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

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Lilies


Every year, they put them at the foot of the cross,

Pot after pot,

Some blooming,

Some buds not yet opened.

Every year, they put them at the foot of the cross,

Pure and white,

These symbols of new life -

New life.

They put them at the foot of the cross.

As I bend down,

Sit on the floor beneath the wood,

Lay down to get the lens beneath the petals,

I wonder -

These symbols for new life?

Maybe they're at the foot of the cross

Because that's where life is.


Reasons 3522-3698 today,

Because this is where life is,

Because He is life -

Because He is.

Counting:

  1. He has founded His city (Psalm 87:1)
  2. He has founded His city on the holy mountain (Psalm 87:1)
  3. He loves the gates of Zion (Psalm 87:2)
  4. He loves the gates of Zion more than all the other dwellings of Jacob (Psalm 87:2)
  5. Glorious things are said of His city (Psalm 87:3)
  6. He Himself will establish Zion (Psalm 87:5)
  7. He will write in the register of the peoples: “This one was born in Zion.” (Psalm 87:6)
  8. He is the God who saves His people (Psalm 87:1)
  9. He puts people in the lowest pit (Psalm 88:6)
  10. He puts people in the darkest depths (Psalm 88:6)
  11. His wrath lies heavily on people (Psalm 88:7)
  12. He overwhelms people (Psalm 88:7)
  13. He overwhelms people with all His waves (Psalm 88:7)
  14. He takes people from their closest friends (Psalm 88:8)
  15. He takes people from their closest friends and makes them repulsive to their friends (Psalm 88:8)
  16. In the morning His people's prayers come before Him (Psalm 88:13)
  17. He rejects people (Psalm 88:14)
  18. He hides His face from people (Psalm 88:14)
  19. His wrath sweeps over people (Psalm 88:16)
  20. His terrors destroy people (Psalm 88:16)
  21. He takes people from friend and neighbor (Psalm 88:18)
  22. His love stands firm forever (Psalm 89:2)
  23. He has established His faithfulness in heaven itself (Psalm 89:2)
  24. He has made a covenant with His chosen one (Psalm 89:3)
  25. He has made a covenant with His chosen one to establish his line forever (Psalm 89:3-4)
  26. He has made a covenant with His chosen one to make his throne firm through all generations (Psalm 89:3-4)
  27. The heavens praise His wonders (Psalm 89:5)
  28. The heavens praise His faithfulness (Psalm 89:5)
  29. The heavens praise His faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones (Psalm 89:5)
  30. No one in the skies above can compare with Him (Psalm 89:6)
  31. No one is like Him among the heavenly beings (Psalm 89:6)
  32. He is greatly feared in the council of the holy ones (Psalm 89:7)
  33. He is greatly feared in the council of the holy ones; He is more awesome than all who surround Him (Psalm 89:7)
  34. His faithfulness surrounds Him (Psalm 89:8)
  35. He is mighty and His faithfulness surrounds Him (Psalm 89:8)
  36. He rules over the surging sea (Psalm 89:9)
  37. When the waves of the surging sea mount up, He stills them (Psalm 89:9)
  38. He crushed Rahab like one of the slain (Psalm 89:10)
  39. With His strong arm He scattered His enemies (Psalm 89:10)
  40. He has founded the world and all that is in it (Psalm 89:11)
  41. He created the north and the south (Psalm 89:12)
  42. Tabor and Hermon sing for joy at His Name (Psalm 89:12)
  43. His arm is endowed with power (Psalm 89:13)
  44. His hand is strong (Psalm 89:13)
  45. His right hand is exalted (Psalm 89:13)
  46. Righteousness and Justice are the foundation of His throne (Psalm 89:14)
  47. Love and faithfulness go before Him (Psalm 89:14)
  48. By His favor He exalts His people's horn (Psalm 89:17)
  49. His people's shield belongs to Him (Psalm 89:18)
  50. His people's king belongs to Him (Psalm 89:18)
  51. He spoke in a vision (Psalm 89:19)
  52. He spoke in a vision to His faithful people (Psalm 89:19)
  53. He has bestowed strength on a warrior (Psalm 89:19)
  54. He has raised up a young man from among the people (Psalm 89:19)
  55. He has found His servant (Psalm 89:20)
  56. He has anointed His servant with sacred oil (Psalm 89:20)
  57. His hand will sustain His servant (Psalm 89:21)
  58. His arm will surely strengthen His servant (Psalm 89:21)
  59. He will crush His servant's foes before him (Psalm 89:23)
