Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Years!

It's New Years eve. Tonight many people, including myself, will be staying up until midnight to say a bittersweet "good bye" to 2007 and a hearty "hello" to 2008. About now, I'm thinking to myself, "It can't be 2008 already! I've hardly blinked and 2007 is almost over." Is this how everyone feels, or is it just me?

So many things have happened this year. I look back and I see the major events that have occurred, from around the world to my hometown. I can see last year's resolutions I managed to keep until maybe February, then failed. I can see joyous times and tragic times; clear times and murky times. Brimming with everything from great (and awful) new movies to crazy presidential campaigning, 2007 has most certainly been a full year.

But what about my spiritual life? Has it been full, or empty? Did I accomplish anything spiritually? Have I grown in Christ at all?

I’m glad to say, that by the grace of God, I believe I have. What about you?

And here, I will fill up blank space with a poem I wrote when I was eleven.

"Another Year"

Another year
Come and gone,
Along with family,
Amongst a throng.
Time flies by
So quickly now.
Here, then lost.
We wonder how.

Another year
Filled with kindness,
Filled with love,
And joyfulness.
Filled with hope,
And hopes to come,
With joyful music—
Pipes and drums

Another year,
One more, one less,
With God’s love
And graciousness.
He loved us so,
He died for us.
We thank Him always
With gratefulness

And so this year
Comes to a close
Time arrives, stays short
And goes.
They don’t return
Unlike the birds.
We can’t describe them all
With words.

So keep the memories
Stored inside.
Relish each detail
From deep to wide.
But never forget our heavenly Father
Who will always be
Our loving Savior.

Another year
To start anew
Thanks be to God
“For all that You do.”

Hey, it rhymes. Gotta give me credit for that.

Have a blessed new year “filled with hope and hopes to come”!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Psalms 27:1

Psalms 27:1
The LORD is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be

Everybody knows this verse. Many memorize it. Why? It's a very simple, elementary idea, but let's dig in anyway.

First, imagine you are outside on a sunny day in July skipping around in a field with your dog, picking wildflowers. [insert happy music here]

Okay, snap out of it.

Now imagine you're in a dark cave. If you have ever been to the Mammoth Caves in Kentucky with all the lights turned off, imagine that. You cannot see your hand in front of your face. You might as well have your eyes closed. This is darkness.

Bringing you back into reality now: Would you need a flashlight on a sunny summer’s day? No. Would you need a flashlight in the Mammoth Caves with the lights turned off? If you want to get out of there alive and unharmed, yes.

So what? I hate to break it to you, but life is not like the first daydream you had. Life is more like the darkness of the Mammoth Caves. It has been this way since Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This darkness is sin. Our lives are as dark as the caves you imagined a minute ago. We live in sin. You wouldn't need a light if there is no darkness, but at the same time, how could you live in darkness without a light? The LORD is my light.

He is our salvation. Again, if there's nothing to be saved from, why would you need salvation? If you are safe, why seek safety? Unfortunately, there is danger, and there is peril ever since sin entered into the world. Jesus said in John 3:19-21 "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by that truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." Ah-ha! It ties into the whole light and darkness thing too. Not only is the LORD our light but He is our salvation from darkness.

The LORD is my strength of my life. Here, "strength" really means "place or means of safety, protection, refuge, stronghold. refuge (of God)" God is protecting me. He's my safety, my refuge, and stronghold. Really now. Of whom shall I be afraid?

With God as my light, my salvation, and my refuge, I can tackle anything! Why, I could live in the Mammoth Caves. (Matthew 19:26, “With men this is impossible; but with God, all things are possible.”)

Let’s go!

Excerpts? xserpts?

Welcome, to "Excerpts". If you're wondering why it is spelled "xserpt" in the URL it is because "excerpts", "excerpt", and "xcerpt" were not available. And I don't like numbers because I can never remember which ones I picked.

Anyway, most (or at least some) of the posts will be excerpts from my journal. That's right, someone in the the twenty-first century still uses pen and paper. What you read here will be a lightly edited version of what I originally scribble down. Most of the editing will be corrections of spelling, grammar, maybe I'll knock out a sentence or two that does not make sense, add a witty thought here and there... maybe I want to change "ligltly edited" to just "edited."

Moving on...

I don't have anything else to say. Shall we get started?