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

Saturday, February 23, 2013

All Gain


She wonders what to do for her class project,

The VOSOT project,

A voice-over - her voice,

Explaining the sound on tape - a recording of some kind -

Sort of like a news report,

The reporter explaining the story,

The story played in between the reporter's explanations.

She says she just did a project based on news reports,

Doesn't want to do another one.

I tell her she could do an interview,

Tell her she could interview me,

That I could put it up on Soundcloud,

People could listen.

I say she can do whatever she wants,

It's just an idea,

But I'll take all the publicity that I can get.


She can't come up with any other ideas,

So, Wednesday, I find myself standing in the school's audio studio

In front of a big microphone and a Mackie board.

She's written out and recorded her voice-over,

Said what she wants me to talk about.

She's recorded three of the songs from my new CD to the computer,

More SOTs to use in the background.

All that's left is me.

She leaves the room to call family,

Leaves me to my thoughts,

Leaves me to hit the "record" button myself.

So, Wednesday, I find myself stumbling over phrases,

A little nervous,

Hands waving wildly,

Trying to tell the microphone how an album came about,

And, really, how do you explain that there wasn't that much thought,

That a lot of it kind of just happened?


It doesn't take long before I'm glad there's a "delete" button,

And I do make some use of it,

Stuttering here and there,

Realizing that what I said wasn't quite what I meant.

In the end, though, it was never going to be perfect,

And I tell her I'm done,

Still worrying that it was too long,

And maybe someone will hear and misinterpret?

Especially the theology?

I know it was right in the sense that I meant it,

But words are just so imprecise.


Late Wednesday night -

I mean, very early Thursday morning -

She's working on it,

Listening in her earbuds to my stumbling,

My grasping,

These attempts to explain what even I don't totally understand.

She says it sounds "professional"

And I ask, really, what is professional?

Aren't we all struggling to explain?

When you brush up against the Holy

And it makes your heart burst forth with song,

How do you put it into words?

These songs,

They come from the learning,

From glimpses of wonder,

Hints of truth,

A drop of the Infinite,

And there's infinitely more where that came from,

And I'm still straining to comprehend this one drop.

There's only so much of it I can explain,

And words are totally inadequate for the depths of it all -

Such grace in the revelation,

The writing,

The releasing.

Don't the professionals feel just as unprofessional as I do?


She finishes, and I listen hard.

She did a wonderful job.

Her work sounds amazing.

She kindly copies the files to my flash drive.

Friday, I sit down after class and upload it to Soundcloud,

Post on Facebook,

In case anyone might want to hear?

And isn't all art a risk,

Imperfections put out in the open,

Soul laying bare for all to see?

It's a little scary sometimes,

But always worth it,

This constant reminder that I'm not enough

And He is

And I just

Need

To trust.

And, really, when I do that,

What risk is it, after all?

It's all gain.

All gain. 


If you'd like to listen?

(And, if you'd like, feel free to comment.

Soundcloud allows you to share your thoughts at any time during the audio file,

Post a comment right there in the widget.

Your words are always such grace to me!)



Reasons 3131-3218 today, 

Trusting who He is,

And treasuring.

Counting:

