Posts Tagged ‘ christianity ’

Music Monday: Albertine by Brooke Fraser

For the past month, I have been at a cross-roads, struggling to discern my own desire from God’s and my own fear from the Spirit of wisdom. And my decision has only been compounded by my mom’s fears. As I wrote in a previous post, I have had a tendency to identify with my mother, and because of that, I have to a certain extent struggled to become my own person, to become what I would consider fully independent. But that said, I also don’t want to choose one road due to some subconscious desire to rebel or break free.

Maybe all of this would make better sense if I am more explicit. Haha. So, in early April, I received an email about an opportunity to go to Haiti. Of course, I was absolutely psyched! I immediately emailed one of the directors for  more information on the program, but he never answered me back. After a few more inquiries with no replies, I wrote it of as an impossibility and forgot about it. A month later, I received another email about the program from another school department and this time the directors of the program would be visiting to hold a meeting about the program. After learning more about it, I decided I wanted to go! The program is not related to any of my immediate academic interests (health, health care), but would still give me the opportunity to interact with native Haitians, learn about their experiences living in Haiti, and improve my Haitian Creole (very important!). In fact, I’m hoping that 1) independently continuing on in my Haitian Creole textbooks + 2) 3-weeks of practice with native Haitians will allow me to skip the second level of Haitian Creole and go on to the third! (Here’s hoping.) Besides language, it may also help me further develop a non-profit idea that God gave me a few weeks ago.

So when I don’t think about the potential danger, I am so excited to go. I have been able to bring my mom on-board, but I can tell she is still very concerned. But I just don’t want my fear to limit me. I feel like I am so fearful of… everything, practically! And that is no way to live. Since high school, I have had an immense desire to work abroad with communities in extreme poverty. But over the years, I have seen that goal uprooted by fear. My mom has had angst about this goal and has pushed me to consider staying in the US instead. Her reasons are sound:  “There is so much poverty here. People need help here. Why are you running to another country when people in your own country are in need?” Logically, that makes perfect sense to me. But it doesn’t erase the pang in my heart to do something for those abroad. I feel like I need an experience in order to confirm either God’s calling for me to serve abroad or His intention for me to serve populations in the US. I just don’t want fear to usurp the decision and rob me of clarity.

Last night, I shared some of this with an old friend who I haven’t seen in… at least 2 years! We had a wonderful conversation. And I realized how much I have changed as a person through my conversation with her. I am so much more open and talkative now… but I’ll spare you details on that. Maybe for another post 🙂 But, yes… our conversation was so encouraging. She went to Haiti last year and was able to share about her emotional transition to living/working in the country. It was especially comforting to me that she could relate to my expressed desire to have an experience to call my own, one that would positively challenge me to grow and become independent, and one that would give me clarity on where to go from here (international vs. domestic). After listening, she strongly encouraged me to go and embrace this opportunity. When I push the fear aside, I feel that it is the right thing for me to do and I believe that it will be a positive experience for me.

So what does all of this have to do with Music Monday? Well, last night my friend told me about Brooke Fraser’s solo album, Albertine. You brothers and sisters out there may know Brooke from Hillsong United. She’s the front-woman for the songs “None But Jesus” and “Lord of Lords.” Well her solo album is absolutely beautiful and I have especially fallen in love with the title track, “Albertine.” In 2005, Brooke went to Rwanda to work with World Vision. In her visit to a Rwandan orphanage, she met Albertine, a young girl who was orphaned by the 1993-94 Rwandan genocides. This song is a promise to Albertine and this album is dedicated to her.

This song (especially the chorus) expresses my exact sentiments about engaging work in the international community. After learning about disparity, how can you just sit down and do nothing? And in doing nothing, how is your mind not plagued by the truth and how are you not guilted by your unwillingness to do your part to help?

I have a dear friend at school who seems fascinated by my interest in Haiti. Because I have no direct connection to the country, he cannot understand why I feel compelled to help them. Akin to Brooke’s chorus, because I know the history of injustice the country has experienced and know of the extreme poverty that millions of Haitians live daily, poverty that their parents lived and their parents before them, and poverty that their children will have no choice but to endure… how can I not be responsible to do something? I may not have seen this (yet) with my naked eyes, but isn’t the knowledge that it exists enough to be mobilized to do my part?

