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"No matter where I am, your teachings fill me with songs." - Psalm 119:54 (CEV)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Struggles


It wasn't a struggle two months ago,

With that joy in my heart and that smile on my face that made my cheeks sore.

It was a struggle a month ago,

Incredibly busy, not enough time to pursue Him the way I wanted.

It wasn't a struggle a week after that,

Once I'd heard that sermon and started to see Him again.

It was a struggle a couple weeks later,

Buried again, searching for just a moment to breathe.

It wasn't a struggle a day after that,

Because I'd taken that breath.

The next week,

Oh, it was a struggle then,

The week after,

And the week after,

And the week after -

Here.

Now.

Still a struggle.


Three weeks,

Four now,

That I've been in this place?

I don't like this place,

Feeling so distant from Him,

Don't know why it's been happening so much lately.

It's a struggle,

But I will wait,

Because He's working something in this,

Even when I don't know what it is.


I went to church Sunday night,

And instead of a sermon, we worshiped for awhile,

Then the pastor talked just a bit about Hannah,

How she poured out her heart to God,

Then he asked us to split into groups to do just that.

In the silence,

While others in my group were praying,

(And I really should have been listening quite a bit more than I was)

My mind was trying to put words to my struggles,

And I just cried out to Him.

For the second time that day,

Third time this season,

I just cried out to Him

And tears welled up in my eyes.

I waited,

Listened,

And almost didn't because I'm shy,

Because I had absolutely no words in my mind, despite my efforts,

But I opened my mouth,

Laid myself and my struggles bare before these people I know a little,

Don't know very well,

And in short bunches of words,

Sentences broken with gasps for breath,

I thanked Him for how He's changed me and grown me in the last year,

(For I know virtually no other way to begin prayer than with thanks,)

And then I told Him what He already knew,

Cried out to Him from my heart,

Begged for His help,

Because I cannot help myself,

I, who cannot even take a breath unless He gives it in His sovereign will,

And ended again with thanks.

Not thanks for help which He, in His perfect Grace, may or may not give,

But thanks for who He is,

And that He has dealt bountifully with me,

Even in the desert. 

I will praise Him still.


Today, I logged on to post,

Knowing that the hours spent playing chess with my siblings,

Having dinner,

Spending time with family

Had delayed my weekly ramblings,

And that some would be looking,

And that I needed to say something,

Whether I was in the middle of the desert or not.

I logged on to post and found a comment awaiting moderation,

A comment on an almost-forgotten post from a couple of weeks ago.

"Yes" - Yes, He keeps saving.

"[H]ere, too."

And I just went back and skimmed that post,

Then went back again and read,

And before I knew it I was on the floor again,

Praying that my Daddy would save me yet again,

Save me from myself

And everything else that's made me feel so far from Him lately.

Shakily,  I rose just a bit,

Reached for that Bible on my desk,

And eagerly flipped open to one of my favorite passages,

Job 38-42,

And just prayed

And stood in awe of Him who revealed Himself to Job,

At least, as much awe as He saw fit to give my apathetic heart,

Which wasn't much, but it was a great blessing.

And, once again, I was face down,

Begging to see Him, not just hear of him with the hearing of the ear,

Trying to repent -

Comfort myself in -

Dust and ashes,

And just stare at Him,

His grace,

All of who He is,

At least, all I know of who He is,

And praise.

Oh, I hadn't just praised Him like that for awhile.

Thank You.

 
A little more hope now,

Still praying,

Still struggling.

Ran into another old post today,

Took a few of the words a little differently, here in the desert,

And I think, maybe,

That those are raindrops falling.

Are they falling for me?

Please.


