Tuesday, July 31, 2007

All the earth shall know the Lord

O day of peace that dimly shines

Words: Carl P. Daw, Jr.
Tune: Jerusalem

O day of peace that dimly shines
through all our hopes and prayers and dreams,
guide us to justice, truth, and love,
delivered from our selfish schemes.
May the swords of hate fall from our hands,
our hearts from envy find release,
till by God's grace our warring world
shall see Christ's promised reign of peace.

Then shall the wolf dwell with the lamb,
nor shall the fierce devour the small;
as beasts and cattle calmly graze,
a little child shall lead them all.
Then enemies shall learn to love,
all creatures find their true accord;
the hope of peace shall be fulfilled,
for all the earth shall know the Lord!


Saturday, July 28, 2007

A field of clover on a misty July day

Today was really humid -- the water just hung in the air, sometimes with light, almost imperceptible rain, but mostly just with exponential PA humidity! The humidity reduced visibility, but it also created a misty, hazy look across the fields and vales. Here, this field of clover is highlighted by sun in the mists... the moisture just locked in the scent, and the perfumed smell was incredible... enchanting... like something out of Lothlórien, a gift from Galadriel! The bees were buzzing non-stop, called to the sweetness of the clover, sharing it with me... here, enjoy it, too!

p.s. click on pic to enlarge it, and check out the purple haze as the field fades into the floating mists... and note the droplets of moisture on the leaves in the foreground! :-)

Friday, July 27, 2007

A study of corn and converging lines

As I returned from dinner this evening, I just had to photograph the light and lines on this field... the blue tint of the sky enriches the lines of corn, and, in turn, the lines of corn accent other lines which blend into the distance: trees, grain, and poles. Enjoy! :-)

A parable of the toys

Verily, verily it is written: a laugh a day keeps the doctor away! :-)

Faith and toys

There is no toy maker.
There are many toy makers.
The toys made themselves.
He who dies with the most toys, wins.
Everyone gets the same number of toys, and whoever is caught selling his toys will go straight to hell.
He who dies with no toys, wins.
Once a toy is dipped in the water, it is no longer dry.
Branch Davidians
He who dies playing with the biggest toys, wins.
He who plays with bags of plastic farm animals, loses.
Jehovah’s Witnesses
He who sells the most toys door-to-door, wins.
Every boy can have as many toys as he wants.
He who plays only with soldier toys, wins.
He who plays with fire, wins.
He who plays without following the rules, loses.
They were our toys first.
Greek Orthodox
No, they were OURS first.
7th Day Adventist
He who plays with his toys on Saturday, loses.
Once played, always played.
He who denies himself the most toys, wins.
He whose toys can talk, wins.


He who has secret toy knowledge wins.
Toys were made by aliens!
Do toys really exist?
Live as if the toys have no tomorrow!
Rasta mon! Nice toy, can I make a bong out of it?


Thanks, Sigmund, Carl and Alfred, for the great post.

Smile and have a great day everyone! There's a point to the humor somewhere, if I could just find it, lol. :-)

p.s. if I offended anyone in above said categories, please do not take your toys and go home! I really do value your toy thoughts, so smile!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The faith that the dark past has taught us

Lift every voice and sing

James Weldon Johnson, 1899

Lift every voice and sing
till earth and heaven ring,
ring with the harmonies of liberty.
Let our rejoicing rise
high as the listening skies;
let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us;
sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
facing the rising sun
of our new day begun,
let us march on, till victory is won.

Stony the road we trod,
bitter the chastening rod,
felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
yet, with a steady beat,
have not our weary feet
come to the place for which our parents sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears have been watered;
we have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,
out from the gloomy past,
till now we stand at last
where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
thou who hast brought us thus far on the way;
thou who hast by thy might led us into the light;
keep us for ever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee;
lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee;
shadowed beneath thy hand
may we for ever stand,
true to our God, true to our native land.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

A dance with Abba

Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations, and say continually “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart has trusted in Him and I am helped. He is not only with me but in me and I in Him.”

Francis de Sales

Friday, July 20, 2007

Search out our hearts and make us true

Before thy throne, O God, we kneel

Words: William Boyd Carpenter (1841-1918)

Tune: St. Petersburg

Before thy throne, O God, we kneel:
give us a conscience quick to feel,
a ready mind to understand
the meaning of thy chastening hand;
whate'er the pain and shame may be,
bring us, O Father, nearer thee.

Search out our hearts and make us true;
help us to give to all their due.
From love of pleasure, lust of gold,
from sins which make the heart grow cold,
wean us and train us with thy rod;
teach us to know our faults, O God.