  60. He will strike down His servant's adversaries (Psalm 89:23)
  61. His faithful love will be with His people (Psalm 89:24)
  62. Through His name His servant's horn will be exalted (Psalm 89:24)
  63. He will set His servant's hand over the sea (Psalm 89:25)
  64. He will set His servant's right hand over the rivers (Psalm 89:25)
  65. He will appoint His servant to be His firstborn (Psalm 89:27)
  66. He will appoint His servant to be His firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth (Psalm 89:27)
  67. He will maintain His love to His servant forever (Psalm 89:28)
  68. His covenant with His servant will never fail (Psalm 89:28)
  69. He will establish His servant's line forever (Psalm 89:29)
  70. He will establish His servant's throne as long as the heavens endure (Psalm 89:29)
  71. If His servant's sons forsake His law, He will punish their sin with the rod (Psalm 89:30-32)
  72. If His servant's sons forsake His law, He will punish their iniquity with flogging (Psalm 89:30-32)
  73. If His servant's sons do not follow His statutes, He will punish their sin with the rod (Psalm 89:30-32)
  74. If His servant's sons do not follow His statutes, He will punish their iniquity with flogging (Psalm 89:30-32)
  75. If His servant's sons violate His decrees, He will punish their sin with the rod (Psalm 89:30-32)
  76. If His servant's sons violate His decrees, He will punish their iniquity with flogging (Psalm 89:30-32)
  77. If His servant's sons fail to keep His commands, He will punish their sin with the rod (Psalm 89:30-32)
  78. If His servant's sons fail to keep His commands, He will punish their iniquity with flogging (Psalm 89:30-32)
  79. He will not take His love from His servant (Psalm 89:33)
  80. He will never betray His faithfulness (Psalm 89:33)
  81. He will not violate His covenant (Psalm 89:34)
  82. He will not alter what His lips have uttered (Psalm 89:34)
  83. He swears by His holiness (Psalm 89:35)
  84. He will not lie to His servant (Psalm 89:35)
  85. Once and for all, He has sworn by His holiness, that His servant's line will continue forever (Psalm 89:35-36)
  86. Once and for all, He has sworn by His holiness, that His servant's throne will endure before Him like the sun (Psalm 89:35-36)
  87. Once and for all, He has sworn by His holiness, that His servant's line will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky (Psalm 89:35-37)
  88. Once and for all, He has sworn by His holiness, that His servant's throne will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky (Psalm 89:35-37)
  89. He has rejected (Psalm 89:38)
  90. He has spurned (Psalm 89:38)
  91. He has been very angry with His anointed one (Psalm 89:38)
  92. He has renounced the covenant with His servant (Psalm 89:39)
  93. He has defiled His servant's crown in the dust (Psalm 89:39)
  94. He has broken through all His servant's walls (Psalm 89:40)
  95. He has reduced His servant's strongholds to ruins (Psalm 89:40)
  96. He has exalted the right hand of His servant's foes (Psalm 89:42)
  97. He has made all His servant's enemies rejoice (Psalm 89:42)
  98. He has turned back the edge of His sword and not supported His servant in battle (Psalm 89:43)
  99. He has put an end to His servant's splendor (Psalm 89:44)
  100. He has cast His servant's throne to the ground (Psalm 89:44)
  101. He has cut short the days of His servant's youth (Psalm 89:45)
  102. He has covered His servant with a mantle of shame (Psalm 89:45)
  103. He hides Himself (Psalm 89:46)
  104. His wrath burns like fire (Psalm 89:46)
  105. He has been His people's dwelling place (Psalm 90:1)
  106. He has been His people's dwelling place throughout all generations (Psalm 90:1)
  107. Before the mountains were born, He is God (Psalm 90:2)
  108. Before He brought forth the world, He is God (Psalm 90:2)
  109. From everlasting to everlasting He is God (Psalm 90:2)
  110. He turns people back to dust (Psalm 90:3)
  111. He turns people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.” (Psalm 90:3)
  112. A thousand years in His sight are like a day that has just gone by (Psalm 90:4)
  113. A thousand years in His sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night (Psalm 90:4)
  114. He sweeps people away in the sleep of death (Psalm 90:5)
