Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Psalm 51:3

"For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me."
-Psalm 51:3 ESV

I recently began reading through an excellent book called Whiter Than Snow: Meditations On Sin And Mercy by Paul David Tripp. As I read this morning, I was struck by how much one of the chapters reminded me of the unconverted Brandon Kent in Filmodus Operandi. The chapter spoke of how sin lives in a costume, which is why it's so hard to recognize in ourselves.

"But I've realized that that was because the false Christianity he described in the email was the only Christianity I had experienced. I was conforming to what people expected of me, and everything that I might have called "Christian" in my life was geared towards self."
-Brandon Kent, Filmodus Operandi

What Brandon says in the film shows me how we're all too skilled at looking at our own wrong and seeing good. We're all so much better at seeing the sin, weakness, and failure of others than we are our own. A huge part of sin is its deception. Evil simply doesn't present itself as evil; it causes us not to hear or see ourselves with accuracy.

Yet, we also see that viewing ourselves accurately is the product of God's grace in our lives. It is only in the mirror of God's Word and with the help of the Holy Spirit that we are able to truly see ourselves. Only by God's grace in regeneration may we see ourselves clearly, so that we would not buy into the delusion of our own righteousness, and so that with a humble sense of need we would seek the resources of grace that can only be found in Him.

David experienced this same thing in Psalm 51 and Brandon experienced it in the film. We see through this psalm a contrite heart, a sad confession, an acknowledgement of David's own sin, and the holiness of God. Though it pains me every time to read about David's broken state and to watch Brandon's sad state of self-righteousness, the end of the psalm and the end of the film cause me to joy in Christ's work in me to open this sinner's blind eyes.

At the end of the chapter, Mr. Tripp poses two self-examination questions. "Do you pray for open eyes to see yourself more clearly? Is your confidence in Christ so firm that you are unafraid to pray that God would free you from your own patterns of self-swindling that keep you blind and inhibit your growth?"

In Christ, 
~Micaela Marques

P.S. You can read the original post here, and you can watch Filmodus Operandi here. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

hope, it's what the soul needs

I wanted to share with you this wonderful post from the Desiring God blog, If You Feel Overwhelmed, Eat!
Contrary to what the title might lead you to think, the writer, (Jon Bloom) takes you through the first part of Psalm 43,

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? 
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, 
my salvation and my God. (Psalm 43:5)
 I really encourage you to read the entire post but here are my favorite bits,

"Hope is to our soul what energy is to our body. 
Hope is the spiritual energy generated in the soul when we believe that our future will be good, even if our present is bad. 
Our souls must have hope to keep going just like our bodies must have energy to keep going...
Hope is something we only feel about the future, whether it’s ten minutes or ten thousand years from now.
We’re never hopeful about the past. We can be grateful for the past. The past can inspire or even guarantee a hopeful future for us. But all the wonderful things that have happened to us in the past will not fuel our hope if our future looks bleak.
We must have hope for the future to keep going.
That's precisely why the Bible is a book of “precious and very great promises” (2 Peter 1:4). Man was not designed to “live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). So God designed the Bible to be a storehouse of nourishing soul food for his saints...
When our soul is in turmoil, God does not want us to be passive. We must pray, yes. But sometimes we need to stop praying. We need to stop listening to our soul recite its fears. Then is when it's time to preach to our soul.
Fear is an indicator that our soul is hungry for hope.
And the only foods that will really nourish and sustain the soul are God’s promises."

We are such a forgetful people (or is this just me?)! I was so encouraged to remind myself of these truths the next time I am in over my head. What indeed do I have to fear/dread/be disappointed about in this life? Why should I fret over things that seem to go wrong? 
Probably my favorite book in the Bible is 2 Corinthians (as you already know); it's the one I frequent the most and could continually reread. If you're not as familiar with it, I encourage you to read through this book. I love Paul's words, encouraging the Believer to press on through tribulation and trials, always focusing on the eternal, "unseen" things that are only evident to the Believer. In addition to thriving on these sorts of topics, I think it's healthy to have a craving for further knowledge of truths like hope. Close to the early part of last year, I was going through some difficult times, and through my daily readings, Psalm 34 became very near and dear to my soul; after reading the post mentioned above, I was reminded of these passages dealing with hope and our soul...

    I will bless the LORD at all times;
        his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
    My soul makes its boast in the LORD;
        let the humble hear and be glad.
    Oh, magnify the LORD with me,
        and let us exalt his name together!

    I sought the LORD, and he answered me
        and delivered me from all my fears.
    Those who look to him are radiant,
        and their faces shall never be ashamed.
    This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
        and saved him out of all his troubles.
(Psalm 34:1-6 ESV)

Yes, the photo was taken during our last few days in Dubai; yes, we miss the wonderful people there dreadfully, yes, we'd still love to go back, 
but no, we haven't tried applying the henna on our arms yet.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

For the Love of God

I downloaded a free (and legal) album last year, off of Noisetrade, called Far Country. I'll admit, I had to listen to it a few times to get into it, but not I really have enjoyed a appreciated the songs. My particularly favorite songs are: Far Country, Mystery of Mercy, The Queen of Iowa, and

For the Love of God 

Yesterday we drove all night to Pittsburgh
Jamie laid her head down in the back
My little boys asleep beside their sister
They’re the best I have

I brought an old recording of your father
He was teaching men and women how to love
He carried on about his sons and daughters
Growing up

As we drove across Ohio
At the dawning of the day
I could hear the tune of truth was in his voice
And it felt just like I knew him
Though I never saw his face
Maybe that’s because I know his boys
Who live their lives

[Refrain]For the love of God
In the name of Jesus
The groom who gave his life
To love his bride

I know you thought you’d never find a woman
I never thought I’d have to write this song
But here I am and there you are together
After all

You felt like you were buried
In a city underground
All broken bits and pieces of the past
And somewhere she was searching
On the surface of the mound
She was digging for a treasure that would last
Now she’s giving you her heart


Now, love is not a feeling in your chest
It is bending down to wash another’s feet
It is faithful when the sun is in the west
And in the east

It can hurt you as it holds you
In its overwhelming flood
Till only the unshakeable is left
“This new command I give you,” He said,
“Love as I have loved”
So brother, love her better than yourself
And give her your heart

                                                        -Andrew Peterson (2005)

I am rather confident that you are familiar with Andrew Peterson (if not check out the links), because I know I've mentioned him more than twice. So now I can add one more post to my list.

Monday, April 9, 2012

16 Things I Am Thankful For

 1. Purple rooms and comfy beds.

2. The sweet, the new, and the old, family.

3. The "greatest and bestest" of voice teachers.

4.My letter-writing friends.

5. Thrilling concerts and great chaps to join them.

6. Listening to music while washing the dishes.

7. Lonely times, when I triumph over my pity-party self.

8. Friends, comrades, and new acquaintances.

9. Long car rides to talk, and/or sing really loud, and/or laugh so hard that no noise comes out and you clap your hands like a seal. :)

10. Great guns and uncles.

11. Pookie and Nate Hood-Marques, and their/our family. :P

12. Good discussions with friends.

13. My loving and patient parents.

14. Chai tea, and rockin' awesome sisters.
(oops, did I say that out loud?)

15. Beautiful places.

16. God's grace in this sinner's new life.

       Caro :)


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