Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Rainy Day Antique Shopping

This post is far overdue. Life can get busy very quickly when you're in college. Oy!
I decided to take a little break from my study on Love, since the next post is going to be pretty heavy. In fact, I have noticed that the past 5+ posts of mine have been very thick and weighty, particularly my personal posts. Welcome to the world of me (I am an INFP, after all!). :) I am not a sunshine-and-giggles type of person. Although, there is plenty of joy in my inward reflections, just not the typical kind that you'd expect.
Two Mondays ago, my family went antiquing in downtown Phoenix. I managed to snap quite a few pictures from my phone and wanted to blog about some of my findings. Word of advice: never go antique shopping when you are penniless! Suddenly everything looks more tempting when you are poor. haha!

I love pretty, porcelain houseware sets.
Perfect for a pink, shabby-chic Victorian room!
Two neat masks!Rows of antique tablecloths, fabrics, shawls, and lace trims. I could have sat there for hours going through all those delicate fabrics!
I love old-fashioned hats!
My sister posing in a hat that screamed,"VICTORIAN TEA PARTY!!!"
Mad Hatter's Antiques and Collectibles - coolest name for an antique shop!
Who doesn't want an old traveling trunk?
Beautiful Greek vases.
Old poetry books - some of the bindings were coming off! Ah, the best thing in the world!
A tapestry of a baroque scene! Ooo!
I thought these were cute country-style holders for spices and seasonings.
Very adorable tea cups and plates.
Gorgeous old-fashioned picture. A quaint little side-drawer. Some of the paint was chipping off, but I love the rustic look of it!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Love: Battling the Unbelief of Bitterness

"{Love} is not irritable or resentful..." - 1 Cor. 13:5

VII. It tempers and restrains the passions. Ou paroxynetai--is not exasperated. It corrects a sharpness of temper, sweetens and softens the mind, so that it does not suddenly conceive, nor long continue, a vehement passion. Where the fire of love is kept in, the flames of wrath will not easily kindle, nor long keep burning. Charity will never be angry without a cause, and will endeavor to confine the passions within proper limits, that they may not exceed the measure that is just, either in degree or duration. Anger cannot rest in the bosom where love reigns. It is hard to be angry with those we love, but very easy to drop our resentments and be reconciled.

VIII. Charity thinks no evil. It cherishes no malice, nor gives way to revenge: so some understand it. It is not soon, nor long, angry; it is never mischievous, nor inclined to revenge; it does not suspect evil of others, ou logizetai to kakon--it does not reason out evil, charge guilt upon them by inference and innuendo, when nothing of this sort appears open. True love is not apt to be jealous and suspicious; it will hide faults that appear, and draw a veil over them, instead of hunting and raking out those that lie covered and concealed: it will never indulge suspicion without proofs, but will rather incline to darken and disbelieve evidence against the person it affects. It will hardly give into an ill opinion of another, and it will do it with regret and reluctance when the evidence cannot be resisted; hence it will never be forward to suspect ill, and reason itself into a bad opinion upon mere appearances, nor give way to suspicion without any. It will not make the worst construction of things, but put the best face that it can on circumstances that have no good appearance.

Such love guards against the root of anger that damages the soul.

Anger -"If it takes root in your heart and becomes a grudge or an unforgiving spirit, it can destroy you. That's the point of Jesus' parable in Matthew 18 about the unforgiving servant: after having his massive debt canceled by the king, he refuses to cancel the tiny debt of his friend. And so the king throws him into jail for his heartlessness. Jesus closes the parable with this warning in verse 35: "So also will my heavenly Father do to every one of you if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."

Anger is very dangerous. It can take over your heart, turn into a lasting grudge, or an unforgiving spirit, and the result will be judgment. Jesus said very plainly in Matthew 6:15, "If you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." To feel the weight of that warning let's put it in three parts:

  1. No one goes to heaven unforgiven by God. Heaven is a place given only to forgiven sinners.
  2. No one is forgiven who is unwilling to be forgiving.
  3. No one goes to heaven who is unforgiving.

Jesus treats anger the way he treats lust. If you don't fight lust, you don't go to heaven (Matthew 5:29). If you don't forgive others, you won't get to glory (Matthew 6:15)."

- John Piper


Matthew Henry Commentary

Battling the Unbelief of Bitterness - John Piper

Monday, January 18, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my has been a cloudy morning in the valley-of-the-sun! But now the sun is poking through! Nooo!!!

I am thinking...that I need to starting reading the next chapter for a philosophy meeting.

I am thankful for...the joy of the Lord!

I am elegant dark blue blouse and brown dress pants.

I am the Lord has always been faithful to me.

I am with my family in downtown Phx and then visiting my grandparents.

I am currently reading...The Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter, Finally Alive by John Piper, and my friend's awesome novel.

