Hallelujah, in peace
I am free! yes, free indeed.
Help me grow--to increase;
Help me tell my creed.
Hallelujah, in glory
I shall see Your Face.
Help me tell the Story;
Help me sing Your grace.
We had Christmas play practice at church this morning. It went rather well, praise the Lord. I am excited now. It is coming together.
I don't know what you would call our play. We have a great narration by Danielle Sweede. And we have scenes that picture the birth and life of Christ. Our focus is on the Gospel, not really His birth. The News of Christ's birth was announced by angels. I do think we should remark it; but the Gospel (1 Corinthians 15) is what we need to tell.
We are also talking about doing a Christmas movie for next year. We would film it this summer so we can get our college church members involved. We have the beginnings of a very interesting idea for the script too. But I'll not give it away yet.
Finally, I am thankful for Starbucks, even if I only drink chai and not coffee. No, really it's Starbucks chats that I find so enjoyable.
Our Thanksgiving in Virginia Beach (actually, we were in Chesapeake) was delightful. The Bohannons, Castleberrys, a young Navy man from church, Donna's boyfriend, and D.J.'s friend crashed the Sweede's house and had a wonderful day. It was overcast that afternoon and sweater weather. A few drops fell from the sky, but not enough to stop the Castleberry kids, my brother and the Deborah from playing soccer.
After dinner, we had 10 people (most of the "kids") and the Sweede's puppy go for a walking tour of the golf course near the Sweede residence. I heard someone say we walked three miles. It felt like more to me. The moon was a bright crescent, partially veiled by clouds.
It was such a good day, and there was so much to be thankful for.
Praise God for family and friends, for food, for the beautiful creation, and for all His mercy to us.
I was thinking today of things for which I am thankful, and I thought of this song:
There's a wideness in God's mercy,
Like the wideness of the sea;
There's a kindness in His justice,
Which is more than liberty.
There is no place where earth's sorrows
Are more felt than up in heaven;
There is no place where earth's failings
Have such kindly judgment given.
There is welcome for the sinner,
And more graces for the good;
There is mercy with the Savior;
There is healing in His blood.
There is grace enough for thousands
Of new worlds as great as this;
There is room for fresh creations
In that upper home of bliss.
For the love of God is broader
Than the measure of our mind;
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.
There is plentiful redemption
In the blood that has been shed;
There is joy for all the members
In the sorrows of the Head.
'Tis not all we owe to Jesus;
It is something more than all;
Greater good because of evil,
Larger mercy through the fall.
If our love were but more simple,
We should take Him at His word;
And our lives would be all sunshine
In the sweetness of our Lord.
Souls of men! why will ye scatter
Like a crowd of frightened sheep?
Foolish hearts! why will ye wander
From a love so true and deep?
It is God: His love looks mighty,
But is mightier than it seems;
'Tis our Father: and His fondness
Goes far out beyond our dreams.
But we make His love too narrow
By false limits of our own;
And we magnify His strictness
With a zeal He will not own.
Was there ever kinder shepherd
Half so gentle, half so sweet,
As the Savior who would have us
Come and gather at His feet?
~ Fredrick W. Faber
I baked a pumkin roll today. It's remarkable I baked at all. I think I did it because Jen did it first, and I wanted to prove that I could do it too. How shallow of me. Well, Jen, since we can't do a taste test, I guess mine wins. But at least you are still the Skip-bo champ.
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the crisp air mixes
with satisfied tiredness.
so sweet the abeyances
of the night--my accomplice.
Make sure your sound is on, and shake up the globe--
My Pastor brought an encouraging message on "The Power of Praise" last night. He said the outline was borrowed. And although it is simple, it is something we ought to remember.
I think it was Dr. Berg who always told us, to change your emotional state (or how you're feeling, eg. anger --> calm; sadness --> joy), you have to change what you are thinking about. It's a focus problem. That's really what this means too. And as Christians we are supposed to be doing this; in fact, we of all people (we who are redeemed) should have praise on our lips and a song in our hearts.
