Monday, January 22, 2007

The Last Page - Part 1

Once upon a time, long before the technosphere of blogging, there was the much more primitive act of thought collecting and writing called “journaling.” For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, journals typically have something we call “paper.” In the suburban days where HTML and PDF are understood languages, the term “paper” does not readily come to forefront of the vocabulary. This paper is actually made from something we call “trees,” if you have not seen any in awhile. If you just so happen to conjecture why it seems more difficult to breathe in this lovely suburbanite landscape, it is quite possibly because we have removed those pesky “trees” in the name of progress. Or is it those monster trucks that have mutated? This is a post for another time… In a journal, paper is usually bound by some apparatus or covering and you use a “pen” or “pencil” to hand write. This may be a new concept for you, so do not be overwhelmed – electro communication is here to stay.

“The Last Page” is something that I have chosen to write above (as though the obvious were not implicit) the last page of my journals when I come to, well, the last page. I have thus arrived at this position in my latest journal and it is time for me to decide what I should include for the reserved and touted “Last Page” entry. No one else cares about this besides me, since no one reads my journals anyway, but I must confess that there is more than one entry that ponders the questions as to whether they will be published posthumously (translation: when I’m dead). I presume the requirement for such, however, would be that I accomplish something worthwhile in the meantime…

All this said, the “Last Page” entry is reserved to attempt to be a summation of life’s events throughout the duration of the journal itself. This is not intended to be a time where I simply recollect the calendar that has transpired, but rather, a time where I read over the past journal, note trends of thought, discovery, or struggle and I providentially begin to see a theme emerge from within. I then search for some writing that can attempt to act as a synopsis of what has been or will be the general progression of my life. At times the “Last Page” has included worship songs, Scripture, poems, quotes, or a challenge from myself to myself. Here are just a few examples (all that appear below in block quotes is the actual text as it appeared in my journal):

Journal ending 11/28/04 (it was during this time that I experienced one of the greatest seasons of spiritual growth and finally surrendered to the call of the Gospel ministry):

“Deut 30 11 "For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, 'Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, 'Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' 14 But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it. 15 "See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. 16 If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God a that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 17 But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, 20 loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them." (Deut 30:11-20 ESV)

This pretty much sums up where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m going. He has laid it out for me, and now I must choose to trust Him to lead me where He wants me to go. Crossing the Jordan…”

(this was actually written in my journal using the NASB and the above is the ESV, but I am too lazy to take the time to write it out)

Written 2/17/04 (attempting to come to an understanding of grace, sin, forgiveness, and the sinners response to them all):

A Hymn to God the Father by John Donne (1572-1631)
“Wilt Thou forgive that sin where I begun,
Which was my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt Thou forgive that sin through which I run,
And do run still, though still I do deplore?
When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done;
For I have more.

Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I have won
Others to sin, and made my sins their door?
Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I did shun
A year or two, but wallow'd in a score?
When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done;
For I have more.

I have a sin of fear, that when I've spun
My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
But swear by Thyself that at my death Thy Son
Shall shine as He shines now and heretofore:
And having done that, Thou hast done;
I fear no more.”

(Quoted from Literature, Structure, Sound, and Sense. 8th Edition – this is all the information I have written)

Journal ending 7/24/03 (apparently while reading AW Tozer’s The Knowledge of The Holy, I believe I was struck by the reality that there are those who actually suffer for their faith):

“I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only begotten Son of God,
Begotten of Him before all ages,
God of God, Light of Light,
Very God of Very God
Begotten, not made,
Being of one substance with the Father,
By whom all things were made…

I believe in the Holy Spirit
The Lord and giver of life,
Which proceedeth from the father and the Son,
Who with the Father and Son together
Is worshipped and glorified”

From the Nicene Creed as quoted by AW Tozer The Knowledge of The Holy (p 20): “During the Arian controversy 318 church fathers (many of them maimed and scarred by the physical suffered in earlier persecutions) met at Nicaea and adopted a statement of faith.”

I have since come to an understanding that the Apostle's Creed is a better statement of faith, but being raised in a non-liturgical, non-regulatory principle kind of church, I was unfamiliar with either at the time of journal "publication."

Journal ending early May 2005 (just before I married my most excellent wife):

“Born often under another sky, placed in the middle of an always moving scene,
The American has no time to tie himself to anything;
He grows accustomed only to change and ends by regarding it as the natural state of man.
He feels the need of it, more he loves it; for the instability, instead of meaning disaster to him seems to give birth only to miracles all about him.”

-- Alexis de Tocqueville (I did not write down where I took this from, so I can not give credit)

Change has not always been welcomed into my life. The forthcoming change (less than 30 days later), however, was the most welcomed change that this man has experienced in the 21st century. I hope to prove de Tocqueville's thoughts wrong as I have chosen to "tie" myself to Kimberly, and by the incredible gospel-grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, will never loosen that knot.

I have yet to find the précis for this latest journal’s ending. Should it come in the next few days I will post it here, but not before I use those archaic instruments of laborious communication called “pen” and “paper”. And come the day that my life's Last Page is finally read (for it has already been written), I hope in the Lord Jesus that on that Day it will be said "Well done...enter into the joy of your master" (Matt 25:23 ESV).

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