Sunday, November 30, 2008

Hymn of the Week: Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus

Hymn of the Week: Come, Thou  Long Expected Jesus
by Charles Wesley
(First week of Advent)

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Things for Which I am Thankful

I know I'm a day late, but I was too busy spending yesterday with people I'm thankful for to blog.  So, without even further adieu, here's the incomplete-and-in-no-order list of what I'm thankful for, version 2008:

God
I know it's cliche, but it's true.  Each time I realize the depth of my depravity (which is daily), I'm all the more amazed that He would save me.  His daily grace amazes me.  2008 wasn't the easiest year--specifically, Grandma dying--but He gave His strength and comfort in a myriad of different ways, and for that, I am so incredibly thankful.

Family
They may be crazy, but I love them. :)  I'm thankful that my parents let me come to their house whenever I want and let me bring friends, too (usually to eat their food), especially on holidays.

My man
Being in a relationship for the first time has taught me a LOT (like how incredibly selfish I am), but I am so thankful that God brought me an amazing man that I don't deserve.  It's one more evidence of His grace and how He gives good gifts.  Daily, I am in awe of Chris and the fact that God brought us into each other's lives.

Friends
They've been there for me through the downs of Grandma's death and the excitement of my relationship with Chris.  Plus, the friends I live with put up with me on a daily basis...not an easy thing to do, as I'm sure they'll tell you. ;)

My Church
I am so thankful to be part of a church where the Gospel is faithful proclaimed and lived out day after day.  I'm thankful for a godly pastor who cares about his people, a community group dedicated to Jesus and everyone else at Oikos.

Running
I'm not exactly a runner per se, but I am thankful for a) the ability to run and b) people like my roommates and Chris who got me into it and won't let me stop. :)

Work
I have a good job for a great company and a steady paycheck...not everyone can say that and I'm thankful I can.

I decided to go for the shorter, more in depth list this year, because really, if I was going to list everything I was thankful for, the list would never end.  What about you?  What you thankful for this year?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hymn of the Week: From Depths of Woe I Raise to Thee

Hymn of the week: From Depths of Woe I Raise to Thee
by Martin Luther

From depths of woe I raise to Thee
The voice of lamentation;
Lord, turn a gracious ear to me
And hear my supplication;
If Thou iniquities dost mark,
Our secret sins and misdeeds dark,
O who shall stand before Thee?

To wash away the crimson stain,
Grace, grace alone availeth;
Our works, alas! are all in vain;
In much the best life faileth:
No man can glory in Thy sight,
All must alike confess Thy might,
And live alone by mercy.

Therefore my trust is in the Lord,
And not in mine own merit;
On Him my soul shall rest, His Word
Upholds my fainting spirit:
His promised mercy is my fort,
My comfort, and my sweet support;
I wait for it with patience.

What though I wait the livelong night,
And till the dawn appeareth,
My heart still trusteth in His might;
It doubteth not nor feareth:
Do thus, O ye of Israel’s seed,
Ye of the Spirit born indeed;
And wait till God appeareth.

Though great our sins and sore our woes,
His grace much more aboundeth;
His helping love no limit knows,
Our utmost need it soundeth.
Our Shepherd good and true is He,
Who will at last His Israel free.
From all their sin and sorrow.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Beauty of Your Peace

Dear Lord and Father of mankind,

Forgive our foolish ways!

Reclothe us in our rightful mind;

In purer lives your service find,

In deeper reverence, praise.

Drop your still dews of quietness

Till all our strivings cease:

Take from our lives the strain and stress,

And let our ordered lives confess

The beauty of your peace.

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)

 We’ve started singing this song at my church recently, based on the above hymn by John Greenleaf Whittier.  I ran across the original text during my reading of “Let Me Be a Woman” by Elisabeth Elliot in her chapter on self-discipline (excellent book, by the way) and may end up painting this quote on my wall someday; who knows?

As Christians, our lives are to reflect the glory of God (Col. 3:23, 1 Cor. 10:31), and that includes, as Whittier says, “the beauty of your peace.”  I’ve had some discussions with my roommates on this topic, too, and have realized that this is a heart issue—if we know the beauty of his peace, we will want to reflect that in everything, including, I believe, one’s life, home, schedule and conduct.

This is something I’ve really struggled with simply because it’s not easy.  Things like planning for your week, keeping your house orderly…they all take time, work and discipline.  I have a long, long ways to go (anyone who knows me can attest to this), but I’m convinced it’s worth it.  At least in my case, my soul feels better when my life is organized.   While it’s not always easy or fun to strive for the discipline of order, it’s necessary as I try to show “the beauty of his peace” in my life and home.