“Albertine”

I am sitting still
I think of Angelique
Her mother’s voice over me
And the bullets in the wall where it fell silent
And on a thousandth hill, I think of Albertine
There in her eyes what I don’t see with my own

[CHORUS]

Rwanda
Now that I have seen, I am responsible
Faith without deeds is dead
Now that I have held you in my own arms, I cannot let go till you are

I am on a plane across a distant sea
But I carry you in me
and the dust on, the dust on, the dust on, the dust on, the dust on my feet

[CHORUS]

[BRIGDE]
I will tell the world, I will tell them where I’ve been
I will keep my word
I will tell them Albertine

[CHORUS]

I am on a stage, a thousand eyes on me
I will tell them, Albertine
I will tell them, Albertine

Tabs“Albertine” @ UltimateGuitar.com

Hillsong United – “Soon” Lyrics

Such a beautiful song of hope and anticipation of what we children of God have to look forward to experiencing. Come, Lord Jesus, come. And please come SOON!

“Soon”

Soon and very soon
My King is coming
Clothed in righteousness
And crowned with Love
When I see Him I shall be made light again
Soon and very soon

Soon and very soon,
I’ll be going
To the place He has
Prepared for me
Then I stand amazed
My sin forgotten
Soon and very soon

Chorus:
I will be
With the one I love
With unveiled face I’ll see Him
Then my soul
Will be satisfied
Soon and very soon

Soon and very soon
See the procession
The angels and the elders
‘Round the throne
At His feet I lay
My crimes, my worship
Soon and very soon

(chorus)

Though I have not seen Him
My heart knows Him well
Jesus Christ, the Lord, the Lord of Heaven

(chorus)

Soon and very soon

Soon and very soon

NEW ALBUM RELEASE: Hillsong United – [a_CROSS//the_EARTH]: Tear Down the Walls

Hillsong United - Across the Earth:  Tear Down the Walls

YAY!!! I am SO excited! Hillsong United released a new album TODAY! May 26, 2009. I’ve only listened to a few songs, but so far it’s wonderful praise, as we always expect from them! I especially love “Freedom to Live” and “King of All Days.” – “I run to the arms of love” – Ah! I love it! You gotta check ’em out. 🙂

The album is available for download on Amazon or on iTunes.

Or, if you want to listen to the songs before downloading, you can hear all the tracks here: Hillsong United on Hear It First

ALSO – Hillsong United is giving away free downloads of one of their tracks:  “No Reason to Hide” You can also download the chord chart and ringtone 🙂 They email it to you.

I pray you are blessed!!!

Worship of the Day: “Divine Romance” by Phil Wickham

the fullness of Your grace is here with me
the richness of Your beauty is all i see
the brightness of Your glory has arrived
in your presence, God, i am completely satisfied

for You i sing, i dance
rejoice in this divine romance
lift my heart and my hands
to show my love

a deep, deep flood; an ocean flows from you
a deep, deep love; yeah, it’s filling up the room
Your innocent blood has washed my guilty life
in Your presence, God, i am completely satisfied

for You i sing, i dance
rejoice in this divine romance
lift my heart and my hands
to show my love

~ Phil Wickham, “Divine Romance,” Phil Wickham

“What Would Life Be Like?” by Big Daddy Weave

Have you surrendered to Him today?

He made the lame walk,
And the dumb talk,
He opened blinded eyes to see,
That the sun rises on His times,
Yet He knows our deepest desperate needs!
And the world waits while His heart aches
To realize the dream.
I wonder what life would be like if
we let Jesus live through you and me!

“By Your Side” – Tenth Avenue North

God is so good. I’m going through a period of brokenness right now and I really needed this song. I found it randomly last night while listening to a stream of music on Imeem and have had it on repeat ever since! 🙂 I hope you enjoy and are blessed!

why are you striving these days?
why are you trying to earn grace?
why are you crying?
let me lift up your face
just don’t turn away

why are you looking for love?
why are you still searching
as if i’m not enough?
to where will you go, child?
tell me, where will you run
to where will you run?

’cause i’ll be by your side wherever you fall
in dead of night, whenever you call
and please don’t fight
these hands that are holding you
and my hands are holding you

look at these hands at my side
they swallowed the grave on that night
when i drank the world’s sin
so i could carry you in
and give you life
i wanna give you life

and i’ll by your side wherever you fall
in the dead of night whenever you call
and please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
and my hands are holding you

here at my side wherever you fall
in the dead of night whenever you call
and please don’t fight

’cause I, I love you!
and i want you to know!
that I, yeah, I love you!
I’ll never let you go!
No! No!

and I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
in the dead of night whenever you call
and please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
and my hands are holding you

here at my side, wherever you fall
in the dead of night whenever you call
and please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
and my hands are holding you

here at my side
my hands are holding you
oh

Danyew – Full EP Released Today!!! 4/21

Today is a gooood day because today is the day that Danyew released his full EP album! That’s right, 3 more songs. In addition to “Beautiful King,” “Streetlight,” and “Close Your Eyes” (which were all talked about in previous posts), we are blessed with “Closer We Are,” “Nothing Without You,” and “Turnstile.” All 6 songs are on the album:

The newest tracks can be downloaded @ Amazon.com (click the picture for the link) and  iTunes, or you can buy the CD from Family Christian Stores.

