Friday, April 23, 2010

Devotional Snapshot 69 - Sin Boldly

"Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly, for he is victorious over sin, death, and the world." pastoral advice of Martin Luther, 16th century Christian reformer

"Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through Him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life!" Romans 5: 9, 10

Isn't this a little shocking? Sin and sin boldly! That's not what we preach or teach. I didn't raise my children this way. I don't speak to myself like this or my Christian sisters. The exact opposite. "Be good." "Do what is right." "Be like like Jesus...pray like Jesus...speak like Jesus."

But something about that quote lifted my spirits today. I was stuck in muddy self pity. I hadn't been good. I hadn't done what was right. "Oh why can't you be like Jesus? You fall short. Everyday in someway you blow it." Self reprimanded me.

Be a sinner and sin boldly, BUT believe...BUT rejoice. In who? In Christ. Why? For He is victorious over my sin! This reminds me that I am not justified by being a good girl today. What I do or don't do today does not negate one drop the power of Christ's blood to declare me righteous...NOT MY OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS ("that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ..." Philippians 3: 9)

This justification by Christ's blood is far more gloriously sufficient than I live by. I say, "yes, I am going to heaven, but I need to prove myself worthy and fit to be there now that Jesus has saved me." Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! None of us can be worthy, ever, in ourselves to earn heaven. We are free! Free to make mistakes. Free to take risks. Free to forgive and ask for forgiveness. Free to be imperfect. Free to say "no". Free not to introspect. Free not to blame. Free to let go. When we were God's enemies he saved us, how much more are we saved by His abiding permanent life living in us?

Martin Luther goes on to say: "As long as we are here [in this world] we have to sin....It is enough that by the riches of God's glory we have come to know the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world. No sin will separate us from the Lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day. Do you think that the purchase price that was paid for the redemption of our sins by so great a Lamb is too small?"

We are not to seek to sin (Romans 6:1), but when sin happens we come boldly to the throne of grace. When sin happens we believe and rejoice in the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. (Romans 5:5) When sin happens we thank God that it is not by our efforts but His mercy that we are loved for eternity by Jesus Christ.

Believe and rejoice in Christ more boldly today!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Devotional Snapshot 68 - Poverty

"How is it, Father Gerry, that Haitian people have such a deep faith in God? When there's so little food and few jobs and no doctors or running water, I'd think that after a while, a person might reject the idea of God, or at least a loving and just God."

He smiled. I could tell he liked this question.

"God is the first and the last resource here. We feel God's presence more and more, because there is nobody else some days who can sustain us to allow us to survive. It's only God..."
On That Day Everybody Ate Margaret Trost pgs. 53-54

"What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ - the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death..." Philippians 3: 8-10

Poverty stricken people around the world may not be the poorest. There is a poorness of spirit in America. We are rich in every comfort and yet, poor in trust, poor in hope, poor in joy.

Today I got up from a soft, clean bed to a hot shower. I made a pecan carmel cup of coffee, sprinkled blueberries and walnuts over my oatmeal. I turned on the TV and casually watched the mayhem in the dangerous world while I sat safely in my bermed home. I washed the clothes by merely pushing buttons. My drinking water is sterile and comes at a touch into my dish washer cleaned glass. My cabinets are full of food and my stomach rarely feels hunger pangs.

With all of this at my disposal, I still envy the faith and utter dependence...the absolute necessity for God to show up in their lives or they will not live... of my Christian brothers and sisters in other parts of the world. Losing all things to gain Christ is more than a fair trade.

Is it possible to live with a lot of stuff and still be living with wild, loving dependence on our Maker?

Teach me, dear Lord, to trust You more. Teach me to praise You. Teach me to consider everything a loss except for the precious knowledge and fellowship of You.

What do you think? Are we missing something?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Devotional Snapshot 67 - Self Living

"The treason of our souls is savoring self over God." John Piper

"Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy." James 3:13-17

How do we savor ourselves? living for self, to please self, be proud of self, feed self, make self happy through whatever means, pray about self and even when I pray for others it is to some degree about making self happy, do good to others to pump self up. Self must be recognized as a good person and when not self is hurt. Self must have so many fun things to do that self won't have time to quietly reflect on what self weaknesses must be changed. Self avoids all pain. Self likes easy friends. Self protects her time, her rights, and her reputation. Self is self-conscious. Self is quick to criticize others and slow in asking forgiveness. Self compares herself with others. Self wears us down, ensnares us, and drains us of energy so we can not run the race set before us with endurance.