For sins of heedless word and deed,
for pride ambitions to succeed,
for crafty trade and subtle snare
to catch the simple unaware,
for lives bereft of purpose high,
forgive, forgive, O Lord, we cry.

Let the fierce fires which burn and try,
our inmost spirits purify:
consume the ill; purge out the shame;
O God, be with us in the flame;
a newborn people may we rise,
more pure, more true, more nobly wise!


True faith rests upon the character of God

Faith is more than believing the evidence

…Yea, let God be true, but every man a liar. As it is written, ‘That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings…’ Romans 3:4

by A.W. Tozer

Faith based upon reason may be faith of a kind, but it is not the character of Bible faith, for it follows the evidence infallibly and has nothing of a moral or spiritual nature in it.

Neither can the absence of faith based upon reason be held against anyone, for the evidence, not the individual, decides the verdict. To send a man to hell whose only crime was the follow evidence straight to its proper conclusion would be a palpable injustice; to justify a sinner on the grounds that he had made up his mind according to the plain facts would be to make salvation the result of the workings of a common law of the mind as applicable to Judas as to Paul.

It would take salvation out of the realm of the volitional and place it in the mental, where, according to Scriptures, it surely does not belong!

True faith rests upon the character of God and asks to further proof than the moral perfections of the One who cannot lie. It is enough that God said it, and if the statement should contradict every one of the five senses and all the conclusions of logic as well, still the believer continues to believe!

“Let God be true, but every man a liar,” is the language of true faith. Heaven approves such faith because it rises above mere proofs and rests in the bosom of God!


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A prayer of heart

The stars declare His glory

Words: Timothy Dudley-Smith
Tune: Aldine

The stars declare His glory;
the vault of heaven springs,
mute witness of the Master's hand
in all created things,
and through the silences of space
their soundless music sings.

The dawn returns in splendor,
the heavens burn and blaze,
the rising sun renews the race
that measures all our days,
and writes in fire across the skies
God's majesty and praise.

So shine the Lord's commandments
to make the simple wise;
more sweet than honey to the taste,
more rich than any prize,
a law of love within our hearts,
a light before our eyes.

So order too this life of mine,
direct it all my days;
the meditations of my heart
be innocence and praise,
my rock, and my redeeming Lord,
in all my words and ways!


A long term agreeing with God

A call to walking with God

C.H. Spurgeon

“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3.

The text reminds us that this agreement gives us power to walk with God. May we be enabled to claim this privilege which divine grace has bestowed on us: power to walk with God in daily, habitual, friendly, intimate, joyous communion. Believer, you can walk with God this very day. He is as near to thee as he was to Abraham beneath the oak at Mamre, or Moses at the back of the desert. He is as willing to show thee his love as he was to reveal himself to Daniel on the banks of Ulai, or to Ezekiel by the streams of Chebar. Thou hast no greater distance this day between thee and thy God, than Jacob had when he laid hold upon the angel and prevailed. He is thy father, as truly as he was the father of the people whom he covered by day with a cloud, and cheered by night with a pillar of fire; and though no Shekinah lights up a golden mercy-seat, yet the throne of grace is quite as glorious and even more accessible than in the days of old. He shall hide thee in his pavilion, as he did his servant David; yea, in the secret of the tabernacle shall be thy hiding-place. Enoch’s privilege was not peculiar to him; it is thy birthright: claim it. Noah’s high honor of walking with God was not reserved for him alone; it belongs to thee also, shut in as thou art in the Ark of the Covenant, and saved from the deluge of divine wrath. It should be the Christian’s delight to be always with his God; walking with him in unbroken fellowship. Enoch did not take ‘a turn or two with God,’ but he walked with him four hundred years. O that we might cease to be with our God as wayfaring men who tarry but for a night: may we dwell in God, and may he dwell in us.

Walking implies action; and our actions should always be in the Lord. The Christian, whatsoever he eateth, or drinketh, or doeth, should do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks unto God and the Father by him. Walking has in it the thought of progress; but all our progress should be with God. As we are rooted and grounded in Christ, so we must ask to grow up in him; ever abiding in our highest moments with God, and never imagining or conceiving any progress which shall remove us from humble confidence in him. Beloved brother in the Lord, it may be that thy heart is agreed with God, and yet thou hast lost for a time thy walking with him; be not at ease in thy soul till thou hast regained it. Search thine own heart by the light of the Word and of the Holy Spirit; and when thou knowest thyself to be agreed with God, through Him who is our peace, hesitate not to draw near with holy confidence to thy Father and thy God, notwithstanding all thy past wanderings; for he welcomes thee to walk with him, seeing that thou art agreed.


