Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Thoughts. :)

Hello everyone! Long time no post. This summer has been busier than I can even describe. This post, however, is not intended to be devoted to the recount of the craziness of my life.

Last night we had a huge, lovely thunderstorm; the leftovers of which are still with us this morning, in the form of thick, dank fog and a chilling wind. Glorious weather, all things considered. :) So I figured now would be a perfect time to sit down and share with everyone a few things the Lord placed in my path to turn my eyes upon Him...

The first thing to share is a little piece of American history; a reminder of the legacy we have from our forefathers, and what our country was.

"Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly, Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision, where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights; hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory. Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision. Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine; let me find Thy light in my darkness, Thy life in my death, Thy joy in my sorrow, Thy grace in my sin, Thy riches in my poverty, Thy glory in my valley." ~1600's Puritan Prayer

This is Christianity. Finding life in death, finding glory in persecution, finding victory in submission, finding vision in the darkest cell....finding crowns on Calvary. The problem comes when I forget this Christianity, which is ultimately loosing sight of Christ. I forget that personal fulfillment and joy comes only in Christ and bringing Him glory, and not in reaching the highest mountain, or in forging my own crowns, or in winning my own victories.

The Second thing I wished to share is a poem by Anne Bradstreet, also Puritan from the 1600's. She was a wife and mother; and through her writings, Anne shows herself to be everything I have ever hoped to model (and her first name is one of my middle names. :D). My favorite of her poems is titled 'The Flesh and the Spirit'. Anne starts this poem by describing a conversation she once overheard between two twin sisters- one Flesh, and one Spirit. Flesh chides her sister, saying she spends too much time caring and hoping for things that are but shadows and imaginations, lives on nothing but meditation, and "Dost dream of things beyond the Moon/ And dost thou hope to dwell there soon?"

Spirit silences the flesh with a rebuke, and says that she has vowed to conquer her sister Flesh, lead her captive, and put her to death. 'My greatest honour it shall be/ when I am victor over thee'.

Then Spirit continues on to describe heaven with all the glory a pen can capture, saying to the vanquished Flesh,
"Eternal substance I do see
With which inriched I would be.
Mine eye doth pierce the heav'ns and see
What is Invisible to thee.
My garments are not silk nor gold,
Nor such like trash which Earth doth hold,
But Royal Robes I shall have on,
More glorious than the glist'ring Sun.
My Crown not Diamonds, Pearls, and gold,
But such as Angels' heads infold.
The City where I hope to dwell,
There's none on Earth can parallel.
The stately Walls both high and trong
Are made of precious Jasper stone,
The Gates of Pearl, both rich and clear,
And Angels are for Porters there.
The Streets thereof transparent gold
Such as no Eye did e're behold.
A Crystal River there doth run
Which doth proceed from the Lamb's Throne.
Of Life, there are the waters sure
Which shall remain forever pure.
Nor Sun nor Moon they have no need
For glory doth from God proceed.
No Candle there, nor yet Torch light,
For there shall be no darksome night.
From sickness and infirmity
Forevermore they shall be free.
Nor withering age shall e're come there,
But beauty shall be bright and clear.
This City pure is not for thee,
For things unclean there shall not be.
If I of Heav'n may have my fill,
Take thou the world, and all that will."

The reason I find this so encouraging, I suppose, is because eternity truly is my hope. This earth holds nothing for me really, I am but here for a season to do my Master's bidding. After all, my life is hid with Christ in God, and heaven is my home. I have power over that evil Flesh through the death of Christ; there are much better things laid up in heaven for me than anything Flesh has to offer. If I keep my focus on heaven, and on the magnification of Christ, I cannot help but wish to glorify Him and surrender to Him.

"If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this (world). Aim at heaven and you'll get earth "thrown in": aim at earth and you will get neither."

~C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

What on earth are we doing for heaven's sake? I'd like to encourage you all in the same way the Lord encouraged me... This path we're walking, this Christian path, is well trod. The ground is hard-packed and well defined. Press on; continue 'aiming at heaven', because our hope is not an earthly hope. Christ is worth everything we have.

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