"The treason of our souls is savoring self over God." John Piper

How do we free ourselves from self? Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus... Col. 3:2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. Looking unto Jesus. Moment by moment we lift our eyes upward and the more we gaze at His beautiful face the more we love Him. The more we love Him the less Self consumes our inner space. We leave little room for self and her selfish motives while we are taken with another. Be smitten with Christ.

Beth Moore quote: "We become like the object of our focus. If our focus is on our needs, we become more needy. If our focus is on the harm others have done to us, we become harmful and angry people. If our focus is on material things, we become grasping and greedy. And, praise God, if our focus is on Christ, we become more and more like Him."

Let's pray for one another today that we enjoy our Savior. Savor the Savior. Less of us, more of Him.

Devotional Snapshot 66 - Truth

"Ever since that day in the garden when the serpent tempted Eve, he has relentlessly attacked the truth with lies, using the same strategies over and over to sow doubt and disbelief in the human mind." The Truth War by John MacArthur

Be well-balanced ---temperate, sober-minded; be vigilant and cautious at all times, for the enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring (in fierce hunger), seeking someone to seize upon and devour. 1Peter 5:8

Satan devours you by using self thoughts to bring fear, anger, discouragement. Satan lies to you and you believe him. He walks around like a roaring lion seeking who he can devour. We need to do like Jesus: use the Word of Truth to defeat the word of the liar. Here are some lies I have believed.

1. God cannot love me like He loves Beth Moore, Billy Graham, Joyce Meyers, Max Lucado, Charles Swindoll, Or (you fill in the blank with some Christian of fame) because I am not as godly as they, I am not as good.(Example: I am very fearful of people's disapproval because I think that's the best love I'll get. I constantly struggle with feeling unlovable when I fail.) THAT'S A LIE. THE TRUTH: Nothing, nothing, nothing separates us from the love of God...Romans 8:39

2. I can not share the message of Christ with others until I get it perfectly right myself, or until I lose weight, or until I grow younger, or until I no longer struggle with sin.(Example: I have a young beautiful neighbor that I feel inadequate to love for Jesus because I fear she will not see anything in me to draw her) THAT'S A LIE. THE TRUTH: "For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus....we possess this precious treasure in frail, human vessels of earth, that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be of God and not from ourselves." 2Corinthians 4:5,7 The Amplified

3. After confessing,I still feel guilty therefore I am guilty. (Example: even now I bring up past mistakes in my parenting and cry). THAT'S A LIE. THE TRUTH: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse from all unrighteousness." 1John1:9

4. God has failed me. (Example: when I gave up my free time to homeschool, to do the best I could to raise my children in the Lord, and then watched them struggle and give in to the same sins as thousands of other teens, I thought God had failed me, failed to keep His part of the bargain.) THAT'S A LIE. THE TRUTH: Isaiah 43:2-5 "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you...When you walk through the fire,you shall not be burned...For I am the Lord your God...I have loved you... Fear not, for I am with you..."

5. You cannot trust God to take care of you. You must do it yourself. THAT'S A LIE. (Example: I tended to go to books and man's advice on how to raise my children.) THE TRUTH: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5,6

6. God is not really intimately involved in every moment of our day. THAT'S A LIE. (Example: the pearl earring, the brown scarf, the phone call, the money. These mean nothing to you, but the very small details involved in these stories demonstrated the particular involvement of God in my life. You, yourselves have thousands of moments God displayed His watch care over you.). THE TRUTH: Matthew 10:29-31 TLB "Not one sparrow (What do they cost? Two for a penny?) can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't worry! You are more valuable to Him than many sparrows."

7. I have been saved by grace, but now I must keep my position by doing good works. THAT'S A LIE.(Example: I compared myself to a pastor's wife in a previous church ministry whose church was growing while ours was not. If only I prayed more, served more, witnessed more.) THE TRUTH: Galations 3:3 "Are you so foolish and so senseless and so silly? Having begun your new life spiritually with the Holy Spirit, are you now reaching perfection by dependence on the flesh?" The Amplified Bible Romans 5:8 "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Today will you let only true thoughts take hold of your mind?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Devotional Snapshot 65 - Persecution

"God works with souls like a jeweler works with gems. Once he finds and brings them to the Light, they are cut, polished, and placed in a setting of His choice." Amy Carmichael: Let the Little Children Come Lois Hoadley Dick

"In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted," 2Timothy 3:12

I am so ill prepared for persecution. Are you? My life has been one of ease and comfort. Don't get me wrong. I like ease and comfort. I like being praised. I like being surrounded by friends who are easy to love. I like teaching Bible lessons to women who basically agree with me. I like having my children safe in their homes. But scripture says if I want to lead a godly life I will suffer persecution.

