Just a quick post to say that I am alive and well and enjoying my vacation.  Obviously I've taken a vacation from just about everything, and it's been so long I almost forgot how to create a post.  Unfortunately, I am not sure when I will sit down to catch up, but for now I'll leave you with food for thought.  This Christianity Today article on Living Leviticus is worth a read.  I happen to be in Leviticus now so it was a timely reminder that Leviticus holds important revelations of God's character.  I'll tease you with two quotes from the article.

"[Often w]e take God's grace for granted. Because holiness can be difficult, we default to simply admitting we're miserable sinners, get our grace, and then get on with living our lives the way we were going to live them anyway."

"The Law's purpose was never to save anybody. Rather, its purpose was to show saved people how to live a saved life."

Posted by harp on Monday, August 11, 2008 at 4:06 pm | Edit
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I am behind on my book reviews as well as updates, but I’ve started a book that I can’t keep quiet about.  Thanks to Stephan’s IVCF friend for the recommendation and to Stephan for ordering it.  I was immediately drawn in because Chan asks good questions.  The second sentence of the book is “Is the church to be seen as an instrument to accomplish God’s purpose in creation, or is the church the expression of God’s ultimate purpose itself? (p.21)”

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Posted by harp on Saturday, May 3, 2008 at 12:48 pm | Edit
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I get up in six hours for the sunrise service, but I just got back from an Easter Vigil service that lasted longer than two hours and there was no sermon and I’m pumped!  Christ is risen!!!!

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Posted by harp on Sunday, March 23, 2008 at 12:38 am | Edit
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I’ve been working hard all week for the Good Friday service at BCF.  It was a nice service of readings, reflections, prayer and hymns.  I was happy to be asked to play piano.  After all, I said I’d rather do that than organize a group of instrumentalists to accompany the church.  I find that no instrument like a keyboard instrument works well with congregational singing.  That’s the bread.  The rest is seasoning.

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Posted by harp on Saturday, March 22, 2008 at 6:03 pm | Edit
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Some dear friends I respect recommended “The Sacred Romance” and I started it without looking at the authors (a bad habit of mine) and kept thinking “this sounds familiar.”  I must confess to not having read Wild at Heart or Captivated though I’ve heard many opinions about both.  Sure enough the book is by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge (the author/co-author of Captivated).  I was rather disturbed by the beginning of the book but kept going out of respect for my friends.  I am a logical person and one important aspect of logic is that for the conclusion to be true the propositions must be true.  Thus, propositions are terribly important and Eldredge picks some very shaky propositions to base his arguments on, namely, the human heart and its desires.  “The heart is deceitful above all things” and I surely know my emotions carry me places that I ought not to go.  Still, Eldredge concludes with some deep truths about the life and joy God made us for.  If we find truth in the end does it matter how we got there?  The ends do not justify the means, but I wonder if I should not have a bit more humility before our maker who teaches us of His character through all our false ramblings and searchings.  If Eldredge starts out his journey selfishly (and who doesn’t?) but ends in the heart of God, who am I to judge a man in God’s bosom, or even worse, condemn the path that God lead him through?  I can only worry that some readers will follow Eldredge’s propositions and logic and end up in the wrong place – a very wrong place.

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Posted by harp on Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 9:20 am | Edit
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After posting the updates yesterday I spent a good bit of time at Valda’s piano.  What a ministering gift it is to read through songs written by people in various times of trial.  I wept over There Is a Balm in Gilead and of course I thought of Rod singing it (so I can never hear it without misting up).  And I read the words of Be Still, My Soul in a totally new light.  I always liked the tune, but I guess never really saw the words.  The Hymnal for worship and celebration that we use at church only has verses 1,2, and 4 of what the Cyber Hymnal has:

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Posted by harp on Tuesday, October 9, 2007 at 11:04 am | Edit
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It’s a long story, but because of TimI got to thinking about when we should follow Jesus’s example when he warns the spiritual leaders of the day with words such as “brood of Vipers,” “children of the devil,” and “hypocrites.”  Of course I wrote too much for a comment on Tim’s blog and decided to subject you to my musings.  These are musings though they may come across as strong beliefs.  I’m open to thoughts.  Let’s get some more great discussion on spiritual matters like we had going a while back!  (Yes, that was a shameless plug for comments) :-D

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Posted by harp on Monday, October 1, 2007 at 4:37 am | Edit
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My apologies for talking so much about this book before reading it then failing to write about afterwards.  I started notes about it and lost them so I was waiting for them to show up . . .

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Posted by harp on Thursday, September 27, 2007 at 9:36 pm | Edit
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This essay is an attempt to speak calmly about an experience that I just want to rant about.  The subject is important to me, but I’ve challenged myself not to indulge in another rant that will only make my allies feel good and alienate anyone who disagrees.  Feel free to rate my attempt (1-10, 10 best) and leave a comment.