Monday, July 16, 2007

All who see this sacred sign

Press towards heaven's portal

Words: J. Allan Warner, 1899

Tune: Ave Virgo Virginum

Brothers, join hand to hand
in one bond united,
pressing onward to that land
where all wrongs are righted:
let your words and actions be
worthy your vocation;
chosen of the Lord, and free,
heirs of Christ's salvation.

Christ, the Way, the Truth, the Life,
who hath gone before you
through the turmoil and the strife,
holds his banner o'er you:
all who see this sacred sign
press towards heaven's portal,
fired by hope that is divine,
love that is immortal.

They who follow fear no foe,
care not who assail them;
where the Master leads they go,
He will never fail them.
Courage, brothers! we are one,
in the love that sought us;
soon the warfare shall be done,
through the grace He brought us!


Thursday, July 12, 2007

A glow in July sky

A long, worthy day... with a beautiful sky all day long! Enjoy the glow, the light show, right before the stars came out! A classic, gorgeous day, with the humidity and clouds just right for scenery all day, and stellar early evening blue, Venus and July stars on sparkling view!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The life of the warrior

Courteous words or else hard knocks are a warrior’s only language.

The impossibility of the warrior

C.S. Lewis

His journey to Perelandra was not a moral exercise, nor a sham fight. If the issue lay in Maleldil's hands, Ransom and the Lady were those hands. The fate of a world really depended on how they behaved in the next few hours…

The voluble self protested, wildly, swiftly, like the propeller of a ship racing when it is out of the water. The imprudence, the unfairness, the absurdity of it! Did Maleldil want to lose worlds? What was the sense of so arranging things that anything really important should finally and absolutely depend on such a man of straw as himself? And at that moment, far away on Earth, as he now could not help remembering, men were at war, and white-faced subalterns and freckled corporals who had but lately begun to shave, stood in horrible gaps or crawled forward in deadly darkness, awaking, like him, to the preposterous truth that all really depended on their actions; and far away in time, Horatious stood on the bridge, and Constantine settled in his mind whether he would or would not embrace the new religion, and Eve herself stood looking upon the forbidden fruit and the Heaven of Heavens waited for her decision. He writhed and ground his teeth, but could not help seeing. Thus and not otherwise, the world was made. Either something or nothing must depend on individual choices. And if something, who could set bounds to it? A stone may determine the course of a river. He was that stone at this horrible moment which had become the centre of the whole universe. The eldila of all worlds, the sinless organisms of everlasting light, were silent in Deep Heaven to see what Elwin Ransom of Cambridge would do…

Truths like terrible jewels

It was fortunate that something so horrible [as physical combat with the un-man] should be so obviously out of the question. Almost, but not quite, Ransom decreed that whatever the Silence and the Darkness seemed to be saying about this, no such crude, materialistic struggle could possibly be what Maleldil really intended. Any suggestion to the contrary must be only his own morbid fancy. It would degrade the spiritual warfare to the condition of mere mythology. But here he got another check.

Long since on Mars, and more strongly since he came to Perelandra, Ransom had been perceiving that the triple distinction of truth from myth and of both from fact was purely terrestrial - was part and parcel of that unhappy division between soul and body which resulted from the Fall. Even on earth the sacraments existed as a permanent reminder that the division was neither wholesome nor final. The Incarnation had been the beginning of its disappearance. In Perelandra it would have no meaning at all. Whatever happened here would be of such a nature that earth-men would call it mythological. All this he had thought before. Now he knew it. The Presence in the darkness, never before so formidable, was putting these truths into his hands, like terrible jewels.

The divine plan in little details...

"It is not for nothing that you are named Ransom," said the Voice.

And he knew that this was no fancy of his own. He knew it for a very curious reason – because he had known for many years that his surname was derived not from ransom but from Ranolf's son. It would never have occurred to him thus to associate the two words. To connect the name Ransom with the act of ransoming would have been for him a mere pun. But even his voluble self did not now dare to suggest that the Voice was making a play upon words. All in a moment of time he perceived that what was, to human philologists, a merely accidental resemblance of two sounds, was in truth no accident.

The whole distinction between things accidental and things designed, like the distinction between fact and myth, was purely terrestrial. The pattern is so large that within the little frame of earthly experience there appear pieces of it between which we can see no connection, and other pieces between which we can. Hence we rightly, for our use, distinguish the accidental from the essential. But step outside that frame and the distinction drops down into the void, fluttering useless wings. He had been forced out of the frame, caught up into the larger pattern...

