WORSHIP WEDNESDAY: REOCCURRING THEMES IN ANN MARIE RUBY'S BOOK, "SPIRITUAL SONGS II: BLESSINGS FROM A SACRED SOUL"Read Now
For today's Worship Wednesday post, I partnered with author Ann Marie Ruby to read and review her book, "Spiritual Songs II: Blessings From a Sacred Soul."
I wanted to approach this book review from a different perspective and offer up a sort of analysis of some of the major reoccurring themes I picked up from this book. Let's get into it:
MY LORD, MY CREATOR
Lord (lôrd): Someone or something having power, authority, or influence; a master or ruler.
Dev·o·tee (devəˈtē,ˌdevəˈtā): A person who is very interested in and enthusiastic about someone or something.
Devotee also has a certain implication that perhaps there is some sort of desperation to this devotion. It invokes a question: "Could the devotee live without the person they're devoted to?" It seems obvious that Ruby is very devoted to Christ, perhaps from lessons she has learned in life.
When I read this, it reminded me of the song Sandy sings about Danny Zuko in Grease, called "Hopelessly Devoted to You."
Ob·sta·cle (ˈäbstək(ə)l): A thing that blocks one's way or prevents or hinders progress.
She regularly refers to the obstacles metaphorically as oceans or mountains. One of my most favorite lines from the book is from the song, "The Lord, The Creator," in which she says she "walks upon the sinful ocean," referring not only to sin as an obstacle, but also referring to Jesus' miracle of walking on the sea in the gospels.
When reading this, and understanding some of the deeper biblical roots, it gave me a sense of calm, much like the time when Jesus calmed the waters to ease the fear of his disciples. It also reminded me of one of my favorite Christian songs. See the video below to listen!
Om·nip·o·tent (ämˈnipəd(ə)nt): (of a deity) Having unlimited power; able to do anything.
In her song, "The Blessed Children of the Omnipotent," you really get a feel at how powerful these words are. Particularly, there is a section of this song that reads, "For we only ask, for we only seek, for we only knock, upon The Omnipotent's door." While you have the wisdom of knowing that omnipotent means all powerful, you get this beautiful image of knocking on God's door like a child or an old friend. While God is all powerful, He is also personal. This song in particular gives a special glimpse into God's character.
Overall, I enjoyed Ruby's book. She gives special attention to literary devices while alluding to the goodness and grace of God. While I don't think I have the heart to call this book the brother to David's Psalms, I would say it is a close second-cousin to them.
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Legal: I was gifted this book for free, but I was in no other way compensated for my review. All photos are my own or taken from Pixabay, a Creative Commons website that requires no attribution for photo use.
After I graduated college, I worked as a reporter for a newspaper located in one of North Carolina’s highest crime cities: Lumberton. I can’t count the number of murders, deaths, and controversies I reported on.
We have a saying in the news business: “If it bleeds, it leads.” This means the most controversial stories like murder or hit-and-runs are always printed above the fold so you could see the horrific headlines on the newsstand. Sales and views always went up when someone was murdered, or whenever some white-collar worker got mixed up in a town-wide scandal.
I’ve often found myself being the interviewer, the reporter asking all the questions to the grieving person. This is the first time in my life that I’ve become part of the headline rather than part of the byline. It’s hard, and I never realized how easy I thought it was.
In my own personal life, I tend to make the bad aspects of my day define my day, week, or even month. I always let the worse things lead my emotions, and that can cause me to totally ignore the blessings God sends my way.
It all started last week. I was replying to messages and scheduling social media posts at my job, when I found myself nervously staring down at my phone, impatiently waiting for a message from my mom. I couldn’t wait any longer.
“Did you find her?” I remember typing the words with shaky hands and quivering breaths.
My mom had called me minutes earlier to tell me that she couldn’t find my grandmother. She was supposed to be going to a doctor’s appointment, but she never arrived. This worried me because my grandmother has dementia, is over the age of 70, and drives like a maniac, so she really shouldn’t be driving anywhere.
But, I will tell you that there are only two things keeping me going: God and my family.
I try to remind myself on a daily basis that Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary was one of the biggest headlines of His day. Jesus was a rebel. He went against the grain of society in the humblest and kindest way possible (except that time he literally flipped a table). His motivations were always pure and God-driven.
But Jesus still ended up on the cross. He still suffered and died for me and you. He was scared, too, judging by the fact that he began to sweat blood (Luke 22:24) in the garden before he was taken to be crucified.
According to the US National Library of Medicine, Hematohidrosis is the name for the condition Jesus suffered from. The condition is rare and causes humans to sweat blood. This can happen for a number of reasons, including excessive exertion and psychological factors (like high levels of stress).
Jesus taught me that it is OK to be scared, but giving your problems to God can help.
One of my favorite verses is 2 Timothy 1:7, which says “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
The proof that this is now natural comes from Genesis. In Genesis 3, God goes looking for Adam in the garden after Adam and Eve eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
“And the Lord God called unto Adam and said unto him, Where are thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” Genesis 3:9-10
Adam wasn’t afraid until he ate the fruit that Eve gave him from the tree. Eve was persuaded by the serpent, who many scholars believe to be the devil.
The verse in 2 Timothy reminds me that God is in control and God will always win, and it reminds me to talk a look at the power, love, and sound mind that God has given me, rather than harp on the worldly things I often tie myself up in.
Whether my grandfather passes sooner rather than later, or if he lives another five years, that verse from 2 Timothy will always remind me that I am a child of God, not of this world. Satan has no hold on me, no matter what he tries to hurl at me.
I’m praying that my anxiety doesn’t get to the point of sweating blood, but rather stops at “it is well, with my soul.” Have a great week everyone, and remember that you have a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind inside of you.
I am far from what I would consider an artist. I have absolutely no skills with a paintbrush. However, I love to look at artwork, specifically art that's inspired by something I know a little bit about. That's why I was beyond excited when I heard that one of our art professors at the college where I work would be painting a piece during the weekly chapel service.
"And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed."
If I had it my way, I'd make a lot of money, do what I want to do with my day, and get on with life. But that can lead to a lot of catastrophe and heartache.
God can see what I need. He can see what is best for me and what will be best for me down the line. Have you ever heard those amazing stories from people who claim that they had a flat tire only to realize there was a massive wreck that occurred on the road they were about to travel on? Flat tires can really mess with our day. We don't understand why God would give us a flat tire the day before we get paid, but there is an unseen reason for everything. These are the brush strokes we don't understand.
Painting by Vilas Tonape
HOW TO GET TO HEAVEN
There is a common misconception that there are several ways to get to Heaven when you die. This isn't true. JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN.
God is a perfect being who designed each and every one of us. He is sinless, good, and perfect. However, after Eve ate that apple, sin was released into the world and, as a result, everyone was born into sin and everyone does wrong. Only those without sin can enter into Heaven. But don't worry, Jesus came down to Earth and paid your sin debt do you could go to Heaven. Jesus is our salvation and offers us a way to Heaven. A way to live with Him forever. Here is what you have to do: