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

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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)

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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). 

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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

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“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.”