  1. His people rely on Him from birth (Psalm 71:6)
  2. He brings people forth from their mothers' wombs (Psalm 71:6)
  3. His people will ever praise Him (Psalm 71:6)
  4. He is His people's strong refuge (Psalm 71:7)
  5. His people's mouths are filled with His praise (Psalm 71:8)
  6. His people's mouths are filled with His praise, declaring His splendor all day long (Psalm 71:8)
  7. His people will always have hope (Psalm 71:14)
  8. His people will praise Him more and more (Psalm 71:14)
  9. His people's mouths will tell of His righteous deeds (Psalm 71:15)
  10. His deeds are righteous (Psalm 71:15)
  11. His people's mouths will tell of His saving acts all day long (Psalm 71:15)
  12. His acts are saving (Psalm 71:15)
  13. His people's mouths will tell of His righteous deeds, though they do not know how to relate them all (Psalm 71:15)
  14. His people's mouths will tell of His saving acts all day long, though they do not know how to relate them all (Psalm 71:15)
  15. His people will come and proclaim His mighty acts (Psalm 71:16)
  16. His acts are mighty (Psalm 71:16)
  17. He is the Sovereign LORD (Psalm 71:16)
  18. His people will proclaim His righteous deeds (Psalm 71:16)
  19. His people will proclaim His righteous deeds, His alone (Psalm 71:16)
  20. He teaches His people (Psalm 71:17)
  21. He teaches His people since their youth (Psalm 71:17)
  22. His people declare His marvelous deeds (Psalm 71:17)
  23. His deeds are marvelous (Psalm 71:17)
  24. His people declare His power to the next generation (Psalm 71:18)
  25. His people declare His mighty acts to all who are to come (Psalm 71:18)
  26. His righteousness reaches to the heavens (Psalm 71:19)
  27. He has done great things (Psalm 71:19)
  28. No one is like Him (Psalm 71:19)
  29. Though He makes His people see troubles, many and bitter, He will restore their lives again (Psalm 71:20)
  30. From the depths of the earth, He will again bring His people up (Psalm 71:20)
  31. He will increase His people's honor (Psalm 71:21)
  32. He will comfort His people once more (Psalm 71:21)
  33. His people praise Him with the harp (Psalm 71:22)
  34. His people praise Him with the harp for His faithfulness (Psalm 71:22)
  35. His people sing praise to Him with the lyre (Psalm 71:22)
  36. His people's lips shout for joy when they sing praises to Him (Psalm 71:23)
  37. He has delivered His people (Psalm 71:23)
  38. His people's tongues will tell of His righteous acts all day long (Psalm 71:24)
  39. His acts are righteous (Psalm 71:24)
  40. His people's tongues will tell of His righteous acts all day long, for those who wanted to harm them have been put to shame and confusion (Psalm 71:24)
  41. He will deliver (Psalm 72:12)
  42. He will deliver the needy (Psalm 72:12)
  43. He will deliver the needy who cry out (Psalm 72:12)
  44. He will deliver the afflicted (Psalm 72:12)
  45. He will deliver the afflicted who have no one to help (Psalm 72:12)
  46. He will take pity (Psalm 72:13)
  47. He will take pity on the weak (Psalm 72:13)
  48. He will take pity on the needy (Psalm 72:13)
  49. He will save (Psalm 72:13)
  50. He will save the needy from death (Psalm 72:13)
  51. He will rescue (Psalm 72:14)
  52. He will rescue from oppression (Psalm 72:14)
  53. He will rescue from violence (Psalm 72:14)
  54. He will rescue the needy (Psalm 72:12-14)
  55. He will rescue the afflicted (Psalm 72:12-14)
  56. He will rescue the weak (Psalm 72:13-14)
  57. He will rescue the needy from oppression (Psalm 72:12-14)
  58. He will rescue the afflicted from oppression (Psalm 72:12-14)
  59. He will rescue the weak from oppression (Psalm 72:13-14)
  60. He will rescue the needy from violence (Psalm 72:12-14)
  61. He will rescue the afflicted from violence (Psalm 72:12-14)
  62. He will rescue the weak from violence (Psalm 72:13-14)
  63. He will rescue the needy from oppression, for precious is their blood in His sight (Psalm 72:12-14)
  64. He will rescue the afflicted from oppression, for precious is their blood in His sight (Psalm 72:12-14)
  65. He will rescue the weak from oppression, for precious is their blood in His sight (Psalm 72:13-14)
  66. He will rescue the needy from violence, for precious is their blood in His sight (Psalm 72:12-14)
  67. He will rescue the afflicted from violence, for precious is their blood in His sight (Psalm 72:12-14)
  68. He will rescue the weak from violence, for precious is their blood in His sight (Psalm 72:13-14)
  69. All nations will be blessed through Him (Psalm 72:17)
  70. All nations will be call Him blessed (Psalm 72:17)
  71. He alone does marvelous deeds (Psalm 72:18)
  72. He is good to Israel (Psalm 73:1)
  73. He is good to those who are pure in heart (Psalm 73:1)
  74. He places the wicked on slippery ground (Psalm 73:18)
  75. He casts the wicked down to ruin (Psalm 73:18)
  76. When He arises, He will despise the wicked as fantasies (Psalm 73:20)
  77. He is always with His people (Psalm 73:23)
  78. He holds His people by their right hand (Psalm 73:23)
  79. He guides His people with counsel (Psalm 73:24)
  80. He takes His people into glory (Psalm 73:24)
  81. His people have no one in heaven besides Him (Psalm 73:25)
  82. His people desire nothing on earth besides Him (Psalm 73:25)
  83. He is the strength of His people's hearts (Psalm 73:26)
  84. He is His people's portion forever (Psalm 73:26)
  85. Those who are far from Him will perish (Psalm 73:27)
  86. He destroys all who are unfaithful to Him (Psalm 73:28)
  87. His people have made Him their refuge (Psalm 73:28)
  88. His people tell of all His deeds (Psalm 73:28)


(Sylvia's already made it to - past - 10,000!  So amazing to think of who He is like this!)

