Tears in a Bottle


I WAS LISTENING TO SOME MUSIC THE OTHER DAY AND I WAS SURPRISED AT HOW MANY SONGS ARE ABOUT TEARS AND CRYING “BLUE EYES CRYING IN THE RAIN”  I’M SO LONESOME I COULD CRY, LONELY TEARDROPS, TEARS ON MY PILLOW.” AND  MANY, MANY MORE.

WHY IS THAT? WELL I THINK ONE REASON IS THAT SHEDDING TEARS IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF OUR LIVES. LIKE THE COMEDIAN SAID, “IF BROKEN HEARTS WERE COMMERCIALS, WE’D ALL BE ON TV.”

KING DAVID WAS A MAN WHO SHED MANY TEARS. IN  PS 56 WE FIND HIM ANGRY, EXHAUSTED AND DEEPLY DISCOURAGED.  LISTEN TO HIS WORDS IN V8 AS HE  POURS OUT HIS HEART TO GOD ,

“YOU KEEP TRACK OF ALL MY SORROWS.
YOU HAVE COLLECTED ALL MY TEARS IN YOUR BOTTLE
YOU HAVE RECORDED EACH ONE IN YOUR BOOK.”
PSALM 56:8 (NLT)

I CAN PICTURE DAVID SOBBING AS HE WROTE THESE WORDS WITH  TEARS FLOWING DOWN HIS CHEEKS. DAVID WASN’T EMBARRASSED OR AFRAID TO CRY AND HERE HE IS PAINTING A BEAUTIFUL IMAGE OF A TENDER HEARTED GOD WHO IS INTIMATELY AWARE OF OUR PAIN AND SORROWS AND STRUGGLES. HE TALKS  DIRECTLY TO GOD AND SAYS “YOU – YOU KEEP TRACK OF ALL  MY SORROWS. YOU HAVE COLLECTED ALL MY TEARS…” “I CANT BELIEVE THAT YOU – MY LORD MY GOD– YOU PUT ALL MY TEARS IN YOUR BOTTLE – I DON’T PUT THEM THERE – BUT YOU DO AND THEY ARE MY TEARS. NOT EVERYONE IN GENERAL -BUT MY TEARS.”

THIS IS SO PERSONAL. DAVID COULDN’T BELIEVE GOD LOVED HIM SO INTIMATELY, SO PERSONALLY AND THAT HIS TEARS  WERE SO  IMPORTANT  TO GOD THAT GOD COLLECTS THEM LIKE SOMEONE WHO COLLECTS PRECIOUS AND FRAGRANT OIL AND BOTTLES IT FOR SAFE KEEPING.

WHEN HIS CLOSE FRIEND LAZARUS DIED WHAT DID JC DO? DID HE JUST BYPASS THE TEARS OF MARTHA AND MARY AND TELL THEM TO GET ON WITH THEIR LIVES, GET OVER IT AND JUST TRUST. I ONCE HEARD OF AN 8-YEAR-OLD GIRL WHO WAS STANDING  SOBBING AT THE GRAVE OF HER MOTHER. HER AUNT GOT SO ANGRY WITH HER THAT SHE SLAPPED HER FACE AND SHOUTED “CHRISTIANS DON’T CRY.” THAT IS NOT TRUE!

IN THE SHORTEST VERSE IN THE  BIBLE WE READ JESUS WEPT. I CAN JUST PICTURE HIM SITTING  BETWEEN MARY AND MARTHA, PUTTING AN ARM AROUND EACH ONE, AND SOBBING WITH THEM. JESUS WAS HUMAN JUST LIKE US – IN EVERY WAY. HE WAS SO HUMAN THAT HE CRIED. LATER HE WEPT OVER JERUSALM WITH GREAT HEAVING SOBS. GOD KNOWS HOW TO CRY. GOD KNOWS ABOUT GRIEF. HE KNOWS AND FEELS YOUR PAIN. AND HIS TEARS GIVE YOU PERMISSION TO SHED YOUR OWN. ITS OK TO CRY. SO GRIEVE, BUT THE ENCOURAGING TRUTH IS YOU DON’T GRIEVE ALONE.  

