Tuesday, May 14, 2013

History Speaks: King Alfred

O God, our Maker, throned on high
The earth is Thine, and Thine the sky
Th' adoring sun obeys Thy will,
And countless stars Thy laws fulfill
The length'ning light of summer day
Nature proclaims Thy sovereign skill
Man, and man only, spurns Thy will
The wicked sit on earth's high seat
And tread holy 'neath their feet
Good goes so crookedly astray
Bright deeds lie hidden oft away
Great God! Who seest from above
Regard us with Thy pitying love
Perplexed by doubts with toil and strife
We ask more light- we long for life 
This is a lovely hymn I came across in my history curriculum this year. It stuck out to me mainly because the author was a king, not a monk or a martyr.

Often I am so disappointed when I read about real life kings. As a little girl my ideas about Medieval times were that they full of beautiful princesses being rescued by handsome knights, and there were good and mighty kings who fought to defend their people.

Reality check, a lot of kings were real creeps. It saddens me to think of all of the suffering that was caused just by one single, greedy individual.

Because of this I always spark up with I read about kings who were actually worthy of their title. Biblical kings like King David, Hezekiah, and Asa are among some of my favorite OT characters. In later times I love reading about Charlemagne, King Alfred, King Richard the Lionhearted, and Robert the Bruce.

King Alfred was a man ahead of his time. He lived on the island of Brittania after the fall of the Roman Empire had left most of the known world reeling. He was faced with many challenges as the king of the Saxon people; illiteracy, spiritual darkness, disunity, and the dreadful invasions of the fierce-some Danes.

But Alfred was up to the challenge. He was an eager learner, a loving husband and father, a gracious king, compassionate foe, and a steadfast follower of King Jesus. And much of this he accomplished before the age of 30.

Alfred was a beacon of light in a time of great fear and darkness. He established schools and churches to encourage learning. He repelled the invading Danes and eventually signed a peace treaty after the conversion of the Danish leader.

He stood up for what was right, he protected the innocent, and reached out to the uneducated and poor. He was an excellent example to all of his people. Even hundreds of years later the English people revere Alfred greatly.

Alfred was a normal human being who was placed by God in a position of power and influence. And unlike so many others who used that power merely for their own gain, Alfred allowed God to work through him and use him to form and lead a nation. What an incredible legacy this man left, thank God for King Alfred!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Inspirational Quotes- C.S. Lewis

Remember- He is the artist and you are only the picture. You can't see it. So quietly submit to be painted.
This blog is called "a live masterpiece" because that is what we are, that is what I am. I am a living masterpiece that is being painted to show the hand of the Artist.

Sometimes I think I have a better picture in mind, sometimes I think I know what colors He should use, or how heavily He should apply the paint.

But ultimately He is the only One who can see the whole picture, He is the only One who knows what the end result will look like.

I feel ridiculous when I think about how many times I have tried to grab the brush out of His hand and do it myself.

Being an artist, I understand how important my paintings are to me. I get a beautiful picture in my mind and I know just how I want to paint it. I can't imagine how upsetting it would be if someone was constantly trying to grab the brush out of my hand and paint my painting, the one that only I know the end result of...

...He's the artist, and I am the painting.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Around My Kitchen Table

Of all of the furniture in my home, I believe my kitchen table is near the top of my favorite's list...

My kitchen table has been used for many occasions and purposes. We've sat around it to celebrate birthdays, holiday dinners, and just normal everyday meals. We've sat around it to have a councils of war, play games, and talk for hours.

My kitchen table has been a place of gathering together, creating memories, learning about life, and just enjoying each other's company.

I have had heart to hearts with mom at the kitchen table where we have both cried. I have joked and laughed with my siblings around the kitchen table. I have listened to my dad explain everything from computer software to politics at the kitchen table. 

Today at lunch we (my siblings and I) were coming up with silly names for each other. My sister who hates pickles was, "The Pickle Persecutor". I was named "The Cereal Killer" since I dislike cereal. My brother named himself a "Pizza Protector". We laughed and talked loudly, just enjoying being silly and clever together...

I love the people that I see around my kitchen table. I look forward to seeing their faces everyday. I enjoy watching them grow up around the kitchen table. I love hearing about their ideas, triumphs, and lives. I look forward someday when I have a kitchen table of my own surrounded by a group of little faces that belong to me and the head of my kitchen table.

I thank God for the faces around my kitchen table, and for the faces in the future. I pray that I will never take any of them for granted, but always be aware of how truly blessed I am...

Thank God for those blessings today, and never take them for granted.