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Counting in community:




Sunday, February 17, 2013

Deep Exhale


Lent comes,

Comes in the midst of the mess I'm partway out of

But still struggling with.

Less than I used to, I hope?

Lent comes

And I bow low

And struggle to keep these vows I made,

Things I've promised myself I'd do for months,

Things I decided to do the day after the season started,

Things I knew I couldn't do,

But to know that I have promised

Helps me to try.

Lent comes

And I come face-to-face

With this mess I am

That's become so clear to me in these past weeks,

The sin I'm still tempted to,

The stains deeper than I can see,

The ashes to ashes and dust to dust,

And I try to fast

And I crave

And I'm tempted,

And I tell myself that I have vowed

And I have promised

And do I -

Do I love you so little?

I know it's so little compared to what You deserve,

Know the wanderings and faithlessness of my heart,

And I am so sick

To just force myself to confront who I am again,

To know that I don't love You enough,

That I do this because I want to love You more -

More than all these things I've been clinging to,

More than thoughts,

More than food,

More than self.

And to look at who I am

And know that You would choose me,

That You would die for me,

That Your blood and Your Righteousness is enough -

Enough to cover all my stains,

Stains running deeper than I know -

And Your Love and Your Grace is enough -

Enough to fall on for the hundred thousandth time,

Because I am not enough,

Because I will never be enough,

Because I can't fix my own messes,

Can't change my own heart,

Can't love You.

But You can make me love you.

You can melt the heart of stone,

You can cleanse and renew and restore,

You

Bring

Change -

And it's that change I'm hoping for,

That hope I'm clinging to,

That You are working and sanctifying in ways I can't see,

Opening my eyes to who I am and who You are,

And life with You is this continual going deeper -

Even when I think I've surfaced.

Lent comes,

And I bow low,

And You put this desire in my heart

To be low

And live low,

For it's only when we go lower

That we find our desperate need for You

And cling to You all the more,

Hunger for You all the more.

Lent comes,

And I bend over keys,

Press them down,

And exhale deep,

Singing out the truth of the words,

Satisfied but never done,

Never done with You -

And I hunger all the more.

Lent comes,

And I remember what this season is,

What it's meant for,

What it's been to me,

And I look to the end -

The heart of the Gospel, he said -

That the graves are opened,

That the dead come to life,

That every debt is paid,

And I am not enough,

But He is enough,

And I can exhale long and deep,

Knowing that,

As much as I want to obey Him perfectly,

I can't,

And I don't have to.

He's done it all.

He's paid it all.

Grace.

It's all Grace.


So Saturday didn't quite happen,

But the excitement's still here!

(For me, at least.)

After a couple of weeks of forgetfulness

And not trying hard enough,

I remembered

And put this first.

Tuesday night,

The day before Ash Wednesday,

Just about one year after all this began,

I reached 3,000!

In the middle of a beautiful passage, too!

Let me share this with you:

Psalm 65

New International Version (NIV)

Psalm 65

For the director of music. A psalm of David. A song.

Praise awaits you, our God, in Zion;
    to you our vows will be fulfilled.
You who answer prayer,
    to you all people will come.
When we were overwhelmed by sins,
    you forgave our transgressions.
Blessed are those you choose
    and bring near to live in your courts!
We are filled with the good things of your house,
    of your holy temple.
You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds,
    God our Savior,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
    and of the farthest seas,
who formed the mountains by your power,
    having armed yourself with strength,
who stilled the roaring of the seas,
    the roaring of their waves,
    and the turmoil of the nations.
The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;
    where morning dawns, where evening fades,
    you call forth songs of joy.
You care for the land and water it;
    you enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
    to provide the people with grain,
    for so you have ordained it.
10 You drench its furrows and level its ridges;
    you soften it with showers and bless its crops.
11 You crown the year with your bounty,
    and your carts overflow with abundance.
12 The grasslands of the wilderness overflow;
    the hills are clothed with gladness.
13 The meadows are covered with flocks
    and the valleys are mantled with grain;
    they shout for joy and sing.

So good to know that this is our God!!!!!

So,

Still seeking to know Him,

Still hungering for Him,

Reasons 2956-3130 today,

Bowing low in awe of an Awesome God!

