Sunday, March 29, 2009

Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted

Stricken, smitten, and afflicted,
See Him dying on the tree!
’Tis the Christ by man rejected;
Yes, my soul, ’tis He, ’tis He!
’Tis the long expected prophet,
David’s Son, yet David’s Lord;
Proofs I see sufficient of it:
’Tis a true and faithful Word.

Tell me, ye who hear Him groaning,
Was there ever grief like His?
Friends through fear His cause disowning,
Foes insulting his distress:
Many hands were raised to wound Him,
None would interpose to save;
But the deepest stroke that pierced Him
Was the stroke that Justice gave.

Ye who think of sin but lightly,
Nor suppose the evil great,
Here may view its nature rightly,
Here its guilt may estimate.
Mark the Sacrifice appointed!
See Who bears the awful load!
’Tis the Word, the Lord’s Anointed,
Son of Man, and Son of God.

Here we have a firm foundation,
Here the refuge of the lost.
Christ the Rock of our salvation,
Christ the Name of which we boast.
Lamb of God for sinners wounded!
Sacrifice to cancel guilt!
None shall ever be confounded
Who on Him their hope have built.

To listen

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What's my motivation?

When I was in high school I hung out with the drama geeks and acted in a couple plays. I had fun, and found a group I felt comfortable enough with to make it through the only-slightly-less-cannibalistic-than-junior-high years of high school. I never took it too seriously, though. I played at acting.

Some of the the kids I interacted with were very different from me. They went to workshops and studied technique, and when I hung out with them and pretended I was there for reasons beyond having a safe place to eat lunch, I was always impressed by their dedication to their craft.

"What's my motivation?" was a recurring question for them.

Why is my character behaving as the playwrite directs? When he says this, is he speaking sarcastically or sincerely? Is the character being disingenuous when he takes this action, or does he mean what he says?

Stated another way, meaning is not found in action; meaning is found in intention.

My pastor has been preaching through Matthew 5-7, The Sermon on the Mount, for the past several months. I'm not exaggerating when I say that it's been a life-changing series for me.

He posed a question to us a couple weeks ago that I can't stop thinking about: Imagine heaven with all of its beauty and blessings, with all its joys and relationships restored, with sin removed and purity and utter bliss. If I could have all of that, and Jesus wasn't there, would I still want to go?

Is Jesus a window to a host of blessings for me, or is He it? Is Jesus what I'm after? Why am I in this thing--Christianity--to begin with?

Is Jesus the means or the end of my faith?

If I really believe something, I will act as if it is true. So if I really want Jesus, if I am His follower and disciple, I will live a life of obedience to His words.

What would that look like in my life? How would Jesus live my life if He were I?

I think I will spend the rest of my life learning what that means.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Never Alone

Dh's work has required a lot of separation over the last several weeks. He's gone Monday-Friday every week, and will likely be keeping this schedule for at least another month.

I'm fortunate to have a close friend whose work schedule allows her to stay with the kids mid-week, so I can get a sanity break. And I've been very purposeful in staying connected to my women's Bible study and Wednesday small group, so I am staying in community with friends.

The nights are still somewhat lonely, but I have to admit that I like having some time on my own. I think better when it's quiet, and have been happy to be able to spend some good chunks of time in study and prayer.

God is good. I am never alone, without Him.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Readings for Lent

I've been following this blog to help me as I try to focus upon the Cross in this season of Lent. It's simply a short daily scripture reading, from the ESV. Highly recommended as a means to approach Easter with a more contemplative approach.

This is in addition to the (theoretically) daily reading I'm doing through the Bible.

Monday, March 9, 2009

This has been the weekend of the dead vehicle

So, last Wednesday my Chrysler van died after small group. We had a caravan of three vehicles shuttling home me, my friend who was staying over at my place, and my six kids. Dh thought he could probably fix it pretty easily, so we just left it parked at my pastor's house until dh got back into town on Friday.

We have a back-up Toyota van but the battery was dead, and it needs to have brake work done before it can be safely driven. Plus the tags expired at the end of February and it's only insured for storage, not for driving, so completely undriveable until those issues were dealt with.

While dh was driving back from Nevada Friday afternoon, his Ford work truck started blowing blue smoke. He turned around and went back to a town to have it looked at, but they couldn't figure it out. He finally decided to just go ahead and drive back to Salt Lake and made it okay.

Saturday morning and early afternoon were eaten up by getting the Chrysler van towed back to our house and dh doing a bunch of troubleshooting. He decided we should have the dealer work on it at 3:30 in the afternoon, so I called and had it towed to the Chrysler dealer.

Sunday we didn't go to church, since we couldn't all fit in dh's truck and he wasn't feeling well. I can't drive the truck, because I'm not an employee. Dh took the truck by Jiffy Lube in the afternoon, on his way back from picking up groceries for me and the kids. Jiffy Lube discovers there's a front differential leak (whatever that means), which they can't deal with.

Dh parks his truck at home and takes a cab to the airport, where he's rented a (very nice) SUV so he can drive back to Nevada. He takes off at about 5:00 in the evening.

This morning I called the Ford dealer and had dh's truck towed there, as well as passing on dh's list of the issues and his contact info. Thankfully, dh's company will be paying for all repairs.

Then I got a call from the Chrysler dealer with a complete diagnostic and repair estimate. *faint* I note down everything and call dh at the mine site to get direction. Call back the Chrysler dealer--a couple times--to confirm exactly what and how dh wants things done. (Sometimes it's a blessing having a mechanic dh, sometimes....not so much...)

By this time, the tow truck is here for dh's truck. I go outside, chat with the driver while the little guys watch out the front window.

Then I call the Toyota dealer, arrange for the Toyota van to get towed, and confirmed the issues needing to be dealt with on email with dh.

Waiting on the tow truck for the Toyota right now....

Sunday, March 8, 2009

It Is Well with My Soul

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul

It is well, with my soul
It is well, with my soul
It is well, it is well, with my soul

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come
Let this blest assurance control
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
And hath shed His own blood for my soul

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin, not in part but the whole
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend
Even so, it is well with my soul

Friday, March 6, 2009

Where has this been all my life?

My pastor is preaching a series through the Sermon on the Mount, and to me it feels like the first time I've heard these things. How is it possible to live as a believer for over thirty years, and to have arguably the most familiar chapters of the Bible hitting me with such force and vigor?

Why do such basic concepts as trust and prayer seem wholly new? Why don't I yet understand that grace is God's power at work in my life?

God, help me to be the kind of person who:
*chooses prayer over manipulation
*believes others possess the same dignity as I
*fully realizes that God will get the job done better than I
*understands that I can't act in a way that doesn't fit the Kingdom to gain a result that does
*replaces my goals for God's goals