1:34 AM

O Love That Will Not Let Me Go

o Love that will not let me go,
i rest my weary soul in Thee.
i give Thee back the life i owe,
that in Thine ocean depths its flow
may richer fuller be.

o Light that followest all my way
i yield my flickering torch to Thee;
my heart restores its borowed ray,
that in Thy sunshine's blaze its day
may brighter, fairer be.

o joy that seekest me through pain,
i cannot close my heart to Thee;
i trace the rainbow through the rain
and feel the promise is not vain
that morn shall tearless be.

o cross that liftest up my head,
i dare not close my heart to Thee;
i lay in dust, life's glory dead,
and from the ground there blossoms red
life that shall endless be.
hopefully y'all know the story behind this song. if you don't, read the explanation on the bottom of this page. it's really really really worth reading.
i'm tired and needing to go to sleep, so i'll just say this: the fact that i can "feel the promise is not vain that morn shall tearless be" is indicative of the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, not some trumped up emotionality...

2:10 AM

O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus

o the deep, deep love of Jesus -
vast, unmeasured, boundless, free -
rolling as a mighty ocean
in its fullness over me.
underneath me, all around me
is the current of Thy love
leading onward, leading homeward
to Thy glorious rest above.

o the deep, deep love of Jesus,
spread its praise from shore to shore!
how He loveth, ever loveth,
changeth never, never more!
how He watches o'er His loved ones,
died to call them all His own!
how for them He intercedeth,
watcheth o'er them from the throne!

o the deep, deep love of Jesus -
love of every love the best!
tis an ocean vast of blessing;
tis a haven sweet of rest.
o, the deep, deep love of Jesus:
tis a heaven of heavens to me.
and it lifts me up to glory,
for it lifts me up to Thee!
this song is so exclamatory it'd be ridiculous if it wasn't so warranted. the thing that gets me about it is that the traditional way it is sung is ridiculously inappropriate given the words. the indelible grace version is wayyyyy faster, which i think gives the tune the energy that the words have.
as a single woman who very much wants to get married, i find particular resonance with this song. i'm sure married people can say the same thing, but i'm not one, so here's what i think: i think this song shouts from the rooftops, "i have the greatest thing imaginable, the ultimate gift - a loving relationship with God Almighty! God does not withold Himself from me; instead, He wraps me in His love and gives me rest!" alot of things i want - to love what i do, to work with RUF, to make a difference, to lead people to Christ, to have awesome friends, to get married and make babies, to write a novel, etc (i could just keeeeep going) - are great things, but i have the best thing already. that doesn't make the things i want irrelevant, but it does change the way i look at them. it's like being given lots of fun presents - books, music, a new set of speakers for the living room, a puppy - when you've already received a heart transplant. it changes the way you view and relate to the other stuff to have something so huge, so monumental, given to you. and since all good things come from God, we know that must include the good things we do, especially since it says so here. pretty trippy, huh? God must love us an awful lot to give us things to do that actually help extend His kingdom. despite the total mess we make of things, i think it's cool that He uses us - and that it's all Him when something actually goes right. :)

2:54 AM

Psalm 130 (martin luther style)

from the depths of woe i raise to Thee the voice of lamentation.
Lord, turn a gracious ear to me and hear my supplication.
if Thou iniquity dost mark, our secret sins and misdeeds dark,
o, who shall stand before Thee?
o, who shall stand before Thee?

to wash away the crimson stain, grace, grace alone availeth.
our works, alas!, are all in vain; in much the best life faileth.
no man can glory in Thy sight; all must alike confess Thy might
and live alone by mercy,
and live alone by mercy.

therefore my trust is in the Lord and not it mine own merit.
on Him my soul shall rest; His Word upholds my fainting spirit.
His promised mercy is my fort, my comfort, and my sweet support;
i wait for it with patience.
i wait for it with patience.

what though i wait the live-long night and till the dawn appeareth,
my heart still trusteth in His might; it doubteth not, nor feareth.
do thus, o ye of israel's seed, ye of the Spirit born indeed,
and wait till God appeareth,
and wait till God appeareth.

though great our sins and sore our woes, His grace much more aboundeth.
His helping love no limit knows - our utmost need it soundeth.
our Shepherd, good and true is He Who will at last His israel free
from all their sin and sorrow,
from all their sin and sorrow.
i love all of the verses. i love to just swim around in them, because they are scripture and obviously thus they are true. right now my favorite verse is #4. it reminds me of that rich mullins song (my Deliverer) from the Jesus record with the fantastic line: "He will never break His promise, though the stars shoulid break faith with the skies." goes back to that penelope/odysseus metaphor - we are waiting for the Groom Who is assuredly coming, Who is definitely listening and will answer us, even if we have to wait. and all our needs, no matter how messy and gross they get, are fully met by His love. hallelujah.

oh, and i can't wait to be free from all my sin and sorrow.

