Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Stuck In My Head: Glass

This is not a new song, but for the past, oh I don't know, week or so, I've been playing ATB's Made of Glass when I drive.  Ooh, it's such a great driving song, especially night driving.  Similar to Alanis Morisette's Wunderkind, I feel like I'm in a movie when I listen to it while driving in the dark.  I feel l like I should be pondering some great life change or crying silently after some traumatic event.

I'm not normally into trance.  I like the beats but I find whole songs to be too repetitious and...trance-y.  I generally prefer music that wakes me up not puts me to sleep.  This particular song, though, really caught my attention.  Of course it has a nice beat and it does repeat itself some but it never want to fast forward or yell at my stereo to get to the end already.

Also, while being somewhat lyrically opaque, the song paints a a picture of the transience of life.  My favorite lines are "Sometimes life just seems to shatter.  We're all made of glass."  Beautiful.

Well...I don't really have anything else to here, just listen to it.  Oh, and there's no official MV, so enjoy the scenery pictures someone put together.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Heart Food: Endure

"We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ."
-- Thess. 1:3

I like how here there are several external actions that all spring out of the heart.  I like how the work is produced by faith.  It's created by it, a by-product of faith.  It's cause and effect.  So the work would not happen if there weren't faith first.  As James 2:17 says, "In the same way, faith by itself, if not accompanied by action (works) is dead." So faith produces work because it must.  At least, living faith must always produce works.

Then your labor, your effort and toil, is prompted by love.  You have to have some incentive to work.  Most people are motivated by money--that's why they go to work every day.  Or maybe they're motivated by the satisfaction they get from their jobs.  Or maybe they're motivated by the desire to be a good worker.  When we're laboring for the Lord, we need to have a different motivation: love.  We should be driven by our love for God and our love for others.  When you love someone, you genuinely want to help them and do things for them.  Sometimes it doesn't even seem like work because you want to do it.  The Bible tells us that God loves a cheerful giver.  If we're motivated out of love as opposed to guilt or pride, we are well on our way to being a cheerful worker.  I can't say that I'm always motivated by love.  I pray that God would grow love in me so that I would be prompted to work by it.

Finally, endurance.  It can be hard to keep going, keep loving, keep focused, keep praying.  That's something I struggle with.  It's easy to get side-tracked and sit down for a rest.  The Bible tells us many times (Hebrews 12:1, 1 Cor. 9:24, Gal. 5:7, etc.) to run the good race.  We are to throw off distractions and keep our eyes fixed on the prize.  That's not easy!  Something I've learned is that I can't white-knuckle endurance: I can't force myself to love or live a faithful life.  The best way is to focus on Christ, on his beauty, on the way he saved me, the promise of eternity with him, and the joy that comes from this knowledge.  That's how I get the strength to endure.  I pray that this verse would become a reality in my life, that I may work and labor for him, keeping my eyes fixed on him.  

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Whittier Fourth

I had Independence Day off this year.  Hooray!  Rebecca and I decided to visit Whittier, a small town on Prince William Sound.  It's pretty close to Anchorage, only about an hour away, but I'd never been there before.

Welcome to Mordor

The fun thing about Whittier is that you have to go through a tunnel which is only open at certain times so you have to watch the schedule or you might have to stay longer than you wanted.  We had decided to have a picnic, but when I woke up the day was gray and rainy.  We went anyway but decided to have our "picnic" in the car parked in front of a waterfall.

My view from the car

After lunch we wandered around a bit.  The water was exceptionally beautiful, an interesting gray color.  We drove around the town, taking maybe ten minutes, and bought some fudge before heading back to the tunnel.
My mom bought me that raincoat

Maybe old mining junk?

On the other side of the tunnel there's a visitor center for glaciers, and we popped in.

I made a friend

Pieces of glacier floating around



On the way back to Anchorage, we pulled off at a little lake.  In nicer weather, it would be a great picnic spot as well.  The gorgeous water was only marred by a few seagulls floating on its lightly rippled surface.  Dang seagulls. 

That night I joined my small group for games and a cookout.  Looking back on it, I had a very traditional fourth.  Picnic, games, bbq.  The only things missing was the volleyball/baseball and swimming.  Oh, and the fireworks.  They had a firework ban.  I guess you can't win them all.