Love Lustres at Calvary

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Calvary Love
'For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.' 2 Corinthians 5: 21

Because it is Easter/Resurrection weekend, I thought it timely to share a beautiful prayer that I came across recently, from the book, Valley of Vision Collection of Puritan Prayers by Arthur Bennett on the Cross of Calvary, and what Christ did and suffered (oh the agony he endured and the weight of sin and God's judgement He bore!) to purge us from our sins, to clothe us with His righteousness and give us everlasting life in Him through death on the Cross. All because of love for you and me! Oh, how He loved us with such love - an amazing love. I pray that you may be blessed by this prayer and in knowing the holiness of our God and in his abhorrence of sin - that He sacrificed His Only Begotten Son, and gave His life in love for you and me.

My Father, 
Enlarge my heart, warm my affections, open my lips,
supply words that proclaim ‘Love lustres at Calvary.’
There grace removes my burdens and heaps them on thy Son,
made a transgressor, a curse, and sin for me;

There the sword of thy justice smote the man, thy fellow;

There thy infinite attributes were magnified,

and infinite atonement was made;

There infinite punishment was due,
and infinite punishment was endured.
Christ was all anguish that I might be all joy,
cast off that I might be brought in,
trodden down as an enemy that I might be welcomed as a friend,
surrendered to hell’s worst that I might attain heaven’s best,
stripped that I might be clothed,
wounded that I might be healed,
athirst that I might drink,
tormented that I might be comforted,
made a shame that I might inherit glory,
entered darkness that I might have eternal light.
My Saviour wept that all tears might be wiped from my eyes,
groaned that I might have endless song,
endured all pain that I might have unfading health,
bore a thorny crown that I might have a glory-diadem,
bowed his head that I might uplift mine,
experienced reproach that I might receive welcome,
closed his eyes in death that I might gaze on unclouded brightness,
expired that I might for ever live.
O Father, who spared not thine only Son that thou mightest spare me,
All this transfer thy love designed and accomplished;
Help me to adore thee by lips and life.
O that my every breath might be ecstatic praise,
my every step buoyant with delight, as I see my enemies crushed,
Satan baffled, defeated, destroyed,
sin buried in the ocean of reconciling blood,
hell’s gates closed, heaven’s portal open.
Go forth, O conquering God, and show me
the cross, mighty to subdue, comfort and save.
- from 'The Valley of Vision'

Music To Inspire!

Monday, 25 March 2013

"Music is an agreeable harmony for the honour of God and the permissible delights of the soul." ~J.S. Bach
I am sitting in the cozy pink bedroom, listening to delightful music on my Spotify playlist and think what I am supposed to write in this dear little blog of mine? It is a truth I feel you may be aware of that this blog has been a bit 'under-the-weather' so to speak due to how schoolwork has flooded me lately with its immensity. It is on my plans to do some slight changes around here in the near future, Lord willing, and also refocus on keeping this blog a happy and healthy and inspiring place to visit. This probably includes things like a new blog design, a reorganization of the different topics I normally write about here on this blog, and an appearance of more thought-provoking posts. But this sort of takes a bit of time and right now I do not have that time - more is the pity! But please do stay patient, and stay tuned to this blog, as I have some little plans :)).

All that aside, I thought to go with a more light-hearted, musical post for today, seeing all the music I've been into lately. It was Mary (no wonder there), who actually brought to my memory rather unintentionally the old blog series I used to do on my blog, Music To Inspire!. Good gracious, it has been a while since I did one of these, hasn't it? But since I have been having a little 'dry spell' with blogging the last few weeks, it seemed like a good idea to share some of the music that I've been listening to with you all, in the hope that it inspires us all! Music is, after all, an amazing spark for imagination both in the blogging and novel-writing sphere. What is Music To Inspire! you might ask? Well, you can find all you need to know about it here, but the gist of it is this: 

Music To Inspire! is a series of posts I started in 2011 where I share in a specific post, hymns and Christian songs, classical music, folk songs and some of my favourite movie soundtracks with you all. Sounds interesting? Well, I hope you'll as thoroughly enjoy those tracks and YouTube music clips as I do, and are blessed as well!