1:24 AM

While We're On the Topic of Suffering...

Be Still, My Soul
be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side.
bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
leave to thy God to order and provide;
in every change, He faithful will remain.
be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
to guide the future as He has the past.
thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
all now mysterious shall be bright at last.
be still my soul: the waves still know His voice
Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

be still, my soul, when dearest friends depart,
and all is darkened in the vale of tears,
then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
be still, my soul - thy Jesus can repay
from His own fullness all He takes away.

be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on
when we shall be forever with the Lord.
when disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
be still my soul, when change and tears are past,
all safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

be still, my soul; begin the song of praise
on earth, believeing, to thy Lord on high;
acknowledge Him in all thy works and ways,
so shall He view thee with a well-pleased eye.
be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine
through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.
i want to "better know His love, His heart, Who comes to soothe [my] sorrows and [my] fears."

i love the way this song puts us in the position of talking to our own souls - of preaching the gospel to ourselves. very psalmist-like.

i'm especially glad that all these things are true given that i'm graduating and moving to a new city. in a matter of months.

1:23 AM

The Silence of God

this is an andy peterson, both his most controversial and one of his best songs. i think i will leave it to stand on its own with one thought: i intentionally juxtaposed it with yesterday's laden with guilt and full of fears.
The Silence of God
it's enough to drive a man crazy, it'll break a man's faith,
it's enough to make him wonder if he's ever been sane
when he's bleating for comfort from Thy staff and Thy rod
and heaven's only answer is the silence of God.

it'll shake a man's timbers when he loses his heart,
when he has to remember what broke him apart.
this yoke may be easy, but this burden is not
when the crying fields are frozen by the silence of God.

and if a man has got to listen to the voice of the mob,
who are reeling in the throes of all the happiness they've got,
when they tell you all their troubles have been nailed up to that cross -
what about the times when even followers get lost?
cause we all get lost sometimes...

there's a statue of Jesus on a monastery knoll
in the hills of kentucky, all quiet and cold,
and He's kneeling in the garden, as silent as a stone,
all His friends are sleeping and He's weeping all alone,

and the Man of all sorrows, He never forgot
what sorrow is carried by the hearts that He bought.
so when the questions dissolve into the silence of God,
the aching may remain, but the breaking does not.
the aching may remain, but the breaking does not
in the holy, lonesome echo of the silence of God.

12:51 AM

Laden with Guilt and Full of Fears

laden with guilt and full of fears, i fly to Thee, my Lord;
and not a glimpse of hope appears but in Thy written Word.
the volumes of my Father's grace doth all my griefs assuage.
here i behold my Savior's face in every page.

this is the field where hidden lies the pearl of price unknown.
that merchant is divinely wise who makes the pearl his own.
here consecrated water flows to quench my thirst of sin.
here the fair tree of knowledge grows; no danger dwells within.

this is the judge that ends the strife where wit and reason fail,
my guide to everlasting life through all this gloomy veil.
o, may Thy counsel, mighty God, my roving feet command,
nor i forsake the happy road that leads to Thy right hand.
oh how i love this song! (can you name the movie that's from?) i am reminded of the piper article greg referenced over at his wife's blog. God speaks to us all the time today in the 21st century through His Word. when we are freaking out about the stuff of life, sometimes we need to be still and quiet, but often i've found the only way to shut up the noise of the world is to drown it out by reading scripture. i mean, we are talking about the very words of God here - the place to go when "wit and reason fail." scripture ought to guide and direct us because wit and reason DO fail, and the Word of God does not.

12:03 AM

Books Galore (the meme)

stole this sucker from my new friend sarah louise over at manypinksneakers. it looks fun.

Hardback or trade paperback or mass market paperback? depends on how desperate i am. if i have my pick, i'll nearly always go with trade paper, but sometimes hardbacks are necessary. for example, ain't no way i'm waiting for harry potter 7 to come out in paperback.

Amazon or brick and mortar?
preferably my beloved b&n (see below), even online, but amazon has its place.

Barnes & Noble or Borders?
must say i'm still brand-loyal to b&n. i love me some children's books! of course, i hardly ever buy them (there was a miniset of beatrix potter on sale this christmas and i had to get them, of course), but having worked at a b&n where we were constantly failing to meet plan on sales, i know how much each book counts. the borders is closer than the b&n to me here at school, but i still will make the trek out to the boonies every time.

Bookmark or dog-ear?
dog-ear - with bookmarks, i always run the risk of them falling out.

