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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Weather Patterns

 The day before, sunshine had cast its glowing rays. The weather had been beautiful. It was warm. The forecasters called for fair conditions the following day. I had hoped that they were right because it was to be the final game of our baseball season. Fun activities were planned, including one last dinner with the players. I was looking forward to it...
  Then came the rain. Just a few short hours before game-time, the showers began. Then it poured. The game was cancelled. No more baseball. Season over...and yet, the dinner would happen as planned. I arrived at the ballpark as I had so many times already this summer. The evening before, we had been sitting in the sun and cheering. Our team had won. Now, the field was soaking wet. It sat there - empty. It would remain that way for the next ten months until the 2015 season got underway. It reminded me of the good-byes that were about to take place. 


 Over the next several hours, players and fans stood under canopies and tarps. The clouds continued to hang low. The rain kept on coming. Yet, we were warm  in our spirits because we had one another. The laughter, the love, the memories...these brought us closer as we felt the soaking downpour. His light shone through and caused us to believe in the promise that the sun would come again. We said our farewells. Hugs were passed around, and a few tears were shed. As I walked back to the car I thought, "A little rain isn't bad, really. Every soul must have its share and be reminded that the clouds will roll away in due time."
  The next day dawned clear and bright. The sun had returned. The warmth was back: God's promise of renewal come to life. There was even a rainbow - a reminder that He makes beauty out of all things, even the darkest days of the heart.


 I have seen my own soul's weather patterns come and go. Sometimes the sun warms deep, and the skies are cloudless. Other times, they have been nearly split open, and the rain has poured. The clouds have hung low. There seemed to have been no end to the cold, damp penetration. And yet, the sun has always come back. The Sun of my soul has kept me singing - even in the rain. The community of those around me have helped me to hope. Even when it has seemed to be the darkest, I have never been truly alone. As I have become open to Grace, I do not fear the rainy days like I used to. Because I hope in the promise they bring: greener pastures, streams in the wilderness. Just as the ground gets parched from the blazing heat, so I too go through times when I need the quenching moisture. I need to be refreshed. I need water in a dry land. The rain brings that. Since it is living water, good fruit grows in my soul because of it. 
  I now gaze out my window at the beaming rays. The world looks so green and fresh. Here, in this moment, I call to mind the words of John Keeble. And I breathe them in prayer, thankful for the rain:

"Sun of my soul, Thou Savior dear;
It is not night if You are near;
O may no earth-bourne cloud arise
To hide Thee from Thy servant's eyes."

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Grace-Filled Moment

  I was walking in my neighborhood this afternoon and took these amazing pictures of Mt. McKinley. Yet another Grace-filled moment to enjoy! I live in the most beautiful place in the world...







Springs of Water



" When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none,
and their tongue faileth them for thirst, I the Lord will 
hear them...I will open rivers in high places, and fount-
ains in the midst of valleys: I will make the wilderness a
pool of water, and the dry land springs of water."
- Isaiah 41: 17-18

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Quote of the Day

  " For most of my life I have struggled to find God, to know God, to love God...I have failed many times but always tried again, even when I was close to despair. Now I wonder whether I have sufficiently realized that during all this time God has been trying to find me, to know me, and to love me. The question is not, 'How am I to find God?' but 'How am I to let myself be found by him?' The question is not 'How am I to know God?' but 'How am I to let myself be known by God?' And, finally, the question is not 'How am I to love God?' but 'How am I to let myself be loved by God?' God is looking into the distance for me, trying to find me, and longing to bring me home."
                                         - Henri Nouwen *







* Taken from The Return of The Prodigal Son copyrighted 1992.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Quote of the Day





" Fill the garden of my soul with the wind of love,
that the scents of the Christian life may be wafted
to others; then come and gather fruits to Thy glory.
So shall I fulfill the great end of my being - to glorify
Thee and be a blessing to men."
- Unknown *