  115. He sweeps people away in the sleep of death – they are like the new grass of the morning: in the morning it springs up new, but by evening it is dry and withered (Psalm 90:5-6)
  116. His people are consumed by His anger (Psalm 90:7)
  117. His people are terrified by His indignation (Psalm 90:7)
  118. He has set His people's iniquities before Him (Psalm 90:8)
  119. He has set His people's sins in the light of His presence (Psalm 90:8)
  120. All His people's days pass away under His wrath (Psalm 90:9)
  121. All His people's days pass away under His wrath; they finish their years with a moan (Psalm 90:9)
  122. If only His people knew the power of His anger! (Psalm 90:11)
  123. His wrath is as great as the fear that is His due (Psalm 90:11)
  124. Whoever dwells in His shelter will rest in His shadow (Psalm 91:1)
  125. He will surely save His people (Psalm 91:3)
  126. He will surely save His people from the fowler's snare (Psalm 91:3)
  127. He will surely save His people from the deadly pestilence (Psalm 91:3)
  128. He will cover His people with His feathers (Psalm 91:4)
  129. Under His wings His people will find refuge (Psalm 91:4)
  130. His faithfulness will be His people's shield (Psalm 91:4)
  131. His faithfulness will be His people's rampart (Psalm 91:4)
  132. His people will not fear the terror of the night (Psalm 91:5)
  133. His people will not fear the arrow that flies by day (Psalm 91:5)
  134. His people will not fear the pestilence that stalks in the darkness (Psalm 91:5-6)
  135. His people will not fear the plague that destroys at midday (Psalm 91:5-6)
  136. A thousand may fall at His people's side, but it will not come near His people (Psalm 91:7)
  137. Ten thousand may fall at His people's right hand, but it will not come near His people (Psalm 91:7)
  138. His people will only observe with their eyes and see the punishment of the wicked (Psalm 91:8)
  139. If people say, “The LORD is my refuge”, no harm will overtake them (Psalm 91:9-10)
  140. If people make Him their dwelling, no harm will overtake them (Psalm 91:9-10)
  141. If people say, “The LORD is my refuge”, no disaster will come near their tent (Psalm 91:9-10)
  142. If people make Him their dwelling, no disaster will come near their tent (Psalm 91:9-10)
  143. He will command His angels concerning His people (Psalm 91:11)
  144. He will command His angels concerning His people, to guard them in all their ways (Psalm 91:11)
  145. His angels will lift His people up in their hands (Psalm 91:11-12)
  146. His angels will lift His people up in their hands, so that His people will not strike their foot against a stone (Psalm 91:11-12)
  147. His people will tread on the lion (Psalm 91:11-13)
  148. His people will tread on the cobra (Psalm 91:11-13)
  149. His people will trample the great lion (Psalm 91:11-13)
  150. His people will trample the serpent (Psalm 91:11-13)
  151. He rescues His people (Psalm 91:14)
  152. He rescues His people because they love Him (Psalm 91:14)
  153. He protects His people (Psalm 91:14)
  154. He protects His people, for they acknowledge His Name (Psalm 91:14)
  155. His people call on Him, and He answers them (Psalm 91:15)
  156. He will be with His people in trouble (Psalm 91:15)
  157. He will deliver His people (Psalm 91:15)
  158. He will honor His people (Psalm 91:15)
  159. He will satisfy His people with long life (Psalm 91:16)
  160. He will show His people His salvation (Psalm 91:16)
  161. He makes His people glad by His deeds (Psalm 92:4)
  162. His people sing for joy at what His hands have done (Psalm 92:4)
  163. His works are great (Psalm 92:5)
  164. His thoughts are profound (Psalm 92:5)
  165. He is forever exalted (Psalm 92:8)
  166. His enemies surely will perish (Psalm 92:9)
  167. He has exalted His people's horn like that of a wild ox (Psalm 92:10)
  168. There is no wickedness in Him (Psalm 92:15)
  169. He is robed in majesty (Psalm 93:1)
  170. He is armed with strength (Psalm 93:1)
  171. His throne was established long ago (Psalm 93:2)
  172. He is from all eternity (Psalm 93:2)
  173. Mightier than the thunder of the great waters – He is mighty (Psalm 93:4)
  174. Mightier than the breakers of the sea – He is mighty (Psalm 93:4)
  175. He is the LORD on high (Psalm 93:4)
  176. His statutes stand firm (Psalm 93:5)
  177. Holiness adorns His house for endless days (Psalm 93:5)


