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orion

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Holy, holy is He
Sing a new song to Him who sits on
Heaven’s mercy seat

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Holy, holy is He
Sing a new song to Him who sits on
Heaven’s mercy seat

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing praise to the King of kings
You are my everything and I will adore You

Clothed in rainbows of living color
Flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor strength and glory and power be
To You the only wise King

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing praise to the King of kings
You are my everything and I will adore You

Filled with wonder awestruck wonder
At the mention of Your name
Jesus Your name is power, breath and living water
Such a marvelous mystery

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing praise to the King of kings
You are my everything and I will adore You

Revelation Song, Kari Jobe

In this new year, remember who is in charge. ¬†And who is worthy of praise. ūüôā

happy-new-year

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It seems like someone is conspiring to make me realize how selfish I am. ¬†A blog I subscribe to, Becoming Minimalist, recently had a post I wanted to reblog, called The Antidote to Selfishness is You. ¬†I’m including it below, with my comments.

‚ÄúSelfishness is that detestable vice which no one will forgive in others, and no one is without himself.‚Ä̬†‚Äď Henry Ward Beecher

We live in a world of unquenchable greed and selfishness. We see it all around us. And often lament its existence:

  • We lash out against the greed of politicians.
  • We despise the self-serving culture of corporate greed.
  • We argue against those who spend massive resources pushing their agenda.
  • We protest the selfish motives of many wars and ruling parties.
  • We cry out against the injustice of unnecessary poverty and hunger.

With little or no effort, we recognize the ugly effects of greed and selfishness on our society, culture, and nations. The greed of others makes this world a less pleasurable place to live for all of us. We wish they would change for the sake of everyone. In some cases, we even unify and protest to pressure them to change.

All the while, our personal greed rarely goes challenged. Recognizing the negative effects of corporate selfishness is easy. But identifying our own selfish motivation is more difficult to accomplish. It is, after all, far more painful to discover and admit.

As a result, we rarely recognize how selfishness within us is…

  • contributing to the feelings of jealousy we experience.
  • causing strife in our relationships with others.
  • negatively impacting our relationship with our spouse.
  • motivating so many of the unhealthy decisions we make with our¬†money.
  • preventing us from meeting the apparent needs of others.
  • keeping us from experiencing love, joy, hope, gratitude, generosity.
  • hindering us from finding true contentment.

It is healthy and wise to recognize the greed of our society in which we live. We need voices speaking out against it… loudly. And history will continue to recognize and praise the heroes who took a stand against it. May each of us be bold as we champion society’s selfless pursuits.

But as we do, may we begin in our own hearts. May we never neglect the pursuit of removing selfishness from our own affections. May we strive to consider not only our own interests, but also the interests of others. May we routinely place ourselves in the plight of others. And may we seek to meet their needs with the same effort we seek to meet our own.

The antidote for selfishness is you. And the battle has to begin there.

.

It’s very easy to condemn selfishness in others, and very hard to battle it in oneself. ¬†As if that post weren’t enough (it probably wasn’t, obviously), last night my chapter in the book I’m reading, Daughters of God, was about self-centeredness. ¬†Here are some of the quotes I found especially striking:

You must have things your own way, and unless you do, you are perfectly miserable…you have…but little self-control and do not exercise the strong will you possess to hold in control your own thoughts and your own feelings…you cannot enjoy wholeness of character, which is true sanctification, unless you steadily and earnestly discipline yourself…Get your mind off yourself; be uncomplaining; be cheerful…I entreat of you to hide in Jesus, to be His own true child, walking in love and and obedience to all His requirements, exemplifying in your life the character of Jesus — tender and thoughtful of others, considering them just as good and just as deserving as yourself of conveniences and comforts and happiness…You will never perfect Christian character until you think less of self and have a better opinion of others…Religion ever imparts power to its possessor to restrain, control, and balance the character and intellect and emotions…Every act of ours has its influence on others, therefore every thought and every motive is to be under the control of the Spirit of God…Self is to be crucified, not now and then, but daily, and the physical, mental, and spiritual must be subordinate to the will of God…All the peculiarities given us as an inheritance or acquired by indulgence or through erroneous education must be thoroughly overcome, decidedly resisted…The religion of Christ will bind and restrain every unholy pasison, will stimulate to energy, to self-discipline and industry even in the matters of homely, everyday life…Jesus wants you to be happy, but you cannot be happy in having your own way and following the impulse of your own heart.¬†

–Ellen G. ¬†White, Daughters of God, pp.165-170

And to bring it home, I had just read the above selection for my daily devotions and then got angry at something and took it out on Kent. ¬†It in no way was his fault, and I was petty and mean, and he called me on it. ¬†I spent the day feeling really bad about myself and asking him to forgive me every time I thought of it (which was often). ¬†You would think I would have been able to think of the reading and do better — the worst part was that I did think of it, and thought that I shouldn’t take it out on Kent, and then I did anyway. ¬†I feel like a really horrible person. ¬†I suppose deep down, we all are — the “rats in the cellar” thing from C.S. Lewis — but I guess I usually feel pretty good about myself. ¬†I will have to spend a lot of time praying for help to control my temper and my habit of lashing out verbally.

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born

into wealth

taking riches for

granted

complaining

the food is bland

life is

restricted

“wanna have fun”

no idea what it’s like

to desire

one crumb

to long

for

one taste

no clue

people around me

are starving

for God.

