Monday, April 26, 2010

Help Wanted

I spent last weekend at a collegiate women's retreat, I was speaking on Sunday morning and leading the prayer time. It was an honor and a big challenge. The theme was about trials, suffering and temptations. There were several older women invited to speak, ranging from a single woman pursuing her doctorate, to a busy young mom of two, to a mom who has been married 33 years. Saturday night, older women from our church brought food for dinner and were available to hang out and get to know the college girls. I was also part of a discussion panel later that evening made up of the guest speakers and four men--a couple of young fathers, a middle-aged dad also a grandpa and then Tom, in his late 60's. We fielded questions from the college women, which ended up mostly about sexual purity.

Which was really, the underlying theme of almost everything.

In preparing for a couple of weeks, I had a feeling for which direction I wanted to go in my sharing for Sunday morning, but the question was how deeply I needed to go. How much vulnerability was necessary? Along the way, I've learned to draw boundaries in what is appropriate to share and what isn't and now I found myself confused.

By Saturday night, I found what the girls needed to hear and from the cues from the other wonderful speakers, I knew that I had to go a little further than I had planned to. Carol, who had earlier shared an excellent and moving testimony about God helping her in her marriage, came up to my room to pray with me on Saturday night to help me prepare for the next morning. By that time, my fuzziness had turned into a resolved focus. It wasn't necessary to make myself into some kind of spiritual hero. But it was essential to glorify God for His rescue of this weak and meager sinner. Carol agreed with me that if we older women of the church didn't share the hard stuff, who will? It's a big tough hungry world out there.

Usually, in the last year or so of sharing a testimony, I have it nailed down and rehearsed for a month before having to present it. That time, I wrote it fully in a few hours, which included my plan for prayer time. And I wasn't nervous at all. I was eager to proclaim the excellencies of our Lord, who is faithful and good to me and came to my aid as I suffered big temptations in some really weak moments. That Hebrews 2:18 is true, true, and true.

Commentary on Hebrews 2 by Matthew Henry:

The angels fell, and remained without hope or help. Christ never designed to be the Saviour of the fallen angels, therefore he did not take their nature; and the nature of angels could not be an atoning sacrifice for the sin of man. Here is a price paid, enough for all, and suitable to all, for it was in our nature. Here the wonderful love of God appeared, that, when Christ knew what he must suffer in our nature, and how he must die in it, yet he readily took it upon him. And this

atonement made way for his people's deliverance from Satan's bondage, and for the pardon of their sins through faith. Let those who dread death, and strive to get the better of their terrors, no longer attempt to outbrave or to stifle them, no longer grow careless or wicked through despair. Let them not expect help from the world, or human devices; but let them seek pardon, peace, grace, and a lively hope of heaven, by faith in Him who died and rose again, that thus they may rise above the fear

of death. The remembrance of his own sorrows and temptations, makes Christ mindful of the trials of his people, and ready to help them. He is ready and willing to succour those who are tempted, and seek him. He became man, and was tempted, that he might be every way qualified to succour his people, seeing that he had passed through the same temptations himself, but continued perfectly free from sin. Then let not the afflicted and tempted despond, or give place to Satan, as if temptations made

it wrong for them to come to the Lord in prayer. Not soul ever perished under temptation, that cried unto the Lord from real alarm at its danger, with faith and expectation of relief. This is our duty upon our first being surprised by temptations, and would stop their progress, which is our wisdom

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings (Amazing Grace Intro)

Dinner Tonight

I start my shift at 2:30 today and so, I made dinner ahead of time to pop in the oven when I get home around 7pm. The recipe for the chicken parmesan is on Simply Recipes a food blog by Elise Bauer, only I couldn't find any reasonably priced chicken breasts for some reason, so I got more affordable chicken tenderloins. And I confess, I used pre-made marinara sauce. The chicken is in the baking dish, cooling down to be stored in the fridge until I get home tonight.
Thank you, Elise!

Love Well

A cover of Bob Dylan's "What Good Am I?" for those who don't know how great his songs are because you can't handle listening to his voice.

Why I like this song: In the Bible, there is a passage that is well -known about what love is. You might hear it at a lot of weddings, it is so poetic. But not many people know much about the verses that proceeds the passage that describes many natural and spiritual abilities, and how they all amount to nothing if we don't have love. What Bob has done with this song was to show how real love makes a real difference in our personal lives, as well as society. He once said that all his songs are protest songs. Here, he is questioning himself. I think it is a question we could do well to ask ourselves. The Bible also says that God is love. Since God loves perfectly and we do not, we need Him to love well--it's about our actions and our hearts.

What Good Am I?

What good am I if I’m like all the rest,
If I just turn away, when I see how you’re dressed,
If I shut myself off so I can’t hear you cry,
What good am I?

What good am I if I know and don’t do,
If I see and don’t say, if I look right through you,
If I turn a deaf ear to the thunderin’ sky,
What good am I?

What good am I while you softly weep
And I hear in my head what you say in your sleep,
And I freeze in the moment like the rest who don’t try,
What good am I?

What good am I then to others and me
If I’ve had every chance and yet still fail to see
If my hands are tied must I not wonder within
Who tied them and why and where must I have been?

What good am I if I say foolish things
And I laugh in the face of what sorrow brings
And I just turn my back while you silently die,
What good am I?

Sunday, April 04, 2010

happy easter

A Hymn To God The Father

Wilt thou forgive that sin where I begun,
Which was my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt thou forgive that sin, through which I run,
And do run still, though still I do deplore?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
For I have more.

Wilt thou forgive that sin which I have won
Others to sin, and made my sin their door?
Wilt thou forgive that sin which I did shun
A year or two, but wallow'd in, a score?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
For I have more.

I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
But swear by thyself, that at my death thy Son
Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore;
And, having done that, thou hast done;
I fear no more.

- John Donne

Saturday, April 03, 2010

npr--tiny desk concert

Jakob Dylan sings three songs from his about to be released album Women and Country in the office of npr for the employees. Songs are "Nothing but the Whole Wide World", "Everybody's Hurting" and "Holy Rollers for Love". It's ten minutes long and if you listen carefully, there are some mighty good biblical metaphors. (The first song reminded me of Matthew 5:1-11.) The album is produced by award winning T-Bone Burnett, whom I watched forego the mic during the Academy Awards telecast, letting his lesser known collaborator, Ryan Bingham, enjoy the limelight after winning an Oscar for Best Original Song, "The Weary Kind" from the movie Crazy Heart. Actions speak louder than words.

Check it out.