I am hoping...the first week of the semester goes smoothly and that I am able to sign up for private voice/guitar instruction.

On my mind...Haiti, friends of mine who desperately need Christ, and how much I long to see the Lord victorious!!

Noticing brother is really cranky when he cleans the kitchen! haha!

Pondering these words..."Every verse in the Bible is meant to have a good effect. Don't throw any away because at first it doesn't. The problem is us." - John Piper

From the dad is taking his vitamins and my mom is eating breakfast.

Around the brother and sister getting ready to leave, Washed by the Water by Need to Breathe playing from the school room.

One of my favorite things~ simple days!

From my picture journal...

Thanks to the Simple Woman!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Year of Unshadowed Joy

The Mighty One, God the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth. ~ Psalm 50:1-2

"May this year be one of unshadowed joy. There need never be a shadow. All shadows are from beneath, from self, from the I in us which so often wants us to listen to what it says, instead of to the voice of our Lord. Let us refuse this self voice, always, and live in the unclouded light of selfless joy and love. This is what I want to do ever more and more.
I have a lovely word for you: Luke 4:30. ‘Jesus passing through the midst of them went His way.’ We are meant to pass through the midst of whatever comes and not get upset or even inwardly ruffled.
A day or two ago I was thinking rather sadly of the past - so many sins and failures and lapses of every kind. I was reading Isaiah 43, and in verse 24 I saw myself: ‘Thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities.’ And then for the first time I noticed that there is no space between v.24 and v.25, ‘I, even I, am He that blotted out thy transgressions for Mine own sake; and I will not remember thy sins.’
Who but our Father would forgive like that?"
- Amy Carmichael

A memory that will forever remain with me from 2009 is standing, shaking and broken, in a church in Bayfield, CO during a worship service that my uncle was leading. The several weeks leading up to that day had been filled with desperation, panic, anxiety, and fear. The world of my dreams had been stripped violently from me. In my desperation, I had spent those week clinging to pieces of that dream. My heart, heated by my mad frenzy, could not be still. Everything I had desired and hoped for and clung to was being pulled from me. The tornado was raging and ravaging.
So there I was on that Saturday morning...utterly broken. Sin had already made its fateful climax and I stood there completely helpless. No one could comfort me. No one could descend to that lonely pit in which I had fallen. A pit which I had dug for myself in my own folly. I was wholly undone - brought to the lowest, most shameful, most unloved place I have ever been.
And yet there came to me a song, whose melody and words drifted to that darkened place where a torrent of wild emotions, memories, and thoughts were mercilessly washing over me. It was a song I had sung many times. A song so dear to me. And yet, in that moment those words were mine.

No more will I run from You
I will be wise accepting Your shelter
No more will I have to fear
I will be here in Your arms

Your Name, is above all powers above all kings
Your Name, You are the blessed Prince of Peace

No one else will ever let me live
This life I live in You
And no one else will ever take the place
That I have made for You
And no one else could ever fit the mold
That You have cast for me
You are my God I will bow down before You
You are my God I will lift up Your Name

Shimcha, Anu Ohavim Otcha (Your Name, We love You)

- Your Name, by Zemer Levav

And peace did come. It came to me as I stood there singing, shaking, and crying. The tears were painful to release. My sight was blurred by them and I held inside of myself a great cry of agony. If I could have escaped the crowd of people and found solitude for myself I would have collapsed in a frightful heap of tortorous grief, crying for someone to rescue me from myself.
I could not see as clearly then as I see now, but the awful helplessness of my entire being at that moment was beautiful in that it was a living picture of these verses:

For this is what the high and lofty One says—
he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
"I live in a high and holy place,
but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the contrite.
(Psalm 57:15)

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
(Psalm 34:18)

His grace came upon me ever so gently, little by little, until it held me and stilled my shaking body. He poured into me steel-like strength and enabled me to stand to resolve the matter of sin that day. And then He sent me home and put me to sleep. My heart, quieted. My soul, humbled.
What followed those days were trying. The grief, the consequences of sin, the hurt, and the shame were not done away with all at once. I had to learn the lesson of the weaned child. I had to learn to do without. I had to be still and quieted daily. I had to be led into repentance. I had to learn the discipline of the Lord. I had to learn obedience. I had to learn true love. I had to learn His will be done, not mine. And still I am learning these things.
My dear Lord and Saviour set me on a path that painful day. A set-apart path in which I have come to known the depths of His grace as I ever known before. I can never return to that life I once lived. He has set me to move forward, to surrender all of myself and to suffer the loss of all things so that I might gain Him. Yeshua is my very life. "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30). May this new year be a continuing of His eternal work.