YOU SEE HE DIED FOR OUR SINS BUT HE ALSO DIED FOR EVERYTHING THAT SIN HAS DONE TO US. HE TOOK TO HIMSELF OUR PAIN AND  GRIEF AND MADE THEM HIS. HE INVITES US TO BRING OUR HURTS TO HIM. HE IS OUR BURDEN BEARER. HE IS OUR PAIN TAKER. HE IS THE HEALER OF BROKEN HEARTS – HE IS OUR BOTTLE.  AND HE TAKES OUR TEARS AND TURNS THEM AROUND AND IN HIS WAY AND IN HIS TIME TRANSFORMS THEM.  PETER WEPT BITTERLY BUT RETURNED TO GREATER POWER THAN EVER. I KNOW OF A GUY WHO EXPERIENCED GREAT SADNESS WHEN HIS SON WAS ILL. HE SAID HE HAD ALWAYS BEEN QUITE A HARD PERSON WITH LITTLE EMPATHY OR COMPASSION FOR OTHERS BUT DURING HIS SON’S ILLNESS HE HAD CRIED TEARS LIKE NEVER BEFORE AND AFTERWARDS HE WAS A DIFFERENT PERSON – A KINDER MORE COMPASSIONATE PERSON.  

YOU KNOW ITS INTERESTING THAT THE BOTTLE DAVID WAS REFERRING TO WAS NOT LIKE A BOTTLE WE MIGHT IMAGINE –LIKE A COKE BOTTLE – BUT MOST LIKELY A WINESKIN. WHICH WAS USED TO CARRY WINE. AND WINE IS MADE BY CRUSHING GRAPES. MAYBE WINE IS THE TEARS OF THE GRAPES! AND ITS ALSO INTERESTING THAT JESUS FIRST MIRACLE WAS TURNING, TRANSFORMING WATER INTO WINE. IS THERE A MESSAGE OF REDEMPTION IN THAT STORY. I THINK SO. HENRI J.M. NOUWEN:  “WHEN WE ARE CRUSHED LIKE GRAPES, WE CANNOT THINK OF THE WINE WE WILL BECOME.” SOMEONE ELSE SAID; “ GRAPES MUST BE CRUSHED TO MAKE WINE. WHENEVER YOU FEEL CRUSHED, YOU’RE IN A POWERFUL PLACE OF TRANSFORMATION AND TRANSMUTATION. TRUST THE PROCESS.” YOU SEE, GOD TAKES OUR FAILURES OUR SINS OUR TEARS AND WEAVES THEM TOGETHER FOR HIS GOOD.

WE CAN LEARN A LESSON ABOUT PRAYER FROM DAVID. THAT IS OPEN UP. DON’T HOLD BACK FROM GOD. TELL HIM WHAT YOU THINK. HE IS SITTING SO CLOSE TO YOU THAT HE CAN CATCH YOUR TEARS  LIKE A MOTHER SITTING BESIDE HER CHILD’S SICKBED. HE IS THERE IN THE SILENCE WHEN WE CRY LONELY TEARS. REST INTO THAT AND YOU WILL FIND THE STRENGTH YOU NEED.  

ONE DAY ALL THE PAIN AND SUFFERING IN OUR LIVES AND  AROUND US WILL END. KEEP CLOSE TO GOD IN THESE UNCERTAIN TIMES AND NEVER FORGET THAT WE ARE LOVED BY THE GOD WHO COUNTS AND KEEPS OUR TEARS, WHO TURNS THEM INTO WINE, AND WHO — ONE DAY — WILL WIPE THEM ALL AWAY.