Numbers 1243-1336 this week,

Fighting to see Him,

Fighting for joy:
  1. He allows His king to see his successor (1 Kings 1:48)
  2. He repays people for the innocent blood they shed (1 Kings 2:31-32)
  3. He repays people for their wrongdoing (1 Kings 2:44)
  4. He offers the one He has chosen whatever he wants (1 Kings 3:5)
  5. He shows great kindness to His servant (1 Kings 3:6)
  6. He shows great kindness to those who are faithful to Him (1 Kings 3:6)
  7. He shows great kindness to the righteous (1 Kings 3:6)
  8. He shows great kindness to the upright in heart (1 Kings 3:6)
  9. He continues the great kindness He has shown (1 Kings 3:6)
  10. He gives the king He has shown great kindness to a son to sit on his throne (1 Kings 3:6)
  11. He makes His servant king (1 Kings 3:7)
  12. He has chosen a great people (1 Kings 3:8)
  13. He has chosen a people that grew to be too numerous to count or number (1 Kings 3:8)
  14. No one is able to govern His great people perfectly (1 Kings 3:9)
  15. He is pleased by those who ask for a discerning heart (1 Kings 3:9-10)
  16. He is pleased by those who do not ask for long life (1 Kings 3:10-11)
  17. He is pleased by those who do not ask for wealth (1 Kings 3:10-11)
  18. He is pleased by those who do not ask for the death of their enemies (1 Kings 3:10-11)
  19. He is pleased by those who ask for discernment in administering justice (1 Kings 3:10-11)
  20. He does what His servant asks, when His servant's request pleases Him (1 Kings 3:10-12)
  21. He gives wisdom to those who ask (1 Kings 3:12)
  22. He gives a discerning heart to those who ask (1 Kings 3:12)
  23. He gives the one he has chosen such wisdom and discernment that no one has ever be like him, nor will anyone ever be like him (1 Kings 3:12)
  24. He gives those who ask for what pleases Him that which they have not asked for (1 Kings 3:13)
  25. He grants wealth to those whom He chooses (1 Kings 3:13)
  26. He grants honor to those whom He chooses (1 Kings 3:13)
  27. He makes kings so great that they have no equal during their lifetimes (1 Kings 3:13)
  28. He grants long life to those whom He chooses, who walk in obedience to Him and keep His decrees and commands (1 Kings 3:14)
  29. He gives dreams (1 Kings 3:15)
  30. He communicates through dreams (1 Kings 3:15)
  31. He grants wisdom to administer justice (1 Kings 3:28)
  32. He gives wisdom to those whom He chooses (1 Kings 4:29)
  33. He gives very great insight to those whom He chooses (1 Kings 4:19)
  34. He gives a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore to those whom He chooses (1 Kings 4:29)
  35. He grants wisdom greater than the wisdom of all the people of the East to those whom He chooses (1 Kings 4:30)
  36. He grants wisdom greater than all the wisdom of Egypt to those whom He chooses (1 Kings 4:30)
  37. He makes those whom He chooses wiser than anyone else (1 Kings 4:31)
  38. He makes those whom He chooses famous in all the surrounding nations (1 Kings 4:31)
  39. He grants such great wisdom that people from all the nations come to hear it (1 Kings 4:34)
  40. He gives rest on every side to those whom He chooses (1 Kings 5:4)
  41. He withholds adversaries when He chooses (1 Kings 5:5)
  42. He withholds disasters when he chooses (1 Kings 5:5)
  43. He gives the one He had chosen to be king a wise son to rule over His great nation (1 Kings 5:7)
  44. His nation is great (1 Kings 5:7)
  45. He gives wisdom as He had promised (1 Kings 5:12)
  46. He fulfills His promises through people (1 Kings 6:12)
  47. He fulfills His promises when His decrees are followed (1 Kings 6:12)
  48. He fulfills His promises when His laws are observed (1 Kings 6:12)
  49. He fulfills His promises when His commands are kept (1 Kings 6:12)
  50. He lives among His people when they obey Him (1 Kings 6:12-13)
  51. He does not abandon His people when they obey Him (1 Kings 6:12-13)
  52. His cloud fills His temple (1 Kings 8:10)
  53. His cloud is so great that priests cannot perform their services (1 Kings 8:11)
  54. His Glory fills His temple (1 Kings 8:11)
  55. He dwells in a dark cloud (1 Kings 8:12)
  56. With His own hand He fulfills what He promised with His own mouth (1 kings 8:14)
  57. He keeps the promises He makes (1 Kings 8:2)
  58. Things happen just as He promised they would (1 Kings 8:20)
  59. There is no God like Him in heaven above (1 Kings 8:23)
  60. There is no God like him on earth below (1 Kings 8:23)
  61. He keeps His covenant of love with His servants who continue wholeheartedly in His way (1 Kings 8:23)
  62. With His mouth He promises (1 Kings 8:24)
  63. With His hand He fulfills His promises (1 Kings 8:24)
  64. The heavens cannot contain Him (1 Kings 8:27)
  65. Even the highest heaven cannot contain Him (1 Kings 8:27)
  66. His Name is in His temple (1 Kings 8:29)
  67. He singles out His people from all the nations of the world to be His inheritance (1 Kings 8:53)
  68. Not one word of His promises fails (1 Kings 8:56)
  69. He hears the prayers His people make before Him (1 Kings 9:3)
  70. He hears the pleas His people make before Him (1 Kings 9:3)
  71. He consecrates His temple, which His people have built (1 Kings 9:3)
  72. He puts His Name upon His temple forever (1 Kings 9:3)
  73. His eyes will always be in His temple (1 Kings 9:3)
  74. His heart will always be in His temple (1 Kings 9:2)
  75. He establishes the royal throne of those who walk faithfully before Him (1 Kings 9:4-5)
  76. He establishes the royal throne of those who walk before Him with integrity of heart (1 Kings 9:4-5)
  77. He establishes the royal throne of those who walk before Him with uprightness (1 Kings 9:4-5)
  78. He establishes the royal throne of those who do all He commands (1 Kings 9:4-5)
  79. He establishes the royal throne of those who observe His decrees (1 Kings 9:4-5)
  80. He establishes the royal throne of those who observe His laws (1 Kings 9:4-5)
  81. The royal thrones He establishes, He establishes forever (1 Kings 9:4-5)
  82. He cuts off those who turn away from Him (1 Kings 9:6-7)
  83. He cuts off those who do not observe the commands He has given them (1 Kings 9:6-7)
  84. He cuts off those who do not observe the decrees He has given them (1 Kings 9:6-7)
  85. He cuts off those who go off to serve other gods (1 Kings 9:6-7)
  86. He cuts off those who worship other gods (1 Kings 9:6-7)
  87. Those whom He cuts off, He cuts off from the land He has given them (1 Kings 9:6-7)
  88. When His people turn from Him, He rejects the temple He consecrated for His name (1 Kings 9:6-7)
  89. He allows those who turn from Him to become an object of ridicule among all peoples (1 Kings 9:6-7)
  90. He allows His temple to become a heap of rubble when His people turn from Him (1 Kings 9:6-8)
  91. He does appalling things to those who forsake Him (1 Kings 9:8-9)
  92. He brings disaster on those who embrace other gods (1 Kings 9:9)
  93. He brings disaster on those who worship other gods (1 Kings 9:9)
  94. He brings disaster on those who serve other gods (1 Kings 9:9)


Counting 10,000 Reasons to worship Him:



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Counting in community:



Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lessons and Reminders


I've said a couple of times now that recording is tedious,

Boring.

