Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Bells

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play, 
    And wild and sweet 
    The words repeat 
Of peace on earth, good-will to men! 

And thought how, as the day had come, 
The belfries of all Christendom 
    Had rolled along 
    The unbroken song 
Of peace on earth, good-will to men! 

Till ringing, singing on its way, 
The world revolved from night to day, 
    A voice, a chime, 
    A chant sublime 
Of peace on earth, good-will to men! 

Then from each black, accursed mouth 
The cannon thundered in the South, 
    And with the sound 
    The carols drowned 
Of peace on earth, good-will to men! 

It was as if an earthquake rent 
The hearth-stones of a continent, 
    And made forlorn 
    The households born 
Of peace on earth, good-will to men! 

And in despair I bowed my head; 
“There is no peace on earth," I said; 
    “For hate is strong, 
    And mocks the song 
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!” 

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: 
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; 
    The Wrong shall fail, 
    The Right prevail, 
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807-1882
   I've long been familiar with the Christmas carol which uses lines from this poem, but I've only just become acquainted with the poem itself. Written by Longfellow at the height of the Civil War, it hits a bittersweet note, and threatens to end in despondency. After bemoaning the cannon fire rending the country apart, in the penultimate stanza he despairs, "There is no peace on earth... For hate is strong, and mocks the song of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
   That winter as Longfellow sat down to write this poem he had much more than the war to despair of. In 1835, after only four years of marriage, his wife had a miscarriage and died. He remarried in 1843, but lost his second wife after a flame from a candle set her dress on fire. Longfellow attempted to put the fire out, suffering burns to his face in the process, but to no avail. (Eighteen years later, he wrote a poignant sonnet where he called his wife's death the cross that he would always bear.)   His eldest daughter had died several years earlier, and only two years after his wife's death, Longfellow's eldest son ran off without his father's permission to join the Union army. In 1863, this son was hit by a bullet which nearly left him paralyzed. As young Charles recovered in his father's house, Longfellow penned "Christmas Bells".
   That first Christmas after his wife died, Longfellow wrote in his diary, "How inexpressively sad are all holidays." The following Christmas he wrote, "'A merry Christmas' say the children, but that is no more for me." And, then, two years later, in Christmas 1863, he reached deep within to draw consolation and hope from a source outside himself.  After announcing that there is no peace on earth, the loudly pealing bells remind him "God is not dead, nor doth he sleep; The Wrong shall fail, the Right prevail, With peace on earth, good-will to men."
   Longfellow's reminder to remember that God is good is something we all must remind ourselves of, even as the world around us looks bleak and hopeless. As we celebrate the birth of Christ this season, I pray that we take comfort from the hope that God doth not sleep and that right shall prevail.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Friends Chosen for Exile

"From among my books all of Balzac, Anatole France, Victor Hugo, André Malraux, and Romain Rolland had to be laid aside to send out of Germany. All of Norman Angell, Walter Lippman, Sinclair Lewis, Spinoza, Maxim Gorky, and Edna St. Vincent Millay must be relinquished. To the growing heap I must add the poems of Heinrich Heine; Thomas Mann's A Man and His Dog; a score of Mendelssohn's Elijah; and lastly, Lessing's drama, Nathan der Weise.

          I worked quietly, feeling bereft. Before leaving France I had selected carefully when preparing the boxes of books which were to follow me. A gypsy can carry but a limited library. There were my friends, chosen for my exile. Choking back self-pity, I was silent until I came to Nathan der Weise.

          To part with that slim volume seemed more that I could bear without protest. It is a favorite of mine—one of the stories I like best of all the stories men have told.

          ...I laid my banned books into a box, fitting them so that their corners couldn't get broken, putting my favorite in a snug place...

         The servant of National Socialism brought a hammer and new nails, shining as silver, with which he fastened on the lid of the box that must leave the Reich. His steady, relentless blows shook me as if they closed a coffin, their fall beating a funeral dirge for the Germany whose matchless beauty Madame de Staël heralded in De l'Allemagne.

          Is that Germany dead? Or does she lie as Snow White in a trance from eating a poisoned apple?"