"My name also is Ransom," said the Voice.

The nature of the enemy

[Ransom] had full opportunity to learn the falsity of the maxim that the Prince of Darkness is a gentleman. Again and again he felt that a suave and subtle Mephistopheles with red cloak and rapier and a feather in his cap, or even the somber tragic Satan out of Paradise Lost, would have been a welcome release from the thing he was actually doomed to watch. It was not like dealing with a wicked politician at all: it was much more like being set to guard an imbecile or a monkey or a very nasty child… It showed plenty of subtlety and intelligence when talking to the Lady; but Ransom soon perceived that it regarded intelligence simply and solely as a weapon, which it had no more wish to employ in its off-duty hours than a soldier has to do bayonet practice when he is on leave. Thought was for it a device necessary to certain ends, but thought in itself did not interest it. It assumed reason as externally and inorganically as it had assumed Weston's body…

A victory in the impossible

"Mercy," he groaned; and then, "Lord, why me?" But there was no answer.

The thing still seemed impossible. But gradually something happened to him which had happened to him only twice before in his life. It had happened once while he was trying to make up his mind to do a very dangerous job in the last war. It had happened again while he was screwing his resolution to go and see a certain man in London and make to him an excessively embarrassing confession which justice demanded. In both cases the thing had seemed a sheer impossibility: he had not thought but known that, being what he was, he was psychologically incapable of doing it; and then, without any apparent movement of the will, as objective and unemotional as the reading on a dial, there had arisen before him, with perfect certitude, the knowledge “about this time tomorrow you will have done the impossible.”

The same thing happened now…


Monday, July 09, 2007

A letter to dad

Today is my father's birthday, and as a special remembrance gift, mom gave me a letter that she found recently -- a letter long forgotten, kept with family letters written long ago. Dad was holding a series of meetings away from the family, and we all wrote him a letter... this is the letter I wrote as a young boy, come back to me on his birthday, of all days!

It's funny-neat to me, that even as a boy I was loving nature and drawing little artwork on the sides of my letters, lol. And, I drew Dad with really big ears, which he must have appreciated! And, my pictures of cars seem to be crashing, lol... some things are prophetic! And enduring, lol...

Anyway, Happy Birthday, Dad! I'm sure the Lord can share this blog post with you, and you can smile! :-)

And, Happy Anniversary, Mom! You are a wonderful mother, and I am so grateful for you!


Sunday, July 08, 2007

Thou canst heal and thou alone

Heal me, O my Savior, heal

Words: Godfrey Thring, 1866
Tune: Heiliger Geist

Heal me, O my Savior, heal;
heal me, as I suppliant kneel;
heal me and my pardon seal.

Fresh the wounds that sin hath made;
hear the prayers I oft have prayed,
and in mercy send me aid.

Helpless, none can help me now;
cheerless, none can cheer but thou;
suppliant, Lord, to thee I bow.

Thou the true Physician art;
thou, O Christ, canst health impart,
binding up the bleeding heart.

Other comforters are gone;
thou canst heal and thou alone,
thou for all my sin atone.

Heal me then, my Savior, heal;
heal me, as I suppliant kneel;
to thy mercy I appeal.


Friday, July 06, 2007

A moment in July evening mists

When the sun comes out after an evening rain, it often creates a spectacular interplay of light and mists, in the fleeting moments of sunset. Here is a brief glimpse of that light/moisture show, a moment in July evening mists!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

O beautiful for spacious skies

A mercy more than life

I don’t have a lot of eloquent words tonight, but my heart is full of gratitude… I am overwhelmed by a sense of giftedness, here in America. I am captured by a sense of destiny and great responsibility.

I well understand Lincoln’s humble words on July 7, 1863. Days before, the people of Washington, D.C. heard the guns of Gettysburg grow silent, and they knew the matter had been decided. Word came on the wind of the Union victory at Gettysburg, and also Vicksburg, and Lincoln stood in the gloaming on the 7th, before a crowd of people and reporters.

Lincoln knew the occasion demanded high words, words of heart, character and valor – words of beauty and eternal nature. And yet, his heart was still overwhelmed by the gratitude of the moment: the battle tide had turned, as well he sensed. So with characteristic humility, and classic deference, he said, “Gentlemen,” he added, “this is a glorious theme, and a glorious occasion for a speech, but I am not prepared to make one worthy of the theme and worthy of the occasion.”