"This last year has been a year of battle, but thank God of victory too, and we are nearer the Crowning Day this morning than ever we were before. ‘And having done all to stand.’ God keep us standing. ‘When I said, My foot slippeth, Thy mercy, O Lord, held me up.’ And now as we look forward we see great stones and many of them. ‘Who shall roll away the stone?’ More and more I delight in the word that says, ‘The angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat upon it.’ We shall see the angel of the Lord sitting upon many a stone during the coming year. And think of it, we may see the Lord Himself, Christ risen, Christ crowned, this year.
Oh what will it be to see Him?
To be for ever with Him, holy for ever, strong for ever, never, never to grieve Him again
"Our God does satisfy. I think sometimes He has to draw us into strange experiences in order that we shall prove Him to the uttermost, for some purpose out of sight. For what is He preparing us? It is all hidden, we have only hints in the Gospels and in Revelation. ‘His servants shall serve Him’ - where? How? But this we do know; never a pang of disappointment or loneliness or pain (there are many different kinds of pangs) but may be turned to minister towards a perfecting power to serve - first here on earth, then Otherwhere. God bless you and utterly satisfy your heart with Himself.
- Amy Carmichael, Candles in the Dark & Gold by Moonlight

Love: Dying to "our own"

"Love...does not insist on its own way" - 1 Corinthians 13:5

Now here is a hard lesson set before us.

Charity is an utter enemy to selfishness: Seeketh not its own, does not inordinately desire nor seek its own praise, or honour, or profit, or pleasure. Indeed self-love, in some degree, is natural to all men, enters into their very constitution. And a reasonable love of self is by our Saviour made the measure of our love to others, that charity which is here described, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The apostle does not mean that charity destroys all regard to self; he does not mean that the charitable man should never challenge what is his own, but utterly neglect himself and all his interests. Charity must then root up that principle which is wrought into our nature. But charity never seeks its own to the hurt of others, or with the neglect of others. It often neglects its own for the sake of others; prefers their welfare, and satisfaction, and advantage, to its own; and it ever prefers the weal of the public, of the community, whether civil or ecclesiastical, to its private advantage. It would not advance, nor aggrandize, nor enrich, nor gratify itself, at the cost and damage of the public.
- Matthew Henry

Take notice that he says such love "is an utter enemy to selfishness." It detests the slightest sign of it in the inward places of the soul. Oh, but how often do we live our lives allowing this disease of selfishness to spread in our souls, which are vessels meant to house God's glory? We, in our proud ignorance, think we know what loves means and dare to presume that we know how to live it out. We inwardly demand and covet those things and people that meet our desires. We dress up our fleshly pursuits with lofty words and actions so as to make them appear they come from Love itself. We even fool ourselves into thinking we are basking in Love's glory, that we have obtained its blessing. But how very, very little we know! Love that is true comes from having first been brought low, humbled, and stripped of self that seeks its way above obedience to Lord and the good of others, the "I" and "me" and "myself" that is in us all.

"Take the key phrase in verse 5: "Love does not seek its own." I don't think this means that it is wrong to want to be happy. Because in verse 3 Paul argues that if you don't love, it profits you nothing. So it's not wrong to want the right kind of profit. What he's saying is that love does not seek its own personal, private preference without reference to what may be good for other people. Love seeks its joy and its profit in the good of others, not just in private gratification.
When Paul says, "Love seeks not its own," he is not saying that you shouldn't stand up for your own convictions—he died for his convictions. He is saying that you must be sure that the strength of your conviction is in proportion to the conviction being God's not just yours. To the degree that your preference is yours and not compellingly found in God's Word, to that degree should you be slow to seek it, and slow to get angry when others don't share it. "Love seeks not its own." It seeks the good of the many, not just the comfort of self.
So if we are going to love, we are going to have to die to "our own." Love seeks not its own. What does it do? It dies to its own. "Unless a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die it remains alone, but if it dies [to its own] it bears much fruit.""
- John Piper

Any other love than that is merely a fake and a counterfeit.

Again, I shall leave the last word to Amy Carmichael, who reminds us what love does not do and what it does not look like.

If I hold on to choices of any kind, just because they are my choice; if I give any room to my private likes and dislikes, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I put my own happiness before the well-being of the work entrusted to me; if, though I have this ministry and have received much mercy, I faint, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If, the moment I am conscious of the shadow of self crossing my threshold, I do not shut the door, and in the power of Him who works in us to will and to do, keep that door shut, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If there be any reserve in my giving to Him who so loved that He gave His Dearest for me; if there be a secret “but” in my prayer, “anything but that, Lord,” then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I become entangled in any “inordinate affection”; if things or places or people hold me back from obedience to my Lord, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

Matthew Henry Commentary on 1 Cor 13

Dying as a Means of Loving, Part 2 - John Piper sermon
If - Amy Carmichael