross where He took me in;
Glory to His Name!

Glory to His Name, glory to His Name:
There to my heart was the blood applied;
Glory to His Name!

Oh, precious fountain that saves from sin,
I am so glad I have entered in;
There Jesus saves me and keeps me clean;
Glory to His Name!

Glory to His Name, glory to His Name:
There to my heart was the blood applied;
Glory to His Name!

Come to this fountain so rich and sweet,
Cast thy poor soul at the Savior’s feet;
Plunge in today, and be made complete;
Glory to His Name!

Glory to His Name, glory to His Name:
There to my heart was the blood applied;
Glory to His Name!

Leaning On the Everlasting Arms

For an explanation of the Poetry Month hymns, go here.

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
O how bright the path grows from day to day,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms?
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms.
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

I Sing the Mighty Power of God

For an explanation of the Poetry Month hymns, go here.

I sing the mighty power of God, that made the mountains rise,
That spread the flowing seas abroad, and built the lofty skies.
I sing the wisdom that ordained the sun to rule the day;
The moon shines full at God’s command, and all the stars obey.

I sing the goodness of the Lord, who filled the earth with food,
Who formed the creatures through the Word, and then pronounced them good.
Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed, where’er I turn my eye,
If I survey the ground I tread, or gaze upon the sky.

There’s not a plant or flower below, but makes Thy glories known,
And clouds arise, and tempests blow, by order from Thy throne;
While all that borrows life from Thee is ever in Thy care;
And everywhere that we can be, Thou, God art present there.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

There is Power in the Blood

For an explanation of the Poetry Month hymns, go here.

  1. Would you be free from the burden of sin?
    There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;
    Would you o’er evil a victory win?
    There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.
    • There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
      In the blood of the Lamb;
      There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
      In the precious blood of the Lamb.
  2. Would you be free from your passion and pride?
    There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;
    Come for a cleansing to Calvary’s tide;
    There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.
  3. There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
    In the blood of the Lamb;
    There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
    In the precious blood of the Lamb.
  4. Would you be whiter, much whiter than snow?
    There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;
    Sin-stains are lost in its life-giving flow;
    There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.
  5. There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
    In the blood of the Lamb;
    There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
    In the precious blood of the Lamb.
  6. Would you do service for Jesus your King?
    There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;
    Would you live daily His praises to sing?
    There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.

Jesus, What a Friend for Sinners

For an explanation of the Poetry Month hymns, go here.

Jesus! What a friend for sinners!
Jesus! Lover of my soul;
Friends may fail me, foes assail me,
He, my Savior, makes me whole.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Hallelujah! What a friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.

Jesus! What a strength in weakness!
Let me hide myself in Him.
Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing,
He, my strength, my victory wins.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Hallelujah! What a friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.

Jesus! What a help in sorrow!
While the billows o’er me roll,
Even when my heart is breaking,
He, my comfort, helps my soul.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Hallelujah! What a friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.

Jesus! I do now receive Him,
More than all in Him I find.
He hath granted me forgiveness,
I am His, and He is mine.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Hallelujah! What a friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.

And Can it Be?

For an explanation of the Poetry Month hymns, go here.

(Whoopsie daisy!  It was such a busy day!!  And for some reason the schedule feature stopped working for me, so I haven't been pre-scheduling the hymns to post anymore.  So....let's get caught up!)

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

’Tis mystery all: th’Immortal dies:
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore;
Let angel minds inquire no more.

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Still the small inward voice I hear,
That whispers all my sins forgiven;
Still the atoning blood is near,
That quenched the wrath of hostile Heaven.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus

For an explanation of the Poetry Month hymns, go here.

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;

And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!

There is a Fountain Filled with Blood

For an explanation of the Poetry Month hymns, go here.

There is a fountain filled with blood
  Drawn from Immanuel's veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
  Lose all their guilty stains:

  Lose all their guilty stains,
  Lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
  Lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see
  That fountain in his day;
And there may I, though vile as he,
  Wash all my sins away:

  Wash all my sins away,
  Wash all my sins away;
And there may I, though vile as he,
  Wash all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood
  Shall never lose its power,
Till all the ransomed ones of God
  Be saved, to sin no more:
  Be saved, to sin no more,
  Be saved, to sin no more;
Till all the ransomed ones of God,
  Be saved to sin no more.

E'er since by faith I saw the stream
  Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
  And shall be till I die:
  And shall be till I die,
  And shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme,
  And shall be till I die. 

When this poor lisping, stammering tongue
  Lies silent in the grave,
Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
  I'll sing Thy power to save:
  I'll sing Thy power to save,
  I'll sing Thy power to save;
Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
  I'll sing Thy power to save.