Counting:

  1. His love is better than life (Psalm 63:3)
  2. In His Name His people lift up their hands (Psalm 63:4)
  3. His people are fully satisfied in Him (Psalm 63:4)
  4. His people are fully satisfied in Him, as with the richest of foods (Psalm 63:4)
  5. The mouths of His people praise Him (Psalm 63:5)
  6. The mouths of His people praise Him with singing lips (Psalm 63:5)
  7. His people think of Him (Psalm 63:6)
  8. His people think of Him through the watches of the night (Psalm 63:6)
  9. His people sing in the shadow of His wings (Psalm 63:7)
  10. His people sing in the shadow of His wings because He is their help (Psalm 63:7)
  11. His people cling to Him (Psalm 63:8)
  12. His right hand upholds His people (Psalm 63:8)
  13. All who swear by Him will glory in Him (Psalm 63:11)
  14. He shoots the wicked down with arrows (Psalm 64:2-7)
  15. He shoots the wicked down with arrows, they will suddenly be struck down (Psalm 64:2-7)
  16. He turns the wicked's own tongues against them (Psalm 64:2-8)
  17. He turns the wicked's own tongues against them and brings them to ruin (Psalm 64:2-8)
  18. He turns the wicked's own tongues against them and brings them to ruin, all who see them will shake their heads in scorn (Psalm 64:2-8)
  19. All people will fear Him (Pslam 64:9)
  20. All people will proclaim His works (Psalm 64:9)
  21. All people will proclaim His works and ponder what he has done (Psalm 64:9)
  22. The righteous will rejoice in Him (Psalm 64:10)
  23. The righteous will take refuge in Him (Psalm 64:10)
  24. The upright in heart will glory in Him (Psalm 64:10)
  25. Praise awaits Him in Zion (Psalm 65:1)
  26. All people come to Him (Psalm 65:2)
  27. He forgives transgressions (Psalm 65:3)
  28. When people are overwhelmed by sins, He forgives their transgressions (Psalm 65:3)
  29. Those whom He chooses are blessed (Psalm 65:4)
  30. Those whom He chooses and brings near to live in His courts are blessed (Psalm 65:4)
  31. He fills His people with the good things of His house (Psalm 65:4)
  32. He fills His people with the good things of His house, His holy temple (Psalm 65:4)
  33. He answers His people with awesome deeds (Psalm 65:5)
  34. He answers His people with righteous deeds (Psalm 65:5)
  35. He is His people's Savior (Psalm 65:5)
  36. He is the hope of all the ends of the earth (Psalm 65:5)
  37. He is the hope of the farthest seas (Psalm 65:5)
  38. He formed the mountains by His power (Psalm 65:6)
  39. He formed the mountains by His power, having armed Himself with strength (Psalm 65:6)
  40. He stilled the roaring of the seas (Psalm 65:7)
  41. He stilled the roaring of the seas' waves (Psalm 65:7)
  42. He stilled the turmoil of the nations (Psalm 65:7)
  43. The whole earth is filled with awe at His wonders (Psalm 65:8)
  44. Where morning dawns, He calls forth songs of joy (Psalm 65:8)
  45. Where evening fades, He calls forth songs of joy (Psalm 65:8)
  46. He cares for the land (Psalm 65:9)
  47. He cares for the land and waters it (Psalm 65:9)
  48. He enriches the land abundantly (Psalm 65:9)
  49. His streams are filled with water (Psalm 65:9)
  50. His streams are filled with water to provide the people with grain (Psalm 65:9)
  51. His streams are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so He has ordained it (Psalm 65:9)
  52. He drenches the land's furrows (Psalm 65:9-10)
  53. He levels the land's ridges (Psalm 65:9-10)
  54. He softens the land with showers (Psalm 65:9-10)
  55. He blesses the land's crops (Psalm 65:9-10)
  56. He crowns the year with His bounty (Psalm 65:11)
  57. His carts overflow with abundance (Psalm 65:11)
  58. His deeds are awesome (Psalm 66:3)
  59. His power is so great (Psalm 66:3)
  60. His power is so great that His enemies cringe before Him (Psalm 66:3)
  61. All the earth bows down to Him (Psalm 66:4)
  62. All the earth sings praise to Him (Psalm 66:4)
  63. All the earth sings the praises of His Name (Psalm 66:4)
  64. He turned the sea into dry land (Psalm 66:6)
  65. His people passed through the waters on foot (Psalm 66:6)
  66. He rules forever by His power (Psalm 66:6)
  67. His eyes watch the nations (Psalm 66:6)
  68. He has preserved His people's lives (Psalm 66:9)
