The Swamp of Despondency, [Pilgrim’s Progress]

 
Trapped, and unable to move
“Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out!
   Tell others he has redeemed you from your       enemies.
  For he has gathered the exiles from many lands,
      from east and west,
      from north and south.
 Some wandered in the wilderness,
      lost and homeless.
 Hungry and thirsty,
      they nearly died.
 “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble,
      and he rescued them from their distress.”

            Psalms 107:2-6

Recently watched the new release of the movie “Pilgrim’s Progress” and I have to say, it’s remarkably close to the book, which often is not the case when a movie is based upon a book.  In his book, Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan has written one of the most beautiful allegories about the journey we all travel as a believers.

The book describes the hero, Christian, and his journey from the City of Destruction to his heavenly destination, the Celestial City. Now there’s one part of Pilgrim’s Progress that I want to focus on today –walking througH (or sinking into) the Swamp of Despondency!

At one point during their travels, Christian and his companion suddenly find themselves there….into this particular swamp. Still bearing  a burden, Christian begins to quickly sink in the mire.  His traveling companion manages to get out, but he returns to the City of Destruction without giving aid to Christian.  Christian is left all alone and sinking even deeper in the mire, until Help, the allegorical figure for the Holy Spirit, pulls him free from the muck.

Christian then asks Help why this dangerous plot of land has not been mended so that poor travelers might go safely to the Celestial City. Help replies, “This miry slough is such a place that cannot be mended.”

How true it is in real life!  As hard as we try to avoid them, whether young in the Lord, or spiritually mature…swamps of despondency seem inevitable, and we must struggle through them!

Charles Spurgeon once wrote to his students in the book, “Lectures to my Students”,

  • “Fits of depression come over most of us.  Usually cheerful as we may be, we must at intervals be cast down.
  • The strong are not always vigorous, the wise not always ready, the brave not always courageous, and the joyous not always happy.
  • There may be here and there men of iron…but surely the rust frets even these.”

There are times in our lives when we will struggle through the swamps of despondency — but praise God that He has provided us a helper for those times of need!  We need to press through, seeking and trusting the power of the Holy Spirit to pull us out of those nasty swamps, and set our feet back upon the Rock of our salvation.

Let’s also look around us to see our brethren who may be struggling in the swamps of despondency, so that, rather than abandoning them, we might give them a hand on their journey to “the Celestial city”!

Source: http://www.worthydevotions.com/christian/depression

 

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I Want to Do a Beautiful Work

 
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“He is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name.”

Acts 9:15

You are Mine.

You are not your own.

With a great price I have purchased you for Myself. I am not dismayed that you do not comprehend, but I say that if you will listen to Me, I will reveal to you more fully so that you may know more clearly how vital you are to My purpose. There is work to be done, and I need you as a vessel through which to work. Not a vassal, but a vessel. I want to do a beautiful work.

I need an individual to use who is not only available and suitable, but who loves Me in such a way as to enhance My creation. I desire not the kind of loyalty a soldier gives to his country, but a dedicated devotion of the type of love a mother feels toward her unborn child.

There will be inconveniences to be borne, self-pleasing to be laid aside, sacrifices and pain-but what a blessed reward I have in store! Yes, in store for you, if you are able to let Me use you the way I desire.

You are not unworthy; you are not unprepared. You have no reason to hold back unless your love for Me is too small. If this is the only hindrance, draw closer to Me, and I will pour My love out upon you so that your affection for Me may be deepened and perfected. Lo, I wait for you. Come to Me.

 

Taken from “Come Away My Beloved”, by Frances J. Roberts

Come Away My Beloved Updated

from Amazon.com

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The Quiet Power of Jesus

“The master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine.  He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside.”   John 2:9 

Jesus Christ performs the first miracle of his short ministry.  He will perform thousands of them in his brief work on planet Earth.  This miracle was done silently, there was absolutely no fanfare or hoopla. (What a contrast for ministry today!)

Silently, quietly, much like he does today, he touches the hearts of thousands of men and women.  I wouldn’t have done it this way, I would’ve advertised, had the 12 disciples out doing some PR work, maybe some autographs and definitely make it quite the show!

He is not in the storm, or the fire, or an earthquake.  That is not the way he operates (but he can). He comes quietly in a still, small voice to our confused hearts.  Silently help comes to us, and silently the answers to our prayers glide down to us.  Not a shred of ostentation; no gaudy bows or ribbons.  When Jesus is ministering to someone who is in a horrible fix, he does it peaceably–quietly and calmly.  He is infinitely gentle.

It is significant that “the servants who had drawn the water knew”.  Often those who minister for Christ get to see his omnipotence and his power, they know it first-hand.  As a young man, I worked as a full-time evangelist in San Francisco.  I saw God change people! Addicts, gays and transvestites would often come for the Bible studies, and God would work and they were changed.  As you and I mature and step into service, we are privy to the work of Jesus.  We are no longer strangers but friends, and he lets us see his wonders for ourselves.  I have been allowed to see up close his workings in a twisted heart of a lost soul.  The water is turned into wine. I simply stand in awe.

The master of the feast did not know what had happened.  Is this not the same with us quite often?  We cannot explain where the blessings come from.  It happens quickly and quietly.  Look, over there, see the confused woman as she desperately seeks an intervention.  She sobs out in prayer, imploring the Lord for mercy.  Suddenly, through faith something happens, and it is completely supernatural.  And no trumpets sounded, for these are common, regular everyday miracles.

We drink the wine, but we don’t quite grasp the miracle.  But that’s okay.  Our limited understanding handles these quiet miracles and we will step into the light that grace leaves behind.  The water has become wine and we are changed as well, forever, by the quiet power of Jesus.

ybic, Bryan

You Are Complete In Him

“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the  basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.”  

Colossians 2:8-10

I’ve heard about how accessories can complete a look.

Lord, thank You for completing us!  And here’s a simple poem . . .

All the Fullness

We are complete in You                                                                       
for that is what You do
coming to us who are unfinished
and filling us with truth.

We are complete in You
it’s not something we can do
for nothing else can fill us
but the fullness of You.

By Debbie, her link should be a blessing, http://iftodaywehear.wordpress.com/