Alphabetize by author or alphabetize by title or random?
alphabetize by author within genre. or, go to librarything.com and switch it up daily!

Keep, throw away, or sell?
keep if i like it; throw away if it's doggone awful; sell if it's mediocre (ie, the dressmaker). [you'll note, perhaps, i linked that one to amazon.com - that's only because i didn't like it ;-)]

Keep dust jacket or toss it? keep it, unless the book itself is gorgeous.

Read with dust jacket or remove it?
with - the only kind of bookmark i trust.

Short story or novel?

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket?
totally depends on my mood. lemony snicket is utterly hilarious and does not take itself seriously. harry potter, while riddled with funny parts, is quite serious and epic. i have both moods regularly.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?
try "stop reading when so exhausted burning eyes refuse to stay open... at a chapter break."

"It was a dark and stormy night" or "Once upon a time"?
depends. i'm more interested in the ending.

Buy or borrow?
mostly buy.

New or used?

Buying choice: book reviews, recommendations, or browse?
for theology and biography, i often rely on book reviews; i love going off recommendations and browsing for fiction. recommendations, of course, are only as reliable as the recommender.

Tidy ending or cliffhanger?
tidy ending that makes you think alot. (eg., the thirteenth tale)

Morning reading, afternoon reading, or nighttime reading?
mostly nighttime reading, but i'll read morning, noon, and night without blinking.

Stand-alone or series?
either. both are fun.

Favorite series?
harry potter. the chronicles of narnia. the pendragon cycle.

Favorite children's book? Favorite YA book?
children's book: each peach pear plum. young adult book: i really liked the princess diaries, but girl in a cage is probably my favorite. oh, but eragon is good. and so is al capone does my shirts.

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?
i would say fair sunshine: character studies of the scottish covenanters, except i've never actually finished it. but it's the only thing i can think of, so it will have to do.

Favorite books read last year?
good heavens... the thirteenth tale, baby proof, size 12 is not fat, everyone worth knowing, the devil wears prada, relic, and harry potter and the halfblood prince, to name a few.

Favorite books of all time?
God's passion for His glory, holiness by grace, the pleasures of God, don't waste your life, fine china is for single women too, a return to modesty, pride and prejudice, mama day, the kitchen god's wife, inklings, the time traveler's wife, and mannnnnny more.

Least favorite book you finished last year?
the camel club. ugh it was excruciating. i made fun of it the whole time - reading awful bits to dad and laughing maniacally.

What are you reading right now?
mount dragon

What are you reading next?
probably either hood or goodbye, jimmy choo.

[Made this one up myself in lieu of Sarah Louise's last one, which i don't have an aswer for] Favorite book to recommend to an eleven-year-old?
the thieves of ostia, the first book in a series of mysteries set in rome. the series has four main characters: the daughter of a wealthy seaman, the son of a Jewish leader (who is a Christian, incidentally), a now freed slave who was captured in Nubia, and a mute boy who grew up largely on the streets.

12:34 AM

10,000 x 10,000

ten thousand times ten thousand in sparkling raiment bright,
the armies of the ransomed saints throng up the steeps of light.
tis finished, all is finished - their fight with death and sin;
fling open wide the golden gates and let the victors in.

what rush of allelujahs fills all the earth and sky!
what ringing of a thousand harps bespeaks the triumphs nigh!
o, day for which creation and all its tribes were made!
o, joy for all its former woes a thousand-fold repaid.

o, then what raptured greetings on canaan's happy shore!
what knitting severed friendships up, where partings are no more!
then eyes with joy shall sparkle, that brimmed with tears of late -
orphans no longer fatherless, nor widows desolate.

bring near Thy great salvation, Thou Lamb for sinners slaine;
fill up the roll of Thine elect, then take Thy power and reign;
appear, Desire of nations, thine exiles long for home;
show in the heaven Thy promised sign;
Thou Prince and Savior, come.
this is an appropriate follow-up to yesterday's post i think, since its about Jesus coming back. i especially appreciated this song's 3rd verse when so many of my friends were abroad in the fall of 2005. overall, the focus on healed relationships is beautiful to me, but so is the war-language. by now you probably have picked up on my "thing" for military talk, so this should not be surprising. the first stanza in particular is spectacular, speaking of us as "the armies of the ransomed saints." the kicker in this whole song for me is the idea that one day we will be finished fighting death and sin, both externally (like in the world, in our friends, etc) and internally (in our own hearts). we will be done. as paige brown says, it's the difference between D-Day and V.E.-Day ~ Christ has already insured the outcome by His life, death, and resurrection. now it's just a matter of formally ending the war. then we get to go home as "victors" - victors because of what Christ has done and given to us. gotta love that divine substitution thing. :)

12:17 AM

Jesus, Lover of My Soul

Jesus, Lover of my soul, let me to Thy bosom fly
while the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high.
hide me, o my Savior, hide till life's storm is past;
safe into the haven guide; receive my soul at last.

other refuge have i none; i, helpless, hang on Thee.
leave, o leave me not alone; support and comfort me.
all my trust on Thee is stayed, all help from Thee i bring.
cover my defenseless head in the shadow of Thy wing.