* Taken from The Valley of Vision copyrighted 1975

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Quote of the Day

 " Ever since the days of St. Augustine, it has been a proverb that God has made the heart of man for Himself, and that the heart of man finds no true rest till it finds its rest in God. But long before the days of St. Augustine, the Psalmist had said the same thing. The heart of man, the Psalmist had said, is such that it can pour itself out nowhere but before God. In His sovereignty, in His wisdom, and in His love, God has made the heart of man so that at its deepest - but for Himself - it is absolutely solitary and alone. So much so that, 'Not even the tenderest  heart, and next our own, knows half the reasons why we smile or sigh.' They see us smile, and they hear us sigh, but the reasons why we smile or sigh are fully known to God alone."
                                       - Alexander Whyte *









* Taken from Lord, Teach Us to Pray copyrighted 1976 and quoted in Worthy is the Lamb copyrighted 2004.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Where I Came From



" I waited patiently for God to help me; then he listened and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out from the bog and the mire, and 
set my feet on a hard, firm path and steadied me as I walked along. He has
given me a new song to sing, of praises to our God. Now many will hear of 
the glorious things he did for me, and stand in awe before the Lord, and put
their trust in him."
- Psalm 40:1-3


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Quote of the Day



" People who have come to know the joy of God do not deny the darkness,
 but they choose not to live in it. They claim that the light that shines in the
darkness can be trusted more than the darkness itself and that a little bit of
light can dispel a lot of darkness. They point each other to flashes of light 
here and there, and remind each other that they reveal the hidden but real 
presence of God."
- Henri Nouwen *





* Taken from The Return of The Prodigal Son copyrighted 1992.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Be Strong!

 Several days ago, I put up a post called "Never Alone" which described the importance of community, that mutual encouragement is vital to the human soul. This morning, I stumbled on this beautiful Scripture verse and knew I had to share it as a follow-up:


" They helped every one his neighbor; and every one
said to his brother, ' Be of good courage.' "
- Isaiah 41: 6

Today, I encourage you with these words: be strong! May you encourage others around you in the same way. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Prayer of the Day




" Glorious God, I bless Thee that I know Thee. I once lived in the world,
but was ignorant of its Creator, was partaker of Thy providences, but knew
not the Provider, was blind while enjoying the sunlight, was deaf to all things
spiritual, with voices all around me, understood many things, but had no knowledge
of Thy ways, saw the world, but did not see Jesus only.
O happy day, when in Thy love's sovereignty Thou didst look on me, and call me by 
grace. Then did the dead heart begin to beat, the darkened eye glimmer with light,
the dull ear catch Thy echo, and I turned to Thee and found Thee, a God ready to hear,
willing to save."
- Unknown *




* Taken from The Valley of Vision copyrighted 1975

Monday, July 21, 2014

You Are Loved

  You are loved. So many of us long to hear those three simple words...We want to be told that we have value to someone, that another cares for us and wants us. There are times when we do not hear these things. All we hear is the silence. All we feel is the aching and emptiness. Life speeds on by us. We think we have no place in it, that love is nowhere to be found. We think we have no value. We sense that we are left alone...
  But look around you: that little bird in the tree? Its song tell of One who does value you. It says, " You are loved." See that little flower outside your window? The God who made it knows everything about you - and He says, " You are loved." Those large and imposing mountain peaks? He sees those, yet He takes far more notice of you. Lonely, hurting you. He holds the entire world together, but He cares for you. The God of the Universe reaches out for you - you - and says, " You're loved. You're loved because I chose to love you first. I knew about you since the beginning of time. Before any of my creation existed, I had a plan for your life. I made a place for you in this world. You are valuable - to me. You are loved - by me. You are not alone."


 I hear these words spoken in my own soul, and I smile. Oh, how I smile. I smile because that message of "You are loved" was there all along. I just had to learn to notice it. The thought that my life had no purpose, no value, was only a lie. He is demonstrating His love for me in so many ways. I just need to listen, to wait for it. To look and see it. His grace is everywhere. He notices; He cares - for you as well as for me. We are loved.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Friday, July 18, 2014

Quote of the Day




" I doubt not but you likewise have your share of trials;
but when the love of God is shed abroad in the heart
by the Holy Ghost, it sweetens what bitter things the 
Lord puts into our cup, and enables us to say, ' None
of these things move us...'  
Yea, the life of faith is a happy life, and if attended with
conflicts, there is an assurance of victory; if we sometimes
get a wound, there is healing balm near at hand; if we seem
to fall, we are raised again; and if tribulations abound, con-
  solations shall abound likewise. Is it not happiness to have an
infallible Guide, an invincible Guard, an Almighty Friend?"
- John Newton 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Game of Life

