Category Archives: Surviving the Dark Places

Monday: Show Grace

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23-24, ESV

  

As a justice-oriented person, I sometimes struggle with the concept of extending grace. When something happens to me that I consider unjust, I get angry….

 

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Click the Daily Dose of Encouragement button above to continue reading!

 

(P.S.  Each day this week, I’m sharing a devotion about extending grace at Zookeepers Ministries. Don’t miss a Daily Doses of Encouragement…sign up here to receive Daily Doses straight to your inbox)

Be blessed!

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Filed under Extending Grace, Faith, God, Singleness, Surviving the Dark Places, Who is God?, Writing

Shine a Light on Slavery Day – April 9

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Filed under Change, Community, Faith, Missions, Nashville, Photos, Surviving the Dark Places, Who is God?

Joy in the Morning

I have many friends walking through difficult times right now . . .

Friends dealing with the loss of loved ones,

Friends grieving the end of relationships,

Friends walking through family crisis,

And this friend and her daughter fighting physical and spiritual battles.

These battles are very real. For all of us, the darkness can be quite dark at times.

Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.
Psalm 30:5b (NLT)

I realize reading this Bible verse isn’t going to fix everything. God gave me this verse over and over during some dark nights. Honestly, it made me mad. I didn’t understand it. Because I woke up each morning expecting my joy (and sometimes, demanding my joy), and it wasn’t there.

God, why do you keep giving me this promise when I can’t find my way out of the darkness?

Looking back, I know that God’s definition of “night” is different than ours. His timing is not our timing. His ways are not our ways.

We don’t know how long our night will last. But friends, God is with us through the darkness and through the weeping.

And he will bring joy in the morning.

It’s a promise, and you can cling to it.

To my hurting friends . . . I know the pain is impossibly hard. I also know we serve the God who makes all things possible, the One who specializes in resurrections of hope. He sees each of your teardrops and keeps track of every single one. The Lord is our Light in the darkness.

Dear Lord, I pray for my hurting friends to cling to your light and your hope in their times of darkness. We know you have already won the battle. We will cling to you and wait for your joy. Amen.

Content Copyright 2012. Allison K. Flexer @ Anointed With Grace.
Photo: stock.xchng. Photo Design by Allison K. Flexer.

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Filed under Community, Faith, Fear, Friendship, God, Surviving the Dark Places, Waiting, Who is God?

Beauty from Ashes

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
Isaiah 61:1-3 (NIV)

These verses have popped up in my life way too often to be a coincidence. Over the past few years, God has specifically pointed me to the verse about giving beauty for ashes (see bold lines above).

When I first read these verses, I only focused on the beauty. I truly believe God takes our ashes and turns them into something beautiful. I accepted this promise from God, and I kept waiting for the transformation.

Eventually, I realized the process is not quite as glamorous as it sounds. You see, in order to transform them, God must first make the ashes . . . by burning away those parts of us that aren’t like him.

See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. Isaiah 48:10 (NIV)

This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, “They are my people,” and they will say, “The Lord is our God.” Zechariah 13:9 (NIV)

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:6-7 (NIV)

If we’re followers of God, I believe he’s constantly refining us through fire and making ashes. I take great comfort in the certainty Elisabeth Elliot finds in this process:

Of one thing I am perfectly sure: God’s story never ends with ashes.
Elisabeth Elliot, These Strange Ashes

It never ends with ashes. If there are still ashes, God isn’t done yet. He is creating beauty along the way.

I’m finally starting to see some of the beauty, but it’s nothing like I expected. In many ways, it’s so much better. God is the Beautiful One, and he’s making me more like him.

Content Copyright 2012. Allison K. Flexer @ Anointed With Grace.
Photo: stock.xchng. Quotes and Design by Allison K. Flexer.

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Filed under Change, Faith, God, Surviving the Dark Places, Waiting, Who is God?