prayer for my dad

Hey guys! Could you please pray for my dad? He went to the hospital early this morning with severe stomach pains. The doctors took forever to figure out what he had, but they eventually discovered he has pancreatitis. He is feeling better now but is trying to decide whether or not he should go on his trip to Arizona tomorrow. Please pray for healing and wisdom! Thank you.



the beauty of holiness

by Arthur W. Pink

"Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness" (Psa. 29:2). Holiness is the antithesis of sin, and the beauty of holiness is in direct contrast from the ugliness of sin. Sin is a deformity, a monstrosity. Sin is repulsive, repellent to the infinitely pure God: that is why He selected leprosy, the most loathsome and horrible of all diseases, to be its emblem. When the Prophet was Divinely inspired to depict the condition of degenerate Israel it was in these words, "From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores" (Isa. 1:6). O that sin were sickening and hateful to us: not merely its grosser forms, but sin itself. At the opposite extreme from the hideousness of sin is "the beauty of holiness." Holiness is lovely in the sight of God: necessarily so. It is the reflection of His own nature, for He is "glorious in holiness" (Exo. 15:11). O that it may be increasingly attractive to and earnestly sought after by us. Perhaps the simplest way of bringing out the beauty of holiness will be to contrast it from the beauties of time and sense.

First, the beauty of holiness is imperceptible to the natural man, and therein it differs radically from the beauties of mere nature. He can behold and admire a lovely glen, the softly flowing river, the mountain pines, the rushing waterfall; but for the excellence of spiritual graces he has no eyes. He regards one who (by grace) meekly submits to sore trials as a milksop. He looks upon one who denies self for Christ's sake as a fool. He considers the man who adheres strictly to the narrow way as one who misses the best of this life. The natural man is totally incapable of discerning the excellence of that which is of great price in the sight of God. Do some think we are stating this too strongly? Then let them be reminded of the solemn fact that when the Holy One tabernacled here upon earth the unregenerate saw in Him "no beauty" that they should desire Him (Isa. 53:2); and it is the same today. God must remove the scales from the eyes of our heart before we can perceive that holiness is beautiful.

Second, the beauty of holiness is real and genuine, and therein it differs radically from much of the beauty which is seen in this world. How much that appeals to the gaze of the natural man is artificial and fictitious. How much human beauty is made up, the product of the artifices of the salon. Even when physical beauty is natural, how rarely it is accompanied by moral virtues. No wonder our forefathers were accustomed to say, "Beauty is but skin deep." Not so the beauty of holiness: it is rooted in the inner man, and sheds its purifying influence over the entire being. "Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain" (Prov. 31:30). But holiness disappoints not its possessor, for its beauty is spiritual and Divine. True, it has many counterfeits in the religious world, yet the genuine article has a ring to it which the godly cannot mistake.

Third, the beauty of holiness is abiding, and therein it differs radically from all the beauty of earth. The wooded glen, whose varied tints are so pleasing in the summer sunlight, is leafless and drab when winter comes. The glorious sunset which human skill can neither produce nor adequately reproduce disappears within a few minutes. The fairest human countenance quickly withers: "all her beauty is departed" (Lam. 1:6). Even when it is preserved to the end of a short life, "their beauty shall consume in the grave" (Psa. 49:14). Yes, change and decay in all we see. The only beauty which is unfading and everlasting is the beauty of holiness. The fruit of the Spirit will never lose its bloom: spiritual graces shall endure after this poor world has all gone up in smoke. How fervently, then, should we pray, "Let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us" (Psa. 90:17).

Fourth, the beauty of holiness is satisfying, and herein it differs radically from the beauty of the things of time and sense. Sooner or alter they either pall on one or else leave an aching void. Take the globe-trotter who journeys east and west, north and south, seeking fresh scenes. How soon he tires, discovering that the loveliest landscape cannot supply contentment of mind and peace of heart. Man is more than a material creature, and therefore it requires something else than material things -- no matter how beautiful -- too meet his needs. It is the things of the Spirit which alone afford satisfaction. "Godliness with contentment is great gain" (1 Tim. 6:6). True, the Christian is never satisfied with his own holiness: rather does he continue to hunger and thirst after righteousness to the end of his wilderness journey. Nevertheless, the holier we are -- the closer we walk with God -- the more real rest of soul shall we enjoy. And the blessed sequel will demonstrate the contrast still more plainly: instead of discovering that we have only chased the shadows, the Christian has the assurance: "I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness" (Psa. 17:15).

Fifth, the beauty of holiness is glorifying to God, and therein it differs radically from much of human beauty. To glorify his Maker is the bounden duty of man, and nothing honours Him so much as our walking in separation from all that is displeasing to Him. But alas, physical charms and spiritual graces are rarely found in the same persons. A notable example of this is seen in the case of Absalom, of whom it is recorded, "In all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him" (2 Sam. 14:25); yet he feared not God and perished in his sins. How many a woman has used her personal attractions to entice men rather than magnify God. How many a well-proportioned and handsome man has employed his gifts for self-glorification rather than the praise of God. But the beauty of holiness ever redounds to the honour of its Author.