I spend about an hour and a half to two hours every day warming up,

Then I often spend about another hour and a half to two hours recording,

Singing the same exact song

Over and over again -

Usually seven to eight times.

That's not to mention the fact that those songs I'm singing seven or eight times in a row

Are the same exact songs that I've sung all year in preparation for this.

So, yes, it's exciting,

But it's also tedious.

Very tedious.

 
That boredom -

It makes me forget my passion,

Forget how much fun this is.

In a sense, I know

How, when I'm with my friends, I never want to leave until we sing,

How I jump up and down - literally - at the prospect of a song,

How I love twisting those words together, pouring my heart and my prayers into them,

How I love singing anything, but especially those words I've written, because those are the words that came straight from my soul,

Those are the words I know best,

The songs that mean the most to me.

I know,

But I don't.

My heart -

It can't hold on to that in the midst of this,

So I've been praying.

In the midst of this dry spot, I've been praying,

Praying that,

If this is where He really wants me,

He'd remind me again.

Even though I shouldn't need that reminder

I do,

So I've been praying.


I've been fighting today,

Fighting to keep my thoughts on Him,

Fighting to really know Him,

Fighting to find joy in Him again,

Knowing I can't force Him to give that gift,

Praying face-down on the floor,

Kneeling over an open Bible,

Trying so hard,

But I have not strength in me,

And it doesn't even take a second for my mind to wander,

Go back to thinking about every lesser thing,

Stop trying to pursue Him.

I felt like a toddler

Searching for her daddy,

Beating on a closed door,

Not tall enough to open it,

Screaming,

And it's my fault -

It's my fault I'm here,

But I can't get back on my own.

I can't get back on my own. 


And this imagery -

It puts words in my mind,

Those words that twist themselves together,

Coming up from my heart,

Caught up inside of me

And they need to come out.

They have to come out.

I need to find paper.

I just need to find paper.


Before I know it, I'm scribbling down words,

Furiously trying to get it all out of me,

Pouring my heart into these words,

Pouring my prayers into this work,

And this -

This is the mark of a songwriter.

If you're meant to do it,

You won't be able to stop,

Because something about the way a songwriter's wired,

Something about the way He made me,

Once those words start coming,

Once the song starts being written,

It almost threatens you.

It needs to come out,

It has got to come out,

It just plain has to come out.

It can't be kept inside.

It demands to be written.

You won't be able to stop. 


Not writing for months, like I used to,

Writing every day, like I do now -

Both make me forget what inspiration is.

Both make me forget what it's really like to have a song welling up inside of me,

A song that has to come out.

I have to wait for Him to inspire,

And He has.

In the middle of the desert, He has.

Praise God!

Praise God!

 
Things I've learned in this dry spell:

  1.  How to fight - hard - to keep my mind on Him.  And fail.  Fail a lot.

  2.  How to call Him "Daddy", like that little toddler I am.

  3.  That He really did make me this way, that He still inspires, and that even this dryness can be an inspiration.

Praise God!

Praise God!

Praise God!

    

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What Comes Down . . .


The needle comes up,

Pokes through fabric in the middle of a white-outlined square,

Presses down into another square nearby.

Up, down.

Up, down.

This - this is how my life has felt lately.

 
Monday -

Monday was good.

I listened to a sermon during lunch,

One of those where the pastor describes where you are

(Not to at "T", but close enough for it to hit you.)

I wanted to know more,

How I could find my way out of this.

I listened to the next two sermons in the series,

Spent most of the rest of the day pursuing God.

I started to want Him again,

Really want Him.

By the time I was getting ready for bed,

My prayers were filled with praises,

So many praises that I could have kept praising Him all night.

I didn't.

I should have.

  
I tried to hold onto that the next day,

Sought it again today,

Failed both times.

Why does this have to happen so often?

Why can't I just want Him all the time?

There are probably many answers to that question,

Most of which I will never know.

The only one I can think of is that,

If I wanted Him that much all the time,

I wouldn't know what it's like to not want Him,

How precious it is to feel that burning desire for Him,

To want to seek after Him with all I am.

I often feel the weight of things most strongly when they are absent.

Still, that's not much of a comfort.


The needle comes up again,

Form starting to take shape.

First, it was just a couple of random stitches,

Then more,

Then subtle variations in color.

I can see it coming into focus,

This half-formed lobster.

A couple stitches of white,

Two dark eyes,

Outlines,

And then it will finally, definitively appear to be what it was intended to be -

Whole,

Beautiful,

Complete.


I think He does this with us, too,

Putting the stitches into place one at a time,

Piercing the fabric,

Needle moving up, down.

It's slow,

Painfully slow,

But that work He started - 

He always carries it on to completion.

I know this.

At least, in my head, I know this.

In my heart, I do not -

Not as well as I should.


I plunge the needle back into the fabric,

Trying to remind myself,

For the thousandth time,

That His work defies the law of gravity:

What comes down,

Must come up.