So I need to ask myself some hard questions. Do I really want to live godly? Can Christ ask me to do or say a hard thing that will not be popular but will be Biblically true? Will I release with my blessing my children or grandchildren to a dangerous mission field in a foreign country? Will I go witness to my neighbor about the only way to heaven when I know she believes that concept to be an intolerant viewpoint? Will I disagree with the modern tolerant stand on a woman's right to her body [meaning abortion], and the right of any two people who are in love to marry [meaning homosexuality]? Is it a sign, dear Lord, that I am not following you very closely since I am not suffering persecution?

Yet, I am sure of this thing. I am Your child. I belong to You. And You know when and where and how to bring into my life what is needed to follow You more closely and love You more deeply. I am Yours, Lord, and I submit today to what You bring into my life. Only help me to obey You. When persecution comes help me not to shrink away.

"You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus...Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus." 2Timothy 2: 1, 3

Devotional Snapshot 64 - Women Retreat

"Maybe you're busier than Jesus because you haven't yet identified the number 1 priority." Grace Notes Ruth Koch

"Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:28, 29

The women's retreat at Red Rock Ranch was a gift from the Father. The gift was the time to pause, reflect, breathe, listen, praise, learn.

The Kansas country home beckons me to slow down and rest. I sit on an airy front porch, shoes kicked off, gently rocking back and forth in the broad cushioned swing. The light breeze carries the smell of newly mowed grass, tiger lilies and roses. How I love to hear the illusive morning dove coo her song of peace. Robins, orioles, cardinals, all with their clear distinct sound, break into chorus.

I breathe deep and listen long. Slow down and reflect. As Mary did in Luke 10, choose what is best and learn from Jesus. Sit at His feet. Rest a while. God gave us Matthew 11 because He was absolutely certain we women would become weary and burdened. And the clear and obvious solution is to carve out some "coming together time" with Jesus. Nothing else gives rest for the soul.

For you busy career women, baseball moms, you "stay at home" mothers with multi-aged children, time with Jesus may seem like a luxury for retirement. But for you, more than ever, you need Christ's teachings and the Spirit's refreshment.

Here's one idea on how I did it when I was a homeschool mom of two children. My husband [or hire a babysitter] watched the children and gave me a couple of hours every Saturday to have time with the Lord. I left the house so as not to be distracted or pulled in by the needs of the home. I would go to a cafe, or the lake, or a friend's home who was away [with her permission of course], or the empty church, or the library. My Bible, a journal, a hymn book, Bible study or Christian discipleship book, a prayer journal, verses to memorize on recipe cards, were all ready to go in my back pack. This kept me from wasting precious time trying to find what to read or where my Bible was. I would ask the Lord's help for anything that burdened me and asked Him to teach me through His word how to love Him better.

Somehow, someway each of us must find the time to commune with Christ. Life does not slow down on its own.

"[God said] 'This is the resting place, let the weary rest';...but they would not listen. So the, the word of the Lord to them will become: Do and do, do and do...." Isaiah 28:12, 13.

If you are offered the opportunity to attend a Christian women's retreat, pray about it and go if you can. Don't miss the time to engage with Jesus and your sisters in Christ.

Devotional Snapshot 63 - He provides

"Every day will have no more trouble than you can bear; and every day will have mercies sufficient for that day's stress." Future Grace John Piper

"In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His Presence saved them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bore them and carried them all the days of old." Isaiah 63:9

Look at the verbs used in this verse...saved redeemed, bore, carried. Whether young or old you have a God watching over you with concern, love; yes, and even pity.

I ordered a box of homemade gifts from a friend in another town. I had sent her money and said "Surprise me! Send me whatever you like."

So, on a Thursday the box arrived. I opened it and laid all the goodies out on my kitchen counter. There were homemade chocolates in brown & pink striped boxes tied with ribbon, bright pink crocheted slippers, felt bags that looked like snowmen filled with carmel corn, and a brown crocheted scarf with little tan loops of yarn throughout to give it a textured look. In my mind I began to determine who to give the gifts to, all except the little brown scarf.

