Devotional

“I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.” — Psalms 23:4

Behold, how independent of outward circumstances the Holy Ghost can make the Christian! What a bright light may shine within us when it is all dark without! How firm, how happy, how calm, how peaceful we may be, when the world shakes to and fro, and the pillars of the earth are removed! Even death itself, with all its terrible influences, has no power to suspend the music of a Christian’s heart, but rather makes that music become more sweet, more clear, more heavenly, till the last kind act which death can do is to let the earthly strain melt into the heavenly chorus, the temporal joy into the eternal bliss! Let us have confidence, then, in the blessed Spirit’s power to comfort us. Dear reader, are you looking forward to poverty? Fear not; the divine Spirit can give you, in your want, a greater plenty than the rich have in their abundance. You know not what joys may be stored up for you in the cottage around which grace will plant the roses of content. Are you conscious of a growing failure of your bodily powers? Do you expect to suffer long nights of languishing and days of pain? O be not sad! That bed may become a throne to you. You little know how every pang that shoots through your body may be a refining fire to consume your dross-a beam of glory to light up the secret parts of your soul. Are the eyes growing dim? Jesus will be your light. Do the ears fail you? Jesus’ name will be your soul’s best music, and his person your dear delight. Socrates used to say, “Philosophers can be happy without music;” and Christians can be happier than philosophers when all outward causes of rejoicing are withdrawn. In thee, my God, my heart shall triumph, come what may of ills without! By thy power, O blessed Spirit, my heart shall be exceeding glad, though all things should fail me here below.

-Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

On Being Worn

What do you do when you are tired?

When you are so deeply worn down that it feels hard to keep moving?

When you present one face to the world – the smiling face, the laughter, the hostess, the “I have it together” face (because people must be tired of your complaining by now, how many times can you confide your struggles in friends before they get bored or disgusted?) but on the inside you feel like all that makes you you, your soul and energy and the warmth that keeps you going, is leaking out your pores?

When you want to slide quietly into a crumple of blankets and cease to think and to breathe and to be for a while because life and time seem like a burden too complex to continue bearing?

Hilary Sheratt says this -

“Not everything that breaks shatters. And even just the breathing, in, and out, of those words, those pressed deliberate words, starts  to build up this wearied heart…

It is all too easy for me to hold on to the memories of being broken, the familiar pieces of hurt, the way that he said or she looked. It’s too easy for me to see myself as not complete, or still recovering, to imagine myself frail or small or unable, incapable. It’s easy to say that to myself when I am weary-hearted and the mountains keep rising up before me, and I think, I’m still broken, that still hurts me.”

and Ann Voskamp - “Where we feel stretched thin, our stretching is a canvas for God’s glory.”

I’m weary, God of my heart.

Because this isn’t a new battle.

I’ve fought it thousands of time before.

Why is he so woven into my heart and my thoughtlife?

Idolatry, it turns out, exhausts you. Like a fish gasping on a sidewalk, far from water.

For years now, I have thought that I needed him, Lord. Thought, in small secret parts of me, that I needed him more than I needed you.

You always bring us to a day of reckoning for our idols – however hidden and secret they are.

Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.

And grant freedom. From my heart. From it’s sin.

Time is a freedom-giver not a joy-stealer. It is always on our side, because you are, Lord. Joy in that thought.

 

“The essence of who I am is far more shaped, influenced, and guided by my spirituality than by my sexuality. I am wholly wrapped up in my pursuit of Christ and his amazing grace. And I’m quite comfortable there. When I’m feeling pretty bad about myself, when the wounds of my heart cry out loud for healing, when shame attempts to suffocate me, or when I’m especially discouraged over my most tragic failures, I find myself holding onto a thread.

A thread called grace.”

-Jonathan Merritt

Glory

He made dermis His tent and lit the flesh with a pillar of glory — then walked among us? With cheekbones and stubble and hands that could hold you? Came and dwelled among us and knocked on the front door and asked if He could come in? Localized glory for your localized pain.

He pitched His tent and camped right in the middle of us.

Jesus could come camp right in the middle of you. Glory.

They say that. That He’s the Word, and when you read His Word, you behold His glory.

-Ann Voskamp