But this time, I've decided to add a little feature to Music To Inspire! You can join in the series yourself by sharing a Music to Inspire! post of your own with your own favourite youtube songs of the month on your blog with a few thoughts on each of the songs. I am quite curious about the melodies that have been inspiring you so please join in with a post of your own and don't forget to simply link back to my post and leave the leave the link of your post on the linky at the bottom of the post so that the posts would go 'round. Enjoy!

'You Raise me Up'

A while ago, my mum discovered this song, 'You Raise me Up' sung by Josh Gobran, and it has become a favourite of mine just as it is to her. According to Wikipedia, the song was originally written as an instrumental piece and titled, 'Silent Story'. Parts of the melody are based on a traditional Irish tune (especially the opening phrase of the its chorus), the Londonerry Air,  which is best known as the usual tune to the 1910 song Danny Boy. It is always interesting to discover the history of some of the music. Nonetheless, I just really love the words of the song, and is such an encouragement in times of trial. 'You raise me up so that I may stand on mountains... I am strong when I am on Your shoulders; You raise me up to more than I can be'. 

'The Sailor and the Mermaid' by the Gothard Sisters

A little while ago, my sisters and I came across the youtube channel of The Gothard Sisters, who are an 'all-female Irish music and dance group from the Pacific Northwest, USA. The three girls (who are truly sisters!) perform and record new Celtic arrangements of well-known traditional tunes and popular songs, as well as their own original compositions from their 6 recorded studio albums.' (just so you'd know I got that above synopsis from their website, The Gothard Sisters). Greta, Willow and Salona are really talented young ladies; each of them started learning the violin when they were really young, then they got into Irish dancing and now play all sorts of instruments and sing as well together in concerts and Festivals across America. They were/are homeschooled which naturally gives them more time to play and sing and be together, and I just love watching them work together as sisters. It is always fun listening and watching music bands that are made up of siblings, particularly three or more sisters (I can so relate to it *grins*), like the Von Trapp Children and these girls are pretty much like them except that they concentrate more on playing music :). They just inspire me so much to pick up my violin and fiddle away, or sing with my sisters! This youtube song above, is actually one of their own compositions and one of my favourites at that; I find it so beautiful and joyful - don't you agree? You can watch more of their songs here

The Hobbit - Misty Mountains (Dwarven Song) Violins - Taylor Davis

You may remember me sharing on a previous Music to Inspire! post some of Taylor Davis' music videos. She's a really beautifully talented violinist who plays passionately and feelingly. I always love listening to her play and learning something new from her on the violin! Well, here is her version of 'Misty Mountains' dwarf song from The Hobbit on the violin. Being quite a fan of the song from the movie, I was so happy that I really loved this arrangement - it carries something of the same depth and mystical beauty that Richard Armitage and the cast gave to the song, I think *smiles*. 

And my dear friends, that's all the songs I've got for today! I could add more, but I thought the fewer the better, because then you'd have the chance to listen and enjoy them thoroughly. So, tell me, are you happy that I brought back Music To Inspire! and do you think I should continue it? If so, please try and  join in Music To Inspire! and leave your link below :). May the Lord Jesus bless you with His loving Presence tonight.

Who Is Riddling With Words? - NaNoWriMo Snippets of Story

Monday, 4 March 2013

"Write the things which you have seen, the things which are, and the things which will take place after this."
Revelation 1:19

via Pinterest
As you may have guessed already, this round of snip-whippets of my writing does not belong to February and does not tag along March either. In fact, it is so ancient in its date (the eleventh month of the year of our Lord two-thousand and twelve to be precise) so as to make me wonder at the credence of my putting it up to share with you all now. Besides, I am working on 'A Love that Never Fails' so why should I be bothering about my old story, correct? True, but when one is in that dubious stage which writer's call 'research' (an immensely gratifying title for those long periods when we writers are too lazy to write), I find that I have very little by way of writing to share with you from my current work-in-progress save for a few photos of an armload of WW2 History books I borrowed recently from the library, and bits and pieces of odd information I have stashed away in my brain about the year 1940, in London England and how life was like during the Blitz, and the German Luftwaffe, etc, etc. Fun stuff! Hopefully all this research will come to fruition in the next round of snippets that I write up (but more importantly, in the novel itself of, A Love that Never Fails!)

