For a Friend.

Then she said, “Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out; for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day.” | Ruth 3:18

The wind

I went back to visit the schoolyard where I had spent several years of childhood. The schoolyard with tether-ball and a baseball diamond, hopscotch and red brick walls.

The brick walls seemed higher then — constraining, but safe.
Today, they didn’t seem high at all.

I walked to the bench at the edge of the schoolyard, the invisible boundary line where all the children knew not the cross. The wooden bench, where we discussed our secrets and sorrows. Ahh, sorrows… What did we know of sorrow then?

The things that we thought we would break us.
The fears and dreams of our futures.

Our friends and foes, though at times, we hardly knew which was which.
And in time, many of them proved to be neither; they simply became a part of our memory, so foggy that you wonder if they were ever really there at all.

Friends.
At what point did this become true?
What are the expectations?
At what point does one deserve this title?
At what point is this taken away?

It was easy as children…
When our minds and actions spoke true.

Adults…
We learn to shield ourselves from the cold; we brace ourselves for the coldness of words and actions, real or imagined.

Truth and trust are lost, one after another.
And trust, once lost, destroys the roots of friendship.
It uproots it altogether, or slowly wither the roots until one day ,when you lean on the tree and it tumbles over; it was dead, and we didn’t know it.

How do you save it? How do you save a friend? A friendship?

(This wasn’t what I had planned to write at all.)
You teach that we can find the answers in ourselves.
But you see, all that you find in ‘self’ is sorrow.
The depths of our hearts is misery.
It is a black hole of confusion.
The answer is not in the ‘self.’

You had asked for friendship when we were no longer children.
Did I do all that was fit for me to do as a friend?
But this isn’t for me to defend myself.

No, but I am here, friend, to let you see what a friend would do.
(And though the best of friends may fail, He doesn’t.)

He’s a Friend who takes my sorrows and burdens and I can trust that in His hand, that burden is cared for.

The winds of fall and winter have started to blow of late.
I look at the trees in the forest, and wonder if any of them should tumble at the next storm. (Would ours?)
I’ve told Him about it, my fear for the trees.
He told me He knows, and it’s in His hands.

These days, the wind still blows.
But me, I’m learning to sit still.

 

—-Matthew Henry on Ruth 3 —-

  1.  To be satisfied in what was done: Sit still, my daughter, till thou know how the matter will fall (Ruth 3:18)–how it is decreed in heaven
    She had done all that was fit for her to do, and now she must patiently wait the issue and not be perplexed about it. Let us learn hence to cast our care upon providence, to follow that and attend the motions of it, composing ourselves into an expectation of the event, with a resolution to acquiesce in it, whatever it be. Sometimes that proves best done for us that is least our own doing. “Sit still, therefore, and see how the matter will fall, and say, Let it fall how it will, I am ready for it.”
  2. [He], having undertaken this matter, would approve himself a faithful careful friend: He will not be at rest till he have finished the matter. Though it was a busy time with him in his fields and his floor, yet, having undertaken to serve his friend, he would not neglect the business…
    Much more reason have good Christians to be careful for nothing, but cast their care on God, because he has promised to care for them: and what need have we to care if he do? Sit still, and see how the matter will fall, for the Lord will perfect that which concerns thee, and will make it to work for good to thee, Ps. 37:45138:8Your strength is to sit stillIsa. 30:7.
“The Lord will perfect that which concerns me;
Your mercy, O Lordendures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.”
— Psalm 138:8
Advertisements

Promises | All came to pass

“So, you’re busy.
Who isn’t? I have two jobs and three kids, you don’t have to tell me about busy.
I’m not asking if you’re busy. I’m asking you if God called you or not.
And if He called you, what’s your response?” — K.

maxresdefault

Joshua 21:43-45

So the Lord gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it and dwelt in it.  The Lord gave them rest all around, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers. And not a man of all their enemies stood against them; the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand.
Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel.
All came to pass.

 

We have here the conclusion of this whole matter, the foregoing history summed up, and, to make it appear the more bright, compared with the promise of which it was the full accomplishment. God’s word and his works mutually illustrate each other. The performance makes the promise appear very true and the promise makes the performance appear very kind.