 
Numbers 1107-1242 this week,

Seeing who He is,

Remembering that He is Faithful,

Worthy,

God.
  1. He gives those whom He chooses victory wherever they go (2 Samuel 8:14)
  2. He does what is good in His sight (2 Samuel 10:12)
  3. He is displeased by people's actions (2 Samuel 11:27)
  4. He does things in broad daylight (2 Samuel 12:12)
  5. He does things before all the people (2 Samuel 12:12)
  6. He takes away sin (2 Samuel 12:13)
  7. He loves people (2 Samuel 12:24)
  8. He names people “Loved by the LORD” (2 Samuel 12:25)
  9. He devises ways so that a banished person does not remain banished from Him (2 Samuel 15:15)
  10. He brings back those who find favor in His eyes (2 Samuel 15:25)
  11. He allows those who find favor in His eyes to see His dwelling place again (2 Samuel 15:25)
  12. He tells people to curse (2 Samuel 16:11)
  13. He vindicates (2 Samuel 18:31)
  14. He delivers His servant from all who rise up against him (2 Samuel 18:31)
  15. He sends famines (2 Samuel 21:1)
  16. He answers prayer (2 Samuel 21:14)
  17. He answers prayer in behalf of the land (2 Samuel 21:14)
  18. He delivers those He chooses from the hands of all their enemies (2 Samuel 22:1)
  19. He is a Fortress (2 Samuel 22:2)
  20. He is a Deliverer (2 Samuel 22:2)
  21. He is a Refuge (2 Samuel 22:3)
  22. He is the Horn of Salvation (2 Samuel 22:3)
  23. He is a Stronghold (2 Samuel 22:3)
  24. He saves His people from violent people (2 Samuel 22:3)
  25. He is Worthy of Praise (2 Samuel 22:4)
  26. He saves His people from their enemies (2 Samuel 22:4)
  27. He hears the voice of the distressed (2 Samuel 22:7)
  28. From His temple He hears those who call out to Him (2 Samuel 22:7)
  29. The cries of His people come to His ears (2 Samuel 22:7)
  30. His anger causes the earth to tremble and quake (2 Samuel 22:8)
  31. His anger shakes the foundations of the heavens (2 Samuel 22:8)
  32. Smoke rises from His nostrils (2 Samuel 22:9)
  33. Consuming fire comes from His mouth (2 Samuel 22:9)
  34. Burning coals blaze out of His mouth (2 Samuel 22:9)
  35. He parts the heavens (2 Samuel 22:10)
  36. He comes down (2 Samuel 22:10)
  37. Dark clouds are under His feet (2 Samuel 22:10)
  38. He mounts cherubim (2 Samuel 22:11)
  39. He flies (2 Samuel 22:11)
  40. He soars on the wings of the wind (2 Samuel 22:11)
  41. He makes darkness His canopy around Him (2 Samuel 22:12)
  42. Bolts of lightning blaze forth out of the brightness of His presence (2 Samuel 22:13)
  43. He thunders from Heaven (2 Samuel 22:14)
  44. His voice resounds (2 Samuel 22:14)
  45. He shoots arrows (2 Samuel 22:15)
  46. He scatters the enemy (2 Samuel 22:15)
  47. He routes the enemy with great bolts of lightning (2 Samuel 22:15)
  48. He exposes the valleys of the sea (2 Samuel 22:16)
  49. He lays bare the foundations of the earth (2 Samuel 22:16)
  50. At His rebuke, the valleys of the sea are exposed and the foundations of the earth are lad bare (2 Samuel 22:16)
  51. At the blast of breath from His nostrils, the valleys of the sea are exposed and the foundations of the earth are lad bare (2 Samuel 22:16)
  52. He reaches down from on high (2 Samuel 22:17)
  53. He takes hold of His people (2 Samuel 22:17)
  54. He draws His people out of deep waters (2 Samuel 22:17)
  55. He rescues His people from their powerful enemies (2 Samuel 22:18)
  56. He rescues His people from their foes, who are too strong for them (2 Samuel 22:18)
  57. He is a Support (2 Samuel 22:19)
  58. He supports His people in the day of their disaster (2 Samuel 22:19)
  59. He supports His people when they are confronted by their enemies (2 Samuel 22:18-19)
  60. He brings His people out into a spacious place (2 Samuel 22:20)
  61. He rescues His people because He delights in them (2 Samuel 22:20)
  62. He deals with His people according to their righteousness (2 Samuel 22:21)
  63. He rewards His people according to the cleanness of their hands (2 Samuel 22:21)
  64. He rewards His people according to their righteousness (2 Samuel 22:25)
  65. He rewards His people according to their cleanness in His sight (2 Samuel 22:25)
  66. To the faithful He shows Himself Faithful (2 Samuel 22:26)
  67. He is Blameless (2 Samuel 22:26)
  68. To the blameless He shows Himself Blameless (2 Samuel 22:26)
  69. He is Pure (2 Samuel 22:27)
  70. To the pure He shows Himself Pure (2 Samuel 22:27)
  71. He is Shrewd (2 Samuel 22:27)
  72. To the devious He shows Himself Shrewd (2 Samuel 22:27)
  73. He saves the humble (2 Samuel 22:28)
  74. His eyes are on the haughty to bring them low (2 Samuel 22:28)
  75. He is the lamp of His people (2 Samuel 22:29)
  76. He turns the darkness of His people into light (2 Samuel 22:29)
  77. With His help, His people can advance against troops (2 Samuel 22:30)
  78. With His help, His people can scale walls (2 Samuel 22:30)
  79. His way is perfect (2 Samuel 22:31)
  80. His word is flawless (2 Samuel 22:31)
  81. He shields all who take refuge in Him (2 Samuel 22:31)
  82. None is God besides Him (2 Samuel 22:32)
  83. None is the Rock except Him (2 Samuel 22:32)
  84. He arms His people with strength (2 Samuel 22:33)
  85. He keeps His people's way secure (2 Samuel 22:33)
  86. He makes the feet of His people like the feet of deer (2 Samuel 22:34)
  87. He causes His people to stand on the heights (2 Samuel 22:34)
  88. He trains the hands of His people for battle (2 Samuel 22:35)
  89. He gives His people the strength to bend bows of bronze (2 Samuel 22:35)
  90. His saving help is the shield of His people (2 Samuel 22:36)
  91. His help makes His people great (2 Samuel 22:36)
  92. He provides a broad path for the feet of His people (2 Samuel 22:37)
  93. He keeps the ankles of His people from giving way (2 Samuel 22:37)
  94. He arms His people with strength for battle (2 Samuel 22:40)
  95. He humbles His people's adversaries before them (2 Samuel 22:40)
  96. He makes the enemies of His people turn their backs in flight (2 Samuel 22:41)
  97. He does not answer the enemies of His people when they cry out to Him for help (2 Samuel 22:41-42)
  98. He delivers His people from the attacks of the peoples (2 Samuel 22:44)
  99. He preserves His chosen one as the head of nations (2 Samuel 22:44)
  100. He lives! (2 Samuel 22:47)
  101. He is to be praised! (2 Samuel 22:47)
  102. He is to be exalted! (2 Samuel 22:47)
  103. He avenges His people (2 Samuel 22:48)
  104. He puts the nations under the one He has chosen (2 Samuel 22:48)
  105. He sets His people free from His enemies (2 Samuel 22:49)
  106. He exalts His people above their foes (2 Samuel 22:49)
  107. He rescues the one He has chosen from a violent man (2 Samuel 22:49)
  108. He is to be praised among the nations (2 Samuel 22:50)
  109. His people sing the praises of His name (2 Samuel 22:50)
  110. He gives His king great victories (2 Samuel 22:51)
  111. He shows unfailing kindness to His anointed (2 Samuel 22:51)
  112. He shows unfailing kindness to the ones He has chosen forever (2 Samuel 22:51)
  113. He exalts those whom He chooses to exalt (2 Samuel 23:1)
  114. He is the God of Jacob (2 Samuel 23:1)
  115. He anoints those whom He chooses to anoint (2 Samuel 23:1)
  116. His Spirit speaks through people (2 Samuel 23:2)
  117. His puts His word on the tongues of me (2 Samuel 23:2)
  118. He speaks to men (2 Samuel 23:3)
  119. He makes those who rule in righteousness, who rule in fear of Him, like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning (2 Samuel 23:4)
  120. He makes those who rule in righteousness, who rule in fear of Him, like the brightness after rain that brings grass from the earth (2 Samuel 23:4)\
  121. He makes an everlasting covenant with those whose house is right with Him (2 Samuel 23:5)
  122. His covenants are arranged and secured in every part (2 Samuel 23:5)
  123. He brings fruition to the salvation of those whose house is right with Him (2 Samuel 23:5)
  124. He grants every desire of those whose house is right with Him (2 Samuel 23:5)
  125. He casts evil men aside like thorns (2 Samuel 23:6)
  126. He brings about great victories (2 Samuel 23:12)
  127. His anger burns against Israel (2 Samuel 24:1)
  128. He incites people against Israel (2 Samuel 24:1)
  129. He gives options (2 Samuel 24:12)
  130. His Mercy is great (2 Samuel 24:14)
  131. He keeps Jerusalem from destruction (2 Samuel 24:16)
  132. He relents concerning the disaster He has planned (2 Samuel 24:26)
  133. He commands the angels (2 Samuel 24:16)
  134. He commands the angels to stop afflicting the people (2 Samuel 24:16)
  135. He answers the prayers of His servant on behalf of the land (2 Samuel 24:25)
  136. He stops plagues (2 Samuel 24:25)


