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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

Monday Morning Munch No. 115 – Quotes and Romania

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After spending the last two weeks in Romania and having lots of quality time to read (hey, 13 hours in the air) I have so many photos and quotes to share with you. 

Our time spent in Romania was great (you can read all the updates on our ministry’s blog here) and most of it was spent developing relationships with the sweet and beautiful people who compromise the small group that will—by God’s grace and His doing—eventually be a new church plant in the city of Iasi. 

I finished two books during our Eastern European adventure, A Lamp Unto My Feet by Elisabeth Elliot (it’s a daily devotional but I’m not the biggest fan of those so I just read like 10 or 15 at a time—they’re super short) and Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More—Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist by Karen Swallow Prior. 

Wow did I l-o-v-e Fierce Convictions. (I loved EE’s book as well but, then again, I love anything she writes so that wasn’t a surprise.) A fast read (I read it all while we were gone) that is rich in history, truth, exciting stories and inspiring womanhood. And this lady was a writer who loved the Gospel and education (especially for women) and believed women should be women and men should be men according to Scripture. I really can’t tell you how much I loved it.

Enough gushing. I’ll let the quotes from these two books (and some from my pastor’s conference sessions and sermons) and the photos from this gorgeous land speak for themselves.

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Is this country beautiful or what?

“A useful education served women best, More thought. To ‘learn how to grow old gracefully is perhaps one of the rarest and most valuable arts which can be taught to woman.’ Yet, when beauty is all that is expected or desired in a woman, she is left with nothing in its absence. It ‘is a most severe trial for those women to be called to lay down beauty, who have nothing else to take up. It is for this sober season of life that education should lay up its rich resources,’ she argued.” -Karen Swallow Prior

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During the first Romania Missionary Fellowship Conference in Iasi. Speaking: Michael Durham and Florin Vasiliu

 

“If you really believe God loves you, you can risk loving other people and facing their rejection because God loves you and no one is better than God.” -Michael Durham

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“Selfishness does terrible things to us, but it does not stop there. It does terrible things to others. ‘Saving our own skin’ usually results in skinning somebody else.” -Elisabeth Elliot

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“Let it be observed,” [Hannah More] said, “I am by no means encouraging young ladies to turn authors, I am only reminding them, that Authors before they write should read; I am only putting them in mind, that to be ignorant is not to be original.”

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“You want to die, but to die without any pain . . . you must give all or nothing when God asks it. If you have not the courage to give, at least let Him take.” -Archbishop Fenelon

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On the last day of the retreat with the core group.

 

“To go forward in grace you must go back to the cross in faith.” -Michael Durham

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Historic Bucharest.

 

“We need to learn to walk side by side with Him, bearing humbly and gently the yoke He places on us, not the unbearable burdens of competition and recognition and something called fulfillment. If we do this, any burden He allows—of loss or pain or insult or responsibility or heartbreak—will be both bearable and light, for the weight is shared with Him. No yoke laid on us in this way will cause us to burn out or collapse.” -Elisabeth Elliot

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Historic Bucharest.

 

“Mischief arises not from our living in the world, but from the world living in us; occupying our hearts, and monopolizing our affections.” -Hannah More

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This is Estera, the daughter of Romania Missionary Fellowship Director Florin Vasiliu, and me. I love this girl.

 

“Distractions can be useful. They provide constant reminders of our human weakness.” -Elisabeth Elliot

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The view from my balcony at the retreat in Vama. God is beautiful.

 

“While we glory in having freed ourselves from the trammels of human authority, are we not turning our liberty into licentiousness, and wantonly struggling to throw off the Divine authority too? Freedom of thought is the glory of the human mind, but only if it is confined within its just and sober limits.” -Hannah More

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Our team and Florin and his wife Denise with one of their sons.

 

“Because of stereotypes, there are walls you have to tear down in order to share the Gospel. Love is an amazing deconstruction tool.” -Michael Durham

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“Lord, be near us in our pain and grant us the clear eye of faith to see if from heaven’s perspective. Jesus walked this road. Help us to follow Him gladly.” -Elisabeth Elliot

 

 

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