I. God had promised to give the seed of Abraham the land of Canaan for a possession, and now at last he performed this promise (Josh. 21:43): They possessed it, and dwelt therein. Though they had often forfeited the benefit of that promise, and God had long delayed the performance of it, yet at last all difficulties were conquered, and Canaan was their own. And the promise of the heavenly Canaan is as sure to all God’s spiritual Israel, for it is the promise of him that cannot lie.

II. God had promised to give them rest in that land, and now they had rest round about, rest from the fatigues of their travel through the wilderness (which tedious march, perhaps, was long in their bones), rest from their wars in Canaan, and the insults which their enemies there had at first offered them. They now dwelt, not only in habitations of their own, but those quiet and peaceable ones; though there were Canaanites that remained, yet none that had either strength or spirit to attack them, nor so much as give them an alarm. This rest continued till they by their own sin and folly put thorns into their own beds and their own eyes.

III. God had promised to give them victory and success in their wars, and this promise likewise was fulfilled: There stood not a man before themJosh. 21:44. They had the better in every battle, and which way soever they turned their forces they prospered. It is true there were Canaanites now remaining in many parts of the land, and such as afterwards made head against them, and became very formidable. But,
1. As to the present remains of the Canaanites, they were no contradiction to the promise, for God had said he would not drive them out all at once, but by little and littleExod. 23:30. They had now as much in their full possession as they had occasion for and as they had hands to manage, so that the Canaanites only kept possession of some of the less cultivated parts of the country against the beasts of the field, till Israel, in process of time, should become numerous enough to replenish them.
2. As to the after prevalency of the Canaanites, that was purely the effect of Israel’s cowardice and slothfulness, and the punishment of their sinful inclination to the idolatries and other abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord would have cast out before them but that they harboured and indulged them. So that the foundation of God stands sure. Israel’s experience of God’s fidelity is here upon record, and is an acquittance under their hands to the honour of God, the vindication of his promise which had been so often distrusted, and the encouragement of all believers to the end of the world: There failed not any good thing, no, nor aught of any good thing (so full is it expressed), which the Lord had spoken unto the house of Israel, but in due time all came to passJosh. 21:45. Such an acknowledgment as this, here subscribed by Joshua in the name of all Israel, we afterwards find made by Solomon, and all Israel did in effect say Amen to it, 1 Kgs. 8:56.

The inviolable truth of God’s promise, and the performance of it to the utmost, are what all the saints have been ready to bear their testimony to; and, if in any thing the performance has seemed to come short, they have been as ready to own that they themselves must bear all the blame.

Matthew Henry on Joshua 21:43-45

 

Thank You for answering my questions.
That You work in the midst of storms, and in quiet whispers.
That You are faithful even when we are faithless (2 Tim 2:13).
That You prune to increase our growth (John 15:2).
Keep me from the lie that began in Eden, the doubt that led to sin and man’s downfall.
The doubt that You are good, the doubt that You plan for my good and for all who believe in You.
The doubt in Your love for me.
That You give grace and glory.
And not a single good thing do You withhold from those who walk rightly in You (Psalm 84:11).

Here, let me learn to glorify You by being joyfully satisfied in You always.

S.D.g.

ב Beth — Remember Israel

What is the value of purity? Depends on what you speak of. 9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. 10 With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! 11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. 12 Blessed are […]

via ב Beth — Remember Israel

The Path to Peace

“Lord, You know…” (John 21:17)
“Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.” (Psalm 139)