Counting 10,000 Reasons to worship Him:


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Counting in community:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Slow Progress


I finally started recording last Wednesday.

I got through one song once,

Copied it to listen to it on a different computer,

Make sure everything was going alright.

I opened the file,

Pressed "Play".

Something didn't sound right.


The microphone was clipping.

There had been too much volume for the microphone to handle the way it was set.

The sound waves that should have been appearing as hills and valleys across the screen

Were chopped off on the bottom.

Only on the bottom.

The strange thing about that is,

Usually, when the sound is clipped

It is clipped on both the top and the bottom.

Dad was worried.

So, we set up a new microphone Wednesday night.


Ta-da!!!

I can't sing loud enough to clip this one,

And it has a boom, too!

(The "boom" is that pole that goes horizontally -

That means I'm a lot less likely to hit the stand with my arm while playing the piano!!!)

I was super excited.

Of course, Thursday was ridiculously busy.

I didn't get around to recording again until Friday.


Friday, I sang that same song that had clipped seven more times.

It took a couple of hours.

Then I transferred the files so Dad could listen to them.


He started listening to them yesterday,

Which resulted in a discussion about the accompaniment,

And time spent listening to various voices on my keyboard

(Most of which was spent by Dad . . . while I ate lunch).

I now have to add some sounds underneath what I already have,

Which is going to take another day of recording.


He finished listening to them this afternoon,

Which resulted in a discussion about how I was singing the piece.

(Apparently, I've been going between "talking in notes" and "singing", which sounds unnatural, and I need to pick either one or the other.)

Fortunately, however, he believes one of the recordings actually sounded pretty good,

If we can replace a section where I played the wrong chord.


So, to finish this one song, I need to:

1.  Replace the section where I played the wrong chord (which will require Dad's help).

2.  Record an extra layer of accompaniment while listening to the recording (which will probably take 4 or 5 tries to get right).