So let's consider the great things God has done for us, and let's be encouraged in His great love for us!
Here's the outline and a few thoughts that I had from the message:
While facing my agressor,
Give peace and love divine.
In all attempts for honor,
Humility to me assign.
In seeing pink clouds lit by sunlight,
In songs of laud by voices raised,
In random laughs of childish delight,
In all these ways You can be praised.
So let me see Your grace,
In all my walking days.
Keep joy ever in my face,
Hold straight and firm my gaze.
Let Christ alone be my hope,
And His work my life's scope.
I read an article about the discovery of an inscription of Luke 2:25 on a monument in Kidron Valley.
Here's the article:
Has anyone ever heard of Principle Approach Education? Our family got a news letter from them today, and they were making some pretty big claims about restoring America or as they put it: "'the character of the Republic.'"
This brochure is for The Noah Plan which I assume refers to Noah Webster from the picture of the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language (although, I wouldn't discount the alluded pun of the Biblical Noah from the tone of the newsletter).
I don't mean to be cynical. And maybe that's part of the problem they are referring to in America these days. I will do some more research. But I am very curious to see who has heard about this.
Here are some websites:
Great God of wonders! All Thy ways
Are matchless, Godlike and divine;
But the fair glories of Thy grace
More Godlike and unrivaled shine,
More Godlike and unrivaled shine.
Crimes of such horror to forgive,
Such guilty, daring worms to spare;
This is Thy grand prerogative,
And none shall in the honor share,
And none shall in the honor share
Angels and men, resign your claim
To pity, mercy, love and grace:
These glories crown Jehovah’s Name
With an incomparable glaze
With an incomparable glaze.
In wonder lost, with trembling joy,
We take the pardon of our God:
Pardon for crimes of deepest dye,
A pardon bought with Jesus’ blood,
A pardon bought with Jesus’ blood.
O may this strange, this matchless grace,
This Godlike miracle of love,
Fill the whole earth with grateful praise,
And all th’angelic choirs above,
And all th’angelic choirs above.
Who is a pardoning God like Thee?
Or who has grace so rich and free?
Or who has grace so rich and free?
~ Samuel Davies
Okay, this new procedure that I will have in two or three weeks, is going to be pretty interesting. By using radiofrequencies on the nerves that are causing me pain, the doctors are able to shut them down. Although, patients are supposed to keep realistic expectations (in other words, it might not work at all or not as well for some people as for others), the results from this procedure could last from months to years.
Okay, so if you want to read the article I sort of paraphrased from click here.
I had my latest injection today. Not too bad. I don't remember anything from today. I don't think I spoke in French. I'm pretty sure I didn't talk at all. I guess I am getting used to the procedure.
Well, we'll see how this works out. I am up for another appointment in two or three weeks. It will be a different procedure that I'll explain later.
I had a really good time with friends from church last night. We were going to order pizza and play games, but somehow, we only got around to eating pizza and talking. It was awesome. Sitting around the living room for a few hours and just chatting. And the diversity of the situation was remarkable to me.
We had a few people who have basically grown up together in DSBC (I'm including myself in that group), then a few who in comparison are pretty new to the congregation, and then the couple in whose house we were meeting are pretty new believers.
Yet the bond of Christ knows no boundaries. We are family. It was a great time of fellowship, and I'm looking forward to more.
God the Father of Christ our Lord
Is but One, so strike the chord!
If only for Him we exist,
Sing out, sing out, and Heaven enlist!
Christ the Victor o'er sin and death,
Hath given us life, hath given us breath.
Let all the host of Heaven sing
Praises to God, our glorious King.
Holy Spirit within our hearts,
Thy boundless love to us impart!
Ring out, ring out the bells of joy:
The call to Saints your voices employ.
I saw Master and Commander tonight with friends. I liked it. It was very good. Yes, the "but" is coming.