 Legendary basketball coach, John Wooden, once made the observation that sports are of small importance in comparison to the total life we live. He said, "There is only one kind of life that truly wins, and that is the one that places faith in the hands of the Savior...material possessions, winning scores, and great reputations are meaningless in the eyes of the Lord, because He knows what we really are, and that is all that matters." 
 In watching our baseball team this summer, I've learned a lot about the game of life. In spite of their best efforts, winning hasn't come easily to them for most of the season. Heartbreaking losses, close games that got away - this has been the story time and again. But, each time, they keep on fighting. They get up when knocked down and try once more. They still smile. They still go out and play.


  These young men know that life isn't all about baseball. Many have a deep faith in God and, like John Wooden pointed out, they realize that they are winners in God's eyes. I saw them living this out as they helped my church with Vacation Bible School. With a last-place slot in the division and a losing record on the season, these players put baseball aside and chose to invest in the lives of little children and our church's youth. Storing up treasures in Heaven meant more.
  As I have seen this unfold, I realize that what the guys are experiencing this season is so much what life is like. Often, you feel like you spend more time struggling to stay upright, to keep in the game, than you do actually obtaining what the world deems as victory. We all go through seasons where failure appears to stare us in the face, and success is a mere wish. But how we choose to get through those times really determines who we will become.
  I've had my share of these experiences, and it seems like I am always coming back around to the same choices - every moment, every day. In all circumstances, I must continually ask myself: will you stay in the game? Sometimes, the greatest triumph isn't in refusing to fall but rising from the fall. In sports as well as life, perseverance is what matters.
  When life knocks us down, when the outcome seems hopeless, when victory seems to be with everyone else except us, will we make the decision to keep playing? Even more, will we strive for a greater reward than earthly accolades? Will we be on God's team? If we will, than our biggest victory has been ensured - He has already won for us! We only follow in His footsteps. We merely seek to honor Him here...even when all we want to do is quit.
  As Irish running coach, Jerry Farnen once told his future Olympian, Eamon Coughlin, "Don't quit when you're beaten; fight back to an even more glorious victory, not only in competition, but also in life." Having a winning life is of far greater importance than a winning record - be it sports, in business, or in our private lives. A life placed in the Savior's hands, coupled with perseverance, will make us winners in the game of life. John Wooden was right. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

He is Near





" The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are
crushed in spirit."
- Psalm 34:18

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Never Alone

 The church buzzed with the sounds of Vacation Bible School: little children excitedly making crafts, the pastor's two-year-old laughing with glee as she played with her toys. Delight was everywhere. But it hadn't been so earlier - at least not for me.
  A heaviness had been on my soul. For some reason, the darkness loomed large. I felt alone but didn't exactly know why. I couldn't tell what I lacked. There was an emptiness. There was searching. God felt distant. 
  But then, while at the VBS, I witnessed two encounters that broke the burden. Three of the college baseball players from our Alaska Baseball League team had volunteered to help with games for the children. They were outside waiting patiently. To my right, one of them was investing in the life of a young man from the church. The recent high school graduate was searching - like me. In compassionate love, the ball player reached out. He sat with the fellow and talked. He told him to seek God. To honor Him. To be like Him.
  At the same moment, another ball player hung out with me. Tossing a ball back and forth, we talked about all manner of things. As we did so, I felt the heaviness lift. In both cases, I realized that we are never really alone - even in the times when we feel that way. Community is necessary for growth. One cannot live without it. In its absence, the heart grows lonely. The darkness descends. And, by not allowing community to happen, we can think our problem is too much for another to bear. It is better to carry the burden alone. And yet, aren't we told in the Bible that assisting one another in bearing the load is to our benefit? (Galations 6:2) Maybe, were we to reconsider, we might find our darkness a little more distant if we allowed the light of another to shine. Perhaps God might speak to us through a messenger of His selection. Hope might arrive from an unlikely source. 
  We must be open to those around us. We must be honest enough to let them in - to let them bring the Light of the World a bit closer to us. Everyday, we must resist the temptation to return to the hideout and leave the Grace-filled life. What reminds us of this choice are the people who surround us - those whose lives have been linked with ours, who feel the sting of our pain as their own, who love us unconditionally in spite of ourselves. These cause us to see that we do not journey this life on our own. We are joined to a larger community. We are part of something special. We are wanted. We have a place. We belong. 
  It was a simple game of catch. It was a quiet, personal conversation between two young men. But both experiences reminded me that Grace will always find a way to us. God will always speak. He never leaves us - even in our lonely moments. Because He chooses to love, we are never alone.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Quote of the Day