"O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness." This is the only kind of beauty which the Lord cares for in our devotions. "Godliness is to the soul as the light is to the world, to illustrate and adorn it. It is not greatness which sets us off before God, but goodness" (Thomas Watson). Ornate architecture and expensive apparel God delights not in. It is the loveliness of inward purity and outward sanctity that pleases the thrice Holy One. Sincerity of heart, fervour of spirit, reverence of demeanour, the exercise of faith, the outgoings of love, are some of the elements which comprise the "beauty of holiness" in our worship.

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good times

We just got home from Texas last night. Our trip was AWESOME! The best part was seeing our friends. Well, I guess I will give y'all a quick summary of our trip. Hope it's not too boring for ya. I'll try to liven it up and not make it too long.

Saturday, June 2 - We left for Texas from the airport in Baltimore. We had to wait in line forever, so by the time we got to our gate, they were already boarding and we had no time to eat. And of course, they only serve light snacks on the plane, and even those cost money. So by the time we arrived in Texas we were famished. Our grandparents met us at the rental car place BUT they didn't have our reservation and they had no other cars available. So we had to go to the other rental car place and thankfully they had a car for us. It took mom a while to figure out the car (Nissan Altima). Instead of shifting, she kept turning on the windshield wipers . She ran the car almost completely out of washer fluid doing that. :) Then we went to get some dinner, then to my grandparent's house, where we stayed all week.

Sunday, June 3 - Church.Faith and Audrey were at the door waiting for us. It was sooo good to see our friends again. This church was where we used to go when we lived in TX 13 years ago. So it is always nice to go back and see the many families that are still there and see how much the church has grown. Sunday night we went to my grandparent's church and saw this youth choir sing a bunch of songs. They sounded pretty good. This was the church my mom grew up in so she saw some people that she knew that remembered when she was born and all that. I had no clue who anybody was.

Monday, June 4 - Didn't really do much during the day. Mom and Abby went with my grandparents to the store and the library. Monday night we went over to our friends (the Browns) house for dinner and Emily spent the night. It was so nice to spend time with the Browns since we rarely get to see them. They are such a nice family. Abby kept everyone entertained. She played video games with Faith and her brothers (Micah and David). We learned that David is not Abby's type. Then five minutes later we learn that Abby thinks David is cute. That girl confuses me. Mom got lost going back to my grandparent's house from the Browns. That was fun.

Tuesday, June 5 - Picked Emily up at McDonald's. Then we drove to McKinney to visit our 89 year old great grandmother. She was so happy to see us. They had an organ in the room we were in (at the nursing home) and they made me play some songs. But I don't even know how to play the organ so it didn't sound too nice. We got lost (again) driving back. That was fun too.

Wednesday, June 6 - Went to the Dallas Zoo. It was very hot and the animals had interesting aromas. But it was pretty fun anyway. Abby loves going there so we went and had fun since she couldn't go to Six Flags. I liked the gorilla. Wednesday night we went to church. I got to see Stephanie! :)

Thursday, June 7 - Went to the Parks Mall in Arlington. That place rocks. Compared to our mall, especially. I ate at Chick-fil-a. Since I missed it so much. (Yeah right.) I just wanted to see what other Chick-fil-as are like since I have only been to mine since I started working there. Emily and I went to see Pirates 3 while Abby and Mom ice-skated. The movie was pretty good. Then we walked around and bought some candy and I got this awesome Texas t-shirt. After that, we drove Emily down to the Hodsons, for Audrey's sleepover party. Mom backed into a ditch in front of their house, so I ran and got Ruth and her brothers to help us push her out. :)

Friday, June 8 - Ate breakfast at IHOP without Emily. Then went and picked up Emily. Abby went crazy over the Hodsons' puppies. Didn't really do much that day. At night we ate out at a Mexican restaurant.

Saturday, June 9 - Our awesome trip to Six Flags! (Click here to see a picture of Emily, me, Faith, Audrey, and Micah going in) Audrey's mom got us some discount tickets since she worked there. It was the first time I'd ever been to any Six Flags. I LOVED it. We went with Faith, Micah, Audrey, Stephanie, Andrea, Christina, and Jonathan. We got there when it opened so the lines were not long at all. We rode so many awesome rides. The only 2 I did not ride were Superman and Titan. Only now I wish I had, of course. I promise I will next time, guys!! :) It was really hot there, but I didn't really mind since I was having so much fun with my friends (who are just about the coolest in the entire world). And I drank alot of water, which is good. The best rides were the rollercoasters of course. I rode about 7 of them, 2 I rode twice (Batman and Shockwave). Emily decided that she is going to have her 16th b-day (in July) at Six Flags America in Baltimore. Yay! I only wish our Texas friends could come too!

Sunday, June 10 - Went to church, of course. Pastor Vincent preached a very good sermon. Had to say goodbye to everyone. (*sniff*) If the Lord wills, maybe we can come again next year. I hope so! :)

Monday, June 11 - Drove to the airport. A humongous truck hit the back of our car and somehow all we got was a few tiny dents. We were so thankful. The flight we were on was overbooked so it was crowded and we had the very back seats, so we couldn't see out the window. And it was LOUD. Oh well, it was nice to be back home and see Dad. My class ring came in the mail when I was gone. I love it. Dad also bought us gifts since he missed us so much. (I got Ralph Lauren perfume.) Oh and the weather got much cooler up here while we were gone! Yay!

Well there you have it. A "short summary" of our trip. I had an amazing time and I am so thankful for God's protection and care over us & that he blessed us with such a wonderful time.

Talk to y'all later!

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