3.  Have Dad determine which accompaniment track sounds best.

4.  Mix accompaniment track with the rest of the recording.

5.  Listen to the mixed recording and come up with a flute part on the computer.

6.  Convince my amazing friend to come play the flute part for me.

7.  Determine which recording of the flute sounds best.

8.  Mix in the flute recording with the rest of the sounds.

(And that's not including downsampling and high/lowpassing or whatever it's called to get it into the proper format for a CD or .mp3 file - that part takes the least amount of time.)

Bet you didn't know that so much work went into just one song.

I sure didn't before I recorded my first album.

It sounds so much easier than that when you're listening.

After all, it only takes five minutes to listen to a song.

The really scary thing is, the time it'll take to do what I just mentioned

Is in addition to the hours spent writing the song,

Writing the accompaniment,

And practicing the song.

As much time as I've been spending working on music these past weeks, I am definitely starting to see it as a full-time job.


So,

One song not quite finished yet,

Seven more to go.

(Not even counting the five I'm not done with yet . . .)

It'll be a miracle if I get all of these recorded by Thursday of next week.

This whole process takes so much work,

It goes so slowly,

It's difficult,

At times tedious,

And it seems like it will never get done.

But, I suppose, life's like that.

Someday it'll all come together.

Someday . . .

Thursday, May 17, 2012

He Keeps Saving


I was thinking last night,

Thinking about,

If someone asked,

How I'd say I know I'm saved,

What my testimony would be.

It's a tough question for me,

Because there are times,

Every now and then,

When I doubt that myself.

But there's so much evidence,

So much that nothing else could ever explain.



I can't use the feelings of my heart as evidence.

"The heart is deceitful above all things,

And desperately sick;

Who can understand it?"

(Jeremiah 17:9, ESV)

Besides, that desperately sick heart is completely apathetic about as often as it's completely caught up in love and wonder

And spends most of its time just about exactly in the middle of that continuum.

The heart's not good evidence,

And faith is nothing if it's all feeling.


I could say it's my theology,

All that head knowledge,

That search for truth.

The problem there is that head knowledge isn't heart knowledge.

What my head knows, my heart usually doesn't.

(Otherwise I'd be caught up in love and wonder a whole lot more often.)

Besides, I don't even come close to knowing it all.

Faith is nothing if it's always emotionless knowledge.


I've been listening to some Paul Washer lately

(Mixed in with my John Piper).

I seem to recall him saying (I think it was here) that repentance is changing your mind -

Not in the trivial sense of the word, like "I'm going to wear pink instead of blue",

In the sense that everything you believed to be true has changed

The control center for your entire being has changed,

Changed like Saul was changed on the road to Damascus,

Over those next few days -

Changed so much he changed his name.

Everything he once hated because he thought it was completely, utterly false

He now loved because he was convinced,

In the very core of his being,

That it was absolutely true.

If you're saved,

That sin that you once loved

You'll now hate.


There's a problem with that, too.

(No, I'm not about to contradict one of my favorite preachers.  Stay with me here.)

The problem is, part of me is still sinful.

The Bible makes it clear that's to be expected.

So how do I know I'm saved if I still sin?


That analytical mind of mine starts to put things together,

And I think maybe I've got it:

I'm going to sin,

But I'm not going to be able to do it for long.

As He works in my heart,

Those things I love, I'll start to hate.

Those things that I used to do all the time, I'll now only do in moderation,

And when I try to do them more often,

I'll find myself unable to keep going like that,

I'll find my soul suffocating.

I'll have no choice but to go back to Him.


I remember that Paul Washer said that, too,

(I think it was here)

That it's not just a narrow gate, but a narrow path,

And if you're truly saved,

God won't let you wander off the path for long.

I wander off that path a lot.

It should be easy to tell,

As much as I write here about my own apathy and lack of love,

But He keeps pulling me back.

He keeps saving me.

He

Keeps 

Saving . . . 


And there's something else there, too,

Something else I listened to not too long ago.

Paul Washer,

Crying,

Weeping because God saved him.

And all these people ask him,

"How can you do what you're doing?

What's your motivation?

Is there some Bible verse?"

He says,

"He saved me.

That's my secret.

I have nothing.

That's my secret.

You don't understand.

He saved me from what I was.

He saved me.

What else needs to be done to motivate me?

Isn't salvation enough?"

And, remembering that,

The sound of his voice as he said that,

The thought that it ought to be enough combines with the thought that He keeps saving me,

And I?

I ought to be undone.

I'm not.

I'm not perfect,

My heart's not what I'd like it to be,

And I can't force myself to genuinely weep over the fact that I don't love God the way I should.

But I want to.

I want to love Him the way I should.

I get out my laptop,

Putting down the captivating books I've been reading

In order to take the time to do what really matters,

Look on Bible Gateway for 1 Samuel,

And start counting 'til I've found way more reasons than I planned on finding and have to make myself stop.

And who He is -

That head knowledge -

It's right there on the screen in front of me,

And slowly,

Oh, so slowly,

It's working its way into my heart.

And I'm glad,

Because I know that I must know Him before I love Him,

That I must know why I ought to be undone before I can be,

And maybe these things He's brought about in the smallest degree in my life

Will be just a little more evident tomorrow,

The day after.

Maybe someday soon I'll be the one weeping.

"He saved me,

He keeps saving me,

And I finally understand what that means.

What more motivation do I need?

Don't you get it?

He saved me!"



Philippians 1:6 (emphasis added)

New International Version (NIV)
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.




