Holy Joy

Reading from Matthew Henry's Commentary, Psalm 9:
Holy joy is the life of thankful praise, as thankful praise is the language of holy joy.

"Those that know thy name will put their trust in thee, as I have done, and then they will find, as I have found, that thou dost not forsake those that seek thee." The better God is known the more he is trusted. Those who know him to be a God of infinite wisdom will trust him further than they can see him (Job xxxv. 14); those who know him to be a God of almighty power will trust him when creature-confidences fail and they have nothing else to trust to (2 Chron. xx. 12); and those who know him to be a God of infinite grace and goodness will trust him though he slay them,Job xiii. 15. those who know him to be a God of inviolable truth and faithfulness will rejoice in his word of promise, and rest upon that. Those who know him to be the Father of spirits, and an everlasting Father, will trust him with their souls even to the end.
Question: How well do I know God? Answer: How much do I trust Him?



We went to see the new Disney Pixar film Cars this weekend with my dady. It was cute, witty, and ended up with a good message about life. I recommend it.

Notes on Quotes

Doesn't that sound like a glorified Dr. Seuss book?
The primary purpose of a home is to reflect and to distribute the love of Christ.

The words of Jesus are a stirring reminder to all of us that the pride of birth carried to extreme can be a vortex that sucks us into destructive ways of thinking and living. The rising voice of nationalism has unleashed horrors too numerous to mention. In years of travel, I have been to many places in the world where people think they are superior because of their culture, places like China, the Middle East, Europe, and America. One way or the other, we all think we are the center of the universe because of our place in life. We had absolutely nothing to do with our birth. Jesus did, and He chose a most unlikely city to call home. He was not ensnared by the flimsy and fickle attachments of nationalism.

We have made truth relative and culture supreme and have been left with a world in which wickedness reigns.

taken from Jesus Among Other Gods, by Ravi Zacharias
It is so easy to think of home as a safe haven, a place for me to be insulated from the world, a place I can come to have things my way. Instead, as Zacharias says, I should be thinking of my home as a means to an end, as the tool with which I am privileged to share the Gospel. It should indeed be a safe haven, a place insulated from the trials of life, but not just for me. It should be that for everyone in my sphere of influence. . .a place where Christ's way reigns supreme and there is never fear of embarassment, reprisal, or inhospitality. I think this means I can't be a hermit.
The comments on culture are provocative. It is not exagerration to say that I have always seen patriotism as a godly trait. God, family, country, in that order, deserve our devotion. I think this is a particularly sticky subject for Americans because of our Christian founders. American history is important, not only for national pride, but to discover the godly principles upon which our nation was built. Foreign policy is important, not only for its impact on our country, but because we have responsibilities as a Christian nation. I realize that the nation as a whole has largely strayed from its Biblical roots, yet our culture still shows Biblical influence in areas such as work ethic, equality of persons, etc. It may be that truth and American culture were, at one time, largely intertwined (or were seen that way). I wonder if this is true for many--all?-- countries, if I am again falling to the American ego. What are the responsibilities of a Christian toward his country, in terms of attitude or devotion? Is that answer somewhat dependent on the godliness (or lack thereof) of the country's culture?


Love and Home

I really must update my reading list. Below are several quotes from chapter 2 of the Ravi Zacharias book I, Isaac, Take Thee Rebekah, which I am currently reading.
G.K. Chesterton said these powerful words: "They have invented a phrase, a phrase that is a black and white contradiction in two words--'free love'--as if a lover ever had been, or ever could be, free. It is the nature of love to bind itself, and the institution of marriage merely paid the average man the compliment of taking him at his word."
When two lives meet, they are like two distinct walls. Each has to start by dismantling his or her wall one brick at a time, and then those bricks are taken intact and with other materials used to build a structure with a roof that brings them together at the top. That is the new home.
The playwright Thornton Wilder said it well: "I didn't marry you because you were perfect. I didn't even marry you because I loved you. I married you because you gave me a promise. That promise made up for your faults. And the promise I gave you made up for mine. Two imperfect people got married and it was the promise that made the marriage. And when our children were growing up, it wasn't a house that protected them; and it wasn't our love that protected them--it was that promise."
And here is one from the ever-present, yet nearing-completion, Domestic Tranquility, responding to an quote from Hillary Clinton signifying the modern person's inability to find meaning at the "core level". As my life is, hopefully, now changing from one focused on a occupational responsibilities to one centered at home, I am finding need for some small adjustments in the expectations and habits I've developed over 2 years of being consumed by teaching demands. Statements like this bolster my motivation.
That core meaning is readily apparent to Brunnhilde [representing a woman who finds fulfillment in domestic and familial pursuits] all day, every day, as she nurses her baby, rocks it to sleep, reads to her children, and prepares dinner for her family.

