Category Archives: Quotes of Distinction

Fire Down in My Soul

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backyard fireThere is a song we sing in church that goes, “Set a fire down in my soul, that I can’t contain, that I can’t control.” And when I am in church I feel it there blazing like a signal fire that can be seen by astronauts. Then I leave the sanctuary where I meet friends and discuss lunch plans in the foyer and it indubitably morphs into a largish bonfire. By the time I’ve eaten lunch and am reviewing the upcoming week’s schedule and budget, the blaze has been reduced to a controlled flame in a fireplace. By noon Monday even that is banked. By Friday I’m lucky to have a candle-sized flame flickering to stay alive.

Can you relate?

But as Saint Francis of Assisi wrote, “All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.” That is all it takes. Faith the size of one candle. When darkness (uncertainty, death, sickness, weariness, responsibilities, unbelief) is all around, the light of one candle (a kind word, a helping hand, a free cup of coffee, a listening ear) offers hope. Especially when that candle leads the way to a bigger light, a real light, a shadow-destroying light. The Light.

Even if we can’t hold on to the uncontainable fire from Sunday, surely we can nurture a little candlelight. A votive or tea light will do. Those of us who have felt the dark know the value of even the smallest hope. Our light is all the more precious for having flickered in the dark but continuing to shine. “My Light shines most brightly through believers who trust Me in the dark,” is one of my favorite Sarah Young quotes.

We all have the ability to shine. We don’t have to do great works, spout jaw-dropping theology, or even preach a sermon. We shine by loving God, loving our neighbors, and being who God created us to be. Maybe, just maybe, if we do those things day in and day out, we’ll find a fire down in our souls that blazes all week long.

I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark.
John 12:46 NLT

Are you feeling more like a blaze or a little flicker? I’d love to hear your comments.

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Gratitude by Way of Exhaustion

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snowlamps ©JoelJansenI just got back from a business trip that was exhausting. It started on a snowy, freezing morning around 5 a.m. and ended the next night after midnight. The meetings were great, the welcome warm, but the jiggity jogs between what I was expecting and what actually happened were emotionally trying. I had prayed for God to give me guidance and direction, to shut doors or open opportunities in an obvious way. And, boy howdy, did that happen. The reality of the new dynamic was hard to accept even if it was an answer to prayer. My emotions ran the gamut from anger to gratitude, from surprise to acceptance, back to exasperation and then resignation, conciliation, and thankfulness. The kind of emotional roller coaster that leaves you drained and confused. So today I was just tired, sore, and bone weary.

Then I opened Jesus Calling and read the selection for today:

Come to Me for rest and refreshment. The journey has been too much for you, and you are bone weary. Do not be ashamed of your exhaustion. Instead, see it as an opportunity for Me to take charge of your life.
    Remember that I can fit everything into a pattern for good, including the things you wish were different. Start with where you are at this point in time and space, accepting that this is where I intend you to be. You will get through today one step, one moment at a time. Your main responsibility is to remain attentive to Me, letting Me guide you though the many choices along your pathway.
    This sounds like an easy assignment, but it is not.  Your desire to live in My Presence goes against the grain of “the world, the flesh and the devil.” Much of your weariness results from your constant battle against these opponents. However, you are on the path of My choosing, so do not give up! Hope in Me, for you will again praise Me for the help of My Presence.

Wow, how is that for God speaking directly to me? I read the text a few times because it just seemed unreal. I felt like my soul was opened up and these words were poured in spreading warmth and healing throughout my being.

But, wait, that’s not all.

When I went through my email this morning, I found another answer to prayer. Another unlikely, big answer to prayer. A proposal I sent a week ago was met with openness and a quick response. God knows how to throw a girl some curves! It was a reminder that I have a host of friends and loved ones praying for me, that God listens and responds, and that no matter how I’m feeling, no matter how things look, God is behind the scenes gently weaving my life into a pattern for good. He is in control. I’m giddy with gratitude. God is soooo amazing.

I know I am where I am supposed to be. I know His presence is with me in airports, board rooms, and little shops in Franklin, TN. I know He is guiding, prompting, fighting on my behalf. I may be tired but I am thankful.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT
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Dear Jesus, Help us to spread your fragrance everywhere we go, flood our souls with your Spirit and life. Penetrate and possess our whole being so utterly that our lives may only be a radiance of yours. Shine through us and be so in us that every soul we come in contact with may feel your presence in our soul. Let them look up and see no longer us but only Jesus. Stay with us and then we shall begin to shine as you shine, so to shine as to be light to others. The light, O Jesus, will be all from you. None of it will be ours. It will be your shining on others through us. Let us thus praise you in the way you love best by shining on those around us. Let us preach you without preaching not by words, but by our example by the catching force the sympathetic influence of what we do the evident fullness of the love our hearts bear to you. Amen.

~Mother Teresa

A Shining Prayer by Mother Teresa

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The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.

Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

The Twenty-Third Psalm

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And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
But don’t be afraid. If God’s by your side,
with big beasty things you’ll never collide.

(Dr. Seuss and more!)

Buffalo in Yellowstone National Park. They were sometimes scary.

Don’t Be Afraid

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In comparison with this big world, the human heart is only a small thing. Though the world is so large, it is utterly unable to satisfy this tiny heart. Our ever-growing soul and its capacities can be satisfied only in the infinite God. As water is restless until it reaches its level, so the soul has no peace until it rests in God.
~ Sadhu Sundar Singh

Restless

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There is not enough darkness in all the world to put out the light of one small candle…. In moments of discouragement, defeat, or even despair, there are always certain things to cling to. Little things usually: remembered laughter, the face of a sleeping child, a tree in the wind—in fact, any reminder of something deeply felt or dearly loved. No man is so poor as not to have many of these small candles. When they are lighted, darkness goes away and a touch of wonder remains.
~Arthur Gordon

Purple Blooms on a tree in the Japanese Garden.

A Touch of Wonder