PRAYER
FATHER, THANK YOU THAT YOU FEEL OUR SORROWS AND OUR TEARS THROUGH YOUR SON, JESUS, AND THANK YOU TOO FOR THE HOPE THAT WE HAVE NOW IN JC AND IN THE FUTURE       AMEN

SO UNTIL NEXT TIME, THIS IS GG

This article is generously submitted by GG to whom we are indebted for sharing his God-given wisdom and encouragement. 

If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

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Psalm 27 – A Devotional


Another wonderful encouraging devotional from GG and sent to us by Vivi.

DENZEL WASHINGTON ONCE SAID STAYING POSITIVE DOESN’T MEAN YOU HAVE TO BE HAPPY ALL OF THE TIME. IT MEANS THAT EVEN ON HARD DAYS YOU KNOW THAT THERE ARE BETTER ONES COMING.

I LOVE HIS CONFIDENCE! DON’T YOU? BUT HOW CAN WE BE CONFIDENT IN THESE DAYS OF UNCERTAINY, AND FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN. IT IS IN CHAOTIC TIMES LIKE THESE THAT IT IS VERY EASY TO FALL INTO THE DEPTHS OF DESPAIR AND HOPELESSNESS. WE NEED AN ANCHOR TO HOLD US FAST.

ONE WAY TO DO THIS IS TO LOOK TO THE GODLY MEN AND WOMEN OF THE BIBLE – BECAUSE THEY WERE HUMAN JUST LIKE US – BUT WE CAN LEARN SO MUCH FROM THEM. HOW DID THEY FACE THEIR HARD DAYS?

DAVID IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE. HE WENT THROUGH MANY HEARTBREAKING,  FRIGHTENING  AND LIFE-THREATENING TIMES.  WHEN HE WAS YOUNG HE WAS CHASED THROUGH THE DESERT BY JEALOUS KING SAUL WHO TRIED TO KILL HIM AND TOWARDS THE END OF DAVIDS LIFE  HIS VERY OWN SON TRIED TO DO THE SAME THING.

BUT YOU KNOW RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF HIS DIFFICULT TIMES HE WROTE MANY PSALMS. PS 27 IS AN EXCELLENT EXAMPLE OF THAT AND I WANT TO SHARE THIS WITH YOU BECAUSE THIS PSALM IS FOR YOU AND ME TODAY. I JUST WANT TO FOCUS ON ONE VERSE. 

BUT JUST TO GET THE CONTEXT….

27 THE LORD IS MY LIGHT AND MY SALVATION; (MEANS DELIVERANCE FROM SOMETHING THAT WOULD HARM ME – SIN, SICKNESS, DISEASE – COVERS EVERYTHING) GOD IS MY SALVATION.
WHOM SHALL I FEAR?
THE LORD IS THE [A]DEFENSE OF MY LIFE;
WHOM SHALL I DREAD?….
GOES ON AND SAYS MY HEART WILL NOT FEAR

IN THIS PSALM DAVID WASN’T TALKING ABOUT SLIGHT AFFLICTIONS. LISTEN TO THE INTESITY OF HIS WORDS V3 “EVEN THOUGH WAR ARISE AGAINST ME.  IN SPITE OF ALL THIS I AM CONFIDENT.

WHERE DID THIS CONFIDENCE, ASSURANCE COME FROM? HOW WAS HE ABLE TO SAY IN SPITE OF ALL HIS HARD TIMES, THE LORD IS MY, MY SALVATION, MY DEFENSE, MY LIGHT. HOW COULD HE BE SO CONFIDENT IN UNCERTAIN AND SCARY TIMES?

HE’S GOING TO ANSWER THAT SOON BUT HE CONTINUES…

10 [G]FOR MY FATHER AND MY MOTHER HAVE FORSAKEN ME,

THIS IS LIKE READING DAVIDS DIARY.  HE IS WRITING ABOUT HIS PRIVATE LIFE, HIS PERSONAL STRUGGLES. THIS WAS A TIME OF MENTAL DARKNESS.  A HOPELESS SITUATION. A TIME OF FEAR, CHAOS, DOUBT.  BUT AGAIN LISTEN TO HIS  CONFIDENCE.