But it is not what I expected at all. There is much more story and characteresque drama than swashbucklingness. I'm not giving anything away though. Go see it for yourself.
One really important thing that I loved was the music. In fact, "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis" (composed by Vaughan Williams and performed by The New Queen's Hall Orchestra) was played twice (not in its entirety of course). It was so beautiful with the scenes from the movie and very emotional.
I did this silly quiz to find out who I would be from the Matrix. I think out of everyone I like being Morpheus the most. He had faith. [And just in case you are wondering: I know it's just a movie.]
By His grace I have a Wonderful Counselor
Who catches and teaches me when I doubt.
Helping my poor intentions as Adviser,
When I am ready and willing to burnout.
He is a Mighty and Awesome God.
With His righteous right hand I am upheld!
By His gentle whisper I am awed;
In His sweet voice my fears are quelled.
Prince of Peace, yet He comes with the sword:
He gives perfect peace, and hardens hearts.
In His body He took every sin that Heaven abhorred.
To His Holy Ones new life and grace He imparts.
He is my Sovereign Shepherd: indeed, He knows me well.
How can He restore my soul? Every trial Him befell.
midnight is not dark.
this is darkest: before dawn.
my soul remembers
His lovingkindess to me.
You will never fail me LORD.
If you have never been to simplicity, I hope you will go and see the poems that are there. All of them are good. There are poems there that range from wacky and light, to the very serious.
And there are these gifted people (most of whom write with aliases) that amaze me with their insight! I am inspired by their words. I hope that you can visit simplicity.
I am not only a MI-5 fan, but also an Alias fan. I got this idea that I was going to take silly notes on Alias. So...I did. So here you go, Alias in real time. May contain spoilers. Read with care.
9:00 -- Let's Review
9:01 -- weirdness, Sydney in the hospital? Is this going to be one of those non-linear episodes? Oh just a dream.
That's just gross! I could have lived without seeing that. That's probably one of the most disgusting things they've done. Worse than the torture.
9:03 -- They say that amnesia is the most common illness used by TV writers.
9:05 -- Oh, I knew I hated that guy (Perez).
9:08 -- Ron Rifkin (Sloan) says "Covenant" funny.
9:15 -- Marshall has grown on me. But his proposal last week (played for Vaughn) was 60 seconds of pure uncomfortable-ness.
9:16 -- Take my arm indeed.
9:22 -- The slap looked real; I've always wondered if Vaughn speaks as many languages as Sydney. Vaughn seems like he needs more field training, falling for the dead boy on the side of the road trick. I guess that's why Sydney is the best (although, she did get knocked out twice! last week by Freaky-Francie-Freplica Alyson).
9:33 -- Jack's reply to Vaughn is so interesting, hmmm. I think he learned to be evil at SD-6.
Perhaps you understand now the moral compromises you will make when someone you love is in danger.
9:43 -- Oh my word, Lauren already reported Sydney! Oh my word, Vaughn is helping Sydney!
9:46 -- Yeah, they almost kissed. Um, yeah...Vaughn can't lose Sydney...Vaughn aren't you married now?
9:51 -- Lindsey is evil! He's been working all this to get Dixon fired.
9:58 -- Why is it going off this early? And why is the next episode in two weeks!?
I was listening to this song last night when I couldn't get to sleep, and I thought I want to post that it. It is by Sara Groves from her CD Conversations.
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me
Morning by morning I wake up to find
The power and comfort of God’s hand in mine
Season by season I watch Him, amazed
In awe of the mystery of His perfect ways
All I have need of, His hand will provide
He’s always been faithful to me
I can’t remember a trial or a pain
He did not recycle to bring me gain
I can’t remember one single regret
In serving God only, and trusting His hand
All I have need of, His hand will provide
He’s always been faithful to me
This is my anthem, this is my song
The theme of the stories I’ve heard for so long
God has been faithful, He will be again
His loving compassion, it knows no end
All I have need of, His hand will provide
He’s always been faithful, He’s always been faithful
He’s always been faithful to me
So it wasn't as exceptional as I thought it would be. But what was pretty cool is that you could see so many stars. That's unusual around where I live because the airport is so close, and with the moon shining, it is very difficult to see them.