Meanwhile, here are some bits and pieces from what I wrote during NaNoWriMo last year in The Crown of Life. Because I have not worked on 'The Crown of Life' for a while, I have been able to revisit it with a different lens than before--a far more objective and vivid one. I now realize that many of scenes that I had been struggling with before I put aside the novel are only really histories of the tale, the back-stories of many of the characters and are nonessential in the sense of actual scenes to the main story. But I am glad I got to write those pieces of history, for though there is a likelihood that those back-stories and flash-backs will not make it to the final draft of the book their history will be mentioned by the characters in the novel itself and give it better depth and meaning. Those 'pieces' have also made me discover many things about the people of 'The Crown of Life', folks like Julius, Flavius, Valerius and Anthea - and the elusive but guilty scapegoat, Consul Apicius; they have heartened me, angered me and surprised me in turns. Flavius and Anthea get special attention in this round of snippets as during the month of November they kept popping up everywhere (hardly fair for poor Claudia and Valerius); but they were a great deal of fun to work with. I have to warn you that a lot of what I wrote that month was melodramatic and side-tracked, a good reminder for me now as I write 'A Love that Never Fails' that usually the first draft is made up of large chunks of rubbish. Still, I hope you enjoy these snippets from 'The Crown of Life': I know, if nothing else, they were at least fun to write!

These November Snippets

'I find it a pitiable thing to see cowardice among high ranking soldiery, especially among my own,' the Consul said. 'I will not abide it.'
- The Crown of Life 

'The hand of death is oft' disguised, Valerius. But like scales that fall from our eyes when truth is revealed as truth, so is the enemy when he is unmasked: a cold skulking caricature of human life he appears—deathless and unpunishable. But you know there is always a weak spot in a dragon’s hide, so the tales say. It can be disguised in diamonds and gold and precious jewels but when pierced and the mask is brought down it will end the dragon-fire forever.' Flavius paused for the measure of a moment. His eyes flickered with a strange gleam. 'He is not deathless,' he mused to himself.
The Crown of Life

Julius remained painfully silent, but he scrunched the scroll within his hand, like one would scrunch a night moth. 
A bitter laugh escaped Flavius’ lips. 'So. We be some plaything, a hare to be caught in a trap. Well am I glad now that Valerius isn't here!'
- The Crown of Life

It was a piece of poetry - a few scrawled letters of ink-black on the papyrus roll that blurred before his eyes. The words seemed to come out at Valerius as obscure images: a silver sea of light, a whisper of something beyond him that seemed to tear down at his former antipathy for the little shop, and the little man and his queer faith.
- The Crown of Life

 'Well, they say a woman in wrath is a dangerous thing—as dangerous a thing as a maddened bull they say...' Anthea said with a laugh that held the force of a hidden dagger. Flavius clenched his fists and could not help agreeing.
The Crown of Life

 Flavius clung to his pewter mug. He seemed distracted, lost in thought and a bitter memory, as a man wandering in a tangled forest with no hope of escape.
- The Crown of Life

The Consul looked at Flavius with a sudden piercing glare of thunder, hail and storm. He seemed in no mood for interruptions or advice, least of all from his young nephew who was the bane of his past and the uneasy threat to his future. 'Do you think I do not know the rumours that fly like feathers among the chickens about my borders, Flavius son of Gaius? Or that I know not the lateness of the hour? I heed everything, but I am not as impatient as you young men... or afraid either,' he added this with a stinging glance at Julius. 'We shall soon see who is riddling with words, as you say, and who is in earnest.'
- The Crown of Life

