Archive for May 2013

Tu Aduci Întunericul şi se Face Noapte   4 comments

darkness

This is from the blog Footsteps in the Deep:

The title above comes from Psalm 104: 20 in the NTR, an easy-to-read (Ha ha!  As if anything in Romanian is easy!) Romanian translation, “Tu aduci întunericul şi se face noapte; atunci toate fiarele pădurii încep să mişune.”  The English translation is, “You bring the darkness, and it becomes night, then all the wild beasts of the forest begin to move about.”

The “you” here is referring to God.  There’s an uncomfortable truth here, a really uncomfortable truth if you take time to think about it.  This verse says  that the God who is light and joy and all things good is also the author and bringer of darkness, even difficulty and trouble.

Imagine you’ve taken a walk alone into the woods.  The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and life is beautiful.  In this heavenly place, you find a tree just off the path and sit down in its shade.  Soon enough, the wonder of the place draws your head to drowsiness, your eyelids close, and you dream happy dreams.

Suddenly, a cold breeze breathes against your neck, and your eyelids snap open.  It’s night, and the sky is dark, covered by clouds, with only the vague sliver of a waning moon hinting far above.  Your heart beats fast and adrenaline quickens your breathing.  You can’t see the path anywhere; it’s just too dark!  You desperately attempt to calm your careening thoughts, reminding yourself that those scratching of angry claws and the furtive sneaking of creatures your ears hear must certainly be nothing more than the creaking of tree branches and the rustling of leaves.  And yet, your breathing stops when you hear the unmistakable howl of a wolf nearby.  The heavy footsteps and grunting of a bear are even closer still, and you dare not breathe or move.

“You bring the darkness, and it becomes night, then all the wild beasts of the forest begin to move about.”

The reality in our lives may not be so melodramatic, but when we face darkness (whether a death, sickness, loss, fear, or some other difficulty), we often react as if we’re alone in the woods at night surrounded by hungry predators.

Not every moment of darkness in our lives is from God, but there are certainly times when God himself (our loving, loyal, faithful, kind, merciful, generous Father) does indeed send darkness to us and us into darkness.

Jesus himself gives probably the most dramatic picture of this.  He’s baptized, and upon coming out of the water, “a voice came out of the heavens:  ’You are my beloved Son.  In you I am well pleased.’  Immediately the Spirit impelled him to go out into the wilderness.  And he was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan” (Mark 1:11-13).  Imagine being in the middle of an amazing worship service where the Holy Spirit audibly speaks to you, and you’re flooded with the visceral love, joy, and acceptance of God.  But suddenly this dreamlike place comes crashing down as he tells you suddenly to leave.  And then he removes the sense of his presence, and that’s the last time you feel his pleasure for the next forty days as you struggle just to keep going.  And to top it all off, you know clearly that he said he loved you.

In Genesis, God is introduced to us hovering over the deep dark of the primordial waters (Genesis 1:2).  God sends a deep, thick darkness–a darkness that can even be felt–over the entire country of Egypt prior to the exodus (Exodus 10:21-23).  God appears on Mount Sinai in fire and lightning but also in “darkness, cloud, and thick gloom” (Deuteronomy 4:11) and from that darkness his voice issues forth (Deuteronomy 5:23).  When he responds to the cry of one of his children, he comes, it says, “with darkness under his feet” (Psalm 18:9), and God himself is even hidden in darkness (Psalm 18:11).  I am fascinated by that thought, that God hides himself, covers himself in the darkness.  He’s there; if only we could actually see him…

There are many more references, but let’s move on.

God does not send his children into darkness to overwhelm them or crush them; no, that treatment is reserved for those refusing to surrender to his right to rule their lives.  He’ll let that person walk in all sorts of darkness, so much darkness, in fact, that they have no idea where they’re going or where they are.  And pretty soon along comes a big old pit to fall into.

But God sends his children into the darkness for a different purpose, to show off their (and his) light.

