Training in Righteousness
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From the Olney Hymns
On the Spiritual Life
William Cowper

Dear Lord accept a sinful heart,
Which of itself complains

And mourns, with much and frequent smart,
The evil it contains.

There fiery seeds of anger lurk,
Which often hurt my frame;
And wait but for the tempter’s work,
To fan them to a flame.

Legality holds out a bribe
To purchase life from thee;
And discontent would fain prescribe
How thou shalt deal with me.

While unbelief withstands thy grace;
And puts the mercy by;
Presumption, with a brow of brass,
Says, “Give me, or I die.”

How eager are my thoughts to roam
In quest of what they love!
But ah! when duty calls them home,
How heavily they move!

O, cleanse me in a Savior’s blood,
Transform me by thy pow’r,
And make me thy beloved abode,
And let me rove no more. 


How blogging can adversely affect a seminary student

Seminary is teaching me a lot; and not just the course work. It's giving me insight into how I've changed as a student.

In my undergraduate days, there was no social media. There was email, but there was not this continual glut of information screaming for our attention. We could close the newspaper, turn off the television, and have silence. In recent years, though, as I have engaged in blogging and social media, I, like many, have noticed a deficit in my attention span.

This was really brought to my attention this past week as my class discussed wisdom literature. As I read through the class's answers to the reflection question -- which are supposed to be around 200 words -- I found myself getting impatient with those answers which clearly went beyond 200 words. I forced myself to concentrate, because part of this class is interacting thoughtfully with others.

And that brings me to something else I noticed. Just how thoughtful am I? I was in a hurry to get my answer completed, not think deeply. I am more used to blogging, which features a lot of fast responses. Do most people spend a week or more contemplating every blog post? Some do, but judging from the way post after post popped up in the wake of the drama surrounding Douglas Wilson, most often, people post quickly. I have been guilty of that myself more often than I would like to admit.

Critical thinking takes time and effort. It takes silence, too; and not just audible silence, but the kind of silence we get from unplugging for a couple of hours; or days, if necessary.

There is a need for thinking fast on one's feet. I can do that, but I want to be more thoughtful about things. I am glad that there is something which is forcing me to do this.


Thankful Thursday

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and I am thankful...

... for getting my cast off yesterday.

... for the promise of being able to use my fingers again. It hurts at the moment.

... for October skies. I love October.

... for a wonderful trip to La Malbaie, Quebec, which was beautiful.

... for kids who are willing to take care of pets so I can be away.

... for all that I am learning in my seminary class, and how I'm being challenged to think.

... for getting older and realizing how much of my time as a younger woman was spent striving against things and chewing over things that ultimately were not worthy of that much angst.

... for the wisdom of God, ultimately fulfilled in Christ.



Work is not always fun

I'm blogging from the lovely Fairmont Richelieu Hotel in La Malbaie, Quebec. Our hotel is along the beautiful St. Lawrence River. I am doing the "trophy wife" duties for my husband while he attends a convention. Whenever he introduces me to people, he points out my now-tattered cast (which thankfully comes off tomorrow) as a topic of conversation; I suppose, this is living proof that I am worthy of my designation.

This is the kind of event where people do a lot of neteworking. On Sunday night I accompanied my husband to a dinner where our hosts wanted to sell something to my husband's company. The next afternoon at lunch, I attended a similar thing, this time with a different sales pitch. Of course, all of this is mind-numbingly boring for me, but I listened politely.

Last night, we attended a reception and a dinner, which was similarly boring because while I'm thankful for car and home insurance, I don't care to talk about it at all. And while my husband finds it relevant, he is not always keen for the small talk and networking. He is a true introvert, and if he had his way, he would have stayed on the trail where we walked yesterday after his sessions were done.

There are a lot of things about his job my husband does not like. And as we sat at these two sales meetings, I was reminded how much my husband must do that he dislikes in order to care for our family. Some young people today (not all) think work always has to be entertaining; that it must continually be fulfilling. While it's good to enjoy our work, the reality is we may not, but we still must do it. That's where having a servant's heart is important. Developing a servant's heart is good preparation for work, because it reminds us who we ultimately work for, and that is the Lord. We need to do all things for him, and without grumbling. Watching my husband these past few days reminded me of that.


Mourning and Longing

From the Olney Hymns
On the Spiritual Life
William Cowper
Mourning and Longing 

The Savior hides his face!
My spirit thirsts to prove
Renewed supplies of pard’ning grace,
And never–fading love.

The favored souls who know
What glories shine in him,
Pant for his presence, as the roe
Pants for the living stream!

What trifles tease me now!
They swarm like summer flies,
They cleave to everything I do,
And swim before my eyes.

How dull the Sabbath day,
Without the Sabbath’s LORD!
How toilsome then to sing and pray,
And wait upon the word!

Of all the truths I hear
How few delight my taste!
I glean a berry here and there,
But mourn the vintage past.

Yet let me (as I ought)
Still hope to be supplied;
No pleasure else is worth a thought,
Nor shall I be denied.

Though I am but a worm,
Unworthy of his care;
The LORD will my desire perform,
And grant me all my prayer.