Danyew’s newest releases are absolutely great. I am so excited to add them to my music collection. I hope you are blessed by them too!!

A New Take on Emotional Purity

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is a wellspring of life”

– Proverbs 4:23.

A close girlfriend and I were chatting a couple of weeks ago about Godly relationships, singleness, and Christian friendships. When we got to the topic of male-female friendships, she posed an interesting question to me:  “how would you rate your emotional purity in your relationships with male friends?” This was a concept about which I had never heard or thought. I inquired more from my friend, but she encouraged me to search the Word on my own, something for which I am so grateful.

Side-note: I think we need to do this more often with each other. It is so easy to just rely on each other for explanations of the Word, instead of finding the truth ourselves. In encouraging each other to independently meditate on the Word, we encourage growth in our brothers/sisters’ relationship with Christ. Now that is love.

Back on topic: So, in thinking about emotional purity and comparing it to physical purity, I garnered that the basic concept is not revealing too much of your emotional self or fostering too much emotional intimacy with male friends, so as not to raise one’s expectations (for singles) or the temptation (married) for a committed relationship. It seems especially important for women, since we are the more emotional sex. But I’m not going to get into emotional purity for married women in this post… I’m single, so I will mainly address the emotional purity of single ladies (“all my single ladies, now put your hands up!” – sorry. i couldn’t resist, haha).

Not Your Buddy

By chance, I found an article on Boundless.org, which describes the reasons for this purity:  Not Your Buddy. At first thought, this explanation of emotional purity made sense to me, especially given that I had begun harboring some similar concerns in my own life. It made sense to just avoid conjuring any emotions by keeping distance between yourself and guys and not revealing anything too personal to them. However, new clarity came through a discussion with my mom and challenged this notion.

When I described the above definition of emotional purity and how it may be wise to back away from friendships with males, she immediately looked dubious. “I don’t think I agree with that,” she said. “It seems to me like the problem is expectation.” She left it at that, giving me something more to think about on my own. After pondering it for a few minutes, I realized that I agreed with her more.

The real problem isn’t having relationships with guys or even opening up to them. I think guys can teach us women a lot and provide us with different ways of thinking and seeing our situations (and vice versa!). Yet, we say that we should limit our emotional selves regarding our friendships with men because we as sisters can start to expect more from our brothers… and by more, I mean a romantic, committed relationship. We start interpreting their communications as laced with romantic interest and start expecting that they should return our friendliness and interest with an advancement toward a relationship. I have personal experience of this. I know, I’ve done it too. But I would encourage you to consider what is going on in this case… to consider how we as ladies may be contributing to this potentially hurtful situations with our expectations.

It seems like we ladies are always one step ahead of ourselves. If we have something good, we wonder what the next step will be and try to put a rush order on getting there, rather than enjoying where we are and what we have now. And even as the Boundless article said:

“You never have to wonder if your brother is romantically interested in you”

… because, being a Godly man, if he’s interested in you, He would let you know. So what are we doing by feeding our expectations and getting frustrated when the guy in mind doesn’t fulfill them? If he hasn’t explicitly expressed his interest, then that means he’s not interested in that way. <– now, there may be aberrations to this if we consider the shy guys who are too afraid to be open and blunt with the girl they’re interested in, but that’s more than I care to get into right now.

To further this point about the danger of expectation, I would encourage you to think about our female-female relationships. Oftentimes, when we become close to another female, spend more one-on-one time with her, and reveal more about ourselves to her, what do we begin to develop? It’s the same deal here:  Expectations. Oftentimes, we ladies find ourselves hoping that she’ll call so we can chat or disappointed when she doesn’t pick up because we have something from our day that we’d like to share about. We expect her to make time for us when we need her, or hang out with us, and are a little disappointed when she can’t. Expectation also arises in the development of a close, female friendship, not just something that we must face in our friendships with men.

I guess I just can’t help but think that we are restricting ourselves from what could be a spiritually beneficial relationship just because the person we would share it with is of the opposite sex. Must the rules really be different just because he is male? I think it is better that we recognize our tendency to expect more than we have and challenge ourselves to grow emotionally and spiritually.