~Nora Waln, excerpt, Reaching for the Stars

  Here's another excerpt from the book I'm reading.  Waln lived in Germany from 1934 until 1938, and at this point in the story, when the books she had shipped from France are picked over and weeded out so that they may not enter Germany, it's still only about 1934 or 1935. Waln notes that this black list she's handed of her own books constitute "...that [which] a person wishing to read for culture might use... in purchasing a library, if life had kept him too preoccupied to acquire the necessary education to make his own selection." Interestingly, her collection of books from Asia made the cut: "The works of the liberal Persian poets and the pacifist Chinese political philosophers were not on [the 'black list']. Even German, French, and English translations of their books were allowed to come in."
   It's very obvious that Waln likes the Germans. She writes "I had found in Germany a people of whom I can write unconditionally that they are the most generously kind, the quickest to sympathy, of any people I have yet known..." She was raised a Quaker and she points out, "that in the name 'Friend' the people called Quaker have an ideal set before them..." Perhaps it is this religious background that informs her tone, but in tale after tale of friends being imprisoned, free speech being stifled, and books being banned, Waln manages to still humanize the people around her, to make them eminently likeable.
   I'm fascinated by the things she relates and the way they are all taken in stride by everyone around her. Most of the Germans seem to shrug and say, well, it's for the best. Sure, some raise warning flags, under hushed tones, but are quick to say that they must be careful about what they say lest they be arrested. The question that looms in my mind is how can a people become so subjugated that they quietly (and willingly) accept these sorts of intrusions upon their liberties. It makes me realize how little I know about this period in history. My best guess is that World War I really destroyed the German people in a terrible way, so that when Hitler came into power, they saw not a monster, but a bright ray of hope. How desperate must a people be to submit to such terror!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Rabbits Nibbling in a Field of Clover

"Rabbits nibbling in a field of clover display no corporate concern when a weasel slips in among them. Seemingly their caution is only enough to register brief personal alarm. Individually anxious, the rabbits hastily hop aside from the path the quiet weasel is pursuing towards his selected victim. Crouched in hiding, they are still, heedless to the piteous death cry of their fellow. When the weasel has gone, the remaining rabbits soon present a tableau of contentment on the meadow, a pretty pastel in fawn and green.
   I keep picturing the Germans of my own kind, people privileged to some education, as rabbits. My image would have been truer if I had seen the company of liberals the world over as rabbits of a clover field, myself among them."

~Nora Waln, Reaching for the Stars.

While helping my parents clean out my grandfather's house, I stumbled across the book Reaching for the Stars. It was written in 1937 by an American woman who had moved to Germany in 1934, and is a firsthand account of the attitudes of the German people as they welcomed in their new Führer as Leader and Chancellor of Germany. I'm only in the first few chapters of the book, but so far it's proving a very intriguing read.  I found Nora's analogy of people as rabbits to be both arresting and self aware, and it makes me think how often we all are mere rabbits in the field, turning a blind eye to the weasels amongst us.

The Mystery as a Mystery

"The ancient church mediated on the question of Christ for several centuries. It imprisoned reason in obedience to Jesus Christ, and in harsh, conflicting sentences gave living witness to the mystery of the person of Jesus Christ. It did not give way to the modern pretense that this mystery could only be felt or experienced, for it knew the corruption and self-deception of all human feeling and experience. Nor, of course, did it think that the mystery could be thought out logically, but by being unafraid to express the ultimate conceptual paradoxes, it bore witness to, and glorified, the mystery as a mystery against all reason. The Christology of the ancient church really arose at the cradle of Bethlehem, and the brightness of Christmas lies on its weather-beaten face. Even today, it wins the hearts of all who come to know it. So at Christmas time we should again go to school with the ancient church and seek to understand in worship what it thought and taught, to glorify and to defend belief in Christ. The hard concepts of that time are like stones from which one strikes fire."

~Dietrich Bonhoeffer, excerpt from Letter to the Finkenwalde Brothers Christmas 1939

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Saints out of Sinners

"God creates out of nothing. Wonderful you say. Yes, to be sure, but he does what is still more wonderful: he makes saints out of sinners."

~Søren Kierkegaard, The Journals of Kierkegaard

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Laura in a Bulova Commercial

My bestie from my New York days is in a commercial for Bulova, which gives me a chance to brag on her for a bit.  She was my roommate for years, both in the model's apartment, and then later in Prospect Heights in Brooklyn.  I'm pretty sure that she had this effect on men wherever we went, which was kind of fun, because we never seemed to find any door closed to us.  The two of us had a blast together-- I remember always laughing (Larry, my affectionate nickname for her, is hilarious), and enjoying being twenty-somethings in the city that never sleeps.  Seeing her here makes me nostalgic for those days!

