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Thought for the Day

Today was a singing day in chapel, something that I really enjoy and wish were done more often. A song was led that I had never before heard, number 320 in Praise for the Lord: “If I Have Wounded Any Soul.” It is a song in the form of a prayer, and is asking for forgiveness of sins. The first two verses ask forgiveness for various sins that may have been committed unwittingly:

If I have wounded any soul today
If I have caused one foot to go astray,
If I have walked in my own willful way,
Dear Lord, forgive.

As I sang, reading the words and music and directing this prayer towards God, I was somewhat surprised when we came to verse three. The first line made sense, but at first I was puzzled by the second line until it was further explained by the third:

If I have been perverse or hard or cold,
If I have longed for shelter in Thy fold,
When Thou hast given me some fort to hold,
Dear Lord, forgive.

It is not inherently wrong to long for eternity with God, but I believe the song is speaking of those times that we become frustrated with our terrestrial existence and would rather forsake the spiritual work given to us and fly away home before it’s time.

Thinking about this makes me think of an analogy that could be made with finals week. Only one more week remains before school is out for Christmas break, but despite this it has been difficult for me to find motivation to study and work on my projects, since I am longing for it all to be over with already. Although it is unlikely in my case, it is possible that with that mindset, one could neglect their studies in the final weeks of the semester and end up with less-than-satisfactory grades because they spent too much time dreaming about the bliss of Christmas break.

Likewise, if we spend all our time here on earth daydreaming about how beautiful heaven must be, we may not even get there because we neglected to do those things that God has given us to do in order to attain our goal.

So, this is the thought for the day: Let’s get to work! Heaven will certainly be wonderful, and let’s be sure that we are servants and laborers on this earth so that we can enjoy that grandeur someday.

Carrying on the Tradition

QuillThere are many characteristics that could be said to define this time in history, but one that stands out to me in particular is that of communication. In the twenty-first century, more than ever before, much of mankind has access to technology that aids in long-distance communication. We have advanced from the telegraph to e-mail and Facebook, and although telephones are still in use, their functions have been both augmented and changed by the passing of time. We have Skype now, as well as texting and instant messaging. And as the number of ways to communicate through electronic devices increases, I fear that more traditional communication methods are being minimized. Why should I walk down the hall to ask someone a question, when I can just text them? Why write a thank-you note, when there are equally delightful e-cards? Why write letters to your mother back home if you can just call her on your cell phone anytime you like?

Much could be said about electronic vs. written modes of communication, but I want to specifically focus on letter-writing, since this is something that I enjoy and that I am trying to carry on.

It is a tradition, after all. My mother, when she was in college, regularly wrote to her mother out of necessity, I suppose because it was expensive to make a long-distance call home. Some may consider this burdensome–“What? Write whole letters? Calling is so much easier and convenient. I don’t have time to write!” Indeed, at times I feel this way. But letters can provide things that phone calls cannot, nor ever will. My mother today has that entire correspondence between mother and daughter, chronicling that period in her life along with the emotions, questions, and general news about what was going on in their lives. She continued this correspondence even after marriage, although at a certain point it ceased because their physical distance was decreased when our family moved to Fort Worth.

It may also be noted that much of the world’s known history has been preserved thanks to letters that have survived, which tell of events and circumstances that would otherwise have been forgotten forever. Much of inspired scripture also appears in the form of letters. I do not say this because I think that my mundane correspondence will someday be highly regarded by others, but I do think it important for young people to have a concern for preserving their early years in some sort of written form. True, many memories may be preserved (or rather, invoked) by photographs, but letters are a much less superficial type of personal history.

I write letters home not only because it is a medium in which I am comfortable conveying my thoughts and feelings, but also with an eye to the future, knowing that many years hence I will be able to look at these letters and see where I was in life at that time; to reminisce and see how far I’ve come. It is somewhat difficult. Sometimes I want to tell my mother something right that minute, and I am tempted to call her instead of writing, knowing that a letter would take several days to reach its destination. But I want to continue with this tradition, and Lord willing I will write plenty more letters in the future, and have plenty to write about.

Being frugal at Chili's?

Ziphen Central – Seeking Wisdom and Sublimity

After worship this past Sunday, my mother suggested that we eat lunch at Chili’s. My sister had had a hankering for Chili’s chips, and we happened to have a coupon for free chips and queso, so this seemed ample reason to go there. I was skeptical, however. In my mind, Chili’s is one of those restaurants that are very proud of their food, and where you could easily spend $10 just to feed yourself—in other words, it is a place where it is very hard to be frugal, especially if you have a cheapskate conscience like mine.

But we did go, and after a bit of waiting we were seated at a booth, the three of us who were present since my dad is teaching/counseling at a Bible camp this week. We all asked for water (still free at this restaurant, thankfully) and when asked if we wanted an appetizer (she gave all sorts of suggestions) we brought forth our coupon and asked that she bring us some chips and queso. We had already gone over the menu, so we went ahead and ordered our entr茅e: a plate with eight of their new quesadillas. This proved to be enough for the three of us, and we enjoyed the spicy cheese sauce. Read More

Postponing the Rabbits

Ziphen Central – Seeking Wisdom and Sublimity

dsc001101When I set myself to do a certain task—such as, let’s say, clearing off my desk—it usually goes something like this: I turn on some upbeat music, jump right into the job at hand, and attack it with great gusto as I put things in their respective places. But life is never so simple as that, and sure enough I come across something that doesn’t exactly have a place just yet, and I need to make it one. Or maybe I find something on my desk that reminds me of something else I’ve been meaning to do. “Ah! Here’s my bank statement—it’s the twentieth and I haven’t made my budget yet! I should do that right now.” Then one thing leads to another, and after a few hours I find myself with a few minor tasks completed, a desk that still has papers on it, and me thinking “Now where was I…?” Read More