  69. He has kept His people's feet from slipping (Psalm 66:9)
  70. He has tested His people (Psalm 66:10)
  71. He has refined His people like silver (Psalm 66:10)
  72. He brought His people into prison (Psalm 66:11)
  73. He laid burdens on His people's backs (Psalm 66:11)
  74. He let people ride over His people's heads (Psalm 66:12)
  75. He brought His people to a place of abundance (Psalm 66:12)
  76. His people went through fire and water, but He brought His people to a place of abundance (Psalm 66:12)
  77. He does not listen to those who cherish sin in their hearts (Psalm 66:18)
  78. He has surely listened those those who do not cherish sin in their hearts (Psalm 66:18-19)
  79. He has surely listened those those who do not cherish sin in their hearts and heard their prayers (Psalm 66:18-19)
  80. He has not rejected His people's prayers (Psalm 66:20)
  81. He has not withheld His love from His people (Psalm 66:20)
  82. He rules the peoples with equity (Psalm 67:4)
  83. He guides the nations of the earth (Psalm 67:4)
  84. He blesses His people (Psalm 67:6)
  85. He rides on the clouds (Psalm 68:4)
  86. His name is the LORD (Psalm 68:4)
  87. He is a father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5)
  88. He is a defender of widows (Psalm 68:5)
  89. He is a father to the fatherless in His holy dwelling (Psalm 68:5)
  90. He is a defender of widows in His holy dwelling (Psalm 68:5)
  91. He sets the lonely in families (Psalm 68:6)
  92. He leads out the prisoners with singing (Psalm 68:6)
  93. He goes out before His people (Psalm 68:7)
  94. He marches through the wilderness (Psalm 68:7)
  95. When He goes out before His people, the earth shakes (Psalm 68:7-8)
  96. When He marches through the wilderness, the earth shakes (Psalm 68:7-8)
  97. When He goes out before His people, the heavens pour down rain (Psalm 68:7-8)
  98. When He marches through the wilderness, the heavens pour down rain (Psalm 68:7-8)
  99. When He goes out before His people, the earth shakes before Him (Psalm 68:7-8)
  100. When He marches through the wilderness, the earth shakes before Him (Psalm 68:7-8)
  101. When He goes out before His people, the heavens pour down rain before Him (Psalm 68:7-8)
  102. When He marches through the wilderness, the heavens pour down rain before Him (Psalm 68:7-8)
  103. When He goes out before His people, the earth shakes before Him, the One of Sainai (Psalm 68:7-8)
  104. When He marches through the wilderness, the earth shakes before Him, the One of Sainai (Psalm 68:7-8)
  105. When He goes out before His people, the heavens pour down rain before Him, the One of Sainai (Psalm 68:7-8)
  106. When He marches through the wilderness, the heavens pour down rain before Him, the One of Sainai (Psalm 68:7-8)
  107. When He goes out before His people, the earth shakes before Him, the God of Israel (Psalm 68:7-8)
  108. When He marches through the wilderness, the earth shakes before Him, the God of Israel (Psalm 68:7-8)
  109. When He goes out before His people, the heavens pour down rain before Him, the God of Israel (Psalm 68:7-8)
  110. When He marches through the wilderness, the heavens pour down rain before Him, the God of Israel (Psalm 68:7-8)
  111. He gives abundant showers (Psalm 68:9)
  112. He refreshes His weary inheritance (Psalm 68:9)
  113. His people settle in the weary inheritance that He refreshed (Psalm 68:9-10)
  114. He has bounty (Psalm 68:10)
  115. From His bounty, He provides for the poor (Psalm 68:10)
  116. He announces the word (Psalm 68:11)
  117. He announces the word, and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng (Psalm 68:11)
  118. Kings and armies flee in haste from Him (Psalm 68:12)
  119. Kings and armies flee in haste from Him, the women at home divide the plunder (Psalm 68:12)
  120. The wings of His people's doves are sheathed with silver (Psalm 68:14)
  121. The feathers of His people's doves are sheathed with shining gold (Psalm 68:14)
  122. He scatters the kings in the land (Psalm 68:14)
  123. When He scatters the kings in the land, it is like snow fallen on Mount Zalmon (Psalm 68:14)
  124. The mountains gaze in envy at the mountain where He chooses to reign (Psalm 68:15-16)
