Friday, March 18, 2011

That Sweet Aroma!

{warning: this is a re-post!... I just love the Mountain Laurel so much!}

"See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves is heard in our land.

The fig tree forms its early fruit;
the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;
my beautiful one, come with me."

-Song of Solomon 2:11-13
In the midst of all the hustle bustle busy-ness of life, a wonderfully poignant aroma catches my attention and reminds me to appreciate the gift of spring. How many days have I been down or frustrated or tired and then this amazing little flower has turned my entire day around? I can't tell you how often God uses the Mountain Laurel to get my attention. It never fails to get capture my senses and shift my attention to the beauty of creation. This scent says, "Look how simple and beautiful I am. None of that other stuff matters. You make things too hard. Just come away with me. Follow me and I will show you what it means to live."
Thank you, Lord, for the Mountain Laurel.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I Arise Today

In honor of Saint Patrick, here is a prayer, often referred to as The Breastplate of Saint Patrick because of its shielding lyrics - for protection on a journey.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,

Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.
I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

Legend says that Saint Patrick would teach the
Irish about the Trinity through the Shamrock.
He would use the shape to help illustrate the
concept of God being three persons in one.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,

Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.
I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me:
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.
I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Temporary Home

Some Scripture pertaining to Lent...

Joel 2:12-17
"Yet even now," declares the LORD,
   "return to me with all your heart,
 with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
   and rend your hearts and not your garments.
Return to the LORD your God,
   for he is gracious and merciful,
 slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
   and he relents over disaster.
 Who knows whether he will not turn and relent,
   and leave a blessing behind him,
 a grain offering and a drink offering
   for the LORD your God?
Blow the trumpet in Zion;
   consecrate a fast;
 call a solemn assembly;
   gather the people.
Consecrate the congregation;
   assemble the elders;
 gather the children,
   even nursing infants.
Let the bridegroom leave his room,
   and the bride her chamber.
Between the vestibule and the altar
   let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep
 and say, "Spare your people, O LORD,
   and make not your heritage a reproach,
   a byword among the nations.
Why should they say among the peoples,
   'Where is their God?'

Matthew 6:16-21
"And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Remember... we are sojourners in this land. It is our temporary home.

1 John 2:15-17
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world— the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Years ago, I dreaded Lent. All I got from it when I was younger was that I had to give up something I loved and fast from eating meat on Fridays. And for a girl who hated fish, it was not much fun.

As I got older and my relationship with the Lord grew, I came to understand the sacrifice a little more.
{click here to learn more about what wiki says about Lent}

But now, after not having really celebrated the season of Lent in a few years (besides the general reflection on my sin and Jesus's sacrifice during Sunday services), I am choosing to celebrate it this year. I don't even know if celebrate is the right term, though Jesus's resurrection is definitely something to celebrate! I have a different outlook on it this year...

We are strangers here on this earth. This is not our eternal home - it's where God has us for now. But sometimes we get so entwined, even enslaved, to it that we absolutely forget who we are and why we are here. And I think the Lenten season is the perfect time to reflect on that and allow God to strip us back down to the creation He intended us to be. And, layer by layer, as He frees us from this world, we see more and more the depravity of our sin and, by comparison, the greatness of our God.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. -Hebrews 12:1-2

I have some shedding to do. I have grown so astoundingly dependent on the things of this world, and it's time for repentance, renewal, and some good quality time with my Father. I am going to take a break from social networking (namely, facebook) and spend much more time digging through His Word and letting Him dig through my heart.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


This week's song is a little more serious... a true expression of the heart.

Faithful - Brooke Fraser

There's distance in the air and I cannot make it leave
I wave my arms round about me and blow with all my might
I cannot sense you close, though I know you're always here
But the comfort of you near is what I long for

When I can't feel you, I have learned to reach out just the same
When I can't hear you, I know you still hear every word I pray
And I want you more than I want to live another day
And as I wait for you maybe I'm made more faithful

All the folly of the past, though I know it is undone
I still feel the guilty one, still trying to make it right
So I whisper soft your name, let it roll around my tounge,
knowing you're the only one who knows me
You know me

When I can't feel you, I have learned to reach out just the same
When I can't hear you, I know you still hear every word I pray
And I want you more than I want to live another day
And as I wait for you maybe I'm made more faithful

Show me how I should live this
Show me where I should walk
I count this world as loss to me
You are all I want
You are all I want