Let me but remember…

My spiritual life has been a bit rocky of late and my physical life is running quite ragged.  (I’m a full-time college student for the first time and my inner self doesn’t like it much at times.  #adultingishard)

The fundamental truths in these songs are so important and I am holding on to them as my life feels like it’s rocking back and forth on its foundations.  May they bring you encouragement as well.

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Healing Liquid

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I am wandering
When I seem to find an oasis
It disappears
And I am left
Alone
Thirsty
Broken
Wondering
Why this desert
Why this pain
Why me
My soul is crying out in anguish
My heart is writhing in this sandy place
I look and see nothing but glittering heat
Barrenness
Gone are the illusions of a simple life
Gone is the naivety of my childhood
Lost is the first joy
That lit my heart on fire
That woke me in the morning with a song on my lips
I am emptied
Hollowed
Scraped clean of all that is remotely shallow
My tongue thirsts
But for no mere water of man
Struggling to my feet
I stare
Piercing the view, searching for only a glimmer
And it is then that I look down
At my feet
I see what my soul has longed for
A stream of truth winds through this barren place
I fall to my knees and lift the healing liquid to my parched lips

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There is hope here
There is joy in this sorrow
My legs are still shaky
It is still a battle to stay by this stream
I am tempted to wander away
To search elsewhere for healing
But it is here
Only here
That I may be saved
So I shall follow this pathway out of  my desert
I shall rest in it
I shall never leave it
I shall drink of it every morning
And all throughout my days
All my days
And one day soon
I shall find the end of my desert sands
Led out by this truth
And I shall look fully into the face of Him whom I have sought
It shall be ever green
And never shall I leave His side
For there
I will be home
Forever

Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce (a review)

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Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce is only 76 pages long, but it packs a powerful punch.  It tells the story of a young man, comfortable in his wealthy life of ease.  God has a funny of way of upsetting lives of ease, however, so it becomes the story of a young man on fire for Christ for the rest of his life.

Wilberforce has been one of my heroes for a long time.  I watched the film “Amazing Grace” for the first time a number of years ago and it awakened within me a deep admiration for this man whose greatest passion was Christ’s glory.

William Wilberforce was one of the most influential leaders in his time.  He is probably most well-known for his labors for the abolition of the slave-trade throughout the British Empire.  The amazing thing is that throughout the years of striving towards this goal, he maintained a strong and vibrant faith.  In fact, his faith in God was the impetus behind his endurance.

Here is where my deepest admiration for him is founded.  Wilberforce didn’t give up because his strength was not found in finite things.  His deep faith in Christ convicts me to be diligent in seeking my Savior.  His joy in the Gospel and infectious delight in God’s grace convicts me to be intentional about finding joy in everything because of Christ’s work on the cross.  Wilberforce’s life gives me hope.  He accomplished so much to advance the Kingdom and none of it was because of him.  It was all Christ.

In short, Piper’s short biography has only served to increase my first admiration of this spiritual giant and to encourage me to seek fast after Christ.  It makes me long for the day when the Body of Christ is united, I stand alongside Wilberforce, and we bask together in the glory of our triumphant King.

(Picture taken from Goodreads)

 

Lit! (a review)

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I loved this book.  Tony Reinke has written one of the clearest arguments for why we, as Christians, should read, how to read, what to read, when to find time to read, etc.

The beginning of this book was super helpful.  Reinke spent nearly the first half explaining the theology of reading.  Essentially, why we read.  I’ve always loved words and these chapters opened up to me the beauty of letters and phrases and sentences in a way that I had never seen before.

We are made to be a people of words.  Our culture has placed such an emphasis on the image and the sound-wave, while dropping the significance of reading.  God has created us to be a people who read.  It stretches our minds to greater heights of knowing Him, seeing His beauty, and seeking His glory throughout all of life.

The second half of the book is a practical guide to reading and I enjoyed it just as thoroughly as the first half.  It has encouraged me to persevere in finding time to read and to say no to the distractions that seek to keep me from the discipline of reading.  I now feel better equipped to read well for the glory of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

(Picture taken from Goodreads)

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Confession: I read the 12th chapter of this book first.  Before everyone starts shooting me for degrading the proper way to read a book or any other outlandish things you wish to shout at me, I had a purpose in this.  The 12th chapter was entitled, “Marginalia” and it is essentially a how-to chapter for writing in books.  I wanted to be able to know how to write well in books, so I could mark up the entire book.

I know.  Writing in books is evil.  The fear of writing in books was put in me at a very early age and I still feel a delicious rebellion when I write in my books now.  But, as Tony Reinke points out in chapter twelve, there are very good reasons for writing in books and now I fully agree with him.  I’d encourage you to pick up a copy of the book, read chapter twelve, and start brandishing your reading pen (or all of them, if you’re like me and believe that the inside of a book should look colorful).

How to Fail at Writing

How to Fail at Writing

People are always telling you how to accomplish things.  Not quite as often do they give you the insider advice on how to be an expert at failing something.

I happen to be an expert at failing at writing.  So, here’s a very brief, simple five-step plan to becoming an expert like me.

(1) Don’t write.
While it seems fairly obvious, the fastest way to failure is to simply not do something.  I have become quite good at this and have been known to stop writing for days, weeks, even months at a time.  If you try hard enough, I’m sure you can do it too!