Still a busy couple of weeks,

Working on some big papers.

Sincere apologies that I haven't had time to visit you

And read

And breathe

And be with you in this world -

Even if only for a moment?

Soon, I hope.

In the meantime . . .

Happy Easter!

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

<a href="http://maryschieferstein.blogspot.com/search/label/10000%20Reasons" target="_blank"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-8zkGH23srZ8/T2i3Bun0O9I/AAAAAAAABSw/8giPvnJmCPI/s320/10000ReasonsButton.jpg" /></a>

Counting in community:


 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Changing the Story


Recently, Dr. Bruce Wydick, professor for the Department of Economics at the University of San Fransisco, completed a study on child sponsorship.

The original plan had been to compare various child sponsorship organizations.

Many were asked to participate in the study.

Only Compassion International agreed.

Dr. Wydick decided to look at the outcomes of child sponsorship through Compassion's program.

These children were more likely to have better education,

Better employment,

And were become leaders in their communities and churches.

The research showed very clearly that sponsorship through Compassion makes a real difference in children's lives.

(You can read more specifics here.)

So, how can you get involved?

Compassion has recently started a "Change the Story" campaign at my.compassionsunday.com.

The goal is for each person with a page to get two children sponsored by April 22, 2013.

If you sponsor a child, create a page and join in this effort to change the story!

If you don't, you can visit my page,

Read about my story,

And, if you feel God's leading you to, sponsor the child listed there.

(I chose a teenage boy because fewer sponsors choose teenage boys,

And a child from India because the child I chose to sponsor is from India.)

If two people sponsor children through my page by April 22,

$50 will be sent to the family of the child I sponsor.

As the blog assignment put it,

"It's a win, win, win--for you, your sponsored child's family and two children in poverty who need sponsors. So maybe that's four wins?! :)"

Anyway, all that to say, if you'd like to participate, you'd be helping in more ways than one - and all would have a lasting impact.

So, change the story with me?






   

Save Us


Mark 11:1-11

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Triumphal Entry

11 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’” And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it. And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go. And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”
11 And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.


John 12:12-19

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Triumphal Entry

12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,
15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion;
behold, your king is coming,
    sitting on a donkey's colt!”
16 His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. 17 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. 18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.”

 

Matthew 21:1-11

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Triumphal Entry

21 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,
“Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
    humble, and mounted on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”
The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”


Luke 19:28-44

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Triumphal Entry

28 And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem

41 And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side 44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”


Hosanna:
in the Hebrew, means "save, we pray." The word seems to have become an utterance of praise rather than of prayer, though originally, probably, a cry for help. The people's cry at the Lord's triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Mat 21:9, 15; Mar 11:9, 10; Jhn 12:13) was taken from Ps. 118, which was recited at the Feast of Tabernacles (see FEAST) in the great Hallel (Psalms 113 to 118) in responses with the priest, accompanied by the waving of palm and willow branches. "The last day of the feast" was called "the great Hosanna;" the boughs also were called "hosannas."