Friday morning I went to our early breakfast and a friend came in sad that day. We listened to her tale of woe. We sympathized as she expressed the pressures she was feeling this week. Suddenly she paused in the middle of her unloading, and out of the blue she said: "And I want a brown scarf!"

What a delight it was to tell my friend the Lord had sent her scarf the day before in a package to me from a woman she had never met. God knew exactly what she needed to be encouraged. He knew ahead of time and sent it days before. How personal and intimately He cares for us, even down to the brown scarf.

Look for how God is caring and providing for you today.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Devotional Snapshot 62 - Confident Love

"Someone who knows what Christ has done for him will live confidently in the present..." Dr. Kim Riddlebarger - senior pastor of Christ Reformed Church

" The Lord says, 'Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.' " Jeremiah 31:3

When my nephew was four years old his mom and I were sitting on the front porch visiting while he was running about the yard in abandoned play. Suddenly he stopped, looked at his mom, ran over to her, placed his scratched dirt-stained arms on her lap, looked up into her face and exclaimed with joy: "Here I am, Mommy, the little boy that you love!"

Now my nephew did no good deed worthy enough to illicit the response he got. He did not clean his room, or feed the dog without being told. He did not finish his breakfast or remember to brush his teeth. In fact, he came to his mother having done nothing but enjoy the sunny day, and he came dirty. But my sister took her little boy, wrapped him in her arms, smothered him with kisses and enthusiastically replied: "Yes! Yes! You are the little boy I love!" Strengthened and refreshed by those kisses, he straightened himself up and ran off to play, secure in loving and being loved.

Do you see the message from God in this? God doesn't need for us to come all cleaned up first. Our Father doesn't need to hear our list of good deeds and bad deeds. He already knows and loved us anyway. Remember Romans 5:8? "But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners (dirty, scratched up hearts), Christ died for us."

I have issues. I start beating myself up because I don't pray enough for people. I didn't remember to call "so and so". I didn't empathize with someone's pain. I didn't do my devotions today. I should be organizing "this or that". Then I feel like a failure to God. I must stop this negative thinking and like my nephew just come! Come to Jesus. Come as I am. Just speak to Him about how awesome His love for me is and tell Him I love Him. Doesn't that simplify it?

Tomorrow before your feet hit the floor running, before your mind begins to list the things that need to be done, before the coffee is perked or the baby is changed, pause and lift up your voice: "Here I am, Father, the little girl that you love!" Then we, too, can straighten ourselves up; secure in loving and being loved.

Devotional Snapshot 61 - Sovereignty

"He is in the control room of the universe. He is the only Ultimate Cause; all the sins of man and machinations of Satan ultimately have to enhance the glory and kingdom of our Saviour." Operation World - Patrick Johnstone

"When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved." Acts 27:20

"...since not a hair will fall from the head of any of you." Acts 27:34

Now think about this promise in Acts 27! Words like: tempestuous, drive, running, difficulty, fearing, run aground, driven, exceedingly tempest-tossed, neither sun nor stars, given up hope, rocks, broken up by the violence of the waves, swim. These set a picture of a furious killer storm except for the fact God had promised no loss of life. The ship would be totally destroyed, all supplies and cargo lost, but they would all survive - swimmers and non-swimmers alike.

Probably unheard of in such a storm that no one drowns, not even sickly weak prisoners.

But the remarkable part of this story is that God is not content to save their lives only, He assures them He will keep every single strand of hair on their head.

Amazing! Wonderful! I laugh! I admire! I sigh with awe! What a God! Would that He would do that when I shower or brush my hair. You should see the dozens of strands falling into the tub after a gentle shampoo. Now picture this terrible storm again. The furious wind, ferocious waves, the knocking about to and fro, the falling on board the ship, the tangled ropes; now in the water, up and down, under, out, wave after wave pounding your body, your head, your hair. But not one strand is lost by all 276 men...not one.

His power, His sovereignty - they are too much for me to understand. But He is so wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, tongue can not confess the full extent of praise, honor, and glory that is due to His name. Because my God knew the exact number of each hair on those 276 passengers (Matthew 10:30). The number at the beginning of the storm was exactly the same as the number at the end. Because God so decreed.

Now tell me again He does not micro-manage the universe.

Think about times God displayed His sovereignty in your life. Thank Him and praise Him.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Devotional Snapshot 60 - Joy

"...a pastor who does not seek to do his work with joy does not care for his flock." Desiring God John Piper

"Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely." Acts 16:22, 23

In the book of Acts we study the beginnings of the Church, and I feel a weariness to it all. Paul worked day and night. When he wasn't tent making he was teaching and training. In any spare moments after that he was writing. In between that he was deserted, beaten, hated by various individuals and groups.