" Oh, that my heart was right with Thee,
And loved Thee with a perfect love!
Oh, that my Lord would dwell in me,
And never from His seat remove!
Jesus, remove the impending load,
And set my soul on fire for God!"
- Augustus Toplady

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Always In Control

 Sometimes, when life hurts the most, it seems hard to imagine that God could bring good out of what we are going through. We doubt His love; we think He does not care. We feel as though He has forgotten us. But what if we could see things differently. What if His plans are for our benefit? What if He actually wants to display His faithfulness in the midst of our pain? I recently heard this song called "Sovereign" by Michael W. Smith, and it really touched me deeply concerning this important truth: will we trust God even when it is the hardest to do so? The choice is ours.



Friday, July 11, 2014

Quote of the Day



"Proud hearts may speak of patience, but in the storm it is the humble heart
that exercises patience. I am afflicted says the humble soul, but it is mercy
I am not destroyed."
-Thomas Brooks in Voices From the Past *



* This book is available from Banner of Truth Trust and is copyrighted 2009.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Reflecting On Life

 Hananya Naftali is a recent acquaintance of mine. He lives in Israel and has a heart for  helping others grow closer to God. Through his internet videos and music ministry to Christians in his country, Hananya is passionate about sharing his faith and hope. In the short time I have known him, he has inspired and encouraged me to know God in a greater way. 
 In light of yesterday's post, I want to share one of his videos with you. His thoughts seem rather appropriate as a follow-up. I pray that his perspective opens our hearts and minds to the joy and freedom that is possible when we become open to the endless grace and love that is offered to us through a relationship with God. Here now are Hananya's reflections on life:



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Of Baseball and Rainbows

 Like other places, summer in Alaska means baseball. Over the decades, the Alaska Baseball League has brought delight to thousands of fans and has allowed collegiate players from around the nation a place to play and hone their skills. Six teams, all located around the state, bring the old pastime to our communities for eight weeks. To say the least, it is a big deal, and many professional ball players once got their start here. In short, the ABL is part of what makes Alaskan summers unique and special. 




 It was the evening of July 4th and, on this night, victory belonged to the home team; our boys had pulled off an improbable comeback and given us a reason to cheer. The game was over. It was about 10:30. The crowd was headed home, but a few of us were lingering at the ballpark. Fireworks cracked in the distance. I thought back on the day: the unseasonably hot weather, the annual "Candy Parade" through town, the tailgate party with fellow baseball fans, and a well-deserved win for the team. 
 As I reflected, I stopped to say hello to one of the players. It is his second season of playing here, yet his love for Alaska hasn't seemed to diminish. We talked about the game, celebrated the win, discussed his recent hand injury, and wished one another a happy 4th. 
  Just then, as we stood there, a beautiful rainbow appeared near the mountains. We noticed it and stood there in admiration. Reaching for my phone, I tried to capture that moment of Grace. We spoke of God's love. We smiled. We thanked. Because He is good, and moments like these show how much He cares.




 Later on, I thought of how busy my life is. Time so often feels like my enemy. I am always feeling a sense of lack - there isn't enough of it...and yet, the thought occurred to me: perhaps the problem isn't a lack of time but a need to savor it. Maybe I don't need more of it - just a better appreciation for it. I think of dear ones: how quickly they can be taken from me! Today's " I love you" could be among the last. Did I say it enough? I think of rainbows. How many little blessings I fail to notice because I am moving too fast! A demonstration of His love might be right in front of me, but I miss it. I miss it because I lack vision. I am thank-less. All these are evidences of my neglect, my refusal to redeem and live each day to the fullest. My refusal, at times, to see God. 
 When the busyness fades - the crowds are gone; the parade is long over; the fried chicken dinner has settled in the stomach - after all this, what is left? Mere memories of a ballgame? Proud displays of patriotic fervor? Or evidences of Grace? Rainbows that speak of His promises, that give hope to a longing soul. I am in full agreement with author Ann Voskamp when she spoke of not wanting more time but wanting enough time to live her one life well. I can't be so distracted that I miss Him. 4th of July may come and go. Ball games may be won or lost. But God is still faithful. And I am still loved. One look to the mountains, one sight of His rainbow, one taste of His grace, and all is well. 
  We stand and marvel and, together, we say, " How great Thou art!"