Anthea stared down critically at her fingertips. The flicker of the candlelight threw a soft white halo about her. Flavius thought she looked terrible and fair all at once. 'Perhaps,' she said slowly, as the though pulling the words from her soul. 'But it matters little to me anymore—what you think of us... of me. You men have become distasteful to me. All of you.'
The Crown of Life

'I'm in no mood for dragon-riddles and hints and clues,' Valerius barked savagely.
- The Crown of Life

'You are cruel,' Flavius laughed at her and the caustic tone dripped from his voice as undisguised as a rag flung over scarlet and purple raiment '...beautiful and cruel as a flaming goddess of old, daughter of Gallus. But are you not my wife and mine that I may cherish and command?'

'I am your wife,' she said and her face seemed to break away from the frozen mask that had cloaked her moments before in a world of ice. She seemed to gaze at him sadly, and he wondered if it was the look of deep regret—for marrying him most likely, he mused—or the look of fathomless pity that he saw wavering flame-like and cold in her copper grey eyes. He could not tell.
- The Crown of Life

'I do not believe in family curses,' Valerius said, dubiously.
            Mirthlessly Flavius laughed back at him. 'Well, I do, for my life is a proof of their existence. And I at least am not superstitious!'
- The Crown of Life

Flavius stretched all of a sudden, and with a deprecating little huff, he shook off his lethargic brooding. 'But now! Tell me, how has it been with you while I wasted away in Gaul? Surely you have not spent all your youth buried in those fat horrid books I’ve seen in the family atrium...'
                    Valerius laughed. 'They are not horrid books, Flavius, and if you call them fat—well, wait till you see the strongbox in my bedroom chamber filled with thick scrolls of such ancient wealth and size you would laugh away the notion that the ones you saw are fat.'
            'Perhaps, perhaps,' retorted Flavius with some heat, 'but I cannot see how they have aided you much in your growing up years save to make you intolerably conceited of your learning and positively stuffy to listen to!'
- The Crown of Life

The Consul slammed his hands on the table, making the eagle-sticks on the board clatter. 'I would have fearlessness in the Twelfth Cohort of the Augusta Legion! Fearlessness and unquestioned obedience. You understand me well enough, Tribune Gallus, do you not?'
- The Crown of Life

Valerius looked into the eyes of his friend, and found that with the passing of those few fleeting seconds, his life had changed. He felt as though he stood on the edge of a precipice. One false step, one wrong move and he would fall - he would traverse beyond recall. Quietly now, almost pleadingly he said, 'Tell me everything, I beg you. He was my brother, Flavius.'
The Crown of Life

Treasuring His Beauty

Sunday, 3 March 2013

This is a guest post I wrote for the blog, 'Not An Average Girl' which I thought to repost on Fullness of Joy: you can view the original post on NAAG's site here.
pinterest via Joy C

Strange how life is. Sometimes it is such an un-conscience thing... living. We go about doing activities and never realize the reality, the splendor and the blessing of living. Sometimes, life feels like a plod, going from one thing to another, struggling, falling and doubting. And there are those times when life is so beautiful and invaluably precious, not because of the outward circumstances (whether good or bad), but because there is that sense of the fragility of life, the beauty of tender moments with loved ones, the sweet companionship of a dear friend, the joys and simplicity of 'ordinary' duties and wholesome pleasures and most of all, that tingling sense of closeness and communion with one's Heavenly Father, that feeling that He is so near; that He is living in us, that feeling of loving companionship and Help during every moment of the day. His Holy Spirit ministering to our hearts and upholding us every moment. That is how every day should be lived, treasuring his beauty and His Presence with us in our lives.

The thing is He is always there, always close to each one of us, always upholding us! Oh, but how often do we realize it? How often do we seek to treasure Him and His Presence in our daily lives? My desire is to cultivate and always keep fresh the love of God, the joy of the Lord and the rejoicing of our redemption in Him, being filled with the Spirit and the Power of His Might. Every day of my life, through good times and hard times--for He is our true joy and delight. May this be, like the Psalmist, our prayer...
One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple. 
Psalm 27:4