 955-1106 today:

(I reached 1,000!!!!!)
  1. He answers those who do not stop crying out to Him (1 Samuel 7:8-9)
  2. He answers those who cry out on behalf of their people (1 Samuel 7:9)
  3. He thunders with loud thunder against His people's enemies (1 Samuel 7:10)
  4. He throws entire peoples into great panic (1 Samuel 7:10)
  5. He helps His people (1 Samuel 7:12)
  6. He gives His people what they ask for, even when it will harm them (1 Samuel 8:10-22)
  7. He sends men to be anointed as rulers (1 Samuel 9:16)
  8. He looks on His people (1 Samuel 9:16)
  9. The cry of His people reaches Him (1 Samuel 9:16)
  10. He gives leadership to those from the smallest tribe (1 Samuel 9:18-21)
  11. He gives leadership to those from the least clans in their tribes (1 Samuel 9:18-21)
  12. He anoints rulers over His inheritance (1 Samuel 10:1)
  13. He changes one He has chosen into a different person (1 Samuel 10:6)
  14. He changes people's hearts (1 Samuel 10:9)
  15. He fulfills the signs He has promised (1 Samuel 10:9)
  16. His Spirit comes upon people powerfully, and they prophesy (1 Samuel 10:10)
  17. He delivers His people from the power of all the kingdoms that oppress them (1 Samuel 10:18)
  18. He chooses those who are unlike any other (1 Samuel 10:23)
  19. His Spirit comes powerfully upon people, and they burn with anger at injustice (1 Samuel 11:1-6)
  20. He causes His terror to fall on His people, and they come out together as one (1 Samuel 11:7)
  21. He is witness (1 Samuel 12:5)
  22. He appoints leaders and brings His people out of oppression (1 Samuel 12:6)
  23. He performs righteous acts (1 Samuel 12:7)
  24. He sends rescuers to those who cry for help (1 Samuel 12:8)
  25. He brings His people out of oppression and settles them in the home He has chosen for them (1 Samuel 12:8)
  26. He sells the people who have forgotten Him into the hands of many foreign kings (1 Samuel 12:9)
  27. He hears the cries of His people, their promises to serve Him if He brings deliverance (1 Samuel 12:10)
  28. He sends people to deliver those who cried out from the hands of the enemies all around them (1 Samuel 12:11)
  29. He makes His people to dwell in safety (1 Samuel 12:11)
  30. He Himself is King (1 Samuel 12:12)
  31. He is King over His people (1 Samuel 12:12)
  32. He sets people as kings over His people – people who have cried out and begged for a king (1 Samuel 12:13)
  33. His hand is against those who do not obey Him (1 Samuel 12:15)
  34. His hand is against those who rebel against His commands (1 Samuel 12:15)
  35. He does great things before the eyes of His people (1 Samuel 12:16)
  36. He sends thunder and rain in the midst of the wheat harvest (1 Samuel 12:17-18)
  37. He sends thunder and rain when His servant calls on Him to do so (1 Samuel 12:17-18)
  38. His people stand in awe of Him (1 Samuel 12:18)
  39. His people stand in awe of how He works through those whom He has chosen (1 Samuel 12:18)
  40. He causes people to understand how evil their deeds are in His eyes (1 Samuel 12:17-19)
  41. For the sake of His Great Name, He will not reject His people (1 Samuel 12:22)
  42. He was pleased to make His people His own (1 Samuel 12:22)
  43. He has done great things for His people (1 Samuel 12:24)
  44. He establishes kingdoms over Israel for all time if His kings keep His commandments (1 Samuel 13:13)
  45. He does not allow kingdoms to endure when kings do not keep the commands He has given them (1 Samuel 13:13-14)
  46. He seeks out those after His own heart (1 Samuel 13:14)
  47. He appoints those who are after His own heart as rulers of His people (1 Samuel 13:14)
  48. Nothing can hinder Him from saving, whether by many or by few (1 Samuel 13:6)
  49. He sends panic (1 Samuel 14:15)
  50. He strikes entire armies with panic – those in the camp and field, and those in the outposts and raiding parties (1 Samuel 14:15)
  51. He causes the ground to shake (1 Samuel 14:15)
  52. He saves His nation (1 Samuel 14:23)
  53. He punishes nations (1 Samuel 15:2)
  54. He punishes those who waylaid His people as they came up from Egypt (1 Samuel 15:2)
  55. He calls for total destruction (1 Samuel 15:3)
  56. He decides who should be spared and who should be put to death (1 Samuel 15:3)
  57. He regrets making people king when they do not obey His commandments (1 Samuel 15:11)
  58. He makes the small head of the tribes of Israel (1 Samuel 15:17)
  59. He delights in obedience (1 Samuel 15:22)
  60. He prefers obedience to burnt offerings and sacrifices (1 Samuel 15:22)
  61. He rejects as king those who reject His word (1 Samuel 15:23)
  62. He tears the kingdom of Israel from the king who rejects His commands (1 Samuel 15:28)
  63. He gives the kingdom of Israel from one who does not keep His commands to one better (1 Samuel 15:28)
  64. He does not lie (1 Samuel 15:29)
  65. He does not change His mind (1 Samuel 15:29)
  66. He is not a human being (1 Samuel 15:29)
  67. He does not consider outward appearance important (1 Samuel 16:7)
  68. He does not consider physical height important (1 Samuel 16:7)
  69. He does not look at the things people look at (1 Samuel 16:7)
  70. He looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7)
  71. He sends evil spirits to torment people (1 Samuel 16:14)
  72. He rescues from the paw of the lion (1 Samuel 17:37)
  73. He rescues from the paw of the bear (1 Samuel 17:37)
  74. He is the God of the armies of Israel (1 Samuel 17:45)