Monday, November 3, 2014

More Recent Work

I spent the evening happily chatting on Skype with my best friend while working on this flier for an upcoming concert of the Newark Symphony Orchestra.  Graphic design work always takes a lot of time for me-- I don't have the training, so I often don't really know what I'm doing, and I don't own the right software either-- but it's usually a pleasurable way for me to pass the time as well once I get started.

As always, if you're in Newark on December 14th, treat yourself to some quality music performed by the NSO and friends!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Good Fortune

There can be something cruel about people who have had good fortune.  They equate it with personal goodness.

~Ann Patchett, The Sacrament of Divorce, Vogue, April 1996

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Jesus Came Into the World to Save Sinners

All my theology is reduced to this narrow compass-- "Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners."

~Archibald Alexander (1772-1851), Presbyterian theologian and professor at Princeton Theological Seminary

Monday, May 26, 2014

Fight Beside, Read With, Argue With, and Pray With Him

When I spoke of Friends as side by side or shoulder to shoulder I was pointing a necessary contrast between their posture and that of the lovers whom we picture face to face. Beyond that contrast I do not want the image pressed. The common quest or vision which unites Friends does not absorb them in such a way that they remain ignorant or oblivious of one another. On the contrary it is the very medium in which their mutual love and knowledge exist. One knows nobody so well as one's "fellow." Every step of the common journey tests his metal; and the tests are tests we fully understand because we are undergoing them ourselves. Hence, as he rings true time after time, our reliance, our respect and our admiration blossom into an Appreciative love of a singularly robust and well-informed kind. If, at the outset, we had attended more to him and less to the thing our Friendship is "about," we should not have come to know or love him so well. You will not find the warrior, the poet, the philosopher, or the Christian by staring in his eyes as if he were your mistress: better fight beside him, read with him, argue with him, pray with him.

~On Friendship from The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

In Sickness and In Health

     A friend posted this on Facebook this morning and it blew me away.  If you don't feel like watching it (although you should-- it's powerful), the gist is that Ian and Larissa met in college, fell in love, and then he was in a car crash that devastated his brain and left him disabled.  Larissa chose to marry him anyway, and the love she shows for him, and for Jesus is haunting.

   For better or for worse.  In sickness and in health.  For richer or for poorer.

   One of the desires of my heart is to be married.  And yet.  As a Christian, marriage must mean something more than finding a companion to pass your days with.  It paints a picture of Christ's (sacrificial) love for his church.  It's a way that God uses to sanctify his people, to conform us more to Christ, to make us holier.

   I recently listened to a speaker talk about singleness.  In it she said something that shocked me.  She said she'd prayed that if it would glorify God the most to remain single then so be it.  She was giving him her singleness.  I've prayed to God that if it glorifies him the most for me to die tomorrow then, well, take my life, and I've prayed that if it brings Him glory to give me cancer or some debilitating disease then he should do as he will.  But this-- this giving up my hopes of being married and being a mother is totally radical to me.

   I'm encouraged by Ian and Larissa's story.  This isn't the marriage that either of them pictured, and yet they're faithful because of their dependence on Christ and what he has done for them.  I pray that God will continue to strengthen and bless their marriage and that the light of Christ will shine through their marriage so that all may see that he is Lord.

   And I pray that God uses my life to bring Him glory as well-- in singleness, in marriage, in my relationships, and in my lifelong walk towards that celestial city.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

[Sonnets are full of love, and this my tome]

Sonnets are full of love, and this my tome
Has many sonnets: so here now shall be
One sonnet more, a love sonnet, from me
To her whose heart is my heart’s quiet home,
To my first Love, my Mother, on whose knee
I learnt love-lore that is not troublesome;
Whose service is my special dignity,
And she my loadstar while I go and come
And so because you love me, and because
I love you, Mother, I have woven a wreath
Of rhymes wherewith to crown your honored name:
In you not fourscore years can dim the flame
Of love, whose blessed glow transcends the laws
Of time and change and mortal life and death.

~Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894

Happy Mother's Day to my first love!  I love you, Gru!!!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Young May Moon

The young May moon is beaming, love, 
The glow-worm's lamp is gleaming, love;
        How sweet to rove
        Through Morna's grove,
When the drowsy world is dreaming, love!
Then awake!—the heavens look bright, my dear,
'Tis never too late for delight, my dear;
        And the best of all ways
        To lengthen our days
Is to steal a few hours from the night, my dear!

Now all the world is sleeping, love,
But the Sage, his star-watch keeping, love,
        And I, whose star
        More glorious far
Is the eye from that casement peeping, love.
Then awake!—till rise of sun, my dear,
The Sage's glass we'll shun, my dear,
        Or in watching the flight
        Of bodies of light
He might happen to take thee for one, my dear!

~The Young May Moon, Thomas Moore, 1779-1852, Irish poet and hymnist

The full moon this month (May 14) is known at the Full Flower Moon, also as the Mother's Moon, the Milk Moon, and the Corn Planting Moon.  The first quarter is on May 6th and the last quarter will be May 21st.

Image scanned by Simon Cooke found on the Victorian Web here

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Begin Afresh, Afresh, Afresh

The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh."

- Philip Larkin, The Trees

Sunday, April 27, 2014

She Shall Not Find Them

Behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths.  And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then she shall say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now.

~Hosea 2:6-7 (KJV)

Praying this for a friend tonight.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

This is Just to Say

I have eaten 
the plums 
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving for 
Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

~William Carlos Williams, This Is Just To Say, 1962

   Earlier this year I started reading a book on apologizing.  The Five Languages of Apology was written by the same guy (Gary Chapman, with Jennifer Thomas) that wrote The Five Love Languages.  In his intro he proposes that many marriages could have been saved if the partners had learned how to apologize to one another.  It seems to be a common problem that even though the offending partner apologizes, the other partner is unable to hear and therefore accept it.  Chapman suggests couples need to learn to apologize to each other in the other person's language of apology.

   I've had a window open on my desktop for about three weeks now.  It's a blog entry that a school teacher wrote about teaching children how to apologize.  In it she suggests that hardly anyone is teaching children the correct way to say they're sorry.  A parent or teacher will say, "Say sorry to your brother," to which the child replies, "Sorry," and that's it.  It reminds me of another saying I heard as a child, "Well, sorry doesn't fix it."  Which is true.  Sorry doesn't fix it.  The blogger writes,
...inside, however... the offended still feels bitter, because the apology was not sincere. And while it may seem like the offender got off easy– not even having to show proper remorse or use a sincere tone–he is actually the one who loses out the most. He not only learns a poor lesson that he can get away with lies and empty words, but does not have the opportunity to experience true reconciliation and restoration of relationships.
   When I read her article, I knew immediately that I wanted to write about it for my own blog.  After all, I've been on the receiving end of these sorry sorrys, and I did still feel bitter because the apology wasn't sincere.  And in fairness, I'm sure my sorrys have been lackluster at times as well.  I'm sure we would all do well to brush up on our ability to say we've done something wrong.  And who knows, maybe it'll save a few relationships as well.

   Here then are her tips on a better way to say you're sorry (I've taken these from her blog and I recommend you surf over there to read her whole article):

1) I’m sorry for…: Be specific. Show the person you’re apologizing to that you really understand what they are upset about. 
       Wrong: I’m sorry for being mean.       Right: I’m sorry for saying that nobody wants to be your friend.

2) This is wrong because…: This might take some more thinking, but this is one of the most important parts. Until you understand why it was wrong or how it hurt someone’s feelings, it’s unlikely you will change. This is also important to show the person you hurt that you really understand how they feel. I can’t tell you how much of a difference this makes! Sometimes, people want to feel understood more than they want an apology. Sometimes just showing understanding– even without an apology– is enough to make them feel better!

       Wrong: This is wrong because I got in trouble.
       Right: This is wrong because it hurt your feelings and made you feel bad about yourself.

3) In the future, I will…: Use positive language, and tell me what you WILL do, not what you won’t do. 
       Wrong: In the future, I will not say that.
       Right: In the future, I will keep unkind words in my head.

Now let’s practice using positive language. It’s hard at first, but you’ll get better. Can anyone think of a positive way to change these incorrect statements? 
       Wrong: In the future, I won’t cut.
       (Right: In the future, I will go to the back of the line.)