Thou, o Christ, art all i want - here more than all i find.
raise the fallen, cheer the faint, heal the sick, and lead the blind.
just and holy is Thy Name; i am all unrighteousness.
false and full of sin i am; Thou art full of truth and grace.

plenteous grace with Thee is found; grace to cover all my sin.
let the healing streams abound; make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art; let me take of Thee;
spring Thou up within my heart for all eternity.
i just finished reading the time traveler's wife, which, in the words of my cousin heather (who recommended the book rather insistently), "that book broke my heart (in a beautiful, altering, flowers-growing-out-of-the-cracks, my-heart-never-looked-so-good-before sort of way, of course, hehe)." couldn't have said it better myself. which, of course, is why i quoted it. anyway, i'm not going to recommend that everyone run out and buy it or check it out of the library. this is not a book for everyone. if you want my 5-minute schpiel on what to expect, email me at my opheliarhiana yahoo email address. it's not something i can sweepingly recommend, not by a longshot. but boy did it serve God's purposes in my heart and draw me into His love more deeply and to trust Him more fully. now of course there are alot of other extenuating circumstances which He lovingly ordained to bring me here, but that book sure helped tie them together.
so why bring this up? because one way that ttw really changed my way of thinking is that me and my lil classical self have gotten all into the idea that, in a way, i (and really the whole church) am penelope waiting for odysseus to come back. Jesus is (of course) odysseus. and there are plenty of problems with this analogy. but what makes it so helpful to me are these two ideas: 1) that Jesus really is coming back to get us. really really really. for sure. it's like the surest thing there is. 2) the fact that He's coming doesn't mean He isn't already here. this is one of those fun "already but not yet" things in the christian life. the Holy Spirit lives inside us. where we go, He's there. always. and not only that, but we feel Him. we are reminded of our security in Christ, in our hope for the future, in the depth of the Father's love for us, by His presence literally IN us. this is a huge fact - the level of intimacy i share with God (merely by reason of His nearness - He's actually INSIDE us - do not misread me and think i mean He's chilling out with our pancreas or something, but hopefully you see what i'm getting at. if not, holler.) is wayyyyyyyyyy more close and permanent than any other kind of intimacy - AND JESUS IS NOT EVEN BACK WITH US YET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"Jesus, Lover of my soul" is such an understatement. consider my mind blown.

1:48 AM

Jesus, I Come

out of my bondage, sorrow, and night,
Jesus, i come; Jesus, i come;
into Thy freedom, gladness, and light,
Jesus, i come to Thee.
out of my sickness into Thy health,
out of my wanting and into Thy wealth,
out of my sin and into Thyself,
Jesus, i come to Thee.

out of my shameful failure and loss,
Jesus, i come; Jesus, i come;
into the glorious gain of Thy cross,
Jesus, i come to Thee.
out of earth's sorrows, into Thy balm,
out of life's storms and into Thy calm,
out of distress into jubilant psalm,
Jesus, i come to Thee.

out of unrest and arrogant pride,
Jesus, i come; Jesus, i come;
into Thy blessed will to abide,
Jesus, i come to Thee.
out of myself to dwell in Thy love,
out of despair into raptures above,
upward forever on wings like a dove,
Jesus, i come to Thee.

out of the fear and dread of the tomb,
Jesus, i come; Jesus, i come;
into the joy and light of Thy home,
Jesus, i come to Thee.
out of the depths of ruin untold,
into the peace of Thy sheltering fold,
ever Thy glorious face to behold,
Jesus, i come to Thee.
i am tired and getting sick, so i'll make this super-brief. my favorite line is "out of the depths of ruin untold" because, as my campus minister says, "cheer up, you're worse than you think!" God's love is, unlike us, not ignorant of the deepest ways sin has penetrated and spread in our hearts. and it's still set on us. :-D

1:30 AM

I'm Back!

spring break was wonderful - drove from nc to tx and back, with a couple of fun stops along the way. my room mate and i had fun on the road and in the big D, and it was fun to hang out with the fam, of course. big news items: 1) i got a new camera. it's brown and adorable and (this is the kicker) it works. so yay for that. 2) i got into rts charlotte, and i'm going there. so yay for that. i'm seriously thrilled beyond verbal expression. that's saying alot for me.

i obviously took spring break off from blogging - didn't initially decide to do that, but i definitely think it was for the best. however, i would like to blog 40 hymns again this lent, so this week i'm doubling up. whoohoo!

picking up where we left off, in the middle of a "welcome to the church - we're screwed up too!" mini-series....