  75. He does not save by sword or spear (1 Samuel 17:47)
  76. The battle is His and His alone (1 Samuel 17:47)
  77. He departs from people (1 Samuel 18:12)
  78. He gives great success to those He is with (1 Samuel 18:14)
  79. He wins great victories for His people (1 Samuel 19:5)
  80. His Spirit comes even on those who have turned away from Him (1 Samuel 19:23)
  81. His kindness is unfailing (1 Samuel 20:14)
  82. He is witness between people forever (1 Samuel 20:23)
  83. He answers those who inquire (1 Samuel 20:4)
  84. He protects His servants from those who seek to kill them (1 Samuel 23:14)
  85. He provides distractions to save His servants (1 Samuel 23:26-28)
  86. He judges between people (1 Samuel 24:12)
  87. He avenges wrongs (1 Samuel 24:13)
  88. He rewards (1 Samuel 24:19)
  89. He upholds worthy causes (1 Samuel 25:39)
  90. He puts people into a deep sleep (1 Samuel 26:12)
  91. He rewards everyone for his or her righteousness (1 Samuel 26:23)
  92. He rewards everyone for his or her faithfulness (1 Samuel 26:23)
  93. He departs from people and becomes their enemy (1 Samuel 28:16)
  94. He does not answer those who do not obey Him (1 Samuel 28:15-18)
  95. He tells people to go up (2 Samuel 2:1)
  96. He tells people where to go (2 Samuel 2:1)
  97. He tells people how to attack (2 Samuel 5:23)
  98. He goes out before His people to strike their enemies with the sound of marching in the tops of the poplar trees (2 Samuel 5:24)
  99. He gives great victories to those who follow His commands (2 Samuel 2:25)
  100. His anger burns against those who act irreverently (2 Samuel 6:7)
  101. He strikes down those who act irreverently (2 Samuel 6:7)
  102. He blesses those who have His ark (2 Samuel 6:11-12)
  103. He gives rest from enemies (2 Samuel 7:1)
  104. He has not dwelt in a house (2 Samuel 7:6)
  105. He moves from place to place (2 Samuel 7:6)
  106. He does not command His people to build Him a house of cedar (2 Samuel 7:7)
  107. He takes His servant from the pasture (2 Samuel 7:8)
  108. He takes His servant from tending the flock (2 Samuel 7:8)
  109. He appoints His servant ruler over His people Israel (2 Samuel 7:8)
  110. He is with His servant wherever His servant goes (2 Samuel 7:9)
  111. He cuts off the enemies of His servant before His servant (2 Samuel 7:9)
  112. He makes the name of His servant great (2 Samuel 7:9)
  113. He makes the name of His servant like the names of the greatest men on earth (2 Samuel 7:9)
  114. He provides a place for His people (2 Samuel 7:10)
  115. He plants His people so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed (2 Samuel 7:10)
  116. He keeps wicked people from oppressing His people (2 Samuel 7:10)
  117. He gives His people rest from all their enemies (2 Samuel 7:11)
  118. He Himself establishes a house for His servant (2 Samuel 7:11)
  119. He raises up offspring to succeed His servant as king (2 Samuel 7:12)
  120. He establishes the kingdom of His servant's offspring (2 Samuel 7:12)
  121. He determines who will build a house for His Name (2 Samuel 7:13)
  122. He establishes the throne of the kingdom of the one He has chosen to build a house for His name forever (2 Samuel 7:13)
  123. He is the father of the one He has chosen to build a house for His name (2 Samuel 7:14)
  124. He punishes His son when His son does wrong (2 Samuel 7:14)
  125. He punishes His son who has done wrong with a rod wielded by men (2 Samuel 7:14)
  126. He punishes His son who has done wrong with floggings inflicted by human hands (2 Samuel 7:14)
  127. His love will never be taken away from His son (2 Samuel 7:15)
  128. He causes the house and kingdom of His servant to endure forever before Him (2 Samuel 7:16)
  129. He establishes the throne of His servant forever (2 Samuel 7:16)
  130. He brings His servant and His servant's family farther than they deserve (2 Samuel 7:18)
  131. He speaks about the future of the house of His servant (2 Samuel 7:19)
  132. He speaks wondrous decrees for mere humans (2 Samuel 7:19)
  133. He knows His servant (2 Samuel 7:20)
  134. He does great things for the sake of His Word (2 Samuel 7:21)
  135. He does great things according to His will (2 Samuel 7:21)
  136. He does great things and makes them known to His servant (2 Samuel 7:21)
  137. There is no one like Him (2 Samuel 7:22)
  138. There is no God but Him (2 Samuel 7:22)
  139. He went out to redeem His people Israel (2 Samuel 7:23)
  140. He went out to redeem Israel as a people for Himself (2 Samuel 7:23)
  141. He went out to redeem one nation on earth (2 Samuel 7:23)
  142. He went out to make a name for Himself (2 Samuel 7:23)
  143. He went out to perform great and awesome wonders (2 Samuel 7:23)
  144. He performed great and awesome wonders by driving out nations and their gods before His people (2 Samuel 7:23)
  145. He establishes His people Israel as His very own forever (2 Samuel 7:24)
  146. He has become the God of His people (2 Samuel 7:24)
  147. He does as He promises so that His name will be great forever (2 Samuel 7:25-26)
  148. He reveals His plans to His servant (2 Samuel 7:27)
  149. His covenant is trustworthy (2 Samuel 7:28)
  150. He has promised good things to His servant (2 Samuel 7:28)
  151. He has spoken (2 Samuel 7:29)
  152. With His blessing, the house of His servant will be blessed forever (2 Samuel 7:29)

Counting 10,000 Reasons to worship Him:



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