light, words, and lovely things

"'Dear old world,' she murmured. 'You are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.'"

"My feelings are not God. God is God. My feelings do not define what is true. God’s word defines what is true. My feelings are echoes and responses of what I perceive to be the case, and they are regularly lousy, inadequate, half-baked, no-count, misguided, feelings. And when that happens, I gotta get on my face, lift my heart and my hands, and say, ‘God this is in the Bible. Bring my affections into line with it…’We need an impossible thing to happen to us. We need to like what we don’t like, treasure what we don’t treasure, enjoy what we don’t enjoy, be thrilled about things we are bored by. That’s why we need a miracle in our lives. That’s why we need the Holy Spirit. This is daily Christian living: reading our Bible, discovering at the moment as we are reading our Bible that my heart is not in sync with that truth, and then shutting the Bible—or leaving it open—and saying, ‘Fix me! Change me! Alter me! Go down! Kill me if you can, but don’t let me live out of sync with the Bible. Don’t let my heart stay out of sync with the Bible.’ … That’s my battle."
John Piper (via imtheonewithtwoleftfeet)


I’ve been thinking about making this post for a while, and I finally decided to make it.

At a certain point in my life as a pro-choicer, I discovered something: In order to be intellectually honest in my pro-choice thinking, I had to be willing to look around at all of the people I knew—my family, my friends—and be willing to say, “It would be okay if you had never been born.” And I had to be willing to say the same about myself, too.

And I actually was willing to say this. While my mother was pregnant with me, my father tried to pressure her into an abortion, and you know what I thought when I found out? I thought, “She should have gone through with it.” I was a burden; I made everyone’s lives difficult; I wasn’t worth loving or sacrificing for; I didn’t matter. I had so completely internalized this message about myself that finding out that I had almost been killed in my mother’s womb was no big deal. I mean, hey, it would have saved us all a lot of suffering. The cost-benefit analysis seemed perfectly clear: I just wasn’t worth it.

I wasn’t quite so obviously callous in my estimation of other people’s worth, but, had they asked me if I believed that they mattered in any real way—mattered in some way which did not include some reference to my thoughts or feelings about them—I would have had to say no. I would have had to say, “I am overjoyed that you were born because you have contributed so much to my life, and you make me so happy, and I think you’re wonderful, and look at all of the people who love you, but, ultimately, if you had not been born, it would have been okay. At the end of the day, there is nothing necessary about your existence. You are replaceable.” Those were the consequences of my worldview—the worldview which says that each and every child conceived in his mother’s womb is theoretically disposable; the worldview which can talk about “what you have to offer” and how “useful” you are, but can say nothing about the worth of the “useless.”

And I think our society has done a pretty decent job at living out that vision: the Vision of Replaceability. We don’t just treat the unborn this way. We treat the born this way, too. We give up on our spouses when our marriages stop being “useful” contributions to our lives. We give up on our families when the going gets too tough. We give up on our romantic partners when “the spark is gone.” We give up on our friends when we’re not getting what we “need” from them. We’re a culture of quitters. We love when it’s convenient for us. And people are often inconvenient; they demand our time and attention and care; they’re not perfectly suited to our desires the way objects are. So, we objectify them. We pay attention when it suits us and then tuck them away on a shelf somewhere where we keep the rest of our “toys.”

Is it any wonder that we don’t think that we matter? We’ve never seen it. Is it any wonder that many of us cannot even conceive of true selflessness? That the notion that someone might actually want good things for you and might actually not expect anything in return and might actually not just be doing it because “it feels good to do good things” seems so foreign and strange? Should we be surprised? It’s all we know.

And this is the root of the culture of death. This is where death starts. It doesn’t start in war zones or brothels or abusive homes or abortion clinics or execution chambers. Those are its manifestations, but that’s not where death starts. Death starts with people as things. It starts with “you are only as necessary as you are useful.” It starts with “you are not precious; you are replaceable.”

So, we leave ourselves with no resources when we are truly confronted with death. We have nothing real to offer to the suicidal, the eating disordered, the self-injuring, the depressed, the lonely, the abused. Nothing but empty words. We may say, “You are irreplaceable,” but do we mean it? Do we know what it would mean to truly mean those words? I don’t think we do. Not as long as we see each other as “choices,” as “options” in a sea of options. Not as long as we cannot honestly look one another in the eye and say, “It would not have been okay if you had never been born. You belong alive, and you matter, not because of what you do, but because you are you.” 

And for those of us who call ourselves pro-life, that has to mean something. It has to mean that we see people as people; that we treat them like people; that we love them. Maybe the reason that the pro-choice movement so often accuses us of “only caring about fetuses” isn’t all unwarranted hyperbole; maybe they’re responding to the very real lack of true, genuine, selfless love in our society, and maybe we’re all in that battle together. How on earth are any of us supposed to know that that’s possible—that we could matter in that way—unless someone shows us? That’s where the culture of life starts: the moment when we discover that we’re loved.

(via liveasloved)

8 months ago
Oh Love That Will Not Let Me Go - Ascend the Hill

Oh, love that will not let me go 
I rest my weary soul in thee
I give you back the life I owe
And in your ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be

My life is not my own
It’s yours
My life is not my own I know it’s yours

Oh, light that follows all my way
I yield my flickering torch to thee
And my heart restores its borrowed ray
That in your sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be

So light a fire in my heart
And I’ll burn for you
So light a fire in my heart
And I’ll burn for you

Oh, joy, that seeks me through the pain
I cannot close my heart to thee
I trace the rainbow through the rain
And feel the promise is not in vain
That morn shall tearless be

So anoint me with joy
And joyful I will be
So anoint me with joy
And joyful I will be

Oh, cross that’s lifing up my head
I dare not ask to fly from thee
I lay in dust life’s glory dead
And from the ground there blossoms red Life that shall endless be

We will sing: Holy, holy Is the King of Kings
And we will sing: Holy, holy Is the King of Kings
On that day we will sing:
We will join with the angels and we will sing:
We will sing: Holy, holy Is the King of Kings

1 year ago

A little thorn may cause much suffering. A little cloud may hide the sun. Little foxes spoil the vines; and little sins do mischief to the tender heart. These little sins burrow in the soul, and make it so full of that which is hateful to Christ, that he will hold no comfortable fellowship and communion with us. A great sin cannot destroy a Christian, but a little sin can make him miserable….

