Saturday, August 26, 2006

Reflections of His Holiness

This summer I have been teaching the girls in our youth group for Sunday school. We have been learning the attributes of God (not exhaustively or in any specific order), and then doing some art projects to illustrate angles of those attributes. Tomorrow is the last day, and we are having an art show after the church service to show what everyone has made. I am excited about the drawings and paintings that the girls have produced, but even more excited about the thoughts that go through their heads as they are creating them. These art projects can be acts of worship!

I have been thinking about God's Holiness, because that is the last attribute we will cover together. " 'To whom will you compare Me? Or who is My equal' says the Holy One," it says in Isaiah 40:25. And I have to answer, NO-ONE!! No-one is almighty like God. No-one is Eternal like God. No-one is Omniscient like God. No-one is Good like God. No-one is Glorious like God. He is incomprehensible. I reflect on the attributes of God that He displays in His word, and I cannot contain the whole of them!

For instance, last week we studied "wrath" and the story of Soddom and Gomorrah. I had never noticed that when the men are urging Lot to flee at once "but he lingered. So the men siezed him and his wife and his daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out." (italics mine) In the midst of studying the WRATH of God, we see His MERCY! He is altogether unlike anything else.

I love the story in Isaiah 6 when Isaiah sees the Lord and the Seraphim crying "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty; the whole earth is filled with His glory." I can't imagine being Isaiah, shaking and trembling from having his lips touched with the burning coal, most likely lying flat on his face. . . and he hears the voice of the Lord saying "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Because he has seen his Holiness, Isaiah bursts out "Here am I!!!!! Send me!!!"

Monday, August 14, 2006

Capping off the summer

Josh and I just returned from a week with our teens at the headquarters of Child Evangelism Fellowship in Missouri. We had a great week working hard along side the kids!

As you know, I read quite a bit, and this week was no exception. I want to share some of the books I read and things I learned from them.

Let me start with Sold! I sat up half the night reading, and then weeping over this book. It tells the story of a girl in Nepal who is sold by her stepfather into the sex trade and then transported to India. I normally would shy away from a book like that, but it was written for teens, and the author had researched the topic thoroughly, even going so far as to travel to India and interview survivers from the Brothels. I couldn't believe that before I read this book I was totally unaware of this HUGE global issue, and all I wanted to do was HELP! I felt shallow, silly, selfish, gluttonous, rich and conceited. I have been searching ever since to find a Christian organization that specifically targets rescuing girls from the brothels and evangelizing them and teaching them a trade that will enable them to make something with what is left of their lives. I am having a hard time finding such an organization! Is it possible that that is an unchartered mission field?

Then I finished Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper. I cannot recommend this book enough! I finished reading it and wanted to PURGE my life of all the unecessary garbage, and PLUNGE headfirst into adoring and savoring Christ supremely! I could go on forever, putting huge quotes from the book, but instead I will just put one short one: "So I urge you in the name of Jesus, to wake up, and enlarge your heart, and stretch your mind and spread your wings, mount up above your limited life and see the great and thrilling big picture of God's global purposes for the history of the world."

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Endeavoring to do a Proper Review

It has been several days since I finished David Copperfield, so I have had a bit of time to mull it over, consider my overall opinion, and formulate a review. I do not think it would be worth my time to rewrite what everyone else already has written on the topic, but I will try to make a proper review of it (though it will mostly just be opinion).

I will say from the start, that I liked the book. It was certainly not my favorite Dickens (keeping with what I said in an earlier post); Nicholas Nickleby was. It did, however deliver strongly in the character department. Good characters nearly equal good books to me. Anyone who has read any Dickens, or even seen "A Christmas Carol" knows that characterization is Dicken's strong suit. My favorite character was Agnes, the good, calm, patient, loving, "good angel" in David Copperfield's life, the girl who he loved as his sister all the way through the book until the very end, when he realizes his love for her. I highly value books in which there are characters that are perfect, or apparently so, because I believe that we all have a craving inside of us for goodness and perfection -- due to the craving we have for the goodness and perfection of Christ.

I always find a character that I relate with, or see myself as, and it certainly was not Agnes. I felt more like David's eccentric, spinster Aunt Betsey Trotwood, who comes on the scene with a splash. I thought she was going to somehow be the villain, but she actually is David's savior when he is orphaned and his stepfather sends him away to work. Aunt Betsey takes David in (after he has run away to find this aunt he has never met), stands up to his evil Stepfather, and his sister and henceforth devotes herself to his welfare, education and "mothering". (Even though she is not very motherly). She names him Trotwood after herself, and calls him that the rest of her life. She is very strong and outspoken, the strongest good female character I have read of Dickens. She readily advises men as to what to do with themselves, and on the whole everyone respects her and heeds her council. Her husband had left her very early in life, and married another woman, but still has some bit of power over her, because she supports him financially throughout the book. This is something she keeps secret from David until after her husband has died. It is interesting to see that such an independent woman has defects of "an undisciplined heart".

David is an endearing main character. The story is told in first person, so the reader is all too familiar with David's shortcomings and foolishness. Several anecdotes made me laugh out loud -- such as the scene where 17-year-old David is daydreaming about 30-year-old Miss Black, wishing her house could catch on fire just so he can rescue her, and go back in for something she forgot and then die while she is watching. Ha ha! Because you know David's faults (the undisciplined heart chief among them), you can appreciate it so much more as he matures and becomes a wise patron to everyone around him. He is famous and wealthy, but so generous and loving!

David Copperfield was a little darker than Nicholas Nickleby, and lacked a strong underdog character to pour your sympathies upon. I cannot imagine loving a character as I loved Smike in NN, so that may be just as well. Nonetheless, I enjoyed DC as an engaging, not to say, compelling read. In short -- (as Mr. Micawber would say), if you can bear up under several technical and dull passages, endure through a bit of wandering plot and avoid paper cuts from the 806-plus pages, you may find this book quite delightful!