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Quote of the Day





" You, dear Lord, that have made heaven and  earth, of your own 
good will towards me before I existed, yes, before the world was,
have chosen me in Christ to be your child...I can cast my whole care
upon you, trust and call on you, with comfort and certain hope for all 
things that I need...and nothing can be finally lacking for my good."
- John Bradford in Voices From the Past *





* This book is available from The Banner of Truth Trust and is copyrighted 2009.

Monday, July 7, 2014

He Made It All




" And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning has laid the foundation
of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands."
- Hebrews 1:10

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Quote of the Day



"...I desire now to make a solemn dedication of myself to thee...
through Jesus Christ, presenting myself to thy Divine Majesty to be
disposed of by thee to thy glory...O do thou, I most fervently entreat,
 wash away mine iniquities, blot them out of thy remembrance, purify
and cleanse my soul in the blood of the great Captain of my salvation...
May I prove myself a faithful follower of Jesus Christ, whom the armies
of heaven follow; fight the good fight of faith; and have my present conflicts
against the world, the flesh, and the devil crowned with victory and triumph!"

    - Abiel Leonard, chaplain for Gen. Putnam's Regiment, Continental Army, 1775

Friday, July 4, 2014

True Allegiance

  Today, Americans are celebrating our country's birthday. All across the nation, proud  citizens don the red, white, and blue colors and party with fireworks, parades, baseball games, and backyard get-togethers. Even though I plan on doing the same, the following poem and subsequent song is a reminder to us all that, while allegiance to our earthly country is good, our loyalty to the heavenly country is of far greater importance. As we enjoy the blessings of living in the United States, may we consider and make certain that our eternal citizenship matters more. 


I Vow To Thee, My Country 

I vow to thee, my country - all earthly things above-
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;
The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the alter the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.

And there's another country, I've heard of long ago -
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
Her fortress is a faithful heart; her pride is suffering;
And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace.
- Sir Cecil A. Spring-Rice




Thursday, July 3, 2014

Quote of the Day





"...It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence
of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits,
and humbly to implore His protection and favor..."
- President George Washington

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Examination


Searching and Trying Our Ways

" Thy piercing eye, O God, surveys
The various windings of our ways;
Teach us their tendency to know,
And judge the paths in which to go.

How wild, how crooked have they been,
A maze of foolishness and sin!
With all the light we vainly boast,
Leaving our guide, our souls are lost.

Had not Thy mercy been our aid,
So fatally our feet had strayed;
Stern justice had its prisoners led
Down to the chambers of the dead.

Oh, turn us back to Thee again,
Or we shall search our ways in vain;
Shine, and the path of life reveal,
And bear us on to Zion's hill..."
- Phillip Doddridge 


May this be our heart's cry this day: O Lord, examine us!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Chislehurst: A Picture of the Soul