And if you find yourself developing expectations or confused by his behavior with you, then you should be mature about it and talk about it with him. If he’s a brother in the Lord, I would think that your feelings would be important to him and that he would be more than willing to curb his actions in a way that wouldn’t suggest that he wants more than a friendship. I know, I know. “Easier said than done.” Trust me, I realize that. But I just have a hard time accepting the easy way out of avoiding meaningful spiritual relationships with men altogether. I think we as Christians should strive to harness our own weaknesses and grow beyond our faults.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is a wellspring of life”

– Proverbs 4:23.

This verse is often quoted as a defense for the first definition of emotional purity that I shared at the beginning of this post. However, I think this verse can also be interpreted as a warning to guard our hearts from ourselves and our own actions. How are you contributing to your heart’s unhappiness and vulnerability? Why are we so quick to point the finger?

When I continued this talk with my mom, she said something to me that stuck out. I really want to adopt this type of living for myself:

“Don’t expect more. Only give more. If you give without expecting return, then your giving is great and you are never disappointed. Because the only person you can control is yourself.” ~ Mommy 🙂

There is joy in giving, and only disappointment and dissatisfaction in expecting. Only you have the power to control your mind, your will, your emotions, and your worldview. We must be constantly striving to place these things in the Lord. He is the only One from which we should expect anything because He is the only One who cannot disappoint us.

How are you seeing your situation? How are you approaching your male-female relationships? What changes can you make within yourself to improve them?

And yes, I realize this may sound idealistic to many. We are human and therefore fallible. But what are we doing when we use that as a crutch? When we focus too much on our flesh, we face the danger of using the fact that we are not perfect as an excuse for not trying to live up to a higher standard. In striving to be like Jesus, are we not aiming for perfection? This is the same thing. And like I wrote in another post, when you focus on the limiting factor, that’s the thing toward which you begin gravitate. So I will set my eyes on the Lord and focus my sights, and thus the direction and movement of my whole being, on His ideals and on becoming the person that He says I am in Him.

But by all means, I am not an expert on emotional purity. These are just thoughts of mine and I would love to hear your views as well! I’m always open to differing perspectives.

4/15 – Today, I found a blog post on Emotional Purity by a fellow wordpresser, Dan. I thought it was excellent! I totally agreed with his emphasis on having self-control. You might want to check it out:  Sparky Danny Man’s Take on Emotional Purity

A Simple Prayer

Lord, please keep me strong and steadfast on the path You have predestined for me. I don’t know where You’re taking me, but God, I place my trust in You. Let me not yield to former childish ways, nor the limiting thoughts that once constricted my perception. Holy Spirit, minister to me, edify me, remind me of my path. And remove my focus from any thing, person, etc. that may threaten to take me off it. Father, I pray, please remove my confusion and replace it with a resounding clarity and peace in You. Amen.

Resurrection Sunday, Resurrection Everyday

It is so appropriate that in this week’s Bible study, we went through 1 Corinthians 15:35-58. I was so blessed by verses 35-38, which state:

35But someone may ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” 36How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38But God gives it a body as He has determined, and to each kind of seed He gives its own body.”

This signifies that resurrection is alive and is a process manifested in our lives. A seed does not become a plant instantaneously. No, rather it first must die, and then must undergo a growing process before it sprouts from the earth in its plant form. It is the same for us. We  still in our original form:  our natural bodies. So we must be like the seed and die to our sinfulness and resurrect a spiritual lifestyle. Just as Christ’s sin-filled body on the cross died and resurrected to its spiritual form, we must strive to die to our sinful nature and live His will in our lives. This resurrection is a process because we must do this everyday. We must daily remember Christ’s sacrifice and strive to live such sacrifice in our own lives.

Thus, I would encourage you to use Resurrection Sunday as a day to:

1) to reflect on Christ’s defeat over our death/sin in order to rectify and reconnect us to God,

2) to gain renewed drive and inspiration for our individual, daily deaths to sin and daily resurrection in Christian living, and,

3) to look forward to the completion of our resurrection process with Christ’s 2nd coming, when the dead in Christ shall be resurrected and the living transfigured to their spiritual bodies ( 1 Cor 15:52).

Thank you my Christ, my All for Your sacrifice. Thank You, God, for loving  me so much and desiring to be with me so much that You would give Your only Son to set me free. His Resurrection is for me, but His Resurrection and my future resurrection are for You as well, that they would make a way for us to be together forever. I praise You God that You would view my salvation with such importance, that You would think of me, that You would die for me. I am overwhelmed by Your Love. THANK YOU!