Hosanna.

Save us.

Save us.

 
Reasons 3489-3521 today,

Desperate to know the One who Saves.

Counting:

  1. He shows favor to His land (Psalm 85:1)
  2. He restored the fortunes of Jacob (Psalm 85:1)
  3. He forgives the iniquity of His people (Psalm 85:2)
  4. He forgives the iniquity of His people and covers all their sins (Psalm 85:2)
  5. He sets aside all His wrath (Psalm 85:3)
  6. He turns from His fierce anger (Psalm 85:3)
  7. He promises peace to His people (Psalm 85:8)
  8. He promises peace to His people, His faithful servants (Psalm 85:8)
  9. His salvation is near to those who fear Him (Psalm 85:9)
  10. His salvation is near to those who fear Him, that glory may dwell in His people's land (Psalm 85:9)
  11. He will indeed give what is good (Psalm 85:12)
  12. Righteousness goes before Him (Psalm 85:13)
  13. Righteousness goes before Him and prepares the way for His steps (Psalm 85:13)
  14. He is forgiving and good (Psalm 86:5)
  15. He is abounding in love (Psalm 86:5)
  16. He is abounding in love to all who call to Him (Psalm 86:5)
  17. He answers His people (Psalm 86:7)
  18. Among the gods there is none like Him (Psalm 86:8)
  19. No deeds can compare with His (Psalm 86:8)
  20. He has made all the nations (Psalm 86:9)
  21. All the nations He has made will come and worship before Him (Psalm 86:9)
  22. All the nations He has made will bring glory to His Name (Psalm 86:9)
  23. He does marvelous deeds (Psalm 86:10)
  24. He is great and does marvelous deeds (Psalm 86:10)
  25. He alone is God (Psalm 86:10)
  26. His love is great toward His people (Psalm 86:13)
  27. He delivers His people from the depths (Psalm 86:13)
  28. He delivers His people from the realm of the dead (Psalm 86:13)
  29. He is a compassionate God (Psalm 86:15)
  30. He is a gracious God (Psalm 86:15)
  31. He is abounding in faithfulness (Psalm 86:15)
  32. He has helped His people (Psalm 86:17)
  33. He has comforted His people (Psalm 86:17)

  
It's going to be a busy couple of weeks for me,

Working on some big papers.

Sincere apologies that I haven't had time to visit you

And read

And breathe

And be with you in this world -

Even if only for a moment?

Soon, I hope.

In the meantime . . .



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

<a href="http://maryschieferstein.blogspot.com/search/label/10000%20Reasons" target="_blank"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-8zkGH23srZ8/T2i3Bun0O9I/AAAAAAAABSw/8giPvnJmCPI/s320/10000ReasonsButton.jpg" /></a>

Counting in community:


Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Song for Lent


It was the day before Ash Wednesday -

Fat Tuesday, some people call it -

One of those late nights.

My friend was painting.

I was on my laptop, keeping her company,

Trying desperately to avoid homework for just a few more hours.

It was probably Wednesday already when I decided to focus on something,

Give thanks and write a song in preparation for bed.

I wasn't feeling terribly inspired.

I saw the link again as I scrolled through Facebook status updates.

I'd read it once already,

But twice couldn't hurt.

I clicked

And scrolled

And read again.


It hit me harder the second time,

As I took in each word,

Didn't skim because I wasn't in a hurry,

And slowly understood

And this wasn't just another person,

This wasn't just someone else's story,

This was my story,

Because I try

And I fall

And I see that I'm not enough,

That I don't love enough,

That there's a deeper need in me than I know

For what He did on that cross

And grace means nothing

Until it's needed,

Until I feel that need,

Deep down in the marrow of my bones.

And, that night, I felt it.

So I wrote.


I often tend to write in a rush,

Quick practice before bed,

Unless I'm inspired to write earlier in the day

Or I miraculously begin to prepare for bed at a semi-decent hour.

