Wednesday, July 29, 2009

HOTM ~July

O sacred Head, now wounded,
with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns,
Thine only crown;
O sacred Head, what glory,
what bliss till now was Thine!
Yet, though despised and gory,
I joy to call Thee mine.

What thou, my Lord, hast suffered,
was all for sinners' gain;
mine, mine was the transgression,
but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior!
'Tis I deserve Thy place;
look on me with Thy favor,
vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

What language shall I borrow
to thank Thee, dearest friend,
for this Thy dying sorrow,
Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever;
and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never
outlive my love for Thee.

O Sacred Head Now Wounded was written by Bernard of Clairvaux, author of five hymns. Bernard was born sometime in 1091 and died August 21, 1153 in France. His father was a knight and vassal of the Duke of Burgundy. Not following in his father's footsteps, Bernard entered the monastery of Citeaux in 1113. Well-known in Rome and rising in eminence in Church politics, he founded 163 monasteries throughout Europe and later became embroiled in papal schisms. He was the first Cistercian monk to be placed on the calender of the saints and was canonized by Pope Alexander III. Pope Pius VIII bestowed on him the title of Doctor of the Church. He is also remember as the Honey-Sweet Doctor, for his eloquence.
An interesting statement really tells how he viewed Mary and salvation, " No one can enter Heaven unless by Mary, as though through a door." He also strongly believed that prayers should be made to Mary.
Dante Alighieri, in his Divine Comedy: Paradise, places Bernard as the last guide for Dante. Most likely because they both were devoted to Mary and mysticism.
Martin Luther, 400 years later, said of him, "the best monk that ever lived, whom I ad­mire beyond all the rest put to­ge­ther.”

In Christ,

Verse of the Week

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother" (this is the first commandment with a promise), "that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land." Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

~Ephesians 6:1-4

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Sin of Gossip ~Part Two

“Don’t be the Devil’s bellows any longer to blow up the fires of strife. Leave off setting people by the ears. If you do not cut off a bit of your tongues, at least season them with the salt of grace. Praise God more and blame neighbors less. Any goose can cackle; any fly can find out a sore place; any empty barrel can give forth sound; any brier can tear a man’s flesh. No flies will go down your throat if you keep your mouth shut and no evil speaking will come up. Think much, but say little; be quick at work and slow at talk; and above all, ask the great Lord to set a watch over your lips.”

~Charles Spurgeon

A few suggestions on how to handle gossip:
~Keep quiet. You don't always have to be the one talking. Ever heard that phrase, "If you can't say something nice, don't say it at all"? Well, here's where you get to apply it. Holding your tongue is a valuable tool for anyone to acquire.
~Leave the conversation. Nothing will end that conversation quicker than stepping away from it. Don't listen to gossip.

~Don't consider it your mission in life to warn the world about everyone else. Sounds silly but it is true that we can be so busy with other people's lives instead of our own.
~You don't always have to pray for someone else in a group. Prayer is not effectual just because you're in a group setting. If you truly have a burden for someone, pray for them by yourself.
~You don't always have to answer questions about another person. The answer could very well be gossip.

~Don't always share your pain and feelings. The world cries out to us in a loud voice, "Tell me how you feel! I can fix the symptoms!" and "Just follow your heart!". Sadly, sometimes we listen to that voice. But the world can only temporarily fix our symptoms. The problem still lies within and only Jesus Christ, by His saving grace, can fix that. Also, if we know the heart to be "deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?", then why follow it? Follow, instead, the One who created you.

When you run into gossip, either yourself doing the gossiping or someone else, think about and ask these things:

~"Have you gone to them to speak privately about this?"
~"If so-and-so knew you were talking about them like this, wouldn't they be hurt?"
~"You know, I'm feeling uncomfortable with this conversation."
~ Vigilance is required because you will be challenged in your heart and by your fellow church member or friend.

Part of this is knowing when to speak, what is appropriate to say, and when to listen. Jasmine wrote a post a while back about having a gentle and quiet spirit, and she state three important questions we should ask ourselves before we speak, "Is it kind? Is it true? And is it necessary?".

But this isn't just about holding your tongue and not gossiping. It's so much more than that! It's remembering that we are ambassadors for Christ when we speak. Remembering who we are and who we represent. We should gladly and consistently speak for Him and His glory. Boldly proclaim the Gospel but be self-controlled when we speak.

Paul states it beautifully when he says in Ephesians 4:29-5:2,

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Consider this question: what are the thoughts and meditations of your heart? What are you filling your heart with? This is the key to speaking for the glory of God. If we fill our hearts with every good perfect thing that can only come from God, then our words, among other things, will show a pattern of that.

As Psalm 139 says,

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!

Finally, repentance is required for past and perhaps, present sin of gossip. Gossip is a hard thing to deal with; it is hurtful to the body of Christ. But remember that there is forgiveness at the Cross. We serve a God who forgives His children.

In Christ,


Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Sin of Gossip ~Part One

"Did you hear about the new pastor's wife? Well, I don't want to gossip, but you should probably know what's going on with her before you meet her. Let me tell you ALL about it... it all started when..."

Ok, an unrealistic example and so maybe you haven't been gossiping about the pastor's wife. But gossip easily and quietly slips into everyday conversation. Sometimes you don't intend to gossip. But you do.
I recently listened to a CD on gossip and would like to share what I have learned (and am still learning) about gossip.
To start off, what is gossip anyway? Is it merely talking about someone with another person? Or maybe it's just when you're talking rudely about another person... right?