Christian, what hast thou to do with sin? Hath it not cost thee enough already? Burnt child, wilt thou play with the fire? What! when thou hast already been between the jaws of the lion, wilt thou step a second time into his den? Hast thou not had enough of the old serpent?

Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening
"How do y’all feel this morning?
If I told you how I feel, you would question whether I was even a Christian at all. So don’t ask me that question. Ask me what I know. Ask me what I know. Don’t ask me what I feel about myself. Ask me what I know about God. Ask me what I know about His Word. Ask me what I know to be of verity that can deal with my soul. That’s what I need. Don’t make me sing songs about how I feel. Don’t! These silly repetitive songs again and again, ‘I just want to praise you, lift my hands and say I love you, you are everything to me’. Goodness, at half past eight on a Sunday morning I’m barely ambulatory. I can’t start there. And you want me to say that? I just kicked the dog. I don’t even have a dog. I got in an argument with someone because they took my parking space. I spilled my coffee, I didn’t read my Bible, I’m a miserable wretch, and now you want me to start here—‘how do you feel?’ I feel rotten, that’s how I feel! What do you got for me? The answer, nothing. I got nothing for you."
Alastair Begg

(via inthebloodistand-deactivated201)

"Ah! if we did but love Christ better, my brothers and sisters, if we lived nearer to the cross, if we knew more of the value of his blood, if we wept like him over Jerusalem, if we felt more what it was for souls to perish, and what it was for men to be saved, if we did but rejoice with Christ in the prospect of his seeing the travail of his soul, and being abundantly satisfied, if we did but delight more in the divine decree, that the kingdoms of this world shall be given to Christ, I am sure we should all of us find more ways and more means for the sending forth of the gospel of Christ."
Spurgeon (via stayonthenarrowpath)

(via samji)

"If you can’t see the sun you will be impressed with a street light. If you’ve never felt thunder and lightning you’ll be impressed with fireworks. And if you turn your back on the greatness and majesty of God you’ll fall in love with a world of shadows and short-lived pleasures."
John Piper (via iscl)

(via samji)

"There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind."
C.S. Lewis (via astratos)

(via shonanananana)


‎He had to be God. Why did He have to be God? If He’s not God, He’s not Savior, and if He is a Savior He must be God, because as Jonah says, ‘Salvation belongs to the Lord.’ It comes from the Lord and no one else.

Why did He have to be God? Who but God can withstand the wrath of God and rise again?

Why did He have to be God? He had to give His life away.

I hear all these people saying, ‘Well, God couldn’t find a perfect angel. God couldn’t find a perfect man.’ It wouldn’t have mattered if He’d have found a perfect angel or a perfect man, it still wouldn’t have worked! God came down. God became a man. God. For you. And gave His life away.

Let me ask you a small question. The life that you have: Can you give it away? It’s not even yours to start off with, it’s not inherent in you. It’s something derived. Your life comes from God. Me giving my life away is like me giving your car away. It’s not mine to start off with.

But Christ said, ‘I have authority to lay down my life and I have authority to take it back up again.’ It’s His own.

Paul Washer (via erosion-of-beauty)

(Source: martellopinions, via liveasloved)

"So when the devil throws your sins in your face and declares that you deserve death and hell, tell him this: ‘I admit that I deserve death and hell. What of it? For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction in my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God. Where He is, there I shall be also.’"
Martin Luther (via erosion-of-beauty)

(Source: all-i-need-is-you, via liveasloved)

"I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says ‘Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.’"
Lewis Carroll  (via floriental)

(Source: philo-sofia, via brftofallwrds)

"We can begin each day with the deeply encouraging realization, I’m accepted by God, not on the basis of my personal performance, but on the basis of the infinitely perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ."
John Owen (via samji)

At first sight, joy seems to be connected with being different. When you receive a compliment or win an award, you experience the joy of not being the same as others. You are faster, smarter, more beautiful, and it is that difference that brings you joy. But such joy is very temporary. True joy is hidden where we are the same as other people: fragile and mortal. It is the joy of belonging to the human race. It is the joy of being with others as a friend, a companion, a fellow traveler.

This is the joy of Jesus, who is Emmanuel: God-with-us.

The Henri Nouwen Society (via junelily)

(via samji)

"And when at last you find someone to whom you feel you can pour out your soul, you stop in shock at the words you utter— they are so rusty, so ugly, so meaningless and feeble from being kept in the small cramped dark inside you so long."
Sylvia Plath (via creatingaquietmind)

(via lalalala-lovethis)

"Frodo undertook his quest out of love – to save the world he knew from disaster at his own expense, if he could; and also in complete humility, acknowledging that he was wholly inadequate to the task. His real contract was only to do what he could, to try to find a way, and to go as far on the road as his strength of mind and body allowed. He did that. I do not myself see that the breaking of his mind and will under demonic pressure after torment was any more a moral failure than the breaking of his body would have been – say, by being strangled by Gollum, or crushed by a falling rock."
J. R. R. Tolkien, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (via ringbearerfrodo)

(via shonanananana)