When I think of emulating Paul I am sadly not attracted to his way of life. I sigh, feel tension in my neck, and start thinking about a change of occupation. Every time Paul made converts, saw progress for the gospel, there was negative angry protests right along side of it.... and I'm supposed to want this?

But he had a joy in his relationship to our Lord that so surpassed it all. It must be similar to Hudson Taylor's (19th century missionary to China) comment: "I never made a sacrifice. Unspeakable joy all day long and everyday, was my happy experience. God, even my God, was a living bright reality, and all I had to do was joyful service."

Paul would concur as he speaks for the last time to the Ephesus church in Acts 20:23, 24. "...the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy...". There it is again. That

Lord, I am seeking to do my work with joy...the kind of joy I see in Paul. I want serving You to be my pleasure. Help me to find my place in the church and the world just like You directed Paul. Acts 23:11 "Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome."

Are you finding joy in your life because of Jesus?

Devotional Snapshot 59 - Suffering

"It was a happy-hearted fact: God always seems bigger to those who need Him the most. And suffering is the tool He uses to help us need Him more." When God Weeps Tada pg.21

Psalm 119:71 "It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes."

While I was complaining to my adult son over the phone about my little cup of suffering, he interjected: "Mom, you and Dad are on a great adventure." It's interesting how that one comment changed my perspective of what we were going through.

Before my husband's resignation at his second church everything was pleasant and normal and routine. I knew what to expect each day and thought I knew what to expect from God; and very often I left Him alone to run the world while I quietly ran mine. But I wouldn't call it an adventure. As a matter of fact, I felt like I was drying up inside.

So in 2004 my husband resigned and God sent us to China. He pushed us into the unknown by His decree; painfully, tearfully, adventure returned. Everyday there was warfare to wage -to be unselfish, to love, to give up my way, to hope in the midst of rejection. My need was greater so my pleading was greater also.

In my bleating I find the Shepherd near. His rod and His staff comfort me.

I need the comfort, for every morning when I rise, a little fear, a little doubt, a little anger raise their ugly heads with the morning sun. I am not sure of tomorrow and because of that, I need you more today. The greater the adventure; the greater the affliction; the greater my God!

Does it help you to remember that what you may be asked to suffer is actually a great adventure with God? May our Lord help us all to draw closer and have more intimate fellowship when difficulty comes. I don't mean to sound glib about the pain you may be dealing with now. The Lord does not take your suffering lightly.

"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." 1Peter 5:7

Devotional Snapshot 58 - Beauty

"Long more and more to see Jesus." Daily Help Charles H. Spurgeon December 20

Isaiah 53:2 "...He has no form (stately form) or comeliness (splendor); And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him."

1Peter 3:3,4 "Do not let your adornment be merely outward -arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel--rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God."

No stateliness, no splendor, no beauty. The NIV says "He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him; nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him."

For all the people who feel ugly; for too short men, and too tall women, for too fat, too skinny, for the big nose, the bald head, the big feet, the big thighs, the flabby arms, eyes too small, eyes too big, wrong cheek bones, wrong eye brows, acne, crooked teeth, no teeth...wrong, wrong, wrong!

Think about Jesus, our Lord-- the God of heaven was not handsome! The scripture tells us so. There was nothing about Him that, upon seeing Him only, physically drew us to Him.

Our pictures of Him are soft and warm. Rich brown hair falling thickly around His masculine face. A big smile, teeth white and perfectly straight as if braces had been applied as a child. He seems tall, muscular, and slender. His skin is clear, His eyes are beautiful. But this is a false picture. We are told nothing about His appearance, except He was not handsome.

This is important because to God it is so unimportant -the way we look!

He tells us over and over it is not the outer it is the inner beauty He values. He said it with Saul. He said it with David. He said it to the white washed Pharisees and He said it in 1Peter about submissive Sarah and all women who would follow in her foot steps.

When will we stop looking in the mirror and comparing? When will we stop being fascinated by models, movie stars, quarter backs, and homecoming queens?

Jesus is the desire of all nations and it was not because of His good looks, but because of the perfect God centered life. The power of the Holy Spirit breaks through the skin as beautiful.

When will you and I live free of the world's chain of beauty and embrace our Lord's cord of glory?