Well, Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines gossip as:

To prate; to chat; to talk much. To run about and tattle; to tell idle tales.

My favorite definition is from Scott Brown, in his lecture Gossip: The Plague of the Church. Mr. Brown defines gossip as:

a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts, a rumor or a report of an intimate nature.
This is closely related to slander:
A false tale or report maliciously uttered, and tending to injure the reputation of another by lessening him in the esteem of his fellow citizens, by exposing him to impeachment and punishment, or by impairing his means of living; defamation.
Sounds pretty terrible. It is shameful to think how each one of us is guilty, in one way or another, of gossiping or slandering another person.
Be guarded; it is hard to believe how often the sin of gossip takes on different forms and then quickly slips into your life. Besides the obvious part, gossip can be disguised as seeking counsel, as bearing one another's burdens, or even as a prayer request.
Here are a few insights about gossip from scripture:
It's an abomination to the Lord (Proverbs 6:16-19);
Sows discord among the brethren (Romans 16:17-18);
It kindles and then sustains strife (Proverbs 26:20-23);
It is equivalent with judging the law (James 4:11);
It goes on the list with really gruesome sins (Proverbs 6:16-19);
the opposite of love, brotherhood, compassion, tenderheartedness, courtesy, and blessing which we are called to in 1 Pet. 3;
And it is fueled by arrogance and ends in separation (Titus 3:10).
In addition to that, these verses and more say to reject or not keep company with a person who cannot guard their tongue. Families, churches, companies, and homes have been destroyed by hearing and then doing gossip.
However, we are frail human beings and we are sinful. No one can tame the tongue. We sure won't be perfect at guarding our tongues but, through God's grace, it's better today than it was yesterday and tomorrow will be better than today.
In Christ,

Thursday, July 16, 2009

ET Giveaway

Christa Taylor, over at Empowered Traditionalist, is teaming up Trisha Ramos to host a giveaway for a handbag made by Mrs. Ramos.

In addition to the cute handbag, this purse also comes with hundreds of Gospel tracts. Head on over there to enter this giveaway!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Verse of the Week

Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.
~Psalm 73: 25-28

Monday, July 13, 2009

Recent blog find...

A few weeks ago I started reading the blog of Abraham and Molly Piper; it's mostly Molly who writes on the blog but it is about the entire family:)
I've said before that I really enjoy reading John Piper's books and blog; now I am also enjoying his son's family blog. Each post is interesting and I really like the way she writes.

One of the main reasons I think I enjoy it is because I am a highly emotional person.
Yes, I know it's not all about me, however, I think highly emotional people tend to fall into periods of being slightly depressed and are somewhat easily grieved over something/someone.
They also tend to write encouraging things and give good, practical advice to people who are hurting; because they know what it's like.

Molly Piper knows what it is to truly grieve, and as a result has a very realistic yet encouraging outlook on this blog.
Please don't think that every post is dripping with dramatic agony and sorrow; that would be called a depressing blog.
What each post has is honesty and the willingness to put your thoughts and ideas on a public place for everyone to see.
I hope that you will see that it has a beauty that can only come from the Lord and the courage to persevere through various trials.

Which is especially helpful for someone like me.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Verse of the Week

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.
One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.
For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.
And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me,and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the LORD.
Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! You have said, "Seek my face." My heart says to you, "Your face, LORD, do I seek." Hide not your face from me.Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation! For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in.
Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies. Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence.
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!

~Psalm 27
This is my favorite Psalm. My hope chest will have this reference on the front. I love how you can see just how much David loved the Lord, trusted Him, was devoted to Him, and had such a close and personal relationship with Him. I pray that my relationship with the Lord will be like David's one day.
In Christ,

Sunday, July 5, 2009


“It can not be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on relgions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ!"
"The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government - lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.”
~Patrick Henry

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Time is like water from a fire hydrant...

Do you ever feel that way?
Trying to cup your hands to catch the water from a hydrant but end up choking in the overflow?

Well, that was me until a few moments ago.

My phrase was, "It's just one of those seasons." You know the sort. The kind that makes you feel like a revolving door of events and emotions: always changing-moving-shifting-modifying-accommodating. The cup was always half full of things to do.
I've never considered myself one of those people who gets stressed out easily or begins a nail-biting habit whenever there is a strain in the schedule. In fact I never even had a written schedule until recently. I've always been more of the laid back least I think I am :)

But, perhaps that is a undiscovered pride issue :)

I shared this with my Mom tonight and she asked, "You don't enjoy it? You don't stand there in front of the water blasting with your mouth open? Taking it all in?"
My first thought was, "Why aren't I"
Maybe these are the feelings, situations that make people say,
"Lord, Your will be done! Because I haven't been checking anything off my to do list!"
Ce la vie I suppose...

I'm not saying it's easy trying to graduate, get a driver's license, and a plethora of "little things".
Like I said in an earlier post, I tend to resemble the mouse that was given a cookie, and asked for a glass of milk.
It is so easy for me to organize all the sock drawers in the house, while neglecting my studies (In my defense, it is not always intentional, but it does happen).
The key for me is not to always attend to the "need of the moment".

This is one of my favorite psalms, I've put up different sections
but really the entire psalm is wonderfully encouraging and sweetly convicting.
And I would encourage you to study it sometime.

Psalm 90
For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past,
or as a watch in the night.
You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream,
like grass that is renewed in the morning:
in the morning it flourishes and is renewed;
in the evening it fades and withers.
The years of our life are seventy,or even by reason of strength eighty;
yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.
Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you?

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Let your work be shown to your servants,and your glorious power to their children.

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!


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