This time, though, I had time,

So I sat

And I thought

And I dug deep,

Dug deep for words

To express what can never be fully explained,

And aren't we artists all just trying to frame the clouds,

And what lens can hold more than just a tiny fraction?

But I tried,

Because I needed to say it,

And I shared,

Not sure if it would be accepted,

Understood.

I told my friend who tells me not to write elementary lyrics

That these were the least elementary I'd ever written.

He read through the version that had been slightly revised from the original,

Told me not to change a thing.

He wanted to hear the melody.

I came up with a quick accompaniment,

Did a demo recording.

I emailed it to him.

He listened.

He said the first time it threw him off,

That the melody wasn't what he expected from the lyrics.

So he listened to it again.

The second time he said he loved it,

That I should keep it the way it was,

And that I should share it.

So I'm sharing it with all of you.

I just made the demo recording of the song available on SoundCloud,

Not only to listen to, but to download.

I hope it says something to your heart.

I know it came straight from mine.

Fall on Grace

Dark roots
Pierce through my heart
And wrap around.

Greedy fingers
Find where they are
And hold on.

Shadows
Reach into my eyes
And flood my mind.

And I
Jump and I dive
Headlong.

And I try
To cut off the roots,
Pull the plug on this reservoir,
But I
Am finding the truth:
That this springs up from my heart.

Desires
Course through my veins,
Run right through me.

Solemn vows
Slip from my memory.
I am so weak.

Greed
Wells up in my chest,
All-consuming.

My knees
Are shaking from this
Poison in me.

And I try
To live by Your blood,
Get my drink from another place,
But I
Find I'm not enough,
From my self there's no escape.

So I'll fall on Grace,
I'll fall on Grace,
I try, but I can't stand
The weight of my blood-red hands.

Grace,
Oh, I need Your Grace,
'Cause the stain runs deeper still,
And I can't save myself,
No, I can't save myself.

So I try
To set my eyes on You,
Watch the darkness run and hide,
And I
Fall right down again,
Fall on Grace and all stains are white. 

©2013 Mary Schieferstein



I took a bit of a sabbatical from electronics last week,

So I did not have my laptop with its access to Bible Gateway and my 10,000 Reasons document with which to count.

So, while I had a phenomenal week seeking God in other ways,

I'm afraid I have no reasons to share with you here.

But if anyone else has some?

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

<a href="http://maryschieferstein.blogspot.com/search/label/10000%20Reasons" target="_blank"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-8zkGH23srZ8/T2i3Bun0O9I/AAAAAAAABSw/8giPvnJmCPI/s320/10000ReasonsButton.jpg" /></a>

Counting in community:

Also, I know that sin is an incredibly difficult topic,

And I feel that,

Rather than handling it well,

I often cause confusion.

Worse,

Only so much can be covered in a three-minute song,

Or in a fifty-minute sermon for that matter,

So might I just quietly say that,

When I talk about sin like this,

I'm only speaking of a part of it?

That there's a place where what I said fits into what I believe,

But what I believe -


What I mean -

Is much, much bigger?

I meant what I said here last week, too.

And if you'd like some other resources?

I found this video by Tim Conway particularly helpful,

And I think that this and this from DesiringGod,

And this and this from the Resurgence are probably pretty good, too,

Though I'll admit I just skimmed :)

I do need to get to bed sometime this morning.

Just wanted to have a few resources available for all of you.

Thank you all so much.

God bless!


UPDATE!

My deepest apologies,

I seem to have missed the most important links.

(This is why I shouldn't blog at one in the morning.)

Considering that what the Bible says about sin is what I either, a. believe, or b. need to study more so that I may come to believe it, it might be helpful to have some Bible verses about sin.

"Sin", "Sinners", and "Original Sin" from OpenBible,

Definition of Sin from gotquestions.org.

So sorry I forgot about that.

Hope these are more helpful than the other ones.


 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

On Trying and Failing and Trying Again


It's Sunday morning.

