Monday, September 29, 2008

Hymn of the Week: We Have Not Known Thee As We Ought

We Have Not Known Thee As We Ought
by Thomas Pollock
(music here)

We have not known Thee as we ought,
Nor learned Thy wisdom, grace and power;
The things of earth have filled our thought,
And trifles of the passing hour.
Lord, give us light Thy truth to see,
And make us wise in knowing Thee.

We have not feared Thee as we ought,
Nor bowed beneath Thine awful eye,
Nor guarded deed and word and thought,
Remembering that God was nigh.
Lord, give us faith to know Thee near,
And grant the grace of holy fear.

We have not loved Thee as we ought,
Nor cared that we are loved by Thee;
Thy presence we have coldly sought,
And feebly longed Thy face to see.
Lord, give a pure and loving heart
To feel and know the love Thou art.

We have not served Thee as we ought,
Alas, the duties left undone,
The work with little fervor wrought,
The battles lost or scarcely won!
Lord, give the zeal, and give the might,
For Thee to toil, for Thee to fight.

When shall we know Thee as we ought,
And fear and love and serve aright?
When shall we, out of trial brought,
Be perfect in the land of light?
Lord, may we day by day prepare
To see Thy face and serve Thee there.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Book Review: The Road to Lost Innocence

Don't read the first 75 pages of this book while eating. That being said, you need to read this book. In The Road to Lost Innocence, Somaly Mam recounts the horrific experience of being sold into prostitution in Cambodia during the 70s and 80s. The stories will make you cringe and tear your heart. You'll get a glimpse not only into Cambodian culture, but also into the often-hushed but ever-so-prevalent sex industry. Somaly doesn't just share her story--she also tells of the other girls and sisters she knows whose lives have also been ruined by the sale of their bodies. The book will turn your stomach, but that's what it's supposed to do. For millions of girls each year, what you'll read isn't just a book, it's their life.

The story doesn't end there, though. Somaly mercifully was able to escape and now helps other girls (of devastatingly young ages) out of the evil that is prostitution. Even though she's not a Christian (but rather a Bhuddist), you can see the mercy of God in her meeting certain people at certain times, Him providing a way of escape, etc. One thing I really appreciated was the description of how they are educating the men to value women. It's not enough to just make prostitution illegal--the root of the problem needs to be delt with. Men need to learn to honor women and not see them as purely physical objects.

I think Christians especially need to be aware of what's happening in this area, as we not only have physical freedom from prostitution, we know the One who offers spiritual freedom as well.

Here's a link where you can buy Somaly's book; the local library system as it as well and I'm willing to loan out my copy. Read it, and let God move your heart for the girls who are lost in this sickening world.

Friday, September 26, 2008

In Which She Is Not a Typical Girl

I am very thankful that God made me female and not male.  Generally, I’m a pretty feminine person—I have long hair, wear jewelry and it’s not too rare to see me in a skirt.  There are a few ways, though, in which I buck the trend of being a typical girl.

The stereotype of having a million shoes in a million colors is not something I prescribe to, although I do admit to having several pairs of Old Navy flip-flops in a variety of colors.  I don’t even have the same shirt in four different colors!

The concept of the purse makes me shudder.  Only recently was I given a purse that I like and can almost enjoy carrying around.  Ever since I was of Purse Carrying Age, I’ve found them annoying and tried for a long time to avoid it, but before too long, having to carry keys, a cell phone, wallet and such got to be too much so I succumbed to this phenomenon.

This probably relates to my hippie streak more than anything else, but I don’t use a hair dryer.  Almost ever.   (The times I have, my hair usually gets caught in them, which doesn’t bode well for our relationship).  Hair dryers are incredibly bad for your hair (heat + hair = bad) and they take more time than I’m willing to spend in the mornings (especially when you have a lot of hair).  My coworkers and friends have gotten used to seeing me come to work with wet hair, and I enjoy knowing that I’m not frying my hair every single day.

So no, I'm not a very typical girl in some aspects, but whoever said normal was good? ;)

Monday, September 15, 2008

I heart Charles Spurgeon (pt. 1)

Read this selection from Morning and Evening this morning and I just had to post the whole thing...

"He shall not be afraid of evil tidings."-Psalm 112:7

"Christian, you ought not to dread the arrival of evil tidings; because if you are distressed by them, what do you more than other men? Other men have not your God to fly to; they have never proved his faithfulness as you have done, and it is no wonder if they are bowed down with alarm and cowed with fear: but you profess to be of another spirit; you have been begotten again unto a lively hope, and your heart lives in heaven and not on earthly things; now, if you are seen to be distracted as other men, what is the value of that grace which you profess to have received? Where is the dignity of that new nature which you claim to possess?