He briefly spoke of the glory of a people with representative rule… and how relatively short such experience had run on the world stage – facing now, in Civil War, what was at heart a great rebellion against that fragile experiment of human freedom. He then offered these words to the gathered throng:

Recent events bring up certain names, gallantly prominent, but I do not want to particularly name them at the expense of others, who are as justly entitled to our gratitude as they. I therefore do not upon this occasion name a single man. And now I have said about as much as I ought to say in this impromptu manner, and if you please, I'll take the music.

Catch that? The occasion was so high that he dared not besmirch it with impromptu words. That, my friends, is the heart of Lincoln, and a snapshot of America's ideal.

It’s the way I feel tonight. My heart is full of the glory of this freedom, this spacious place free from restriction… standing tonight in the shadows of my room are family members who fought in major conflicts… Sebastian Mershimer is there, still carrying the scars of Valley Forge, the hard endurance of seven years of war. And there, behind him, a glimpse of a bloody Civil War uniform… Another steps forward, with the mud of France on his WWI boots… and another, of the greatest generation, bearing the hallowed badges of WWII... and here, stern and compassioned, my grandfather Loy Sebastian and father Gerald Loy… men who lived so well the responsibilities of freedom!

My silent room grows full, as faithful men and women file in… root and branch from whence I am sprung, lovely and glowing eyes of heritage that demand from me something more than self, a courage, a love of mercy more than life.

And so I write, with heart full, to express gratitude… but not to write!

As Lincoln later returned to the stage with words well worthy of the moment, words that would echo in the chambers of the heavens, words that would cause Gettysburg crippled to weep with gratitude, that they had the honor of giving arms and legs and sight for something greater than themselves, so I may return if God wills. But not tonight!

Tonight, my heart is full of music… full of gratitude. So, ‘if you please, I’ll take the music.’



Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A rejection of soul dullness: prayer as renewal of will

A false subduedness in religion

Once come to think that we best say "Thy will be done" when we acquiesce, when we resign, and not also when we struggle and wrestle, and in time all effort will seem less pious than submission. And so we fall into the ecclesiastical type of religion, drawn from an age whose first virtue was submission to outward superiors. We shall come to canonize decorum and subduedness in life and worship (as the Episcopal Church with its monarchical ideas of religion has done). We shall think more of order than of effort, more of law than of life, more of fashion than of faith, of good form than of great power. But was subduedness the mark of the New Testament men? Our religion may gain some beauty in this way, but it loses vigor. It may gain style, but it loses power. It is good form, but mere aesthetic piety. It may consecrate manners, but it improverishes the mind. It may regulate prayer by the precepts of intelligence instead of the needs and faith of the soul. It may feed certain pensive emotions, but it may emasculate will, secularize energy, and empty character. And so we decline to a state of things in which we have no shocking sins – yes, and no splendid souls; when all souls are dully correct, as like as shillings, but as thin, and as cheap.

All our forms and views of religion have their test in prayer. Lose the importunity of prayer, reduce it to soliloquy, or even to colloquy, with God, lose the real conflict of will and will, lose the habit of wrestling and the hope of prevailing with God, make it mere walking with God in friendly talk; and, precious as that is, yet you tend to lose the reality of prayer at last. In principle you make it mere conversation instead of the soul's great action. You lose the food of character, the renewal of will. You may have beautiful prayers – but as ineffectual as beauty so often is, and as fleeting. And so in the end you lose the reality of religion. Redemption turns down into mere revelation, faith to assent, and devotion to a phase of culture. For you lose the power of the Cross and so of the soul.


P.T. Forsyth, The Soul of Prayer.

Monday, July 02, 2007

A wine which our souls were heretofore too weak to hold!

Being conformed to the being of our origin

When a man wills that his being be conformed to that being of his origin… when the man thus accepts his own causing life, and sets himself to live the will of that causing life… he thus receives God’s life into himself. He becomes, in the act, a partaker of the divine nature, a true son of the living God, and an heir of all He possesses. By the obedience of a son, he receives into himself the very life of the Father.

Obedience is the joining of the links of the eternal round. Obedience is but the other side of the creative will. Will is God's will, obedience is man's will. The two make one.

If we do the will of God, eternal life is ours…

Our souls shall thus become vessels ever growing. And ever as they grow shall they be filled with the more and more life proceeding from the Father and the Son – from God the ordaining, and God the obedient.

We can never know the delight of the being, the abundance of the life He came to give us, until we have it. But even now to the holy imagination it may sometimes seem too glorious… to think of awakening to this higher life and being filled with a wine which our souls were heretofore too weak to hold!


George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons II: “Life,” quoted in “Your Life in Christ: The Nature of God and His Work in Human Hearts,” edited by Michael Phillips.