Seven o'clock.

The red digits across the room from me are trying to convince me that it's really 8.

My body knows they're lying.

It's seven o'clock.

I never get up at seven o'clock.

About once a week I get up at 5:15,

But that's usually with the promise of a three-hour nap later,

Not with the promise of church and helping with this and helping with that,

And I really want to go to church, but I'm just so tired,

And, really, who ever came up with the idea of messing with my internal clock, thinking it was a good thing?

With the kind of sleep I've gotten the last two weeks, it feels more like jet lag,

Somehow, I manage to drag myself out of bed,

Get dressed,

Skip reading my Bible,

Grab a homemade protein bar to eat in the car,

(Wondering, of course, why I'm actually hungry at this hour of the morning)

And arrive just barely in time for the service to start.


Somehow, I make it through both services,

Although, beginning of the second, I was pretty sure I was going to fall asleep,

And I help clean up in the choir loft while children argue about where we're going to eat,

And the littlest is outvoted and so I drive us to Taco Bell,

Look at his pleading face and consent to buy him some cinnamon twists, even though he should really have a more balanced meal to warrant dessert,

And then accidentally order him one more taco than he wanted.

We've made it through most of the meal

When he stretches and moans

And the others and I ask if he's really going to eat those cinnamon twists,

And he picks them up and starts eating,

Hands me one, being the nice brother that he is,

And I have the whole thing in my mouth

When he offers one to another sibling,

Who says, "I'm trying to cut back on sweets."

Sweets.

Oh.

And it's too late now,

The sugary thing half chewed-up,

When I remember that it's more than just those new Icees I saw advertised when I walked through the door that made it on the list of things I decided to give up for Lent,

With the explicit intention of including Sundays in that season.

I'd known that I wouldn't be completely successful in many of those,

But this, I thought, I could do.

Apparently not.


And I remember why I decided to do something for Lent this year,

That it's not about legalism, but love,

Not about not failing, but about continuing to try,

Not about being enslaved to some ridiculous law that I came up with,

But about reminding myself that I'm not a slave to sin,

In a way, proving to myself

That, no matter how many Reese's I've pulled out of my locker in the past two semesters,

No matter how many cravings for chocolate I've indulged . . .

That I probably shouldn't have . . .

No matter how many trips to the school café,

He's still worth more to me.

He's got to be worth more to me.

And, honestly,

Tired as I've been these past two weeks,

I know that have loved too little,

Know that I have fallen again and again and again,

And will probably continued to do so until Easter . . .

And for the rest of my life . . .

But it's not always falling in the same ways,

And it's not always falling just as hard every time,

And there is not only grace, there is sanctification,

And, slowly,

Ever-so-slowly,

I'm becoming less me and more Him.


That point?  It's already been proven.

I didn't eat because I wanted,

I ate because my brother gave me a gift,

Sacrificed part of his dessert for me,

Because he showed me love and I chose to accept it.

I would've refused if I'd had the presence of mind,

And I could make my usual boatload of excuses for forgetting,

But, when it comes down to it, I'm still prone to wander,

Still prone to forget.

I've never had it all together.

The stack of letters I need to respond to keeps getting taller,

Writing materials spread out on the couch,

Curly script begging me to answer,

Two weeks' worth of blog posts

On all the blogs I love to read

And just never seem to have time to,

And, when I do, there's never time to slow

And savor,

Write long comments and read long answers,

And that nap my body would really like me to take today?

It's probably never going to come.

But all my failings?

They're where His Grace shines most brightly.

All my imperfections?

They're where His Perfection is most clearly seen.

And that's not a reason not to try,

But a reason to try

And fall

And repent

And try again.

And the more I fall,

The more I understand

Just how precious and priceless

His gifts of Grace,

Mercy,

And unconditional Love

Really are.

"O, the deep, deep love of Jesus -
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean
In its fullness over me . . ."


Reasons 3442-3488 today,

Always seeking Him,

Always seeking to know and love Him more.