BUT THE LORD WILL TAKE ME UP. THE LORD WILL CARE FOR ME. THE LORD WILL HOLD ME CLOSE.

HOW WAS HE ABLE TO BE SO CONFIDENT? HOW WAS HE ABLE TO GET TO THAT POINT IN LIFE? WHAT WAS THAT SOMETHING THAT STOPPED HIM FROM DESPAIRING AND GIVING UP? WHERE DID DAVD FIND HOPE, THE STRENGTH TO CARRY ON.

VERSE 13 IS THE KEY

13 [J]I WOULD HAVE DESPAIRED UNLESS I HAD BELIEVED THAT I WOULD SEE THE GOODNESS OF THE LORD IN THE LAND OF THE LIVING.

NO MATTER WHAT WAS HAPPENING AROUND HIM AND TO HIM HE DEEPLY  BELIEVED THAT SOMEHOW HE WOULD SEE THE GOODNESS OF GOD. AND HE SAYS HE WOULD SEE THE GOODNESS OF GOD IN THE LAND OF THE LIVING. NOT ONE DAY WHEN I GO TO HEAVEN BUT HERE NOW HERE WHERE I AM LIVING. I WILL SEE THE GOODNESS OF GOD WORKING OUT IN MY DAILY LIFE

HE KNEW THAT GOD IS GOOD. HE BELIEVED THAT. HE WAS ABSOLUTELY SURE THAT GOD WOULD SEE HIM THROUGH HIS TRIALS. 

SO HE IS SAYING; “UNLESS I HAD SEEN, UNLESS I HAD BELIEVED IN THE GOODNESS OF GOD IN MY LIFE, IN THIS CHAOTIC WORLD RIGHT NOW, I WOULD HAVE GIVEN UP.” YOU SEE ALL OF D SENSES TOLD HIM IT’S HOPELESS OUT THERE. I’M FINISHED. BUT INSTEAD HE CHOSE TO BELIEVE THAT HE WOULD SEE THE GOODNESS OF GOD.

THE GOODNESS OF GOD. IS GENTLENESS, KINDNESS – IT’S THE GENEROSITY OF GOD. IT  IS GODS LOVE IN ACTION. JC CAME TO REVEAL HIS GOODNESS.  IN THE BOOK OF ACTS WE ARE TOLD THAT JESUS WENT AROUND DOING GOOD. JC CALLED HIM SELF THE GOOD SHEPHERD AND A GOOD SHEPHERD PROTECTS PROVIDES FOR HIS SHEEP.

IN PS 23 (WHICH WAS ACTUALLY WRITTEN AROUND THE SAME TIME AS THIS PSALM) DAVID WROTE “SURELY GOODNESS AND MERCY WILL FOLLOW ME ALL THE DAYS OF MY LIFE.” DO YOU REALISE THAT YOU ARE THE FOCUS OF GODS GOODNESS? THE GOD WHO IS GOOD IS AT THIS VERY MOMENT PURSUING YOU TO DO YOU.GOOD AND WILL IN HIS OWN WAY AND IN HIS OWN TIME SHAPE THE CHAOS INTO SOMETHING GOOD.

SO, TURN YOUR ATTENTION FROM FEAR, ANXIETY AND UNCERTAINTY TO GOD WHO IS YOUR HOPE, YOUR STRENGTH,Y OUR LIFE.   ANCHOR YOURSELF IN THE GOD WHO IS SGOOD TOWARD YOU NOW.

UNTIL NEXT TIME, THIS IS GG

STAY SAFE, STAY SANE, STAY TRUE.

If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

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button).

De Profundis…..


King David

From the depths of despair, O LORD,
I call for your help.
Hear my cry, O Lord.
Pay attention to my prayer.

LORD, if you kept a record of our sins,
who, O Lord, could ever survive?
But you offer forgiveness,
that we might learn to fear you.