Come, Ye Disconsolate
come, ye disconsolate, where e'er ye languish
come to the mercy seat, fervently kneel.
here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish;
earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.

Joy of the desolate, Light of the straying,
Hope of the penitent, fadeless and pure!
here speaks the Comforter, tenderly saying,
"earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal."

here see the Bread of life; see waters flowing
forth from the throne of God, pure from above.
come to the feast of love, come ever knowing,
earth has no sorrow but heaven can remove.
ok, so this is less of a communal hymn than a private one, but i think the fact that it's specifically addressing those of us who are especially broken and wounded. ours is not a "get fancy and then come" religion, but one which is the only hope of those who are total trainwrecks. you know, people like us.

Jesus, Cast a Look on Me
Jesus, cast a look on me;
give me sweet simplicity.
make me poor and keep me low,
seeking only Thee to know.

all that feeds my busy pride,
cast it evermore aside;
bid my will to Thine submit;
lay me humbly at Thy feet.

make me like a little child,
of my strength and wisdom spoiled -
seeing only in Thy light,
walking only in Thy might;

leaning on Thy loving breast,
where a weary soul can rest;
feeling well the peace of God
flowing from His precious blood.

in this posture let me live,
and hosannas daily give.
in this temper let me die,
and hosannas ever cry!
i like this one. it is about what some puritan writer dude whose name escapes me calls "cheerful dependence" on God. the thing that is most amazing about this song in my opinion is that all these things we ask in it - to be laid humbly at God's feet; to have what makes us proud chucked by the wayside; to be revealed to ourselves as neither strong nor wise - these are good things for us! they are not self-sacrificial (ramen noodles) but the very meat and potatoes of human existence! they position us in the "posture" which we were made for - resting and rejoicing in God in the midst of the stuff of life.

2:58 AM

Come, Ye Sinners

come, ye sinners, poor and wretched,
weak and wounded, sick and sore.
Jesus ready stands to save you,
full of pity joined with power.
He is able, He is able -
He is willing, doubt no more.

come, ye needy, come and welcome;
God's free bounty glorify.
true belief and true repentance -
every grace that brings you nigh.
without money, without money,
come to Jesus Christ and buy.

come, ye weary, heavy laden,
bruised and broken by the fall.
if you tarry till you're better,
you will never come at all.
not the righteous, not the righteous -
sinners Jesus came to call.

let not conscience make you linger,
nor of fitness fondly dream.
all the fitness He requireth
is to feel your need of Him.
this He gives you, this He gives you,
tis the Spirit's rising beam.

lo! th'Incarnate God ascended,
pleads the merit of His blood!
venture on Him, venture wholly,
let no other trust intrude.
none but Jesus, none but Jesus
can do helpless sinners good.
1) i love the image conjured by the phrase "Jesus ready stands to save you." the fact that "He is able" ensures for us as His protectees His competence.
2) we can obtain all that we need to be near God from Jesus directly - for free.
3-4) i love the way the third stanza totally decimates the "i have to get my act together before i can become a Christian" argument. Jesus did not come for the healthy, but for the sick. (like there are any healthy people...)
5) total dependence on Christ - His merit being utterly sufficient to pay off our debt - is as amazing as the fact that that we can gaze upon the face of the "Incarnate God" - the God-man, the Divine in skin and bones.
none but Jesus can do helpless sinners good. that is like the best news ever.

spring break starts tomorrow. we're driving to dallas - me and my roomie - but stopping to visit my sister and a friend on the way down. :-D yay for breaks.

10:13 PM

Come & Welcome

from the cross uplifted high,
where the Savior deigns to die,
what melodious sounds i hear
bursting on my ravished ear:
love's redeeming work is done!
come and welcome, sinner, come.

"sprinkled now with blood the throne,
why beneath thy burdens groan?
on my pierced body laid,
justice owns the ransom paid."
bow the knee and kiss the Son.
come and welcome, sinner, come.

spread for thee the festal board;
see, with richest dainties stored.
to thy Father's bosom pressed;
yet again a child confessed.
never from His house to roam.
come and welcome, sinner, come.