       Wrong: In the future, I won’t push.
       (Right: In the future, I will keep my hands to myself.
       Wrong: In the future, I won’t take your eraser.
       (Right: In the future, I will ask you if I can borrow your eraser.
4) Will you forgive me? This is important to try to restore your friendship. Now, there is no rule that the other person has to forgive you. Sometimes, they won’t. That’s their decision. Hopefully, you will all try to be the kind of friends who will forgive easily, but that’s not something you automatically get just because you apologized. But you should at least ask for it.
So, let's see...

Dear Wife,

I'm sorry
for eating
the plums
in the icebox

that you were
probably most definitely
for breakfast

This is wrong
it was inconsiderate of me
to eat them
without asking you first

In the future
I will ask
before I eat
Will you forgive me

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Blessed is the One Who is Not Offended by Me

Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, "Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?" And Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.  And blessed is the one who is not offended by me."

~Matthew 11:2-6 (ESV)

Friday, April 11, 2014

10 Days Until Easter

Yesterday I took a day off, but we're back in business today posting prophecies from the Old Testament  about the coming Messiah and their fulfillment in the New Testament.  Shall we continue right along?

Prophecy: The Messiah would speak in parables
Old Testament: 
Psalm 78:2-4: I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us.
Isaiah 6:9-10: And he said, "Go, and say to this people: "Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.'  Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed."
 New Testament:
Matthew 13: 10-15: Then the disciples came and said to him, "Why do you speak to them in parables?" And he answered them, "Yo you is have been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.  For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.  This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.  Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: ""You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive." For this people's heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.'
Matthew 13:34-35: All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed, he said nothing to them without a parable.  This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet: "I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world."
Prophecy: The Messiah would be sent to heal the brokenhearted
Old Testament: 
Isaiah 61:1-2: The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn...
New Testament:
Luke 4:18-19: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." [Spoken by Jesus in the the synagogue
The Messiah would be a priest after the order of Melchizedek
Old Testament
Psalm 110:4: The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind, "You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek."
New Testament:
Hebrews 5:5-6: So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, "You are my Son, today I have begotten you"; as he says also in another place, "You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek." 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Throwback Thursday

I found this old picture of me while trying to clean up the files on my laptop.  It's a fun photo because it hearkens back to the days when I was a teenager.  I'm guessing I was probably sixteen in this picture, and behind me is the wall of models (and the odd celebrity) that I had painstakingly assembled.  I had decided that I wanted to model when I was about ten years old, a dream that was encouraged when I was scouted on the street at the age of 12.  My parents were not supportive of that dream so it wouldn't be until a decade later that I would get to move to New York City and give it a go.  Lucky for my ten-year-old self that I actually grew up to be pretty tall and fairly thin-- two requirements for the job.

You can also see in the background a page from a coloring book that a friend had gifted me with (I wish I could remember which friend!), an Abbey Road poster (I was obsessed with the Beatles), my Cabbage Patch Kid's birth certificate (Fredrika Henrietta Winnie-- that's the name she came with-- not mine), and a high school poster with the dates of the football games. (I was never into football, but as a member of the marching band colorguard, I was required to attend all of the games.)  The dress was purchased at a thrift store, and if memory serves me correctly, about three sizes too big.  One of my then favorite models, Niki Taylor, whose smiling visage looms over mine in the photo, I got to meet and work with a few years later when I won a modeling contest on MTV.  She was the first celebrity I'd ever seen in real life, and a personal hero of mine, and I remember being so excited about seeing her and getting to talk to her.

12 Days Until Easter

The Old Testament has, some Biblical scholars suggest, more than three hundred prophecies which find fulfillment in the New Testament in Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ.  Here are two that I'm sharing with you today.

Prophecy: The Messiah would be declared the Son of God
Old Testament:
Psalm 2:7: I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, "You are my Son; today I have begotten you.
New Testament: 
Matthew 3:16-17: And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."
Prophecy: The Messiah would bring light to Galilee
Old Testament:
Isaiah 9:1-2: But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish.  In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made the glorious way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.  The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.
New Testament:
Matthew 4:12b-16: ...[Jesus] withdrew into Galilee.  And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles-- the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.
source: Source:


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

13 Days Until Easter

I am counting down the days until Easter-- only 13 more to go-- with Old Testament prophecies about the coming Messiah and their fulfillment in the New Testament in Jesus Christ.

