Abide in His Light

 

I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. John 12:46.

 

I see a darkness abides
across the land
born of sin in a broken world
where innocence died
selfishness allowed to putrefy
into chaos
Though darkness will come
This He has warned us
Though darkness will come
Abide in the Light
Abide in the Light
to obliterate the darkness
It seems a darkness abides
deep in my soul
born of pain inflicted
innocence stolen
anger allowed to fester
into bitterness
There’s a darkness within me
This He has shown my wounded soul
There’s a darkness within me
I must abide in the Light
Abide in the Light
to extinguish the darkness within

 

 

 

 

Jesus Is Light in My Darkness

LightinMyDarknessI have been so blessed to have Bryan Lowe allow me to share my thoughts and poetry here at Broken Believers. It’s a blessing I never would have known if not for the many years I spent suffering from major clinical depression. I love how God uses our suffering to shower us with blessings.

But I know that when in the midst of suffering that truth is difficult, if not impossible, to see. I believe that is why He has inspired me to write the poetry I have written and to publish it in a book called Light in My Darkness: Poems of Hope for the Brokenhearted. This book is now available at Amazon.com and you can even “Look Inside”

I am especially excited about this book because my son created the cover for me with original art. I shared with him my idea for the cover, read him a few of the poems, and he took it from there.

I also want to take a moment to thank Bryan for writing the foreword and to share here what he wrote:

“Never underestimate the sheer power of poetry. It is formidable. Linda knows this, and she has compiled this book from direct experience. And that is remarkable. I hope you’ll read this with an inquisitive heart and an eager mind. Good poetry should carry a weight of truth wherever it might lead. All that it requires is all of you. Poetry requires your full attention, at least to appreciate it fully.

Linda honors God in what she has written. I know her intention is to bring Him glory, and she does it fearlessly. What you read here comes from life’s furnace— things will be imparted through these poems. I pray the Lord’s blessing on this little book.

Read this book. Squeeze out the truth each poem has. I know that the author would appreciate it immensely.”

And he’s right—I would appreciate it. But even more importantly, I would love to know that those who read my poetry are blessed to find God’s Light in their darkness.

 

aasignLinda

You can find Linda’s website at http://lindakruschke.wordpress.com/

 

 

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Book Review: “When the Darkness Will Not Lift”

There are Christians for whom joy seems unattainable.

What will we tell them . . . “When the Darkness Will Not Lift?”

…………………………………………………………

“It is utterly crucial that in our darkness we affirm the wise, strong hand of God to hold us, even when we have no strength to hold him.”

–John Piper

The title of this reviewed book is terribly unyielding, but with a quick glimpse into its contents, and you realize what you hold in your hands is worth its weight in gold.  When the Darkness Will Not Lift: Doing What We Can While We Wait for God—And Joy,  John Piper gives guidance and hope to suffering believers and to those whom God has given to walk beside them.  The father of Christian hedonism reminds readers that joy is a duty even as he teaches them how to fight for it. At eighty pages, this slim volume commends itself to readers who, struggling under the weight of spiritual darkness, might be daunted by an exhaustive treatment of the subject.

Because the book starts from despair, it is a uniquely accessible tool for those who hurt. In the pastoral tone for which he is beloved, Piper shows that joy begins with despair in oneself. In “When the Darkness Will Not Lift”, Piper tackles difficult issues including:

• The physical nature of depression and the role of medication

• How to wait on the Lord through darkness

• The relationship between obedience and thanksgiving

• How unconfessed sin can clog our joy

Piper also provides insight for those who love depressed Christians—showing them how to exhort without crushing, and how they can help the struggling believer to distrust the “certainties of despair.”

PiperbookWhen the Darkness Will Not Lift: Doing What We Can While We Wait for God—And Joy Publisher Crossway Books, Author John Piper, ISBN 1581348762 Price $7.99, Released, January 2007

Available through your Bookstore, or just go to www.Amazon.com, like me.