Out of the Mouths of Babes and Children

Amazing how the most "complicated" of issues may be reduced to bare simplicity by those as yet unskilled in the arts of avoidance and prevarication. Read about it "here".


Back from the Backwoods, Part 3

A few final shots. . .
Hopefully you can see the small white butterfly that chose to light on the brim of my hat. It kept flitting down close to my eye (hence the funny squint).

. . .although it seemed to prefer K's hand.

I spotted this garter snake right next to our trail. It pretended we weren't there, although we were less than a foot away. K said the little guy thought he was well-hidden. . .I say he needs to work on his camouflage act a bit.

This water fall was our first major stopping point on the way to our campsite. It's called Abram's Falls (like Abraham before God changed his name, if you ask me; like an Abrams Tank, if you ask K). It was pretty, and wading out in the stream allowed us to see several types of trout and a few crawdads.

Back from the Backwoods, Part 2

Before and After pictures from our overnight backpacking escapade. . .if you can't tell which is which, you don't need to know.

Back from the Backwoods

We've returned from a week-long vacation in the beautiful rolling hills of Tennessee. We stayed near Smoky Mountain National Park, where we spent the better part of 4 days, including 1 night, and from which we secured many lovely pictures. I shall now post a choice few, with appropriate captioning.
These are some flowers growing out of the side of the rocky mountain-top we hiked to on our first day hike.

Here we are, having successfully completed to 4-mile hike to said mountain-top, known as Charlie's Bunion. Now for the 4 miles back to the car. . . .

This little snail was the first of many we saw on the various trails. He was my own personal find.


Old Women

I am enraptured by the image of domestic bliss in chapter 13 of Uncle Tom's Cabin, which opens, after some descriptive detail, with this simple question:
So much has been said and sung of beautiful young girls, why doesn't somebody wake up to the beauty of old women?
Below are a small collection of quotes from the chapter that inspire me:
Her hair, partially silvered by age, was parted smoothly back from a high placed forehead, on which time had written no inscription, except peace on earth, good will to men, and beneath shone a large pair of clear, honest, loveing brown eyes; you only needed to look straight into them, to feel that you saw to the bottom of a heart as good and true as ever throbbed in woman's bosom.
'Thee uses thyself only to learn how to love thy neighbor'. . .'To be sure. Isn't it what we are made for?'
"Mother" was up betimes, and surrounded by busy girls and boys. . .who all moved obediently to Rachel's gentle "Thee had better," or more gentle "Hadn't thee better?" in the work of getting breakfast. . . .
Everything went on so sociably, so quietly, so harmoniously, in the great kitchen,--it seemed so pleasant to every one to do just what they were doing, there was such an atmosphere of mutual confidence and good fellowship everywhere. . . .
Rachel never looked so truly and benignly happy as at the head of her table. There was so much motherliness and full-heartedness even in the way she passed a plate of cakes or poured a cup of coffee, that it seemed to put a spirit into the food and drink she offered.
This, indeed, was a home. . . .

The saying age before beauty rings more truly tonight, taken in a new light. True beauty, the beauty that comes by years lived in godly wisdom, comes age; it does not fade as the onset of inevitable age continues. I fervently desire to live in such a way that I become more beautiful with the passage of time, and, while I know I have much to learn, it comforts me to think that time is at least as much my friend as my enemy in the attempt.