I am counting on the LORD;
yes, I am counting on him.
I have put my hope in his word.
I long for the Lord
more than sentries long for the dawn,
yes, more than sentries long for the dawn.

O Israel, hope in the LORD;
for with the LORD there is unfailing love.
His redemption overflows.
He himself will redeem Israel
from every kind of sin.

How often have you cried out to God in the misery of your circumstances. How often have you sought an answer to the problems you have faced, the fears that you could not face?

The authorship of this Psalm is anonymous, but it echoes a cry like many that King David wrote.

David, the warrior King, beloved of all Israel, cried out to God more often than he rejoiced. In moments of fear, failure, guilt, frustration, loneliness, he cried out to God. Almost every emotion you and I have experienced in our lives, David experienced.

‘De Profundis…” out of the depths of our pain we cry, because our eyes are seeing ourselves only and do not have the time and perception to understand why we have found ourselves in our predicament.

Although God in His compassion, laments with us, His reason differs from ours. We lament because of ourselves, our emotion; God, because, we lack understanding that He longs for us to have.

The psalmist points to the problem – sin. (sin is probably the most misunderstood word in the bible) The state of ‘sin’ is no more than being apart from God – doing our own thing, to use a contemporary expression.

RedemptionThe intense hope of the Psalmist is seeing the dawn of redemption, the dawn of the Son of Man, God incarnate – Jesus.

The Psalmist’s hope was reserved for another dawn; the dawn reserved for you and me. A hope free from all the cares and anxieties of this life.

Out of the depths of this dawn is the greatest treasure of all.

All rights reserved sirpeterjamesdotcom©2019-05-20

If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.
Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’
button).

 

 

De Profundis…..


King David

From the depths of despair, O LORD,
I call for your help.
Hear my cry, O Lord.
Pay attention to my prayer.

LORD, if you kept a record of our sins,
who, O Lord, could ever survive?
But you offer forgiveness,
that we might learn to fear you.

I am counting on the LORD;
yes, I am counting on him.
I have put my hope in his word.
I long for the Lord
more than sentries long for the dawn,
yes, more than sentries long for the dawn.

O Israel, hope in the LORD;
for with the LORD there is unfailing love.
His redemption overflows.
He himself will redeem Israel
from every kind of sin.

How often have you cried out to God in the misery of your circumstances. How often have you sought an answer to the problems you have faced, the fears that you could not face?

The authorship of this Psalm is anonymous, but it echoes a cry like many that King David wrote.

David, the warrior King, beloved of all Israel, cried out to God more often than he rejoiced. In moments of fear, failure, guilt, frustration, loneliness, he cried out to God. Almost every emotion you and I have experienced in our lives, David experienced.

‘De Profundis…” out of the depths of our pain we cry, because our eyes are seeing ourselves only and do not have the time and perception to understand why we have found ourselves in our predicament.

Although God in His compassion, laments with us, His reason differs from ours. We lament because of ourselves, our emotion; God, because, we lack understanding that He longs for us to have.

The psalmist points to the problem – sin. (sin is probably the most misunderstood word in the bible) The state of ‘sin’ is no more than being apart from God – doing our own thing, to use a contemporary expression.

RedemptionThe intense hope of the Psalmist is seeing the dawn of redemption, the dawn of the Son of Man, God incarnate – Jesus.

The Psalmist’s hope was reserved for another dawn; the dawn reserved for you and me. A hope free from all the cares and anxieties of this life.

Out of the depths of this dawn is the greatest treasure of all.

All rights reserved sirpeterjamesdotcom©2019-05-20

If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.
Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’
button).

 

 

Living with Sour Balls


If we were perfect in God’s eyes, would we have need for Him in our lives? I think not. If we had all our physical needs met daily, would we call out to Him for help? I think not. If all our emotional relationships were running smoothly, would we be crying on God’s shoulder? I think not.

Continue reading “Living with Sour Balls”