John Piper’s website, http://www.desiringgod.org/

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The Man of the Tombs, [the Demoniac]

images (1)I’d like to share with you what I’m thinking this morning.  I hope you will persevere and go through it.  I identify with the “Man of the Tombs” so much.  I am sometimes asked about mental illness and demon possession, but I can give no real light.  All I know is that both are real and similar to each other.  Evil however has a presence about it that can be addressed and cast out.  Mental illness, on the other hand, is often a lifelong issue that requires management.  To complicate things there can be a combo of the two, with demonic exacerbating the medical issue.  God has gifted some in the Church with a gift “the discerning of spirits.”

This tells me #1, it is needful. #2, we should encourage this kind of gift as people have an even greater need today. Today there exists a deeper level for sin, with temptation never imagined by our grandparents generation. It seems that sin, and the resulting bondages, are more advanced.

I believe that Jesus has the power to free the captured heart. He also comforts day-by-day the minds and souls of the mentally ill. I will let Him decide what is what.

The Gerasene Demoniac, Mark 5, The Message Paraphrased

They arrived on the other side of the sea in the country of the Gerasenes. As Jesus got out of the boat, a madman from the cemetery came up to him. He lived there among the tombs and graves.”

No one could restrain him—he couldn’t be chained, couldn’t be tied down. He had been tied up many times with chains and ropes, but he broke the chains, snapped the ropes. No one was strong enough to tame him. Night and day he roamed through the graves and the hills, screaming out and slashing himself with sharp stones.

 6-8″When he saw Jesus a long way off, he ran and bowed in worship before him—then bellowed in protest, “What business do you have, Jesus, Son of the High God, messing with me? I swear to God, don’t give me a hard time!” (Jesus had just commanded the tormenting evil spirit, “Out! Get out of the man!”)

 9-10Jesus asked him, “Tell me your name.”  He replied, “My name is Mob. I’m a rioting mob.” Then he desperately begged Jesus not to banish them from the country.

11-13″A large herd of pigs was browsing and rooting on a nearby hill. The demons begged him, “Send us to the pigs so we can live in them.” Jesus gave the order. But it was even worse for the pigs than for the man. Crazed, they stampeded over a cliff into the sea and drowned.

 14-15Those tending the pigs, scared to death, bolted and told their story in town and country. Everyone wanted to see what had happened. They came up to Jesus and saw the madman sitting there wearing decent clothes and making sense, no longer a walking madhouse of a man.

 16-17Those who had seen it told the others what had happened to the demon-possessed man and the pigs. At first they were in awe—and then they were upset, upset over the drowned pigs. They demanded that Jesus leave and not come back.

 18-20As Jesus was getting into the boat, the demon-delivered man begged to go along, but he wouldn’t let him. Jesus said, “Go home to your own people. Tell them your story—what the Master did, how he had mercy on you.” The man went back and began to preach in the Ten Towns area about what Jesus had done for him. He was the talk of the town.”

Scripture taken from Mark 5:1-20, The Message by Eugene Peterson

 

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Pushing Back the Darkness

 

You, LORD, are my lamp; the LORD turns my darkness into light. 2 Sam. 22:29

You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. Psalm 18:28

Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darknessLuke 11:34

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Romans 13:12

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light. Ephesians 5:12

There exists a preponderance of scriptural weight in dealing directly with our relationship with darkness and the light.  Darkness is an evil presence.  As believers we must reject the darkness, and turn into the light.  We look directly at Him and we will find our salvation.

But there is a great deal of confusion.  But the entire concept of light over darkness opens our eyes to all that is good, and its worthy of a second look. But evil will insist on its darkness, and we in turn will push it aside.  God doesn’t dwell in darkness, neither should we.

When the blackness pursues us, we must turn and meet its presence.  It must only advance to the place where light meets it.  It cannot advance any closer.  When the time is right, we must push against its evil.  Darkness will never inherit a thing from the children of light.

When we turn to our Father, nothing can touch us.  We are teflon.  We press against darkness and it folds up.  It is an illusion and nothing more.  We shouldn’t be fearful or intimidated by the way it posturea and preens.  There is not a thing there, unless we buy into its foolish pretending.

Darkness will be forever pushed into a corner against our light. We should expect a push back.  But it holds no weight, and has no real significance.  We push back and he folds up.  Actually it is hardly a process and more a rout.  The light will shine and we will move into the place we are have been ordained for.