2017-09-16 09.01.42 1.jpg
Last sunset of the summer on Balm Beach

Resting on God

O GOD MOST HIGH, MOST GLORIOUS,

The thought of thine infinite serenity
cheers me,
For I am toiling and moiling, troubled
and distressed,
but thou art for ever at perfect peace.
Thy designs cause thee no fear or care
of unfulfilment,
they stand fast as the eternal hills.
Thy power knows no bond,
thy goodness no stint.
Thou bringest order out of confusion,
  and my defeats are thy victories:
The Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
I come to thee as a sinner with cares and sorrows,
to leave every concern entirely to thee,
every sin calling for Christ’s precious blood;
Revive deep spirituality in my heart;
Let me live near to the great Shepherd,
hear his voice, know its tones, follow its calls.
Keep me from deception by causing me to abide
in the truth,
from harm by helping me to walk in the power
of the Spirit.
Give me intenser faith in the eternal verities,
  burning into me by experience the things I know;
Let me never be ashamed of the truth of the gospel,
that I may bear its reproach,
vindicate it,
see Jesus as its essence,
know in it the power of the Spirit.
Lord, help me, for I am often lukewarm and chill;
  unbelief mars my confidence,
  sin makes me forget thee.
Let the weeds that grow in my soul be cut
at their roots;
Grant me to know that I truly live only when I live to thee,
                                  that all else is trifling.
Thy presence alone can make me holy, devout,
    strong and happy.
Abide in me, gracious God.

— Valley of Vision

 

The search for joy.

 In these past few weeks, I have been trying to understand ‘joy’ as a character (fruit) we are called to bear (Galatians 5). 

2017-09-16 09.01.46 1.jpg
Unexpectedly warm evening at the lake

What is the joy that is possible for us in every situation (Philippians 4:12)?

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” 

 

I have come to know that things in life are not always as we would want.

  • This past week, I have sung hymns among sisters who cannot hear or sing with their voices, who used sign language to sing beautifully beside me.
  • Today, I have heard the news of a brother who finished his battle with cancer, and now rests with God. I read of the sacrifices at his conversion, of breaking his parents’ heart when they heard that he believes in Jesus and not the god of his people. Of the love that he continued to show for his people as a preacher. Of his joy as he approached the end. He leaves with us his wife and young daughter.
  • Every day, I see and hear about the matters of daily life that ails us — unexpected illness, chronic pain, family unhappiness, uncertainties at work…

The joy of Philippians 4, this χαρά, this calm delight seems almost impossible… Nothing in sight seems pleasant. Pain is pervasive and joy seems elusive.

But this week, You reminded me that You are enough. That this life is not always what we would have wished. That things are not always well by our definition of ‘well,’ but things are well because You are over all. You have always been, as You are now, and You will always be.

The hope that God has provided for you is not merely a wish. Neither is it dependent on other people, possessions, or circumstances for its validity. Instead, biblical hope is an application of your faith that supplies a confident expectation in God’s fulfillment of His promises. Coupled with faith and love, hope is part of the abiding characteristics in a believer’s life.

And this week, You gave me the beauty of your creation, the brilliant colors and artwork that only You can make. It is often in nature that I feel Your presence and Your Word is made alive and made known.

One day, all will be made well. The imperfections now, the sorrows here, only make us long for You more. And makes our hope, our faith in You, even sweeter.

 

So, in my search for joy, You have led me once again to You:

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)

Just keep coming back to Me.

———

“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
Deuteronomy 29:29

“1. Though God has kept much of his counsel secret, yet there is enough revealed to satisfy and save us. He has kept back nothing that is profitable for us, but that only which it is good for us to be ignorant of.

2. We ought to acquaint ourselves, and our children too, with the things of God that are revealed. We are not only allowed to search into them, but are concerned to do so. They are things which we and ours are nearly interested in. They are the rules we are to live by, the grants we are to live upon; and therefore we are to learn them diligently ourselves, and to teach them diligently to our children.

3. All our knowledge must be in order to practice, for this is the end of all divine revelation, not to furnish us with curious subjects of speculation and discourse, with which to entertain ourselves and our friends, but that we may do all the words of this law, and be blessed in our deed.”

— Matthew Henry

Vous me manquez

rv.jpg

“There is nothing that can replace the absence of someone dear to us, and one should not even attempt to do so. One must simply hold out and endure it.

At first that sounds very hard, but at the same time it is also a great comfort. For to the extent the emptiness truly remains unfilled one remains connected to the other person through it.

It is wrong to say that God fills the emptiness. God in no way fills it but much more leaves it precisely unfilled and thus helps us preserve — even in pain — the authentic relationship. Further more, the more beautiful and full the remembrances, the more difficult the separation.