"soon the days of life shall end.
lo, i come your Savior, Friend.
safe your spirit to convey
to the realms of endless day
up to my eternal home.
come and welcome, sinner, come."
i think a song like ths should always be the call to worship on sunday mornings, because every day we need to be reminded that we stand before God because of grace, and we aren't fighting to earn anything from Him anymore. we need to be reminded that we stand on grace, and so, despite the fact that we are sinners, we are welcome in church. as kevin said last night, when people complain about RUF because of all the hypocrites, he always responds, "well, we need one more, so come on." this should be the attitude of the church toward outsiders. not to say that we should be down with sin, but that what we all have in common is that we bring nothing to God. "love's redeeming work is done" means that we are ok. we are set. our ransom has been paid - we are free! yay justification.
the kindness of God in loving us - in providing and preparing not just food, but party platters of yummy goodness; in pulling us in close and intimate to His heart and treating us as His children; in allowing us to pay tribute to Him - is assured by the cross as well.
not only are our pasts and our presents in God's hands, but our futures as well. and when we die, we will be welcomed because of that same justification, in the same spirit of the welcoming and embracing presence of God in our lives in the in between.
personally, i think we should be welcoming people into church on sunday mornings in this same spirit, if that makes sense.

2:34 AM

The Death of Death...

i'm reading the death of death in the death of Christ by john owen right now. it's so gooooooood. and as much as i respect and appreciate john owen, and look up to him and am grateful for the heritage he left, i must confess that sitting down to read his introduction to the book today, i was not expecting him to be so completely hilarious! dude is a scream!!!!

of course, he's also very sound. very deep. very profound. so fun. :)

ok, so here's an example of owen's humor. he's writing about the "use" of scripture by universal salvationists: "Now, concerning this I shall only desire the reader not to be startled at the multitude of places of Scripture which he may find heaped up by some of late about this business (especially by Thomas More in his "Universality of Free Grace"), as though they proved and confirmed that for which they are produced, but rather prepare himself to admire at the confidence of men, particularly of him now named, to make such a flourish with colours and drums, having indeed no soldiers at all..." (41)

12:26 AM

Passover Us

this is an andy song which i conveys important truths, particularly for us covenant theologians. the continuity between old and new testaments - in short, between God's plan throughout the course of history - is so beautifully seen in the exodus, among many many other places. this song is from andy's christmas cd, behold the Lamb of God. andy does alot of fun things in the beginning of the cd with recapping OT history. it's a good one.

Passover Us
well, we all remember moses on the banks of the river;
he said, 'pharaoh, you've got to let my people go.
you don't want me to have to tell you this ten times over -
denial ain't just a river, you know.'

well, we all remember pharaoh, he just wouldn't do it.
so the plagues came upon egypt one by one.
his heart was hard and the other nine just couldn't move him,
so the last was the worst, the death of the firstborn sons.

o, but the Lord, He gave to moses a word for the people:
He said their firstborn sons would live to see another day.
'put the blood of the lamb on the doorway and death would pass right over.'
that night all the children of israel prayed.

they prayed, 'Lord, let Your judgment pass over us;
Lord, let Your love hover near.
don't let Your sweet mercy pass over us -
let this blood cover over us here.'

so the years went by and the people they whined and they wandered,
and only sacrifice atoned for the sins of the land.
so you see the priest, he placed upon the holy altar,
the body of a spotless lamb.

and he prayed, 'Lord, let Your judgment pass over us;
Lord, let Your love hover near.
don't let Your sweet mercy pass over us -
let this blood cover over us here.'
the brilliance of this song is awesome. the overall conversational form of the lyrics reflects the tradition (biblically mandated, of course) of retelling the story of what God did. every year, like clockwork, the youngest child at the table would ask the oldest man at the table why this whole passover thing was being done, what it meant. "we all" would remember things in this conversational way.
obviously, the foreshadowing that the sacrifices provide to the sacrifice of Christ is extremely vivid. the blood on the lintels, the sacrificing to "atone for the sins of the land," - these things are given to God's people as a promise.
being washed in the Redeemer's blood means for us the end of sacrifices.
kevin (my campus minister) preached an fantastic sermon tonight. he talked about genesis 15, when God Almighty makes His covenant with abraham. God tells abraham that he needs to be faithful, obedient, and good, and God will be with him and his offspring forever. they go through the traditional covenant-/treaty-making ceremony, splitting animals apart, passing through the pieces, and swearing that if a party refuses to keep their side of the bargain, that same tearing apart shall happen to the unfaithful party. but God passed through the pieces for both of them - for Himself and for abraham. as kevin said tonight, the law was never intended by God for our salvation. justification by works - good luck with that. what is amazing - utterly amazing - is that God visits the curse, the being torn assunder, upon Himself.
amazing love! how can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me!

12:45 AM

A Thought

i'm sure torture, being shot, having fingers cut off, and other such experiences are way more painful that alias would have you believe.

