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Sunday, February 29, 2004

Recent storms in my life have reminded me of this song by Bryan Duncan

Blessed are the Tears

Think of all the times you've fallen victim
All the restless nights you've wrestled through
The closest of your friends abandoned, helpless
They're reaching but they're just not reaching you
You hold no valid thoughts of consolation
The future holds no interest, no concern
The world you love is closing in around you
Clearly now there's nowhere left to turn

Blessed are the tears that fall
Clean the windows of the soul
And usher in a change of heart
And bring a joy that angels know

The time has come to share your well-kept secrets
The hatred and guilt degrading you
I'm sure you blame yourself for all that's happened
This time there's just no way that it's true
You need to know you've got a friend in Jesus
You need to know he felt rejected too
Humiliating pain and unjust treatment
He's been there so he knows what you've been through

Blessed are the tears that fall
Clean the windows of the soul
And usher in a change of heart
And bring a joy that angels know

Blessed are the tears that fall
Wash the stains of life away
Forgiven and forgotten now
A new creation's here to stay

And God will send a merciful Peacemaker
Comforter of all of those who mourn
We'll become the pure in heart, the earthly meek
Enduring misdirected scorn

Blessed are the tears that fall
Clean the windows of the soul
And usher in a change of heart
And bring a joy that angels know

Blessed are the tears that fall
Wash the stains of life away
Forgiven and forgotten now
A new creation's here to stay

Blessed are the tears that fall

-James

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Controversial Mood

Something occurred to me this evening. Only about 4 people have responded to my (admittedly) not-so-earth-shattering blogs since the birth of this new blog (blame Theognome, by the way, for its creation). That in itself is not what bothers me. I take solace in the likelihood that countless brilliant and important people get insight and encouragement as they pass through on their way to their mega-billion-dollar corporate headquarters where they make Wall St. rise and fall, or some relatedly world-shaping position. These folks (if you can call the glitterati, "folks") would like to reply, but they must have just forgotten to have their "people" get back to me.

I understand completely.

So I have to find some other way to stimulate the rest of my vast audience. Thus, I will shed my mild, nay, boring, exterior in an effort to expose my wilder, no-holds-barred, shoot now/ask questions later alter ego. Here goes.

Ahem.

The following are some things that may stir your anger, or cause you to jump from your computer and yell, "You go James! It's your birthday!".

Homosexuality is sin.

Women should not teach men in the assembly of the Church.

Children should obey their parents in everything.

I didn't vote for Ahnold, because he believes in the murder of unborn babies.

Jesus is God, and as such deserves our worship.

Abortion is murder.

Sometimes I like to sing hymns. Other times I like contemporary praise choruses. Yup, like 'em both.

Sex outside of marriage (to the opposite sex) is also sin.

Shorts are ok to wear to church, especially during our SoCal summers.

Stealing is bad. It's also a sin.

The Holy Spirit is God, and as such deserves our worship.

Really, does it matter if Jesus returns before the Tribulation, during the Tribulation, or after the Tribulation? In the grand scheme of things, I'm still spending eternity with Him.

Jeans & tennis shoes on most non-summer Sundays (Well, a shirt, too. A decent one, of course.)

Speaking in tongues? Never seen it. Don't know of any translators, either.

Mary is not God, and as such does not deserve our worship.

Televangelists? All I know is that John the Baptist, who paved the way for Jesus, was told by snivelers of his day that Jesus was getting all the pub. His response? He wanted to decrease, so that Jesus could increase.

Pipe organ? Electric guitar? Harpsichord? Drums? None of the above? All of the above? Honestly, I couldn't care less, 'cause it's all just a piece of our worship as a whole.



There you have it. Controversy. Hot buttons, so to speak.

Tear into me, or agree with my hardcore, cutting edge views. I take all comers.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

A Valentines Day Suggestion

Men of God, I would like to suggest something for you to give your wife or girlfriend. A bouquet of scripture.

Read to her from the Song of Solomon, or encourage her with the book of Ephesians...Actually, if it's in the Bible, it's fair game. But wash her with the Word, and watch her grow (and glow!).

Flowers will die in a couple of days, if you're lucky. But the Word of the Lord lasts forever (longer, even, than diamonds).

Fulfill your duty, men, and show your woman how much you truly love her on this Valentines Day.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

I am still here, just ridiculously buried by school work (assignments, reading, reading, reading, and my favorite: statistics homework). Oh, and some papers and projects too. And my internship/practicum. And my job working at school as a graduate research assistant.