Fireflies don’t glow during the day.  Think about that.  In fact, besides not glowing, they look downright ugly in the light.  But the minute the sun goes down, they begin to glow, and they’re beautiful.

Sometimes, we’re like those fireflies.  We get used to the light, having things work out for us, and in that comfort we begin to get fat and lazy and we start to think life is all about ourselves and we complain and whine for what we want but do not yet have.  Sometimes the best thing that can happen at that time is for the light to go out, for difficulty to arise.  Suddenly, we realize life isn’t about us but about Jesus.  God, to grow us and get us out of that self-absorbed funk, is more than willing to send the night.

And then there are the times when things are going just fine, when you’re really not complaining and you’re actually growing quite mature in your walk with God.  Perhaps you’re on the verge of growing complacent, but still you’re doing well.  Then, suddenly, trouble comes, the light goes out.

I am convinced that God not only sends us into the dark so we can learn how to shine, but also so that he can bring light to where it’s most needed.  Darkness needs the light most, after all, and if the light will not go there, how else will it be made light?  God intentionally sends us into darkness and sends darkness our way in order to remind a world of that which it has long since forgotten, the taste and scent and character of light.

“You are the light of the world…  Let your light shine before men…” (Matthew 5:14-16).

“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them” (Isaiah 9:2).

In John 9, Jesus and his disciples pass by a man born blind.  The disciples ask a question very common in Romania, “So, Jesus, who sinned that this man would be so judged?  Was it the man himself who sinned or his parents?”  They think the sickness surely must be God’s judgment on sin.

Jesus responds, though, “What kind of dumb question is that???”  (That’s a slight paraphrase, of course.)  He goes on, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:3).

Too often we become afraid of the darkness rather than viewing it as a chance to show off God’s nature and kingdom, his light.  God intends for us to shine into the darkness, but all too many times we allow it to intimidate us, scare us away, cover us up.  Sometimes it’s our own trouble (we lose our job, we get a cold, we throw a fit, we crash the car) and sometimes it’s another’s trouble (a beggar has no legs, the waitress looks depressed, our neighbor’s kid killed himself).  Whatever the difficulty, we have got to decide to shine into it.  How will the light get there where it’s most desperately needed unless we choose to shine?

Show you trust Jesus more than your job, your health, your comfort.  Show he’s more powerful than your reputation, than sickness, than setback.  Show he’s more kind and more generous, more good, more bold.  Show off his light in the face of darkness.

You were made to shine.

“The one forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these” (Isaiah 45:7).

Footsteps in the Deep
Thoughts Written in Mary Slessor’s Bible
A Disciple of Christ

A Letter from Israel   4 comments

israel-lat-long

A few weeks ago, I hitchhiked from California to Wyoming.  I stayed with some friends in Wyoming for a few days.  They had some letters in a box that they were keeping for me.  I took these letters with me as I hitchhiked back west.

One of the letters was from Gideon Elazar from Tsfat*, Israel near the Sea of Galilee; Gideon gave me a ride while I was hitchhiking west out of Helena, Montana back in August 2004:

1.11.04

Dear Tim.

I wanted to let you know that I received the disc with the book you wrote [High Plains Drifter:  A Hitchhiking Journey Across America].  I read it all and enjoyed it very much.  It was a view of America that I had not seen before.  As I told you when we met, I too have done some hitchhiking in Israel and in Europe and I knew what it’s like to live on people’s kindness and on God’s grace.  I think many people have a perception of the U.S. as a place full of dangerous people and would be surprised to hear about all the really good people you met.

I hope you are well, but I’m not worried because I know you’re being taken care of.

Be well and God bless,

Gideon

*also known as Safed or Zefat

Search for Jews of Kaifeng
Being Jewish in China
Being Jewish in China (video)
Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel
China is reversing the Decline and Fall of Christianity
Bereshith
Zion
Jewish Life After Death
Ancient Chinese Community Celebrates Its Jewish Roots, and Passover
Only Israel
Someone by Roni Dalumi
The supernatural protection of Israel
The Khazar Myth Debunked
Gideon Elazar – Ben Gurion University of the Negev

A Disciple of Christ   16 comments

map_of_romania

20 May 2013

Yesterday I hitchhiked from Rocker (Butte) to Lolo, Montana via Anaconda, Philipsburg, Drummond and Missoula.  Last night I found a place to sleep a couple of miles west of Lolo near U.S. 12. This morning I got a ride from west of Lolo over Lolo Pass to Lowell, Idaho.

