Thursday, May 27, 2010

Letter to a Suitor

Here is a poem written by a Miss Procter that exposes the vulnerability of a woman and pleads for men to search their hearts before asking her hand.

Before I trust my fate to thee,
Or place my hand in thine;
Before I let thy future give
Color and form to mine;
Before I peril all for thee,
Question thy soul tonight for me.

I break all slighter bonds, nor feel
A shadow of regret;
Is there one link within the past
That holds thy spirit yet?
Or is thy faith as clear and free
As that which I can pledge to thee?

Does there within thy dimmest dreams
A possible future shine,
Wherein thy life could henceforth breathe,
Untouched, unshared by mine?
If so, at any pain or cost,
Oh, tell me before all is lost.

Look deeper still. If thou canst feel
Within thy inmost soul
That thou hast kept a portion back,
While I have staked the whole,
Let no false pity spare the blow,
But in true mercy tell me so.

Is there within thy heart a need
That mine cannot fulfill?
One chord that any other hand
Cold better wake or still?
Speak now-lest at some future day
My whole life wither and decay.

Lives there within thy nature bid
The demon-spirit Change,
Shedding a passing glory still
On all things new and strange?
It may not be thy fault alone-
But shield my heart against thine own.

Couldst thou withdraw thy hand one day
And answer to my claim
That Fate, and that to-day's mistake-
Not thou-had been to blame?
Some sooth their conscience thus; but thou
Wilt surely warn and save me now.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Throw Ink at the Devil, Andre Seu

Luther once threw a pot of ink at the devil. I am jealous. He lived with a much more intense awareness of the power of unseen forces than I do.

I am a child of the scientific age-- where things are considered to be real if they can be weighed, measured, seen and felt. Everything else is considered a figment of my imagination. And so I am a practical atheist all too often, caught in the schemes of the evil one, unprepared to do battle, too seldom victorious. That is why I am jealous of warrior Luther.

Andre Seu calls herself a recovering materialist. In other words, she is becoming more aware of the unseen forces. She came to speak at Bethlehem Baptist Church. Her lectures called the unseen forces out of hiding. Listen if you want to grow wise.

Looking for a mentor to teach Christian counseling?

Several weeks ago David Powlison came to Bethlehem Baptist Church to speak on Christian counseling. My, oh my! He taught from II Cor. 1 about how people respond to suffering with worldly wisdom (despair, self-pity, revenge, anger, complaining, numbness, coldness, escape in its various forms, depression, self-righteousness, etc.). He then gave Paul's conviction that the intense sufferings in his life were to turn him from relying on himself to trusting in God. Since then I have been evaluating my own responses to pain in my life. Believe me -- I have lots of reason to be humble. And by God's grace I have been more deliberate about turning to God in my pain. Isn't that what the psalmist is doing when he says "The Lord is my refuge and my strength."?

Powlison has two excellent books that would be worth reading carefully and taking notes on: Seeing with New Eyes and Speaking Truth in Love. He says a short definition for Christian counselling is "wise love." If you want to love wisely, enroll in Powlison's class. It can be in your arm chair with a cup of coffee.

Also, the audio is available. Scroll down this Bethlehem Star to "recent audio" and there you will find the lectures that can be downloaded. God be with you and make his church full of people who love wisely.