  125. The mountains gaze in envy at the mountain where He Himself will dwell forever (Psalm 68:15-16)
  126. His chariots are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands (Psalm 68:17)
  127. He has come from Sinai into His sanctuary (Psalm 68:17)
  128. He ascended on high (Psalm 68:18)
  129. When He ascended on high, He took many captives (Psalm 68:18)
  130. When He ascended on high, He received gifts from people (Psalm 68:18)
  131. When He ascended on high, He received gifts from people – even from the rebellious (Psalm 68:18)
  132. When He ascended on high, He received gifts from people – even from the rebellious – that He might dwell there (Psalm 68:18)
  133. He daily bears His people's burdens (Psalm 68:19)
  134. He is a God who saves (Psalm 68:20)
  135. From Him comes escape from death (Psalm 68:20)
  136. He will surely crush the heads of His enemies (Psalm 68:21)
  137. He will surely crush the hairy crowns of those who go on in their sins (Psalm 68:21)
  138. He will bring His people's foes from Bashan (Psalm 68:22-23)
  139. He will bring His people's foes from from the depths of the sea (Psalm 68:22-23)
  140. He will bring His people's foes from Bashan, that His people might wade in the blood of their foes (Psalm 68:22-23)
  141. He will bring His people's foes from from the depths of the sea, that His people might wade in the blood of their foes (Psalm 68:22-23)
    He will bring His people's foes from Bashan, that His people might wade in the blood of their foes while the tongues of their dogs have their share(Psalm 68:22-23)
  142. He will bring His people's foes from from the depths of the sea, that His people might wade in the blood of their foes while the tongues of their dogs have their share (Psalm 68:22-23)
  143. His procession comes into view (Psalm 68:24)
  144. His procession comes into view, His procession into the sanctuary (Psalm 68:24)
  145. He has shown His strength (Psalm 68:28)
  146. Cush will submit herself to Him (Psalm 68:31)
  147. He rides across the highest heavens (Psalm 68:33)
  148. He rides across the ancient heavens (Psalm 68:33)
  149. He thunders with mighty voice (Psalm 68:33)
  150. His majesty is over Israel (Psalm 68:34)
  151. His power is in the heavens (Psalm 68:34)
  152. He is awesome in His sanctuary (Psalm 68:35)
  153. He gives power and strength to His people (Psalm 68:35)
  154. He knows His people's folly (Psalm 69:5)
  155. His people's guilt is not hidden from Him (Psalm 69:5)
  156. His people endure scorn for His sake (Psalm 69:7)
  157. For His sake, shame covers His people's face (Psalm 69:7)
  158. His people are foreigners to their own families, for zeal for His house consumes them (Psalm 69:8-9)
  159. His people are strangers to their own mothers' children, for zeal for His house consumes them (Psalm 69:8-9)
  160. His people are foreigners to their own families, for the insults of those who insult Him fall on them (Psalm 69:8-9)
  161. His people are strangers to their own mothers' children, for the insults of those who insult Him fall on them them (Psalm 69:8-9)
  162. His people will praise His Name in song (Psalm 69:30)
  163. His people will glorify Him with thanksgiving (Psalm 69:30)
  164. He is more pleased with His people praising His Name in song than with an ox (Psalm 69:30-31)
  165. He is more pleased with His glorifying Him with thanksgiving than with an ox (Psalm 69:30-31)
  166. He is more pleased with His people praising His Name in song than with a bull with its horns and hooves (Psalm 69:30-31)
  167. He is more pleased with His glorifying Him with thanksgiving than with a bull with its horns and hooves (Psalm 69:30-31)
  168. He hears the needy (Psalm 69:33)
  169. He does not despise His captive people (Psalm 69:33)
  170. He will save Zion (Psalm 69:35)
  171. He will rebuild the cities of Judah (Psalm 69:35)
  172. His people will settle in the places He has rebuilt (Psalm 69:35)
  173. His people will posses the places He has rebuilt (Psalm 69:35)
  174. His children of His servants will inherit the places He has rebuilt (Psalm 69:35-36)
  175. Those who love His Name will dwell in the places He has rebuilt (Psalm 69:35-36)
Did you see that first one?