I walked a few miles and then got a ride with a guy named Pete. Pete spoke with a thick, eastern European accent.  I asked him if he was from Russia.  He told me that he was originally from Romania.  We had an intense talk. Pete was a Christian and we both agreed that there is too much sin in the United States and this is why Obama is in the White House.

I asked Pete if he had heard of the Prophet Dimitru Duduman.  He told me that he knew about Duduman (Duduman was from Romania). I have read most of Duduman’s testimony and his prophetic warnings.  Duduman said that because of the sins of abortion and homosexuality that America was going to burn.  Duduman began to warn America back in the 1980s. Pete told me that he did not call himself a Christian, but a disciple of Christ.  He thought that the label “Christian” has been watered down too much and that there are too many worldly Christians in America.  Pete spoke forcefully in the power of the Holy Ghost.  I knew that it was Providential that Pete gave me a ride.

I think it is interesting how the Lord sets up certain rides.  The ride from Lolo to Lowell was with a young woman.  She told me that she would give me a ride to Kooskia.  When she got to Lowell, she decided to stop there, go to the convenience store and then turn back to Missoula.  If she had taken me to Kooskia, I would have missed Pete.

The ride with Pete reminded me of the ride I got with an older lady last August in northern California.  She kept repeating “This is Sodom! This is Sodom!”  Pete told me that Christians should leave Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Chicago because of God’s wrath to come.  He said that New Orleans will never be rebuilt the way it was before Hurricane Katrina because of the wickedness in that city. The Lord puts people in your path for a reason.

_____

Jeremiah 15: 1-3:  “Then said the LORD unto me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this people: cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth.  And it shall come to pass, if they say unto thee, Whither shall we go forth? then thou shalt tell them, Thus saith the LORD; Such as are for death, to death; and such as are for the sword, to the sword; and such as are for the famine, to the famine; and such as are for the captivity, to the captivity.  And I will appoint over them four kinds, saith the LORD: the sword to slay, and the dogs to tear, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the earth, to devour and destroy.”

Jeremiah 15: 6-7:  “Thou hast forsaken me, saith the LORD, thou art gone backward: therefore will I stretch out my hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am weary with repenting.  And I will fan them with a fan in the gates of the land; I will bereave them of children, I will destroy my people, since they return not from their ways.”

Footsteps in the Deep
Homeward Bound
A Timely Sermon
Old Ghosts

romania-1

On The Road Again . . .   10 comments

on-the-road-again-susanne-van-hulst

“On The Road Again” by Susanne Van Hulst

Today I did my first hitchhiking in six months.  I was north of Alturas, California on U.S. 395 when this Christian truck driver named Chuck pulled over and gave me a ride to Lakeview, Oregon.  We had a great talk about hitchhiking and the things of God.  Chuck did a lot of hitchhiking years ago after he got out of the Army.  He was originally from upstate New York and now lives in western Washington.

It was great to be off the road for six months.  That is the longest time off the road since 1997-1998 when I was off the road for eleven months—I was working construction back in Ames, Iowa.  For the past several months, I helped my friends work cattle, brand cattle, rake leaves, prune trees and other clean up work on their property and I did a lot of reading on the Internet.  So it was time well spent.

It thunder stormed last evening with some intense rain and hail.  There has been some scattered showers today.  I really like the Warner Mountains and the Surprise Valley in northern California—it is also called the California Outback.

Looks like I will head north and maybe towards Montana.

[The photo above is the road to Santa Fe, New Mexico.]

Posted May 7, 2013 by Tim Shey in Uncategorized

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