Darkness

This is another quote from my “Word of the Year” journal.  You will see several words highlighted that are previous words for me, through the years.  Have you ever experienced a darkness that doesn’t seem to go away?  Are you in that place now?  Then perhaps these words will bring truth and peace to your heart.  Don’t miss the important message in the final two sentences; this is truly the key.

A thick and dreadful darkness came over him.  Gen. 15:12

In this Scripture passage, the sun had finally gone down, and the eastern night had swiftly cast its heavy veil over the entire scene.  Worn out by the mental conflict, and the exertion and the cares of the day, Abraham “fell into a deep sleep” (Gen. 15:12)…

Do you have an understanding of the horror of that kind of darkness?  Have you ever experienced a terrible sorrow that seems difficult to reconcile with God’s perfect love — a sorrow that comes crashing down upon you, wrings from your soul its peaceful rest in the grace of God, and casts it into a sea of darkness that is unlit by even one ray of hope?  Have you experienced a sorrow caused by unkindness, when others cruelly mistreat your trusting heart, and you even begin to wonder if there is really a God above who sees what is happening yet continues to allow it?  If you know this kind of sorrow, then you know something of this “thick and dreadful darkness.” …

Dear friend, if you are filled with fear of the “thick and dreadful darkness” because of God’s dealings with humankind, learn to trust His infallible wisdom, for it is equal to His unchanging justice.  And know that He who endured the “dreadful darkness” of Calvary and the feeling of having been forsaken on the cross is ready to accompany you “through the valley of the shadow of death” until you can see the sun shining on the other side…

We should abandon ourselves to God more fully at those times when He seems to have abandoned us.  Let us enjoy His light and comfort when it is His pleasure to give it to us, but may we not attach ourselves to His gifts.  May we instead attach ourselves to Him, and when He plunges us into the night, where pure faith is required, may we still press on through the agonizing darkness.  — L. B. Cowman, Streams in the Desert

I personally went through some dark and painful matters that nearly took away my strength.  When all was over, I realized that I had received a truly great gift, far greater than the pain and hurt:  I had gained a closer relationship with God Himself, for I had desperately reached out to hold onto Him every day and abandon myself to Him.  This makes it all worthwhile, especially when you realize, through experience, that He is the greatest gift of all, and the most important relationship that you need; always present.  I’ve never experienced some of the deepest sorrows that others have, but I do know that the answer to all sorrow is the presence, love and sufficiency of God.

Oil Can

Here is another fun story that I found recorded in last year’s “kindness” journal:

There is an old story of an elderly man who always carried a little can of oil with him everywhere he went, and when he would go through a door that squeaked, he would squirt a little oil on the hinge.  If he encountered a gate that was hard to open, he would oil the latch.  And so he went through life, lubricating all the difficult places, making it easier for all those who came after him…In this world, there are many lives that painfully creak and grate as they go about their daily work.  Often it seems that nothing goes right with them and that they need lubricating with “the oil of joy,” gentleness or thoughtfulness…

The oil of kindness has worn the sharp, hard edges off many a sin-hardened life and left it soft and pliable, ready to receive the redeeming grace of the Savior.  A pleasant word is a bright ray of sunshine on a saddened heart.  — L. B Cowman, Streams in the Desert

 

Gift-Life

In this year when I’m focused on the word “Gift” as my “Word of the Year,” I’m finding many quotes worth passing on to you.  Here’s another one from Eugene Peterson:

Old sin–habits are daily reinforced by a world that wants to keep God at the margins and other people either walled out or on a leash, under our control.  It is hard to get out of this swiftly moving stream so polluted by the dead fish of depersonalization.  Remember the outreached hand that you grabbed?  You were pulled out of the river choking and sputtering.  You found your footing on solid ground and began breathing the clean air of spirit, of Spirit.  It took you a while to find out what was going on:  to receive rather than to possess; to give rather than to get; to look a person in the face and learn his or her name rather than treat people as non-persons — which is so much less trouble!

You found that you needed a lot of help.  You still do.  And here it is:  this community of men and women you have joined in order to practice a relational life, a Spirited gift-life of receiving and giving through worship and prayer and compassion.  — Eugene H. Peterson, Practice Resurrection, pg. 253-254

Rwandan Genocide Survivor

This video is well worth the watch. What an amazing story Methode has to tell — losing parents and three siblings in the genocide. And yet, God rescued him, both physically and mentally.

Meisi’s Dream

Children who live in poverty often have big dreams, usually unfulfilled.  But with the help of Compassion International and a sponsor they can achieve those goals.  Here is one of those great success stories:

More Than Enough

I’ve really enjoyed looking back at some of the quotes from my 2006 notebook.  All of these words are so true and insightful:

Anything you have that is more than enough probably wasn’t intended for you.  — Wess Stafford, President Emeritus of Compassion International

Regarding Paul and Silas in prison:

They had a strong inner conviction that everything was working out for God’s glory and their good.  In such moments it is not necessarily prayer that is needed but praise.  — Selwyn Hughes, Born to Praise, pg. 58

It is not so much what happens to us that is important but how we respond to it.  — Selwyn Hughes, Ibid, pg. 114

Then those whose lives honored God got together and talked it over.  God saw what they were doing and listened in.  A book was opened in God’s presence and minutes were taken of the meeting.  — Malachi 3:16 (MSG)

Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God.  That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God Himself willing and working at what will give Him the most pleasure.  Philippians 2:12c-13 (MSG)