Saturday, December 31, 2011


At the beginning of 2011, I made several New Year's Resolutions. Some of them included things like completing my memorization of the book of Matthew and journalling at least once a week. As with many resolutions, these didn't make it to the end of the year, and I think I know why. I haven't been diligent in managing my time effectively. Sometimes I'll get so busy with some activities—even good ones—that others are set aside or forgotten. It's easy for me, once I've started doing something, to become absorbed in it and not want to stop for anything else. It's good to be able to focus on a task, but I also need to be more organized so that I don't spend all my time doing one or two things and neglect others. If I had had better time management this past year, I probably would have been more successful in keeping my resolutions. So for 2012, in addition to my other resolutions, I've made one new one: I will manage my time in an orderly fashion. I've made a schedule for myself, and I will follow it. If I find that the schedule does not work well for me, or if something comes up that requires me to change my plans, I will not abandon the schedule; I will modify it. In addition, I will make use of spare moments I find, instead of wasting them as I have sometimes done in the past. God is a God of order, and keeping my life in order is one way I can honor Him. And once my time is organized, the other goals I have will be easier to maintain. I'm also planning to start college in the coming year, and having good time management habits will be a valuable asset then, as well.

It's been said that time is money. I think that time is even more valuable than money. Time and money can be exchanged for each other, but there are many things money cannot do that time can. The entire universe, as we know it, exists in time. Time is a commodity that all of us have, and we can choose how we use it, whether to advance God's kingdom, to serve ourselves, or to while away with no real purpose. A new year is beginning for all of us. How will you spend it?

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1–8
Happy New Year!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Give Thanks

Why should we give thanks? No, rather, the question is, Why shouldn't we give thanks? God has done so much for us that we would be most ungrateful not to acknowledge His blessings. If you are reading this right now, you have at least one wonderful, precious gift: life. Even if you had nothing else, that in itself would be enough to warrant everlasting praise to the One who created you and who gave His life so that you could live, both here and eternally. But that isn't all you've been given. Health, family, friends, freedom to worship God as you choose—and these are only a very few of the many blessings you have. I'll leave you to think of more. There are numerous passages of Scripture listing still more reasons we ought to give thanks. Here's just one of them:

Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.
The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.
He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.
The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.
He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.
For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.
As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.
For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.
But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;
To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.
The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.
Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.
Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.
Bless the LORD, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul.

Psalm 103
Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

His Law in Our Hearts

"I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people" (Hebrews 8:10).

"If we will consent, God can and will so identify us with Himself, so mold our thoughts and aims, that when obeying His will, we are only carrying out the impulse of our own minds. Then we shall not desire to carry out unchristian desires; we shall be filled with an earnest determination to do the will of God. We shall not try to work in our own strength, and we shall guard strictly against self-exaltation" (Ellen White, Pacific Union Recorder, February 16, 1905).

Powerful message. Amazing promise. If we will consent. Will you?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Spring Recital

Here are the videos of my spring piano recital last Monday. Not my best performance of either piece, but I've been told that both were beautiful. Enjoy!

Here's the first piece I played: Bach's Invention No. 6 in E Major, BWV 777.

And here's the second: Chopin's Waltz in A-flat Major, Op. 69, No. 1.

Friday, April 22, 2011

For Our Transgressions ...

Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 

 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But He was wounded
For our transgressions,

He was bruised
For our iniquities:

The chastisement of our peace
Was upon Him;

And with His stripes
We are healed

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 

Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 

Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

—Isaiah 53

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Shot Heard 'Round the World

Image from

Today marks the 136th anniversary of the battles at Lexington and Concord, which sparked America's war for independence.

For many years, the colonists had been growing increasingly disgruntled with British infringements on their liberty. They had tried various means, from petitions to protests, in an attempt to influence Parliament and King George III to recognize their rights as Englishmen and cease the unjust and unlawful oppression. But, as Thomas Jefferson would write in 1776, "Our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury." Instead of honoring the colonists' rights, Parliament implemented still greater and more coercive measures, intended to keep the colonies under control. As more British troops were sent to America, the patriots organized to prepare to defend themselves should diplomacy fail. When General Gage, the British military commander in Boston, sent soldiers to capture weapons and ammunition stored at Concord, the colonists were ready. On April 18, the night before the raid was to take place, several riders set out to alert the countryside. Paul Revere is now the most famous of these riders, but several others participated, including William Dawes and Samuel Prescott. By the time the regulars began their march, the militia had been awakened and was mobilizing.

When the British forces arrived in Lexington on their way to Concord, they met about 80 militiamen, led by Captain John Parker, waiting for them. A British officer, probably Major John Pitcairn, ordered the colonists to lay down their arms. Parker told his men to disperse. Both sides had been ordered to hold their fire, but in the confusion that followed, a shot pierced the morning air. To this day, no one is certain who fired the shot. More shots soon followed from both sides. Eight militiamen were killed and one British soldier was wounded. The "Battle" of Lexington was really only a brief skirmish, but it marked the beginning of a war that would change the history of America and of the world.

The regulars reached Concord, where a larger force of militiamen met them. This time the colonists killed and wounded several more of the British. As the redcoats marched back to Concord, they suffered many more casualties from ambushes by groups of minutemen. A small group of men had dared to stand against the might of the greatest military power in the world.

Today, take some time to remember the men who fought and died to make this nation free. Because of their sacrifice, the United States has been a free nation for more than 200 years. Are we prepared to make the same sacrifice, if necessary?

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, April 11, 2011

"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul" (Genesis 2:7).

Try to picture this scene in your mind: God has spent the last six days creating the earth. Throughout the week, He spoke, and it was done. Light, air, land, vegetation, the celestial bodies, birds, fish, animals—all have sprung into existence at His word. Now the world is ready for what is to be its primary inhabitant. God says, "Let Us make man in our image." Does He speak him into existence, as He did all the rest of creation? No. He kneels down in the dirt and patiently, lovingly, shapes and forms a man. One by one, He molds each detail of this masterpiece. He forms him after His own likeness, with the power to think, to reason, to plan, to love—to choose. He fashions the eyes that will perceive fine details and many shades of color, and the hands capable of performing an enormous range of complex tasks. Then, when all is finished, He bends over His creation and breathes into his nostrils. The breath of life—the breath of God—is given to what has until now been mere dust. The man is literally inspired. The perfectly formed lungs inflate for the first time, and then deflate, beginning a cycle that will continue, virtually without interruption, for many hundreds of years to come. The heart begins to beat. The other systems begin their operation. This is no longer an intricate sculpture. This is a living soul. The man opens his eyes and looks into the face of his Creator.

Many people today teach that we are the product of random chance, that we are simply more highly evolved versions of other life forms. But the Bible teaches that we were created. Not only created, but created in a unique way, unlike any other being in the universe. God personally formed us in His own image. That's a subject for deep thought!