10:44 PM

The Church's One Foundation

the church's one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord.
she is His new creation by water and the Word.
from heav'n He came and sought her to be His holy bride,
with His own blood He bought her, and for her life He died.

elect from every nation, yet one o'er all the earth,
her charter of salvation: one Lord, one faith, one birth;
one holy Name she blesses, partakes one holy food.
and to one hope she presses, with every grace endued.

mid toil and tribulation and tumult of her war,
she waits the cosummation of peace forevermore;
'til, with the vision glorious, her longing eyes are blessed,
and the great church victorious shall be the church at rest.

yet she on earth hath union with God, the Three in One,
and mystic, sweet communion with those whose rest is won.
o, happy ones, and holy! Lord, give us grace that we
like them, the meek and lowly, on high may dwell with Thee.
all the wedding imagery in this song is beautiful. it is THIS kind of love that the Lord has for us. it completely blows my mind and heart. i know that i say that a lot, but it's true. hymns tend to bring out the shock-factor, at least for me. somehow it's the simultaneous display of God's glory and His kind condescension to little ole us.
i feel like this song is extremely potent for me because i am a single woman, to an extent existing in a state of "waiting," which is what the church is represented as doing in this song. (that was an extremely poorly written sentence.) of course, the church knows what lies ahead ultimately: eternal marriage to Jesus. that is set in stone. there is absolutely no changing it.
the security of knowing you are loved, and that you have such a protected and blissful future, is remarkable. that this all is wrapped up in a Person, and that this Person is with us and taking care of us always, is still more remarkable.
Jesus is my Hero. and i mean that in the least trite and most literal sense possible.

1:43 AM

Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken

this is the beginning of a miniseries (a very mini series) of songs on the church. yay the church. or, more appropriately, yay Jesus, Who has purchased and wooed His bride. the bride is pretty cool, but only because of the completely amazing, utterly ravishing, and perfectly beautiful Hero Who came for her.

Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken
glorious things of thee are spoken,
zion, city of our God.
He Whose Word cannot be broken
formed the for His own abode.
on the Rock of ages founded,
what can shake Thy sure repose?
with salvation's walls surrounded,
thou mayst smile at all thy foes.

see the streams of living Waters
springing from eternal love,
well supplies thy sons and daughters,
and all fears of want remove.
who can faint while such a River
ever flows their thirst to quench?
grace, which like the Lord, the Giver,
never fails from age to age.

blessed inhabitants of zion,
washed in the Redeemer's blood -
Jesus, Whom their souls rely on,
makes them kings and priests to God.
tis His love His people raises,
over self to reign as kings,
and as priests His solemn praises
each for a thank offering brings.

Savior, if of zion's city,
i, through grace, a member am,
let the world deride or pity:
i will glory in Thy Name.
fading is the worldling's pleasure,
all his boasted pomp and show;
solid joys and lasting treasures
none but zion's children know.
this is such an amazing song. it's amazing that we are a people bought back from such an end and given a future and a hope - given life! - so remarkable that it can be called "glorious." the glorious things spoken of us are not things inherent to us, but things given to us, things cultivated in us, by God Himself.
the thing that strikes me more and more about the bible, and these hymns (which is what makes me like them so much), is the emphasis on our union with Christ being sufficient for us - for our happiness, for our well-being, for our good: "solid joys and lasting treasures none but zion's children know."
what an amazing thing to think about: we are a prized people, nourished by our Savior Himself.
we are very loved.

11:28 PM

2 More

funny how staying in a hotel room with your mom and sister, neither of whom are night people, can affect your blogging routine. hence two hymns tonight.

Love Constraining to Obedience
to see the law by Christ fulfilled, to hear His pard'ning voice
changes a slave into a child, and duty into choice.

no strength of nature can suffice
to serve the Lord aright.
and what she has, she misapplies,
for want of clearer light.

to see the law by Christ fulfilled, to hear His pard'ning voice
changes a slave into a child, and duty into choice.

how long beneath the law i lay
in bondage and distress!
i toiled the precept to obey
but toiled without success.

to see the law by Christ fulfilled, to hear His pard'ning voice
changes a slave into a child, and duty into choice.

then to abstain from outward sin
was more than i could do;
now if i feel its power within,
i feel i hate it too.

to see the law by Christ fulfilled, to hear His pard'ning voice
changes a slave into a child, and duty into choice.

then all my servile works were done,
a righteousness to raise -
now freely chosen in the Son
i freely choose His ways.