Prophecy: The Messiah would be rejected by his own people

Old Testament: 
Psalm 69:8: I have become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons.
Isaiah 53:3: He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
New Testament:
John 1:11: He came to his own, and his own people did not know him.
John 7:5: For not even his brothers believed in him.
Prophecy: The Messiah would be a prophet

Old Testament:
Deuteronomy 18:15: The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me [Moses] from among you, from your brothers-- it is to him you shall listen...
New Testament:
Acts 3:20-22: ...that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all things which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.
Prophecy: The Messiah would be preceded by Elijah

Old Testament:
Malachi 4:5-6: Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.  And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.
New Testament:
Matthew 11:13-14: For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John, and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

14 Days Until Easter

It's only a fortnight until Easter and I'm highlighting some of the passages in the Old Testament which find their fulfillment in Jesus in the New Testament.

Prophecy: A massacre of children would happen at the Messiah's birthplace

Old Testament:
Jeremiah 31:14: Thus says the Lord: A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping.  Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more."
New Testament: 
Matthew 2:16-18: Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.  Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: "A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.  
Prophecy: A messenger would prepare the way for the Messiah

Old Testament:
Isaiah 40:3-5: A voice cries: "In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.  Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places plain.  And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."
New Testament: 
Luke 3:3-6: And he [John the Baptist] went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  As it is written in the book of the word of Isaiah the prophet, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.  Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God."


Sunday, April 6, 2014

15 Days Until Easter

Tonight we're continuing our look at Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah and how they have been fulfilled by Jesus in the New Testament.

Prophecy: The Messiah's throne will be anointed and eternal
Old Testament:
Psalm 45:6-7: Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.  The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness; you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.
Daniel 2:44: And in the days of those kings by God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people.
New Testament:
Luke 1:33: "And he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." [Prophecy given by Gabriel to Mary before the birth of Jesus.]
Hebrews 1:8-12: But of the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.  You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions." And, "You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; that will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed.  But you are the same, and your years will have no end." 
Prophecy: The Messiah will be called Immanuel
Old Testament:
Isaiah 7:14: Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign.  Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
New Testament:
Matthew 1:22-23: All of this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel" (which means, God with us).
Prophecy: The Messiah would spend a season in Egypt
Old Testament:
Hosea 11:1: When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.
New Testament:
Matthew 2:14-15: And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod.  This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, "Out of Egypt I called my son." [Joseph flees Bethlehem with Jesus and Mary.] 

This is Fun...

A beloved friend of mine, Sierra Sullivan, is featured on the Harper's Bazaar website this week.  It's a bit of a silly story, but it's nice to see her face popping up on the Net.  Surf over to Harper's Bazaar to check it out.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

16 Days Until Easter

A few more Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled by Jesus in the New Testament:

Prophecy: The Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah
Old Testament:
Genesis 49:10: The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
New Testament:
Luke 3:33: ...the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah... [The genealogy of Jesus]
Hebrews 7:14: For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah... 
Prophecy: The Messiah would be heir to King David's throne
Old Testament: 
2 Samuel 7:12-13: When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.  He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. [The Lord to David through the prophet Nathan].
Isaiah 9:7: Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.  The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
New Testament:
Luke 1:31-33: "...And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.  And the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." [Spoken to Mary]
Romans 1:3: ...concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh...

Friday, April 4, 2014

17 Days Until Easter

In the weeks and days leading up to Easter, I'm looking at some of the prophecies from the Old Testament about the Messiah and their fulfillment in Jesus in the New Testament.

Prophecy: The Messiah would be born of a virgin
Old Testament: 
Isaiah 7:14: Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign.  Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel
New Testament:
Matthew 1:22-23: All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel" (which means, God with us).
Luke 1:26-31: In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David.  And the virgin's name was Mary.  And he came to her and said, "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord if with you!"  But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.  And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus..."
Prophecy: The Messiah would come from the line of Abraham
Old Testament:
Genesis 12:3: "...I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." [Spoken to Abraham] 
Genesis 22:18: "...and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice." [Spoken to Abraham] 
New Testament:
Matthew 1:1: The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Romans 9:5: To them [the Israelites] belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

Prophecy: The Messiah would be a descendant of Isaac

Old Testament:
Genesis 17:19: God said, "No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac.  I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him..."
Genesis 21:12: But God said to Abraham, "Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman.  Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named.
New Testament:
Luke 3:34: ...the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor... [the genealogy of Jesus]
Prophecy: The Messiah would be a descendant of Jacob
Old Testament:
Numbers 24:17: I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the forehead of Moam and break down all the sons of Sheth.
New Testament:
Matthew 1:2: Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers... [the genealogy of Jesus]


Thursday, April 3, 2014

18 Days Until Easter

With Easter just around the corner, I thought I'd post each day a few of the messianic prophecies about the Messiah that are found in the Old Testament, and the New Testament scriptures that show that Jesus fulfills those prophecies.