 Chislehurst. It is a sleepy suburb, located just outside the bustling city of London, England. And yet, this unremarkable place houses a doorway to another world. Unknown to many, there is a dark and mysterious location hidden 232 feet below the ground: 22 miles of disorienting tunnels, creating a labyrinth of darkness and confusion. In the 17th century, it was mined for its unlimited resources of chalk, hugely important at that time in the building projects of the day. As these chalk walls were excavated, cave-ins were an ever-present threat due to the brittleness of its substance.
  It is easy to get lost in the Chislehurst caves. Since there is no access to natural light, one must bring an artificial light in order to make their way around. If the light goes out, it becomes pitch black, and one is blinded by the darkness. Yet, even with a lantern to illuminate the place, one can lose their way very quickly without a guide.
 Adding to the mysterious feel of the place, sounds are hugely exaggerated inside this underground hideout. The echoes of a human voice or a loud noise can last for several minutes.
 There is one small pool of standing water in the chalky maze - a lone source of moisture in an otherwise God-forsaken area.
 Chislehurst. It may reside in a village in England, but it might also lurk much closer. I know more about this place than many realize, though never having seen the real thing. I have entered its deepest caverns, felt its darkness, and heard its lasting echoes. Why? Because Chislehurst is a picture of the soul.
 Much like the town in which it resides, my Chislehurst was largely hidden below the surface - a place largely unknown to those around me. Yet, I knew its hidden secrets well, for I was trapped in its maze of tunnels, unable to find my way out. Within its dark and mysterious labyrinth, I wandered endlessly, searching for a way out of the haunted darkness of myself.
 Rather than its walls being made of chalk, my cave was made of selfishness, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, shame, and despair. The lies echoed in the passageways of my heart and mind: " You are not good enough!" " You are not loved!" " God does not care about you!" " You have no hope!" As I groped about, trying to find some way to break free, I realized that I had no light and no guide. I was lost. I thought I had no chance of deliverance. Pitch black. Lasting sounds. Cave-ins very real. This was my nightmare of the soul.
 Not only was it dark and despairing, but it was also polluted. That pool of standing water stank. With no movement to its ripples, it became a place of death. Sin had corrupted. It was no living source. It might temporarily quench the thirst, but it would never satisfy. Worse than that, it would kill.
 My Chislehurst was not a place of peace. It was not a place of love. It was not a place of light. Grace did not reside there. I felt alone. On the surface, many walked on by, seemingly oblivious to the fact that I was losing hope. The soul was aching. Did anyone care enough to come calling after me? Would a guide enter into the darkness? Would I ever see the light?
 Then, just when it seemed that life could get no worse, that I could never be found, a Voice called into the night: "Where are you?" That ageless question that was asked of Adam in Genesis 3:9 was asked of me. At first, I heard no one coming. I saw no light. There was nothing - only the echo of that Voice and that lingering question. For some time, I could not answer. I did not know where I was. I only saw darkness. But soon it became evident that a search was on. The Voice kept calling, "Where are you?"
 Then, one day a flicker of light appeared. I was being pursued. I replied, "Who are you? I hear your voice, but I am afraid." But the light came closer, and it was clear to me: the One who was speaking into the darkness was the One who held the light, and He was not afraid of me. As the light came closer, it cast shadows on the walls around me. I could begin to see this place for what it was: a prison. I was captive to my own lies. I was trapped in the confines of foolishness. And I began to get up. Stumbling, I took one step. Then another. And another. Slowly, I started to walk toward the light.
  I finally met its Source while at my own source, false as it was. Surrounded by walls of deception, the cesspool of sin in clear view, my darkness was dispelled by the power of His light. Everything came into perspective. I had been found by a God who loved me fiercely. A God who had chosen to enter this place of darkness in order to bring me out. To deliver me. To save. For so long I had wandered without His aid. I had been lost in a place of bondage. And yet, He could set me free. He could forgive. He could, and would, be that Guide I had long sought for. With loving kindness and amazing grace, He and I began our journey together. He took my hand and led me out. With the guidance of His light, the darkest night began to end. The shadows vanished. Polluted waters turned into living streams. Truth replaced lies, and the haunting echoes faded with time. Slowly, the realization set in: how dark I am without His presence! How silly I am to think that I can find my way alone!
 In time, the door that led to life was opened. The incredible world of joy and thankfulness was revealed to me, and the tunnels of darkness were shut off forever. My Chislehurst, in all its horror, was only a memory.
  Perhaps you are in a Chislehurst of your own. Lost in the darkness, you think you have been left to die. You have no hope. The echoes roar in your soul. It is my desire that the same Voice will come calling after you. That the light of God will begin to dispel your darkest night. May you find yourself stepping toward freedom, and may your Chislehurst become a season of the past. By the grace of God, may joy return to you again.
  Augustus Toplady said it best, and this is my prayer for myself as well as you:
                
" Thou seest I dwell in awful night
Until Thou in my heart appear;
Kindle the flame, O Lord, and light
Thine everlasting candle there."