(2) Always stay up late and sleep in.
When your body is deprived of a healthy sleep cycle, it will rebel against daily disciplines like writing.  To really make use of this tip, I would stay up until at least 11 and then not get up again until 7:30 at the earliest.  Trust me.  When you put in the effort, you can get good at this.

(3) Eat only junk food and never drink anything other than soda.
This is one that I still struggle with.  I just like water way too much.  Make sure you’re cutting out vegetables and piling on those carbohydrates.  Pop-Tarts are your new best friend.  That and drinking lots and lots of carbonated drinks.

(4) Never exercise.
I can’t begin to tell you how important this step is.  You can be diligent in the other steps so far and be getting good at failure, but if you exercise, it will actually wake your brain up, ruin the progress you’ve made, and you might even feel the urge to write.  Run far, far away from any form of exercise.  Wait a second, don’t run.  That would be exercising.  Just sit on the couch and repel it with your light saber.

(5) Fill your mind with useless thought material that numbs your mind and *Attention: this is the most important part of the entire stinkin’ process* NEVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES are you to make following God the highest priority in your life.
Okay, so first you need to concentrate on knowing lots of facts about things that interest you, but aren’t really helpful to normal life.  This would include my mass knowledge of LOTR behind the scenes information and my IMDB type brain that can usually recognize at least one actor in every single movie I watch.  (I’m rather obsessive.)  Now, you don’t have to do this in just the movie realm.  This step can be accomplished in virtually any area of life.  Try to find your fulfillment in your vast knowledge and not in concrete things, especially not in God.

This is the most important thing.  If you make following God the highest priority in your life, you’ll slowly stop failing more and more.  You don’t want this.  To be a true expert at failure, you need to avoid reading your Bible, stop going to church (or at least stop mentally/actively participating), and definitely do not pray.  As long as you avoid these things, you should be good.

Well, there you have it.  My five proven steps to becoming an expert at failure.  It’s worked for me time out of mind and I know it will work for you.  Just try and see if you can’t fail a little better tomorrow because of it!

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(As I hope everyone already knows, this post is completely facetious and meant to kick you into high-gear doing the complete opposite of what it suggests.)

The Awakening of Miss Prim (a review)

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After starting this book a few months ago and then never finishing it, I resolved to finally finish it today.  Approximately five hours later, my eyes fell on the final words and it was over.  Now comes the difficult part.  How am I to express what I think of it?  To say I have some mixed emotions would be like saying that the sun rises in the morning and sets at night.

I have always loved books that make me laugh out loud and this one certainly did.  I was squirreled away in my basement bedroom for the five hours and there were many loud exclamations of laughter floating out my door over that time frame.  The dialogue was VERY well-written and I found myself continually cheering on one character or another as they bantered amongst themselves.

I must admit that I foresaw the coupling of two particular characters right from the beginning.  I mean no offense to the authoress if she didn’t mean it to be so, but it was about as plain as the nose on my face.  What I did not see coming, was the way she kept them separated.  I was in mental agony as the pages started to run out and I could foresee no resolution that would make my happy ending.  There were many scribblings of Agh! in the margins.

I can’t say that I am completely satisfied with the ending.  It was somewhat confusing and I didn’t fully understand it until I read a Q/A on the book’s Goodreads page.  (Not that I completely understand it now.)  I find myself fluctuating between adoring the book and wanting to pitch it across the room.

In the end, I don’t think it was time wasted, though.  There were a couple of positive things that I gleaned during those five hours.  First, this book speaks very highly of homeschooling and encouraging a more classical approach to education.  It makes me yearn to continue learning as long as I am able and, if and when God chooses to give me children, to teach them as much as I can, as widely as I can.

Second, this book shows how important it is to be equally yoked.  Enough said.

(Picture taken from Goodreads)

Don’t Waste Your Life (a review)

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As an eighteen year old living in the 21st century, it is all too easy to waste this life that I’ve been given.  I am grateful to men like John Piper who are burdened with the desire to save my generation from the folly of wastefulness.  With this burden in mind, Piper penned a book in 2003 called Don’t Waste Your Life.  I just finished reading this book and I have to say, I think it is one of the most meaningful, convicting books that I have ever read.

He starts by documenting his search for fulfillment, the tumult he felt without it, and the great joy that overwhelmed him when he realized Christ was the ultimate fulfillment of everything and that to bring Him glory is to take joy in Him.  He continues to weave this thread throughout the remainder of the book, which caused my heart to yearn towards Christ and also forced me to come to grips with the shallowness of my current life.  I know that I am wasting my life, but I am also given hope that that can change.

I would more than likely have been even more convicted if I had had the time to sift through this book more slowly.  Piper’s writing style was a bit deeper than most of the nonfiction books I’ve read in my life.  He doesn’t beat around the bush when he says things, but sometimes it can seem to take longer to describe the bush.  I needed to read this book in a relatively short amount of time and found it difficult sometimes to really grasp what he was saying in my lack of time to stop and meditate.

All in all, though, it was a very good read and I can foresee reading it again in the future.  To you, my fellow readers I would say, “May the cross of Christ be your only boast, and may you say, with sweet confidence, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Piper 179)

Piper, John. Don’t Waste Your Life. Crossway, 2003.
(Picture taken from Goodreads)