I've always enjoyed watching the stars and the moon. I wouldn't say that I am an ameteur astronomer at all, though. I did get a telescope when I was a child, and I tried to use it again to see Mars (when it was so close to us), but that didn't work too well.
Anyway, I've always enjoyed looking up. It makes me think of God. How mighty must He be? And He sums it up with "Iam that I am" (Exodus 3:14).
(Psalm 19:1 NNAS) The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
Hey, don't forget about the eclipse tonight. It reaches totality at 8:06 pm est. It lasts for 24 minutes. So if there's nice weather tonight, take a look!
I am a fan of constructed languages. No, I don't know Klingon or Esperanto. And my Sindarin isn't up to speed either. But I love language, and since the fifth grade I have been creating words and grammar and syntax for fun.
I don't do it all the time. I have to be in the mood. I hardly know what that means either. Sometimes I like to sit down and create something. And using language creatively is fun. The best page on the net (that I've found, and I've not looked in a while) is here. [I think there is one example with bad language. Just so you are forewarned.]
And so you don't feel left out, here is an example of the language I'm working on now:
[this needs to be updated; I'm working on it...]
A ireo in tedha* ete nimate, cÃ¨s le peaneÃ¯ri eti oncendÃ cide siaritde idarejuÃ¯!
A ireo in roscope in aron, re rebitaveneÃ¯ licanate sil.
A ireo panvrineÃ¯ di anorait lintÃ½mÃ¨s vereinÃ¨s!
O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention,
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!
I don't think I should have tried Shakespeare so soon, that was hard. I might have to change that when I work on my rules for poetry. But you get the idea.
*I didn't know how to translate Muse, so I went with "guide."
It's taking me about all day to feel well. I'm not complaining though. The block has been helping me!
Hey, any "MI-5" ("Spooks" in the UK) fans out there? I followed this season all the way through. I think the season finale was this past Tuesday, but it didn't say. It was awesome though.
I wasn't feeling well, so I didn't go through all the epistles today, but I mean to. But for example Romans 1:7 begins with the declaration: "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." It ends similarly with grace (Romans 16:20).
Moving on, "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" 1 Corinthians 1:3. Oh, and the next verse has a gripping thought too, "I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus" (1 Corinthians 1:4). Do I thank God for the grace given to my fellow believers in Christ? For the grace given to my Pastor? For the grace given to my family? For the grace given to my friends? And once again, grace is in the closing (1 Corinthians 16:23).
Why don't we give greetings of grace and peace? Have we forgotten? Is it too fanatical for us to go there? Does it sound too weird for us to go around saying stuff like that? Are we too proud?
I hope that we aren't. I want God's grace. I need God's grace. And I want and I pray for you to have God's grace on and in your life.
grace and peace be yours in abundance! (1 Peter 1:2)
I had my second injection this afternoon. It was much better today than the first time. I had a different doctor who was much more interested in me as a person and very willing to explain everything.
I still don't remember the procedure (only vaguely of the sticking of a needle in my back, but that could have been the local). I know that when I first got the anesthesia I said, "I'm going out, boys."
Then later I know I spoke in French but all I remember saying is (in apology) "Parfois, je parle français*."
I woke up from the sedation much faster, but it still took the same amount of time for me to be released.
I am supposed to have one more injection, two weeks hence. Then the doctor suggested we try an additional treatment that I can't quite remember because of the sedation. But I'll find out.
Anyway, much better today. I'm okay. And if my back hurts a lot they gave me vicodin.
* Sometimes, I speak French.
I heard this in church today:
God's work done in God's way will never lack God's supply.