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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Focus

TODAY'S QUOTES:

MUCH OF YOU
(Steven Curtis Chapman)
[John 3:30 / Galatians 6:14]

How could I stand here
And watch the sun rise
Follow the mountains
Where they touch the sky
Ponder the vastness
And the depths of the sea
And think for a moment
The point of it all was to make much of me
'Cause I'm just a whisper
And You are the thunder and...

[Chorus:]
I want to make much of You, Jesus
I want to make much of Your love
I want to live today to give You the praise
That You alone are so worthy of
I want to make much of Your mercy
I want to make much of Your cross
I give You my life
Take it and let it be used
To make much of You

And how can I kneel here
And think of the cross
The thorns and the whip and the nails and the spear
The infinite cost
To purchase my pardon
And bear all my shame
To think I have anything worth boasting in
Except Your name
'Cause I'm a sinner
And You are the Savior and...

This is Your love, oh, God
Not to make much of me
But to send Your own Son
So that we could make much of You
For all eternity

JOHN 3:30

30He must increase, but I must decrease. [He must grow more prominent; I must grow less so.]

GALATIANS 6:14

14But far be it from me to glory [in anything or anyone] except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) through Whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world!

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When I hear the words to this song, my eyes fill with tears.  They speak so profoundly to my "inner-man" to my spirit, that I am not sure I can adequately express it.

I know that so much of the time, my mind is on the day-to-day busy activities, that I lose my focus.  I forget that it's not all about me... my activities... my obligations...

Editing deadlines, papers to grade, laundry to fold, meals to plan, bills to pay, library books to return, emails to read, comments to post, appointments to keep, Christmas shopping to do...

I know these are important things.  I know it's good to live responsibly and manage my time well.  That's not my point.

My point is, I spend so much of my mental energy on these things... I get out of focus...

When Paul wrote to the church at Colossae, he encouraged the Christians there:

"And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth."                                       

~ Colossians 3:2

And sometimes, this is where my challenge lies.

How do I keep my mind on the higher things, when so much of my activity is down here?

And today, this song reminded me...

"I'm just a whisper, and You are the thunder..."  

"Think of the cross, the thorns and the whip and the nails and the spear, the infinite cost to purchase my pardon..."

"How could I stand here... and think for a moment the point of it all was to make much of me..."

And everything changed........

My prayer today:

Forgive me, Jesus.  I lost focus.  The very idea that You would choose me, love me, save me... that You busy yourself with my steps... 

Even my redemption is not about me.  Instead it shouts aloud Your mercy, Your glory. 

Remind me.  Remind me. 

"I want to make much of You, Jesus.  I want to make much of Your love.  I want to live today to give You the praise that You alone are so worthy of.  I want to make much of Your mercy.  I want to make much of Your cross.  I give You my life.  Take it and let it be used to make much of You." 

Monday, October 3, 2005

For Love of Autumn

TODAY'S QUOTE:

Rather than post a quote, I thought I would share an amazing poem with you.  This poem was written by a lovely and gifted young woman, whose gentle spirit and artistic grace leave me in awe.  I “met” her through my daughter’s xanga, and I so enjoy what she writes. You can find more about her here.

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"The Dawn of Autumn"
© 2005 Kristine Lang

How bright! Dawn wakes with the tremor
Of Autumn’s sleeping whisper –
The taste of his cool breath more dear
Than the memory of Summer’s stolen kiss.
As she stretches her careful arms
Towards her lover in slumber,
Her rigid frame lights with the gleam of a silver dollar
Set against a shimmering blanket of sky.
Night’s shadow hides in fear of the tender gesture –
Darkness found only in the deepening shades of her growing shame.
A lengthened visitor unwelcome, she is,
With striving measures found lacking, at best.
And instead, color floods and fills Autumn’s eyes
As they open to Dawn’s beauty:
Her astonishing and simple grace,
Nearly forgotten, as now is the enemy’s lie.
In their early morning tryst,
There sings a song of familiarity and of hope.
Old lovers meet again under the guise of a new season,
One more welcome and promising than any besides.
Time seems to escape these moments,
Much like it ever does with passion’s return.
And so, they settle their love in the contours of a long embrace –
The horizon of her gentle air and his strong earth as bodies ever entwined.

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To attempt to comment on the advent of the fall season, after such profoundly beautiful imagery seems a daunting task, but I will try:


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He’s coming. I can feel it.


I have had a life-long love affair with Autumn.


As September draws to a close, the temperatures begin to tease me.  The still warm days are occasionally interrupted by a cool breeze, or a chilly evening, --- The problem is that it never lasts long.  Just when I think I might throw open the windows and air out the house…the thermometer creeps up over eighty degrees, and summer lingers.


And though summer hangs around rather longer than she is welcome, I know her days are numbered.  Eventually she will have to sleep, and then Autumn will finally blow in on the breeze.


He will bring me mementos --- all the sights and smells of fall.Wet leaves, logs burning, the scent of rain on the air, hay-rides, county fairs, pumpkins, apple pies, squash and high-school football.  He whispers on the wind, and in my ears I hear… “Look, I’ve set the horizon on fire with red and orange, brown and gold.  There’s a chill in the air, let’s go for a walk."


What is it about the crunch of leaves beneath my feet that makes me feel as though everything is absolutely beautiful?


So I linger in the evenings and watch the sunset.  I shiver slightly, and pull on a sweater as the stars turn on their lights, one-by-one.  I listen to the sounds of fall, and already, it is a bittersweet moment.


Because I know…


Autumn never stays long in Oklahoma.  He floats in on a breeze, plays with my hair, and my heart… He whispers to me of steaming bowls of stew and chili, happy family gatherings and holidays…I almost believe he’s going to stay a while… but in little more than a week he has left me again.


The color fades.


The temperature falls.


Winter begins to announce his arrival, and dear, sweet Autumn slips away when I’m not looking….

 

And still, I love him.

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