Counting:

  1. He removed the burden from His people's shoulders (Psalm 81:6)
  2. He set His people's hands free from the basket (Psalm 81:6)
  3. His people called and He rescued them (Psalm 81:7)
  4. He answered His people out of a thundercloud (Psalm 81:7)
  5. He tested His people at the waters of Meribah (Psalm 81:7)
  6. He will warn his people (Psalm 81:8)
  7. He will warn his people if they would only listen to Him (Psalm 81:8)
  8. He brought His people up out of Egypt (Psalm 81:10)
  9. He will fill His people's mouths (Psalm 81:10)
  10. If His people open wide their mouths, He will fill them (Psalm 81:10)
  11. He gives those who will not listen to Him over to their stubborn hearts (Psalm 81:11-12)
  12. He gives those who will not listen to Him over to their own devices (Psalm 81:11-12)
  13. He gives those who will not submit to Him over to their stubborn hearts (Psalm 81:11-12)
  14. He gives those who will not submit to Him over to their own devices (Psalm 81:11-12)
  15. If His people would only listen to Him, how quickly He would subdue their enemies! (Psalm 81:13-14)
  16. If His people would only follow His ways, how quickly He would subdue their enemies! (Psalm 81:13-14)
  17. If His people would only listen to Him, how quickly He would turn His hand against their foes! (Psalm 81:13-14)
  18. If His people would only follow His ways, how quickly He would turn His hand against their foes! (Psalm 81:13-14)
  19. If His people would only listen to Him, those who hate Him would cringe before Him (Psalm 81:13-15)
  20. If His people would only follow His ways, those who hate Him would cringe before Him (Psalm 81:13-15)
  21. If His people would only listen to Him, those who hate Him would cringe before Him, and their punishment would last forever (Psalm 81:13-15)
  22. If His people would only follow His ways, those who hate Him would cringe before, and their punishment would last forever Him (Psalm 81:13-15)
  23. If His people would only listen to Him, they would be fed with the finest of wheat (Psalm 81:13-16)
  24. If His people would only follow His ways, they would be fed with the finest of wheat (Psalm 81:13-16)
  25. If His people would only listen to Him, He would satisfy them with honey from the rock (Psalm 81:13-16)
  26. If His people would only follow His ways, He would satisfy them with honey from the rock (Psalm 81:13-16)
  27. He presides in the great assembly (Psalm 82:1)
  28. He renders judgment among the “gods” (Psalm 82:1)
  29. All the nations are His inheritance (Psalm 82:8)
  30. He alone is Most High (Psalm 83:18)
  31. He alone is Most High over all the earth (Psalm 83:18)
  32. His dwelling place is lovely (Psalm 84:1)
  33. He is the LORD Almighty (Psalm 84:1)
  34. Even the sparrow has found a home, a place near His altar (Psalm 84:3)
  35. Even the swallow has found a nest for herself, a place near His altar (Psalm 84:3)
  36. Even the swallow has found a nest for herself, where she may have her young, a place near His altar (Psalm 84:3)
  37. Those who dwell in His house are blessed (Psalm 84:4)
  38. Those who dwell in His house are ever praising Him (Psalm 84:4)
  39. Those whose strength is in Him are blessed (Psalm 84:5)
  40. Better is one day in His course than a thousand elsewhere (Psalm 84:10)
  41. His people would rather be doorkeepers in His house than dwell in the tents of the wicked (Psalm 84:10)
  42. He is a sun (Psalm 84:11)
  43. He bestows favor (Psalm 84:11)
  44. He bestows honor (Psalm 84:11)
  45. No good thing does He withhold (Psalm 84:11)
  46. No good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless (Psalm 84:11)
  47. Blessed is the one who trusts in Him (Psalm 84:12)



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

<a href="http://maryschieferstein.blogspot.com/search/label/10000%20Reasons" target="_blank"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-8zkGH23srZ8/T2i3Bun0O9I/AAAAAAAABSw/8giPvnJmCPI/s320/10000ReasonsButton.jpg" /></a>

Counting in community:



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