Friday, December 31, 2010

A prayer before going into battle

A Prayer before Going into Battle

O God of battles!
Truly, you dwell in peace,
And yet, you behold the strife of men, and work your will thereby.
It is a mystery, part of the war between good and evil, that I cannot comprehend.
And what that good and perfect will of thine is, I do not fully know;
However, I do know that you have sent us to do with all our might what our hands find to do, in the work of good; and I know that you hate cowardice.
You know that I have sought to choose the best, so far as my poor mind can determine, and to this battle I am pledged.
Give me grace to fight like a soldier of thine, without wrath and without fear.
Give me to do my duty, but give the victory where you please.
Let me live if it so be your will; let me die if it be your will -- only let me die in honor with You.
Let the truth be victorious, if not now, yet when it shall please you;
And oh! I pray, let no deed of mine delay the fulfillment of truth.
Let my work fail, if it be unto evil, but save my soul in truth.
This I ask in the strong Name of the Son of God, who is the Truth, and through your Holy Spirit, Amen.


And here is that prayer in its original context, by George MacDonald:

Humility before the God of Truth

'Callest thou thy cousin a hypocrite?'

'No, by heaven! she is not. She is a woman, and it is easy for women to say prayers.'

'I never rode into a fight but I said my prayer,' returned Richard.

'None the less art thou a hypocrite. I should scorn to be for ever begging favours as thou. Dost think God heareth such prayers as thine?'

'Not if He be such as thou, sir Rowland, and not if he who prays be such as thou thinkest him. Prithee, what sort of prayer thinkest thou I pray ere I ride into the battle?'

'How should I know? My lord marquis would have had me say my prayers at such a time, but, good sooth! I always forgot. And if I had done it, where would have been the benefit thereof, so long as thou, who wast better used to the work, wast praying against me? I say it is a cowardly thing to go praying into the battle, and not take thy fair chance as other men do.'

'Then will I tell thee to what purpose I pray. But, first of all, I must confess to thee that I have had my doubts, not whether my side were more in the right than thine, but whether it were worth while to raise the sword even in such cause. Now, still when that doubt cometh, ever it taketh from my arm the strength, and going down into the very legs of my mare causeth that she goeth dull, although willing, into the battle. Moreover, I am no saint, and therefore cannot pray like a saint, but only like Richard Heywood, who hath got to do his duty, and is something puzzled. Therefore pray I thus, or to this effect:

'"O God of battles! who, thyself dwelling in peace, beholdest the strife, and workest thy will thereby, what that good and perfect will of thine is I know not clearly, but thou hast sent us to be doing, and thou hatest cowardice. Thou knowest I have sought to choose the best, so far as goeth my poor ken, and to this battle I am pledged. Give me grace to fight like a soldier of thine, without wrath and without fear. Give me to do my duty, but give the victory where thou pleasest. Let me live if so thou wilt; let me die if so thou wilt--only let me die in honour with thee. Let the truth be victorious, if not now, yet when it shall please thee; and oh! I pray, let no deed of mine delay its coming. Let my work fail, if it be unto evil, but save my soul in truth."

'And in truth, sir Rowland, it seemeth to me then as if the God of truth heard me. Then say I to my mare, "Come, Lady, all is well now. Let us go. And good will come of it to thee also, for how should the Father think of his sparrows and forget his mares? Doubtless there are of thy kind in heaven, else how should the apostle have seen them there? And if any, surely thou, my Lady!" So ride we to the battle, merry and strong, and calm, as if we were but riding to the rampart of the celestial city.'


George MacDonald, “A Sally,” St. George and St. Michael, 345-6.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

God is writing a story about you!

A great thought to meditate upon... read and consider: God is writing a story in your life, light threads and dark threads, so that you may someday dance upon the heights. Consider this, and be filled with joy! :-)

Friday, December 24, 2010

A very Holy Night: the descent of God

God Descends to Reascend

C.S. Lewis says that “In the Christian story God descends to reascend.”

He comes down; down from the heights of absolute being into time and space, down into humanity.... But he goes down to come up again and bring the whole ruined world up with Him. One has the picture of a strong man stooping lower and lower to get himself underneath some great complicated burden. He must stoop in order to lift, he must almost disappear under the load before he incredibly straightens his back and marches off with the whole mass swaying on his shoulders.

Or one may think of a diver, first reducing himself to nakedness, then glancing in midair, then gone with a splash, vanished, rushing down through green and warm water into black and cold water, down through increasing pressure into the deathlike region of ooze and slime and old decay; then up again, back to color and light, his lungs almost bursting, till suddenly he breaks surface again, holding in his hand the dripping, precious thing that he went down to recover. He and it are both colored now that they have come up into the light: down below, where it lay colorless in the dark, he lost his color too.

George Herbert offers this truth in poetic form:

Hast thou not heard, that my Lord Jesus di’d?
Then let me tell thee a strange storie.
The God of power, as He did ride
In His majestic robes of glorie,
Reserv’d to light; and so one day
He did descend, undressing all the way.

The starres His tyre of light and rings obtain’d,
The cloud His bow, the fire His spear,
The sky His azure mantle gain’d.
And when they ask’d, what He would wear;
He smil’d and said as He did go,
He had new clothes a making here below.