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Look out, Jurassic Park. ¬†This may not be so crazy as you thought. ¬†Scientists have been able to create synthetic bacteria (not that we need any more), and think that now they may be able to synthesize genes from extinct creatures. ¬†This is of interest to them mainly because they can learn more about genes and diseases if they can create their own — control groups, so to speak. ¬†If they can manipulate the more complex parts of a cell, they can “edit out” possibilities until they find what is causing the problem.

This is also of interest because they can build organisms that have the minimum number of genes needed to live, thus (they think) being able to find the organism that “made the jump” from chemicals to life. ¬†Unfortunately they will not be able to create life. ¬†In that respect, they are wasting their research dollars. ¬†The other stuff, the gene manipulation, will be useful in treating diseases, sure (and also possibly misused to create even worse diseases). ¬†But finding the “right combination” to create life? ¬†Impossible without one ingredient.

And God said.

Key ingredient they will never have. ¬†It’s sad that they will spend so much time and money looking to prove something that they cannot because they are not divine. ¬†But maybe they will find something else useful along the way. ¬†One hopes so.

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Faith I Live By, 41

All the paternal love which has come down from generation to generation through the channel of human hearts, all the springs of tenderness which have opened in the souls of men, are but as a tiny rill to the boundless ocean when compared with the infinite, exhaustless love of God. Tongue cannot utter it; pen cannot portray it. You may meditate upon it every day of your life; you may search the Scriptures diligently in order to understand it; you may summon every power and capability that God has given you, in the endeavor to comprehend the love and compassion of the heavenly Father; and yet there is an infinity beyond. You may study that love for ages; yet you can never fully comprehend the length and the breadth, the depth and the height, of the love of God in giving His Son to die for the world. Eternity itself can never fully reveal it. Yet as we study the Bible and meditate upon the life of Christ and the plan of redemption, these great themes will open to our understanding more and more.

No comment. ūüôā

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love

immortal, invisible

intangible

.

we focus on doing

rather than being

fixing

atoning

rather than

abiding

growing

.

like a marriage

he says “let me fix it”

she says “i just need a hug”

our life is wrong

all have sinned

“let me fix it”

but God says

“without Me you can do

nothing”

.

you don’t know

you cannot atone

you cannot change

you cannot chase heaven

you cannot become

like God

.

so we cling

to ritual

rather than relationship

to display

rather than glory

to tangible

rather than

immortal, invisible

intangible

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In the midst of a life of active labor, Enoch steadfastly maintained his communion with God. ¬†The greater and more pressing his labors, the more constant and earnest were his prayers…Communing thus with God, Enoch came more and more to reflect the divine image. ¬†His face was radiant with a holy light, even the light that shineth in the face of Jesus…We, too, are to walk with God. ¬†When we do this, our faces will be lighted up by the brightness of His presence…And those who will be translated at the close of time, will be those who commune with God on earth.

—E.G. White, from¬†Sons and Daughters of God

I read that last night, thinking how much easier it must have been during Enoch’s day. ¬†No money, no computers, out in nature all the time — it must have been so much better then. ¬†Just step out of your door into still-pristine creation and talk to the Creator. ¬†But people were very wicked then, so I’m sure there must have been some sort of similar tugs from ungodly activities. ¬†Enoch was somehow untouched by that. ¬†Maybe because he spent more time with Someone who was more Real than the manufactured happiness we are always looking for. ¬†But the key word there was commune. ¬†That is my biggest problem with having devotions every day. ¬†I read the Bible or other books and pray — at some point, I feel like I’m talking to myself. ¬†Not that I don’t think God listens. ¬†But that I don’t hear Him respond. ¬†It doesn’t seem fair — Enoch, by all accounts, actually talked with God. ¬†I don’t like having a seemingly one-way conversation, so I stop. ¬†Maybe I stop too soon.

When you come to knowing God, the initiative lies on His side. ¬†If He does not show Himself, nothing you can do will enable you to find Him. ¬†And, in fact, He shows much more of Himself to some people than to others — not because He has favourites, but because it is impossible for Him to show Himself to a man whose whole mind and character are in the wrong condition. ¬†Just as sunlight, though it has no favourites, cannot be reflected in a dusty mirror as clearly as in a clean one.

You can put this another way by saying that while in other sciences the instruments you use are things external to yourself (things like microscopes and telescopes), the instrument through which you see God is your whole self. ¬†And if a man’s self is not kept clean and bright, his glimpse of God will be blurred — like the Moon seen through a dirty telescope. ¬†That is why horrible nations have horrible religions: they have been looking at God through a dirty lens.

—C.S. Lewis, from Mere Christianity

This was the second selection I read last night and the juxtaposition of the two was quite interesting. ¬†I had just been thinking that I couldn’t commune with God because I didn’t hear Him talk to me, and so I quit talking to Him. ¬†But then C.S. Lewis said, “Excuse me, but you are not letting Him talk to you!” ¬†It’s true. ¬†I put in the time at my devotions, but I’m checking the clock because I need to go to work or to bed, or maybe I have another book I want to read before I go to sleep. ¬†I don’t spend time thinking about what I read or praying and waiting for an answer, I just go right on doing something else. ¬†Talk about a one-way conversation — it’s one-sided because I don’t let Him get a word in edgewise! ¬†My mind is not in the ‘condition’ to listen to God, so I never hear Him. ¬†Not sure how to get it in the right condition, but starting to listen would be a good beginning.

One last quote to leave you (and me) with:

“God will be to us everything we will let Him be.” — E.G. White, from Our High Calling

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