Again, if you should be filled with alarm, as others are, you would, doubtless, be led into the sins so common to others under trying circumstances. The ungodly, when they are overtaken by evil tidings, rebel against God; they murmur, and think that God deals hardly with them. Will you fall into that same sin? Will you provoke the Lord as they do?

Moreover, unconverted men often run to wrong means in order to escape from difficulties, and you will be sure to do the same if your mind yields to the present pressure. Trust in the Lord, and wait patiently for him. Your wisest course is to do as Moses did at the Red Sea, “Stand still and see the salvation of God.” For if you give way to fear when you hear of evil tidings, you will be unable to meet the trouble with that calm composure which nerves for duty, and sustains under adversity. How can you glorify God if you play the coward? Saints have often sung God’s high praises in the fires, but will your doubting and desponding, as if you had none to help you, magnify the Most High? Then take courage, and relying in sure confidence upon the faithfulness of your covenant God, “let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”--September 15, morning

Hymn of the Week: Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder

Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder
by John Newton

1. Let us love and sing and wonder
Let us praise the Savior’s name
He has hushed the law’s loud thunder
He has quenched Mount Sinai’s flame
He has washed us with His blood
He has washed us with His blood
He has washed us with His blood
He has brought us nigh to God

2. Let us love the Lord Who bought us
Pitied us when enemies
Called us by His grace and taught us
Gave us ears and gave us eyes
He has washed us with His blood
He has washed us with His blood
He has washed us with His blood
He presents our souls to God

3. Let us sing though fierce temptation
Threatens hard to bear us down
For the Lord, our strong salvation,
Holds in view the conqu’ror’s crown
He, Who washed us with His blood,
He, Who washed us with His blood,
He, Who washed us with His blood,
Soon will bring us home to God

4. Let us wonder grace and justice
Join and point to mercy’s store
When through grace in Christ our trust is
Justice smiles and asks no more
He Who washed us with His blood
He Who washed us with His blood
He Who washed us with His blood
Has secured our way to God

5. Let us praise and join the chorus
Of the saints enthroned on high
Here they trusted Him before us
Now their praises fill the sky
Thou hast washed us with Thy blood
Thou hast washed us with Thy blood
Thou hast washed us with Thy blood
Thou art worthy Lamb of God

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Joy in the Mundane

To most people, my life is pretty boring. There's not a whole lot that changes. I'm not using my degree at my job. My life consists primarily of work, church and friends. Most evenings after work are spent at my house, reading, talking with my roommates, running and laughing at our cat. Weekends are filled with church, Bible quizzing, friends and the like.

On the flip side, though, I've found amazing joy in my somewhat mundane life. While my job isn't using my degree, I do work for a great company that cares about its employees. What I do does have some eternal impact. I have fabulous roommates who make me laugh like none other and put up with my craziness by adding lots of their own. The people from my church are amazing and I love getting to know them better. I'm privileged to be coaching a Bible Quizzing team, helping other kids be formed by the Scriptures like I was.

I want to be content in whatever season of life God has placed me; right now, He has me in Bellingham (where I said I'd never move), learning, loving and living. I want to enjoy and thrive in this season, knowing that it's unique and a gift from Him.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Hymn of the Week: O Day of Rest and Gladness

O Day of Rest and Gladness
by Christopher Wordsworth

O day of rest and gladness,
O day of joy and light,
O balm of care and sadness, most beautiful, most bright:
On Thee, the high and lowly, through ages joined in tune,
Sing holy, holy, holy, to the great God Triune.

On Thee, at the creation, the light first had its birth;
On Thee, for our salvation,
Christ rose from depths of earth;
On Thee, our Lord, victorious, the Spirit sent from Heaven,
And thus on Thee, most glorious, a triple light was given.

New graces ever gaining from this our day of rest,
We reach the rest remaining to spirits of the blessed.
To Holy Ghost be praises, to Father, and to Son;
The Church her voice upraises
To Thee, blessed Three in One.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Hymn of the Week: There's a Wideness in God's Mercy

There's a Wideness in God's Mercy
by Frederick Faber

There’s a wideness in God’s mercy,
Like the wideness of the sea;
There’s a kindness in His justice,
Which is more than liberty.

There is welcome for the sinner,
And more graces for the good;
There is mercy with the Savior;
There is healing in His blood.

Oh the mercy of God
Is a raging sea
Flowing down from Heaven
On all who would believe
Administered by faith
In the death Christ the King
Oh the mercy of God,
That saves a wretch like me

For the love of God is broader
Than the measure of our mind;
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.

If our love were but more simple,
We should take Him at His word;
And our lives would be all sunshine
In the sweetness of our Lord