But gratitude transforms the torment of memory into silent joy. One bears what was lovely in the past not as a thorn but as a precious gift deep within, a hidden treasure of which one can always be certain.
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Long days; too many short nights
Wrong ways that almost felt right
Lovesick but no one you’re holding on to
God knows you question your courage
And some days I can’t walk for stumbling
If we could only see what we’re becoming

To the soulful
Heart open hopeful
Keep on charging ahead

 

“Joy draws its nourishment from quietness and from the unfathomable.”

Even this shall pass away

Once in Persia reigned a king,
Who upon his signet ring
Graved a maxim true and wise,
Which, if held before his eyes,
Gave him counsel at a glance
Fit for every change and chance.
Solemn words, and these are they;
“Even this shall pass away.”

Processed with VSCO with b1 preset
Mikvah | The Jerusalem Archaeological Center

Trains of camels through the sand
Brought him gems from Samarcand;
Fleets of galleys through the seas
Brought him pearls to match with these;
But he counted not his gain
Treasures of the mine or main;
“What is wealth?” the king would say;
“Even this shall pass away.”

‘Mid the revels of his court,
At the zenith of his sport,
When the palms of all his guests
Burned with clapping at his jests,
He, amid his figs and wine,
Cried, “O loving friends of mine;
Pleasures come, but do not stay;
‘Even this shall pass away.’

Lady, fairest ever seen,
Was the bride he crowned the queen.
Pillowed on his marriage bed,
Softly to his soul he said:
“Though no bridegroom ever pressed
Fairer bossom to his breast,
Mortal flesh must come to clay –
Even this shall pass away.”

Fighting on a furious field,
Once a javelin pierced his shield;
Soldiers, with a loud lament,
Bore him bleeding to his tent.
Groaning from his tortured side,
“Pain is hard to bear,” he cried;
“But with patience, day by day,
Even this shall pass away.”

Towering in the public square,
Twenty cubits in the air,
Rose his statue, carved in stone.
Then the king, disguised, unknown,
Stood before his sculptured name,
Musing meekly: “What is fame?
Fame is but a slow decay;
Even this shall pass away.”

Struck with palsy, sore and old,
Waiting at the Gates of Gold,
Said he with his dying breath,
“Life is done, but what is Death?”
Then, in answer to the king,
Fell a sunbeam on his ring,
Showing by a heavenly ray,
“Even this shall pass away.”

–Theodore Tilton

 

What eclipses life and death, and all the sorrows and joys in between?
Life in Him, for eternity.
(Philippians 1:21-23)

A Matter of Life and Death.

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
| Colossians 3:2-4

 

 

It’s not an easy road.
But we don’t walk as ourselves.
We walk with the full power of His life in us.
We are living His life.

Yes, trials and difficulties are real.
But in being hard pressed, His power is more evidently seen.

(Today. The day an earthen vessel was broken, and through its destruction, the light finally shone through. Thank You, Father, for this is Your grace and wisdom.)

 

 

Start again.

If you get a new start — try to listen this time.

tlv.jpg
Tel Aviv. Day One. | YYMVA

“Are the walls to lock you in or to keep others away
And if the doors were to be opened would you leave or would you stay

The comfort of your misery you cherish dearly,
And you haven’t started dreaming ’cause you’re still fast asleep, you’re fast asleep…

You’re a lion full of power who forgot how to roar
You’re an eagle full of beauty but you can’t seem to soar

Will you return to the garden where you were first made whole
Will you turn to the one who can liberate your soul

…To every soul locked in a cage
In the prison of your past mistakes
No, there’s no time left to waste
You can make your great escape
We’re made to run wild

Run, Forest, all depends what direction
Some people run from fear, some from their own reflection
Some people run their mouth, some people run their house
Ruling with the heart of a tyrant

That’s the environment, how we were raised
Living like lions but trapped in a cage
Back to imago Dei with the blood of a king and the heart of a slave

Don’t you wanna run?

 

#peoplenotprojects

Memories in the morning

C.S. Lewis described pain as ‘the megaphone of God.’
Are we listening?
What does it take to hear?

on the coast

No man is an Island

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

— John Donne
(Reportedly written while convalescing from what was thought to be the bubonic plague)