Prophecy: The Messiah would be born of a woman
Old Testament:
Genesis 3:15: I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.
New Testament:
Matthew 1:20: But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 4:4: But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law...

Prophecy: The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem

Old Testament:
Micah 5:2: But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
New Testament:

Matthew 2:1: Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem...
Luke 2:4-6: This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria.  All went to be registered, each to his own town.  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.  And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 


Friday, March 28, 2014

Doubting Thomas

What will be left when I've drawn my last breath
Besides the folks I've met and the folks who know me
Will I discover a soul saving love or
Just the dirt above and below me?

I'm a doubting Thomas
I took a promise
I do not feel safe
O me of little faith

Sometimes I pray for a slap in the face
Then I beg to be spared cause I'm a coward
If there's a master of death I bet he's holding his breath
Cause I show the blind and tell the deaf
About his power

I'm a doubting Thomas
I can't keep my promises
Cause I don't know what's safe
O me of little faith

Can I be used to help others find truth
When I'm scared that I'll find proof that it's a lie
Can I be led down a trail dropping bread crumbs
To prove I'm not ready to die

Please give me time to decipher the signs
Please forgive me for time that I've wasted

I'm a doubting Thomas
I'll take your promise
Though I know nothing's safe
O me of little faith
O me of little faith

Sunday, March 23, 2014


Suppose I say summer,
write the word 'hummingbird,'
put it in an envelope,
take it down the hill
to the box. When you open
my letter you will recall
those days and how much,
just how much, I love you.

~Raymond Carver, Hummingbird

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Avoid Using the Word 'Very'

So avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys - to woo women - and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do. It also won’t do in your essays.

~Dead Poets Society, N.H. Kleinbaum

Thursday, February 13, 2014

To Be Saved By No Other Mean

I pray you all, good Christian people, to bear me witness that I die a true Christian woman, and that I do look to be saved by no other mean, but only by the mercy of God, in the blood of his only Son Jesus Christ: and I confess, that when I did know the word of God, I neglected the same, loved myself and the world; and therefore this plague and punishment is happily and worthily happened unto me for my sins; and yet I thank God, that of his goodness he hath thus given me a time and respite to repent. And now, good people, while I am alive, I pray you assist me with your prayers.

~Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Day Queen of England, in her last words before being beheaded for treason on February 12, 1554.

Yesterday marked the 460-year anniversary of the death of Lady Jane Grey.  I'm not going to write much about her-- she was a Protestant who was put on the throne through the machinations of those sympathetic to the cause of the English Reformation.  Her much older cousin Mary, eldest daughter of King Henry III and a staunch supporter of Catholicism, felt the crown rightly belonged to herself, and thus raised an army and was able to remove Jane from the throne.  Mary appeared to be sympathetic towards her teenage cousin, but when Jane's own father led a rebellion against Mary, Jane's fate was sealed, and it was off to the beheading block for her.  Mary encouraged Jane to convert to Catholicism, which may have have saved her life, but Jane remained committed to her faith until the very end, as evidenced in her last words above.

What I love about what she says is her explanation of and reliance upon the Gospel.  She "looks to be saved by no other mean... but the blood of... Jesus Christ."  She expresses that her actions on earth (loving herself and the world) merit punishment, and yet God in His goodness and mercy has rescued her.  Her words and spirit are noble and confident in God's everlasting mercy even as she looks into the face of death.  She was quite a remarkable woman.

I've been away from my blog for quite some time.  Was it really October when I last posted?  Let's hope that this post is the beginning of me writing again.

And, my sixteen-year-old self would be disappointed with my too-old-to-tell self if I failed to mention that this week also marks the 50th anniversary of the Beatles first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.  Somewhere deep inside is a girl who still loves those mop-top-sporting fellas.