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Posted by harp on Sunday, June 17, 2007 at 10:35 pm | Edit
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Believe it or not, I’m not much of a blogger.  My mother set me up with a blog when I heartlessly decided to abandon her to live in Japan for a year.  I blog for family and a few loyal friends and I read family blogs and check a few friend’s blogs now and then, but that’s because I don’t write many letters and it’s easier for everything to be in the same place.  My mother is more aware of the fads that run within the ‘hip’ blog crowd, like such things are mims or whatnot.  Yet I do follow a few blogs that I randomly came across (okay, so my mother sent them to me).  One (If God is Love) had a post today that I appreciated.  It happens to be a blatant rip from another blog.  I feel a bit of a cheat doing the same thing, but I like it, so I’ll reference a reference to a blog.  At least I’m not filling your inboxes with ten-year-old myths that just won’t die.

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Posted by harp on Saturday, June 9, 2007 at 8:47 pm | Edit
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Praise the Lord my life is in His hands.  Praise the Lord he never gives up on me!  No sooner do I learn about and begin to focus on a new and wonderful teaching of God that I forget something important.  In my recent attempts to release my burdens and abide in the Lord it’s been so lovely to rely on Him in the day-to-day and to watch Him prove so faithful.  My spirit was light and my days were joy to walk yoked with Jesus.  Alas, I turned away and what was left was the knowledge that I’m not walking fully with him and the remembrance of when I did and the guilt that I couldn’t and didn’t want to come back!  My prayers were empty and God was far.  Every task in the day loomed large an ominous before me.  What is wrong with me?

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Posted by harp on Tuesday, June 5, 2007 at 7:10 pm | Edit
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year ago I picked up Mom’s copy of The Heart of George MacDonald to read during our trip up north for vacation with family.  I’ve never been the same.  Snuggled in the bottom bunk of the Maggie P. God spoke to me through MacDonald’s words and opened a channel for the Holy Spirit to work in me.  I’ve been sometimes more and often times less responsive to God ever since.  I decided it was time to reread and remember since I end up quoting his ideas frequently and I can never quite say it the way I mean it.  Where to begin?  I think I might just post quotes here and there as comments to this blog subject when something strikes me, but I don’t have much to add.  I’ll start with a poem.  I think it speaks for itself.

 

Lord, I have fallen again – a human clod!

Selfish I was, and heedless to offend;

Stood on my rights.  Thy own child would not send

Away his shreds of nothing for the whole God!

Wretched, to thee who savest, low I bend:

Give me the power to let my rag-rights go

In the great wind that from thy gulf doth blow.

Posted by harp on Tuesday, June 5, 2007 at 1:29 pm | Edit
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I'm currently reading too many books.  Maybe I'm just avoiding practicing.  In any case I came across this idea in Subversive Orthodoxy by Robert Inchausti.

 "For [William] Blake, a person who is not an artist cannot be a Christian, for the creative imagination is the only vehicle through which love of one's fellow man can be grasped."

I'm not sure what to think of it.  I think imagination is very important for a Christian.  We must be able to imagine alternatives to that which we see around us, but is imagination a vehicle for grasping love?  I'm not even sure what that means.  Unfortunately I can't find the original quote, so it's hard to tell.

Posted by harp on Tuesday, June 5, 2007 at 1:09 pm | Edit
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I am thrilled that my blog has become a lively center for discussion.  Andy’s comment this post which includes thoughts on the words of “Be Thou My Vision” and the ensuing discussion deserves a separate post.  Now I feel like a real blogger!

I wrote here how I’d been singing “thy victory won” the whole time and not “my victory” and shared my thoughts on the theology of both.  The mention of that verse again in my last update was a continuation of my thoughts on the subject.

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Posted by harp on Monday, June 4, 2007 at 10:29 pm | Edit
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I woke today thinking of the character of God.  His faithfulness, his goodness, his sovereignty, his love.  I do so nearly every morning, but this time God blessed me with being able to feel it deep in my aching heart.  I have never doubted it the past few weeks, but the feeling of joy has been elusive, which is unusual for me.  Feelings are fickle, but I am grateful for this moment of rest against my struggles.  My heart is glad and my feet are light.  It’s like a film has been lifted from my soul and I know I am with God.  Tomorrow the struggle might return in fresh strength, but that makes today’s blessing of a peaceful heart all the more precious.  Thanks to all who are praying for me.  Everything is surely in God’s hands!  We are surely able to do that which the Lord calls us to do!

“'That I will,' answered Curdie. He did not say, 'If I can'; for he knew that what he was sent to do, that he could do.” – The Princess and Curdie

Posted by harp on Thursday, May 17, 2007 at 8:37 am | Edit
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