to see the law by Christ fulfilled, to hear His pard'ning voice
changes a slave into a child, and duty into choice.
Jesus sets us free by His death, and from that point on, our lives are not sin offerings or guilt offerings, but thanksgiving offerings. we seek to please God, not because we need to get His favor, but because we love Him. we are rescued, set apart from sin and death and for life in the Spirit - life and health and peace.
Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken
Jesus, i my cross have taken, all to leave and follow Thee.
destitute, despised, forsaken - Thou from hence my all shall be.
perish every fond ambition, all i sought or hoped or known.
yet how rich is my condition! God and heaven are still my own.

let the world despise and leave me; they have left my Savior too.
human hearts and looks deceive me; Thou art not, like man, untrue.
o while Thou dost smile upon me, God of wisdom, love and might,
foes may hate and friends disown me, show Thy face and all in bright.

man may trouble and distress me - 'twill but drive me to Thy breast.
life with trials hard may press me; heaven will bring me sweeter rest.
o 'tis not in grief to harm me while Thy love is left to me.
o, 'twere not in joy to charm me, were that joy unmixed with Thee.

go, then, earthly fame and treasure; come, disaster, scorn, and pain.
in Thy service, pain is pleasure; with Thy favor, loss is gain.
i have called Thee Abba Father, I have stayed my heart on Thee.
storms may howl, and clouds may gather; all must work for good to me.

soul, then know Thy full salvation, rise o'er sin and fear and care.
joy to find in every station, something still to do or bear.
think what Spirit dwells within thee, think what Father's smiles are thine,
think that Jesus died to win thee; child of heaven, canst thou repine.

haste thee on from grace to glory, armed by faith and winged by prayer.
heaven's eternal days before thee, God's own hand shall guide us there.
soon shall close thy earthly mission; swift shall pass thy pilgrim days.
hope shall change to glad fruition, faith to sight, and prayer to praise.
Jesus is enough for us. since i have Him, as jo dee messina would say, "bring on the rain."

10:35 PM

2 Hymns Today

yesterday i went to visit rts charlotte, then came back to dinner with em and laura before finishing a paper and reading 75 pages and writing questions on the 75 pages for class discussion and then get up this morning early to go read my paper to my professor, go to class, eat lunch, go to class again, and then run home to pack and order things before leaving for charleston, which is where i am now with kate and mom. i'm utterly exhausted.

i loved rts charlotte though.

Thy Mercy, My God
Thy mercy, my God, is the theme of my song,
the joy of my heart and the boast of my tongue.
Thy free grace alone, from the first to the last,
hath won my affection and bound my soul fast.

without Thy sweet mercy i could not live here -
sin would reduce me to utter despair;
but through Thy free goodness my spirits revive,
and He that first made me still keeps me alive.

Thy mercy is more than a match for my heart,
which wonders to feel its own hardness depart.
dissolved by Thy goodness, i fall to the ground,
and weep to the praise of the mercy i've found.

great Father of mercies, Thy goodness i own,
and the covenant love of Thy crucified Son.
all praise to the Spirit, Whose whisper divine
seals mercy and pardon and righteousness mine.
there's a heap of stuff here. i think i will focus just on the last line of the second stanza: "He that first made me still keeps me alive." there are two levels of this: the obvious, breathing, blood pumping meaning and the spiritual, preservation of the saints meaning. in both cases, God creates and then sustains. He starts and He finishes and He does everything in between.
O, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing!
o, for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer's praise,
the glorious of my God and King, the triumphs of His grace.

"Jesus," the Name that charms our fears, that bids our sorrows cease -
tis music in the sinner's ears, tis life and health and peace.

He breaks the power of cancelled sin; He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean, His blood availed for me.

He speaks, and listening to His voice, new life the dead receive;
the mournful, broken hearts rejoice; the humble poor believe.

hear Him, ye deaf; His praise, ye dumb your loosened tongues employ;
ye blind - behold your Savior come; and weep, ye lame, for joy.

my gracious Master and my God, assist me to proclaim,
to spread through all the earth abroad the honors of Thy Name.
skip ryan tells the story of when queen elizabeth ii came to uva while he was pastoring trinity pres up there. he said she packed more charisma and "presence" than anyone he'd ever seen. she walked down a path toward the rotunda, and everyone just stood there in silent awe. when she got to the front, she turned around and gave one big wave. in unison, the whole crowd gave a big wave back. they were utterly transfixed. but the thing is that while QE2 is certainly still able to hold our attention, even transfix us, any claim she had to ruling us is ancient history. that's like sin. to put it in the terms of the hymn, justification means sin doesn't count against us in the courtroom; sanctification means sin's hold on us is being diminished. the agent in both activities is God.

thank goodness it's not up to us.

1:27 AM

Thank God

thank God that lent is yet another thing that is about what God does, not about what i do.

still, there'll be two tomorrow...