We take this place that the Father has made for us.  We will no longer be intimidated by a circulating evil.  We step out and the light meets us.  We push against darkness and it has to accommodate us.  He has made it so our hearts are only receptive to grace and light.

We can be touched by nothing except through His cross.

ybic, Bryan

 

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The Melancholy of Edvard Munch

munchDecember 2, 1863 – January 23, 1944, he was a Norwegian painter. He is regarded as a Symbolist and a forerunner of expressionism. He focused on themes of fear, anxiety, melancholy, and death. He did not believe in heaven, or other Christian themes or doctrines, as far as I know.

My intention is to reintroduce you to an artist that I highly esteem.  The challenge I suppose is to understand the issues that Munch discovers in his work. He clearly taps into the ‘angst’ of the modern man, and what he does perpetuates a mindset for our generation.

Obviously these paintings are just an introduction, and I understand that they are selective. I have refrained from any kind of interpretation, other than laying down a general principle–  to Munch, color is everything.

Munch was probably not a cheery person. He essentially was driven by anxiety through his whole life. It seems that he could be very ambitious. His classic work was “The Scream” which he made several versions to sell. He used different mediums to do this– tempera, lithograph and pastel. Interestingly, “The Scream” is a favorite target for art thefts. It captures the minds of every modern thinker.

Within our culture, “The Scream” is iconic. Warhol, Gary Larson, Dr. Who and even “The Simpsons” have cashed in on a parody of it.

Quotes

“I painted the picture, and in the colors the rhythm of the music quivers. I painted the colors I saw.”

“Painting picture by picture, I followed the impressions my eye took in at heightened moments. I painted only memories, adding nothing, no details that I did not see. Hence the simplicity of the paintings, their emptiness.”

“For as long as I can remember I have suffered from a deep feeling of anxiety which I have tried to express in my art.”

“Disease, insanity, and death were the angels that attended my cradle, and since then have followed me throughout my life.”

munch-thescream
The Scream, 1893
Munch’s best known painting ^

 

The Sick Child (1885)
Melancholy, 1894
Melancholy, 1894
Golgotha, 1900
Golgotha

Landmine Craziness

Thirty years ago, I was trained by the U.S. Army to clear landmines.  It was a very interesting experience, as I trained in the heat of a Missouri summer.  Most of what I learned was done by crawling on my belly under barb wire.  But there are many different kind of mines.  There is a big antitank mine, which was fairly easy to detect.  But also, there was a very small plastic mine, which had in mind to take a leg off if it was stepped on, and this was very hard to find.

Landmines are a very interesting form of warfare.  Buried and essentially unseen, they lay waiting for the enemy.  Trained as a Combat Engineer at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, I was taught that there were things to counteract other things like mines.  I knew how to operate a ‘minesweeper’.  I was also taught how to probe with a stick to find mines that could not be detected.  In the heat of an Ozark summer, I would be coated with a red mud after crawling on my belly through the Missouri dirt.

There are landmines in the Church.  Buried they simply await a believer to step on it.  Wisdom would tell us to advance with caution, but the counsel is not always taken.  There are definite things which can cripple us spiritually.  They only await our careless step.  We can know they exist, yet we can step on them without thinking.  It is a definite form of deception.

Mines such as fear, doubt, unforgiveness, jealousy, pride and selfishness lay waiting for us.  When you step on a mine, you will often hear a distinct click.  This is the downward signal that you have engaged the mechanism of the mine.  At this point it gets terribly grim.  It is highly unlikely that you can move quickly enough to get away from the explosion.

We are incredibly vulnerable to the mines of our walk as a believer.  However, the Holy Spirit holds the maps that can enable us to transverse that which is ahead of us.  His presence gives us a safe awareness to progress difficult ground.  He is there to direct us to pass through the danger.

Too many people are getting blown up.  They make a misstep and the resulting blast is awful.  Unless we listen to the Spirit’s direction we will find ourselves in a very hard place, full of difficulty and danger.

We need the Holy Spirit to help us navigate difficult places.  Without Him present we will step in places that are extremely detrimental, and very dangerous.  He must guide us, step by step, through the danger that surrounds us.  He will do this, if we only ask.

 

ybic, Bryan