In Christmas we bow before an eternal miracle: The God of glory did descend
into our human darkness,
that we might be made the children of Light.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The beauty of mathematics

Sent to me by Su George, this is a thing of beauty. Enjoy, all! It will brighten your day, all you studied, hard working, great-attitude people out there... and for the rest of us, too! :-)

Friday, December 17, 2010

A drill instructor counselor -- esprit de corps!

Hoo-rah! Another fantastic finalist for commercial of the year, lol. So politically incorrect, but so funny. For all those people for whom yellow brings tears, my apologies. To the rest of you, enjoy! :-)

Saturday, December 04, 2010

More life, not less: Don't give up!

In the midst of weakness, cry out for Life

by George MacDonald

Let us in all the troubles of life remember--that our one lack is life--that what we need is more life--more of the life-making presence in us making us more, and more largely, alive. When most oppressed, when most weary of life, as our unbelief would phrase it, let us bethink ourselves that it is in truth the inroad and presence of death we are weary of. When most inclined to sleep, let us rouse ourselves to live. Of all things let us avoid the false refuge of a weary collapse, a hopeless yielding to things as they are. It is the life in us that is discontented; we need more of what is discontented, not more of the cause of its discontent. Discontent, I repeat, is the life in us that has not enough of itself, is not enough to itself, so calls for more.

He has the victory who, in the midst of pain and weakness, cries out, not for death, not for the repose of forgetfulness, but for strength to fight; for more power, more consciousness of being, more God in him; who, when sorest wounded, says with Sir Andrew Barton in the old ballad:--

Fight on my men, says Sir Andrew Barton,
I am hurt, but I am not slain;
I'll lay me down and bleed awhile,
And then I'll rise and fight again;

--and that with no silly notion of playing the hero--what have creatures like us to do with heroism who are not yet barely honest!--but because so to fight is the truth, and the only way.

If, in the extreme of our exhaustion, there should come to us, as to Elijah when he slept in the desert, an angel to rouse us, and show us the waiting bread and water, how would we carry ourselves? Would we, in faint unwillingness to rise and eat, answer, 'Lo I am weary unto death! The battle is gone from me! It is lost, or unworth gaining! The world is too much for me! Its forces will not heed me! They have worn me out! I have wrought no salvation even for my own, and never should work any, were I to live for ever! It is enough; let me now return whence I came; let me be gathered to my fathers and be at rest!'? I should be loth to think that, if the enemy, in recognizable shape, came roaring upon us, we would not, like the red-cross knight, stagger, heavy sword in nerveless arm, to meet him; but, in the feebleness of foiled effort, it wants yet more faith to rise and partake of the food that shall bring back more effort, more travail, more weariness.

The true man trusts in a strength which is not his, and which he does not feel, does not even always desire; believes in a power that seems far from him, which is yet at the root of his fatigue itself and his need of rest--rest as far from death as is labour. To trust in the strength of God in our weakness; to say, 'I am weak: so let me be: God is strong;' to seek from him who is our life, as the natural, simple cure of all that is amiss with us, power to do, and be, and live, even when we are weary,--this is the victory that overcometh the world. To believe in God our strength in the face of all seeming denial, to believe in him out of the heart of weakness and unbelief, in spite of numbness and weariness and lethargy; to believe in the wide-awake real, through all the stupefying, enervating, distorting dream; to will to wake, when the very being seems athirst for a godless repose;--these are the broken steps up to the high fields where repose is but a form of strength, strength but a form of joy, joy but a form of love. 'I am weak,' says the true soul, 'but not so weak that I would not be strong; not so sleepy that I would not see the sun rise; not so lame but that I would walk! Thanks be to him who perfects strength in weakness, and gives to
his beloved while they sleep!'

If we will but let our God and Father work his will with us, there can be no limit to his enlargement of our existence, to the flood of life with which he will overflow our consciousness. We have no conception of what life might be, of how vast the consciousness of which we could be made capable. Many can recall some moment in which life seemed richer and fuller than ever before; to some, such moments arrive mostly in dreams: shall soul, awake or asleep, enfold a bliss greater than its Life, the living God, can seal, perpetuate, enlarge? Can the human twilight of a dream be capable of generating or holding a fuller life than the morning of divine activity? Surely God could at any moment give to a soul, by a word to that soul, by breathing afresh into the secret caves of its being, a sense of life before which the most exultant ecstasy of earthly triumph would pale to ashes! If ever sunlit, sail-crowded sea, under blue heaven flecked with wind-chased white, filled your soul as with a new gift of life, think what sense of existence must be yours, if he whose thought has but fringed its garment with the outburst of such a show, take his abode with you, and while thinking the gladness of a God inside your being, let you know and feel that he is carrying you as a father in his bosom!



George MacDonald, "Life," Unspoken Sermons Vol. Three.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Honest Abe -- A braave man!

This is a finalist for my best commercial of the year, lol. It's up there!

Aside from the humor, I just love how they make the video seem "old," grainy and stuff, as if actually rediscovering the lost footage of a personal moment with his wife.

And maybe we're seeing the REAL reason why Mary Todd suggested they take in the show at Ford's Theater! Hmm... Rest in peace, Honest Abe -- one of my heroes, no question [all kidding aside]. A great man -- transcendent in greatness.

Enjoy, folks!