He executes justice for the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, the LORD gives sight to the blind, he lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves those who live justly. The LORD watches over the immigrant and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. -Psalm 146:7-9

Thursday, June 12, 2008

What's with that dark cloud over your head?



"Sometimes the darkness of our souls is owing in part to the fact that we have drifted into patterns of life that are not blatantly sinful but are constricted and uncaring. Our world has shrunk down to mere prudential concerns about ourselves and our families. Ethics has diminished from global concerns of justice and mercy and missions down to little lists of bad things to avoid. We find ourselves not energized for any great cause, but always thinking about the way to maximize our leisure and escape pressure.Unconsciously we have become very self- absorbed and oblivious and uncaring toward the pain and suffering in the world that is far worse than our own....."- John Piper

Isaiah 58:10-11
If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. "

Summery from Pipers book : When the Darkness Will Not Lift

Bill Leslie- the pastor of LaSalle Street Church in Chicago, Illinois, from 1961 to 1989. He died of a heart attack at the age of sixty-one in 1993. His ministry was marked by concern for the whole person in the context of Chicago urban life. Bill spoke about a near breakdown he almost had and how a spiritual mentor directed him to Isaiah 58. He says the verses above rescued him from a season of darkness marked by feelings of exhaustion, burnout, and a dead-end ministry.

Piper:
"What struck Pastor Leslie so powerfully was the fact that if we pour ourselves out for others, God promises to make us like “a watered garden”—that is, we will receive the water we need for refreshment and joy. But even more, we will thus be “a spring of water” that does not fail—for others, for the demanding, exhausting, draining ministry of urban self-giving. He saw that
God’s way of lifting gloom and turning it into light was to “pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted.” This gave him a pattern of divine life that got him through his crisis and kept him going for the rest of his days.
God has made us to flourish by being spent for others. Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Most of us do not choose against this life of outpouring; we drift away from it. We confuse pressured family life and stresses at work with Christian sacrifice, when in fact much of it has little to do with meeting the needs of the hungry and afflicted and perishing. My point is that one of the causes of some people’s darkness is a slowly creeping self-absorption and small­
mindedness. And the cure may be the gradual embrace of a vision of life that is far greater than our present concerns. Some things may have to be taken out of our schedule. But as health and joy return, we may be capable of more than we ever dreamed. "

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Earlier as I sat at Delta's house she asked me was I ok?? I told her 'yes' then 'no'..then I said something about 'i dont know' ( D, hope i am telling this correctly, you know how my mind is). I couldn't put my finger on it, but it was like all of a sudden I wasn't feeling myself.. Honestly, I haven't been feeling like myself for the past couple of days. I don't know, sometimes, I am here sometimes, I'm not. Lately, its got a lot worst. I am trying not to make this a long post, so sorry for the long intro, but it just nailed exactly what my issue is. I was sitting her, not able to sleep, listening to a little praise and worship music and praying..asking the LORD to please show me what is going in with me. Why do I feel so empty, sad, like I don't have any hope in my circumstances ( I know you just read earlier post and I seem so happy, happy, joy, joy..sorry, it be's like that sometime with me) but I really do believe my sadness, moodiness is stemming from my selfish heart. Ok, yes, we are living in an area where there is a lot of drugs, prostitution, gangs, ect, ect, and what..it's supose to be understandable that i feel the way I do?

Like, I know that where we are, I am and will be tried, and challenged, (with my child and those in the neighborhood) and I am going to get depressed at times as we take on the sufferings of others. But, i can't help but think about all the verses in the bible that can comfort me if I would submit, trust and allow them to. It's me, I have allowed my selfishness and unbiblical thinking determine how I act, and rob me of my JOY in my walk with Jesus. I am trippin right now because i was not feeling like this..umm two days ago.. i don't even think I was feeling completely like this last night..wow...sin

I'm always preaching to others ," you were not meant to ride to heaven on a feather bed" ( quote a friend sent me).. it's time I take my own counsel and fight hard for JOY.. my prayer tonight is that I would claim the promise that the LORD says in Isaiah 58, that if I just focus on GIVING ( first and foremost to my HUSBAND, and CHILD) then I will be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail...
LORD, help me please.