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I’m in the middle of writing an article on loneliness as a means to drive us deeper into God’s heart and was just struck by the passage this nugget came from. The context is distress and anguish, feeling the grip of death’s crushing pull. Maybe you can relate. But the author of this psalm lifts his eyes above his circumstances and prays for deliverance. He meditates on the character of God; how He is gracious, righteous, and merciful. He remembers what God has done; how He preserves the simple and rescued him when he was flat on his back, hopeless and alone. Then comes verse seven. Circumstances haven’t changed for the author but, then again, God’s worthiness to be worshipped has never been contingent on ideal circumstances. No matter what our lives might look like right now, no matter how uncomfortable or excruciating our circumstances might be, if we have been redeemed by Jesus, we have every reason to “return to our rest;” for the the Lord INDEED has dealt bountifully with us. And He is worthy of our praise and confidence right here. •••• [Also, 1) this is not a staged photo and 2) you should go read all of Psalm 116 for yourself.]
Happy birthday to the best big sister! 🥳 You are as genuine and intentional as they get; you love deep and feel big, and I’m so thankful for your heart and life. 💜 Additionally, I’d like to know how much you were paid to hug me in this photo.
“Do not despair, dear heart, but come to the Lord with all your jagged wounds, black bruises, and running sores. He alone can heal, and He delights to do it. It is our Lord’s office to bind up the brokenhearted, and He is gloriously at home at it.” -Charles Spurgeon
“Theologians who limit the means of grace to overtly redemptive religious practices miss something about the God who speaks without words in the theater of His creation.” -David Powlison

Follow me as I follow Jesus

Iranian Pastor Released from Prison, Writes Thanks

Media outlets around the world have followed Iranian Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani as he was imprisoned after questioning the school his sons (now 7 and 9) attend regarding the teaching of the Koran in their classes.

The imprisonment wasn’t because he complained, supposedly, but “that led to his arrest for allegedly using his home as a place of worship and attempting to convert Muslims and ultimately his conviction by the Iranian Supreme Court. His release came when the court downgraded his crime to “evangelizing to Muslims” and let him out with what amounted to time served,” Fox News reports.

There are so many different things I want to say about this, but the awesome thing (to me) is that he didn’t retaliate against those who held him captive.

Instead, on the day of his release–three years later–he wrote a thank you letter to his supporters and did not say anything negative toward those who arrested or held him in prison.

Which made me think of what I would do in that situation.

If I was arrested because I was in some way violating what the government dictated as my “religious freedom” and imprisoned for three years while my spouse and children learned to live without me. What would I say if I had the chance to write 600 words to the public?

Would I defend myself? Attack those who arrested me? Thank those who prayed for my release?

I have no idea what I would do, but I hope my response would be just as Christ-exalting and God-glorifying as Nadarkhani’s.

To me, his response (or lack thereof) embodied Jesus’ words in Matthew:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

-Jesus, Matthew 5:38-42 ESV

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