Friday, January 30, 2009

Needful Poetry

John Bunyan's poem on Needful Things.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Those Puritans...

Hence it follows, that manifold and successive afflictions are no more than what is necessary for the best of Christians; the mortification of our lusts requires them all, be they never so many, 1 Pet. 1:5, "If need be, ye are in heaviness;" it is no more than need, that one loss should follow another, to mortify an earthly heart; for so intensely are our affections set upon the world, that it is not one, or two, or many checks of providence, that will suffice to wean and alienate them. Alas, the earthliness of our hearts will take all this, it may be much more than this, to purge them: the wise God sees it but necessary to permit frequent discoveries of our own weakness, and to let loose the tongues of many enemies upon us, and all little enough to pull down our pride, and the vanity that is in our hearts: Christian, how difficult soever it be for thee to bear it; yet the pride of thy heart requires all the scoffs and jeers, all the calumnies and reproaches, that ever the tongues or pens of thy bittersweet enemies, or mistaken friends, have at any time thrown upon thee. Such rank weeds as grow in our hearts, will require hard frosts and very sharp weather to rot them; the straying bullock needs a heavy clog, and so doth a Christian, whom God will keep within the bounds and limits of His commandments, Psalm 69:67, Daniel 11:35.

John Flavel

From The Whole Works of the Reverend John Flavel

The Method of Grace, Sermon 28


I am always thankful for God's faithfulness to continue to gift others with the ability to communicate clearly.

"They are not our best friends that stir the pride of our hearts by the flattery of their lips."

John Flavel

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"I prefer to sing Scripture words," she once explained, "because He did not promise that our words should not return to Him void."
-From the biographical prologue to Poems by Francis R. Havergal

Thursday, January 22, 2009

2 Samuel 7

David's Prayer
18Then David the king went in and sat before the LORD, and he said, "(AC)Who am I, O Lord GOD, and what is my house, that You have brought me this far?

19"And yet this was insignificant in Your eyes, O Lord GOD, (AD)for You have spoken also of the house of Your servant concerning the distant future And (AE)this is the custom of man, O Lord GOD.

20"Again what more can David say to You? For (AF)You know Your servant, O Lord GOD!

21"(AG)For the sake of Your word, and according to Your own heart, You have done all this greatness to let Your servant know.

22"For this reason (AH)You are great, O Lord GOD; for (AI)there is none like You, and there is no God besides You, (AJ)according to all that we have heard with our ears.

23"And (AK)what one nation on the earth is like Your people Israel, whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people and to make a name for Himself, and (AL)to do a great thing for You and awesome things for Your land, before (AM)Your people whom (AN)You have redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, from nations and their gods?

24"For (AO)You have established for Yourself Your people Israel as Your own people forever, and (AP)You, O LORD, have become their God.

25"Now therefore, O LORD God, the word that You have spoken concerning Your servant and his house, confirm it forever, and do as You have spoken,

26(AQ)that Your name may be magnified forever, by saying, 'The LORD of hosts is God over Israel'; and may the house of Your servant David be established before You.

27"For You, O LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, have made a revelation to Your servant, saying, '(AR)I will build you a house'; therefore Your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to You.

28"Now, O Lord GOD, You are God, and (AS)Your words are truth, and You have promised this good thing to Your servant.

29"Now therefore, may it please You to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue forever before You. For You, O Lord GOD, have spoken; and (AT)with Your blessing may the house of Your servant be blessed forever."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I am framing a few pictures today at work. There is something about doing something with my hands that gives me pleasure and joy in the work there is to do in life.

I also picked up a few dented and dinged picture frames from Hobby Lobby while out for lunch. I have an idea for them... I might post the finished product here later.

I don't have a whole lots of time to write here today, so I'll just post a brief thought.

I had to get rid of Chester. There was nothing really wrong with the cat. On the surface, everything was fine. He was well-mannered, sociable, and cute. He had his faults, but we all do. However, I knew deep down that I needed to be obedient, even though I didn't understand why. I didn't really enjoy having him around. He was a quick decision that I made on my own without praying about first. I thought I could do that. But the lesson I learned here is that God ought to be involved in every decision I make. I never had a settled feeling in my gut after bringing him home, but thought that should fade with time. It never did.

And now I just have one cat. And she is back to her "old self." The Crystal I had before Chester came around is the one I liked more. She brings me her toys now, plays with me, talks to me, curls up with me. She doesn't behave like she's merely tolerating life anymore. And I am not merely tolerating a cat anymore.

There is freedom in obedience. And obedience brings blessing. To be sure, I am experiencing more peace, and peace is a blessing not to be disregarded.

So, do not harden your heart to obedience to Him. Trust Him and trust His Word. Otherwise, how can you say you believe Him?

Monday, January 05, 2009

A new thought for the new year

I picked up this little gem in our church's bookstore over the holidays.

I'll be honest. This was the last topic I wanted to read about. The absolute last. I have never really been interested in business to the degree that I took having my own very seriously. I did a lot of contract work in college, which may sound impressive. I just did freelance AutoCAD work for contractors and homeowners, and wrote up a little Invoice, and received a check in the mail. It was a pretty simple dorm-room operation. The last thing I remember doing was for a small home-builder in OKC not long after I moved here. He needed advice on easements and eaves. I did the research, and sent him the info, along with a bill. No check. It was then that I realized that moonlighting was just not worth it. I have a good job here.

So, fast forward about seven years. I have my "other" degree. I have a license to practice architecture. I have a lot to learn.

But I also have this office. It's not mine, no. But it's here. It's a resource. And I am to work here to the glory of God. Now, unfortunately, not a lot of that occurs here, generally. And I've fallen into poor work ethics in some areas. I have struggled to keep on course in others. But the thought has always been in my mind that I just work here. I am not interested in managing an office. I'm not even interested in managing projects. I just do code, and I'm quite comfortable and competent at it.

But the question has been looming large in my mind with greater frequency:

"If this were my office, what would I do differently?"

I think it's perfectly fine for me to ask this question and to live those answers myself. The hardest thing for me to do has been to work for the glory of God, but it is my calling, and my greatest responsibility right now. I have no excuse for not doing it right; I have few other responsibilities.

I have found myself in the last year trying to put more on my plate than God would have ever given me for my good. What He took away was for my good, and for me to see that it was for my good, and to give me an opportunity to trust Him. But it was not His intention to leave me with nothing to work with my hands on. I look at this office and I see opportunities to glorify God with my order and neatness, with my management of time and other resources.

I have begun to read the book posted above, and have been giving a lot of thought to the moral good of work, and of going into business. If this is where I am to be, I'd rather do it all with gusto, and as unto the Lord. There will be good times and there will be bad times, and through it all "teach me Your ways, O Lord, and lead my feet in a level path because of my foes."

That's all for now. Happy New Year, from the architect.