I'm feeling exhausted lately, and it shows in every area of my life...especially my family. Please pray for me, that I receive strength and encouragement in trying times.

Four straight 16 hour days, and more assignments/deadlines added by one of my professors tonight. Sheesh.

I used to run cross-country in high school, and at one time I logged 70-80 miles per week in my late teens and early 20s. I remember 10 milers six days per week, with 15-20 on Sundays, and this feeling is like when you're around mile 10 or so, and realize that you're still miles away from rest.

The pain is no longer localized, but generalized. Your heart rate and breathing rate are high, pounding in rhythm with the pounding of your shoes on the hot pavement. Sun and sweat mix to form a stinging in your eyes, and all you can see are the few feet in front of you as you tell yourself over and over, I will not quit, I will not quit, I will never quit.

There was a particular hill (probably 20% grade, at least) about a mile and a half from my house when I was about 20. It was a very gradual incline to reach the top (5-10% at the most) at the beginning of my run, and much steeper on the other side (the side I knew I'd have to climb on my way back home...16 1/2 miles after I'd begun). For four years I would reach the bottom of the hill, and knew that the next 1/2 mile would make my legs burn as I tried to lift my arms with each step, almost as if to pull myself up by rope.

And each time, I knew that if I stopped to rest anywhere on that hill, the next time I would find easier to stop early. And the next time, sooner. And eventually I'd just shorten my goals altogether. Maybe I'd avoid the run, and keep to the flat city streets.

But one thing I never did during the thousand times I made that run...I never stopped on that hill.

I'm not going to stop now, although I'm feeling the burn, the pain in my lungs, the ache in my arms, and the stinging in my eyes. I can't reach my hands up anymore to wipe my brow. So I'm doing today what got me over that hill 10 years ago. I'm singing hymns.

Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see! All I have needed, thy hand hath provided! Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!

James

Monday, February 02, 2004

This Week's Weather Forecast

I just checked Weather.com, and you know something? God is sooo good to me. He meets me where I am. I can't go anywhere and not see his goodness!

Let me briefly explain. As I told you earlier tonight, my dad's health situation is critical, at best. And to top it all off, when I looked at the weather report for Monday-Tuesday, it called for clouds/showers.

But right on the heels of the coming storm are clear skies and sunshine. Isn't that just like life as a Christian? We've got storms just like everyone else. Including my unbelieving father. The difference is that I know the sun's coming out again to dry up the rain, and warm my face. It will cause everything that's brown and dry here in SoCal to turn green, and give a refreshingly clean and crisp scent that puts man's best air fresheners to shame.

God, you're so faithful to your word. Why you bother with this consistently inconsistent child of yours, I'll probably never quite understand. I am thankful that you do, though.

Thanks for speaking to me through the weather channel. Only you could do that...

Sunday, February 01, 2004

A Prayer Request

My father, who does not know the Lord, is an alcoholic. It nearly killed him 2 years ago, and he seemed to be responding positively to the gospel I had an opportunity (several, actually) to share with him.

But after attending alcohol rehab, and a long physical rehab, he's back to drinking, and I just received news from one of his few friends that he's in very, very bad shape.

He lives in Sacramento, 500 miles north of me, and it makes me feel helpless when he doesn't return my calls or emails.

After praying with Theognome & his family tonight, I see more clearly now that (1) my dad's in God's hands now, and (2) that being helpless and in need of the Lord's complete control over my life is a good thing!

He hasn't answered his phone in days, so my uncle has driven to Sacramento and will check on him. Please pray, first of all, that he's ok. Then, if it's God's will, please pray that he realizes his need for God.

I'm extremely busy (overwhelmed?) with school right now, so the blogs will be short, sweet, and infrequent for the near future. In the meantime, I want to encourage anyone who happens by to get into the Word, as we need to be prepared for the full-fledged battle that is waging all around us. Satan doesn't sleep, but neither does my King, my God, my deliverer.

My real Father.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

I visited the doctor Monday, and here's the verdict: torn right rotator cuff. My doctor told me that he wants to avoid surgery, and gave me shtuff for the pain and an exercise program to follow for 1 month. I then return for an examination, and will find out if surgery is necessary. If so, he'll remove the bursa sac under my shoulder bone (whatever that's called), cut the tendon from my shoulder to my arm..the one that allows you to hold your arm straight out from your side), shave some of the bone off, and then reattach the muscle/tendon to the bone. Finally, he'll stuff that bursa sac back in there & stitch me up. 3-5 months later, I should be good as new!

Needless to say, lob a prayer or twenty for me, please!

Thank you,

James

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