His love is better than life!

Yes!!!

Such joy in this!

 
(Sylvia's already made it to - past - 10,000!  So amazing to think of who He is like this!)

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Counting in community:


 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Jeremiah 22:16


For the first time in a few months, the email comes to my inbox.

"Write about the Bible verse that prompted you to begin serving others and continues to guide and encourage you as you serve."

So I'm writing.

I forget how I found it.

I think I encountered it while I was reading through the Bible last year.

The book was toward the end of the list.

Anyway, I read it,

And thought, "Really?

It's really that important?"

I mean, I'd always thought that it was important,

But this?

It took it to a whole new level.


"He gave justice and help to the poor and needy, and everything went well for him.  Isn't that what it means to know me?" says the LORD.(Jeremiah 22:16, NLT)
Forget the "everything went well for him".

I'm pretty sure it's completely Biblical to want the rewards God offers,

But there's something in that verse I want so much more:

To know Him.

And He says,

"Isn't that what it means to know me?"

"Isn't that what it means to know me?"

Really?

Justice,

Help,

To the poor and needy,

Is what it means to know God?

I want to know God.


It was no coincidence this verse came to me as God was working on my heart

To become a Compassion blogger

And to sponsor a child.

And it does continue to motivate me today.

God cares about these things

And, when I care about them,

It makes me more like Him

And helps me to understand His heart,

His character.

"He gave justice and help to the poor and needy, and everything went well for him.  Isn't that what it means to know me?"

I don't need everything to go well.

If He blesses, I will be grateful,

But, if He doesn't,

No matter how hard it is in the moment,

He will be enough.

What I really need -

More than anything -

Is to know Him.

Just to know Him.

 
Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion

Check back Saturday for a little excitement here . . .
 
Well, I think it's exciting . . . I hope you will, too!


Friday, February 8, 2013

It Started Friday Night . . .


It started Friday night, I think -

These thoughts that've been in my mind for years,

Imagined stories I've made up,

Thinking it was good to imagine,

Not realizing that such dark thoughts cast shadows on my soul

And wanting to be the hero of the story can easily be another form of idol-worship -

These thoughts crept slowly but surely toward the front of my mind,

And I tried so hard to say no,

But saying no is awfully hard when there is a part of you that desires -

More than that, is prewired (from years of using those same thought patterns) -

To say yes.

And, really, saying no only does so much

When soul-amnesia sets in

And the silly, stupid things of this world

Start looking a lot bigger and prettier than they actually are.

When that happens, saying no doesn't fix it.

Seeing God does.


I think it was that one episode of NCIS that did it.

It's strange, because my one weekly TV episode isn't usually enough to do that to my mind,

But it did this week.

Maybe it was because of the lack of sleep?

I don't know.

I tried so hard, though.

I listened to sermons,

Listened to Christian music,

Trying to set God before my eyes,

Get Him into my head.

It just didn't go too well.


By Sunday night it was worse than it'd been in months.

I must've sat on my bed for twenty minutes just thinking -

Thinking all these things I know I shouldn't be thinking,

All these things He's been showing me are sin -

And it was so hard to bring my mind back to my room and the task,

To move on with what I was trying to do,

The other thoughts still there,

Ever-present in the back of my mind.


Monday, dear friends came

And I fumbled with words and tried to explain,

And they didn't quite understand,

And, really, most people don't,

Most don't really seem to struggle with this like I do,

But I do,

And so pens went across pages,

And we all bowed low together,

And a sweet friend struggling to understand prayed for me,

Prayed for my thoughts,

And I prayed, too,

Prayed long and hard,

Because I felt so far in

That I knew I couldn't get myself out.

I think it's good for me to feel like that,

Good for me to remember that I am weak,

But He is Strong.

He is strong enough.


Little by little,

Bit by bit,

Things got better over the next days.

Then, Thursday, I walked in to talk with a friend,

Dear brother,

Always wanting to know what's going on with me,

Always wanting to know how I am - really,

Always so encouraging.

This week, when he asks how I'm doing,

I answer, "Better than Sunday and Monday."

And just lay my heart open before him,

Best as I can, struggling to explain,

And he asks questions,

Makes me think,

And reminds me that God's already won the victory,

That we don't ever have to think that we'll never be free.

He has things to do,

And I leave under the pretense of doing homework,

But actually end up scribbling it all down on a page,

Desperate to get all of this out of me

(For probably the hundredth time)

And to know that He is worth more,

That He is worth everything.


When I hugged him good-bye this morning,

After Friday morning group prayer

(I thought the best in a long time -

Probably because I was actually awake this week)

I thanked him,

Just for talking with me.

Every little bit this week's been so helpful,

Prying away one finger at a time

On the hand clinging tight to the seemingly-beautiful things

That eventually bring death.

I walk back to my dorm room for my Friday morning nap,

And the only thing I'm thinking is,
"Before the throne of God above,
I have a strong and perfect plea,
A great high Priest whose Name is Love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me.

My name is graven on His hands . . ."
Wow.

Just wow.


Reasons 2886-2955 today,

(Been neglecting again this week -

I think I need a sticky note over my mouse or something,

Easy as it's been to get caught up in my school and social to-do lists.)

Seeking to see Him for who He is,

See who He is in what He has done,

And just

Stand

In

Awe:
 
  1. He is the One who sustains His people (Psalm 54:4)
  2. His Name is Good (Psalm 54:6)
  3. He saves those who call to Him (Psalm 55:16)
  4. He hears the voice of those who cry out in distress (Psalm 55:17)
  5. He rescues His people unharmed from the battle waged against them (Psalm 55:18)
  6. He rescues His people unharmed from the battle waged against them, even though many oppose them (Psalm 55:18)
  7. He is enthroned from of old (Psalm 55:19)
  8. He does not change (Psalm 55:19)
  9. He will hear those who oppose His people and humble them (Psalm 55:18-19)
  10. He will hear those who oppose His people and humble them, because the have no fear of Him (Psalm 55:18-19)
  11. He sustains those who cast their cares on Him (Psalm 55:22)
  12. He will never let the righteous be shaken (Psalm 55:22)
  13. He will bring down the wicked into the pit of decay (Psalm 55:23)
  14. His people praise His Word (Psalm 56:4)
  15. His people trust in Him and are not afraid (Psalm 56:4)
  16. The tears of His people are in His record (Psalm 56:8)
  17. He delivers His people from death (Psalm 56:13)
  18. He delivers His people's feet from stumbling (Psalm 56:13)
  19. He delivers His people from death, that they may walk before Him in the light of life (Psalm 56:13)
  20. He delivers His people's feet from stumbling, that they may walk before Him in the light of life (Psalm 56:13)
  21. He sends from heaven and saves His people (Psalm 57:3)
  22. He sends from heaven and saves His people, rebuking those who hotly pursue them (Psalm 57:3)
  23. He sends forth His Love (Psalm 57:3)
  24. He sends forth His Faithfulness (Psalm 57:3)
  25. His Love is great, reaching to the heavens (Psalm 57:10)
  26. He laughs at those who return at evening, snarling like dogs, and prowl about the city (Psalm 59:6-7)
  27. He laughs at those who spew from their mouths words as sharp as swords, and think, “Who can hear us?” (Psalm 59:6-7)
  28. He scoffs at the nations whose people return at evening, snarling like dogs, and prowl about the city (Psalm 59:6-7)
  29. He scoffs at the nations whose people spew from their mouths words as sharp as swords, and think, “Who can hear us?” (Psalm 59:6-7)
  30. His people rely on Him (Psalm 59:10)
  31. He goes before His people and will not let them gloat over those who slander them (Psalm 59:10)
  32. His people sing of His strength (Psalm 59:16)
  33. In the morning, His people sing of His Love (Psalm 59:16)
  34. He is His people's refuge in times of trouble (Psalm 59:16)
  35. He rejects His people (Psalm 60:1)
  36. He rejects His people and bursts upon them (Psalm 60:1)
  37. He has been angry with His people (Psalm 60:1)
  38. He has shaken the land and torn it open (Psalm 60:2)
  39. He has shown His people desperate times (Psalm 60:3)
  40. He has given His people wine that makes them stagger (Psalm 60:3)
  41. For those who fear Him, He has raised a banner (Psalm 60:4)
  42. For those who fear Him, He has raised a banner to be unfurled against the bow (Psalm 60:4)
  43. He has spoken from His sanctuary (Psalm 60:6)
  44. In triumph He parcels out Shechem (Psalm 60:6)
  45. In triumph He measures off the Valley of Sukkoth (Psalm 60:6)
  46. Gilead is His (Psalm 60:7)
  47. Manasseh is His (Psalm 60:7)
  48. Ephraim is His helmet (Psalm 60:7)
  49. Judah is His scepter (Psalm 60:7)
  50. Moab is His washbasin (Psalm 60:8)
  51. He tosses His sandal on Edom (Psalm 60:8)
  52. Over Philistia He shouts in triumph (Psalm 60:8)
  53. He will bring His people to the fortified city (Psalm 60:9-10)
  54. He will lead His people to Edom (Psalm 60:9-10)
  55. He is His people's strong tower (Psalm 61:3)
  56. He is His people's strong tower against the foe (Psalm 61:3)
  57. His people long to dwell in His tent forever (Psalm 61:4)
  58. His people long to take refuge in the shelter of His wings (Psalm 61:4)
  59. He has heard His people's vows (Psalm 61:5)
  60. He has given to His chosen one the heritage of those who fear His Name (Psalm 61:5)
  61. His people's souls find rest in Him (Psalm 62:1)
  62. Salvation comes from Him (Psalm 62:1)
  63. He is His people's fortress, they will never be shaken (Psalm 62:2)
  64. His people's hope comes from Him (Psalm 62:5)
  65. His people's salvation depends on Him (Psalm 62:7)
  66. His people's honor depends on Him (Psalm 62:7)
  67. He is His people's mighty rock (Psalm 62:8)
  68. Power belongs to Him (Psalm 62:11)
  69. With Him is unfailing love (Psalm 62:11)
  70. He rewards everyone according to what they have done (Psalm 62:11)


(Sylvia's already made it to - past - 10,000!  So amazing to think of who He is like this!)

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Counting in community:


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