under the oak tree

a book lover's blog for all things bibliophilic about life and about God
~ Tuesday, July 8 ~
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Many voices ask for our attention. There is a voice that says, ‘Prove that you are a good person.’ Another voice says, ‘You’d better be ashamed of yourself.’ There also is a voice that says, ‘Nobody really cares about you,’ and one that says, ‘Be sure to become successful, popular, and powerful.’ But underneath all these often very noisy voices is a still, small voice that says, ‘You are my Beloved, my favor rests on you.’ That’s the voice we need most of all to hear. To hear that voice, however, requires special effort; it requires solitude, silence, and a strong determination to listen. That’s what prayer is. It is listening to the voice that calls us ‘my Beloved.’
— Henri Nouwen (via julesofnature)

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~ Sunday, June 29 ~
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spiritualinspiration:

Oftentimes, God will use our experiences in life as stepping stones to prepare us for what He has in store next. Scripture tells us that He’ll even take the things the enemy tries to bring against us and turn them around and use them for our good. He is always leading us on a journey of preparation.

That’s why it’s so important to keep our eyes focused on Him. We have to trust that when we are submitted to Him—even if we don’t understand—He is ordering our steps. If something is not happening on your timetable, remind yourself, “God knows what He is doing. He has my best interest at heart. God is preparing me.” While you’re waiting, don’t make the mistake of trying to figure everything out. If you’re constantly trying to figure things out, that will only frustrate you. Turn it over to God. Declare, “God, my times are in Your hands. I’m not going to worry because I trust that You are leading me on a journey of preparation for all the wonderful blessings You have in store for me.”


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spiritualinspiration:

When darkness overtakes the godly, light will come bursting in. Psalm 112:4, NIV.

Anytime you are going through difficult, dark times, know that God already has a plan to bring you through to victory. When you call on His name, when you surrender your circumstances to Him, that’s when His light will come forth through the darkness. Notice, it’s not going to trickle in, it’s not going to just barely get there. No, like a flood, like the breaking forth of waters, it’s going to come bursting in!

I believe it means that suddenly, you’re going to get well. Suddenly, you will meet the right person. Suddenly, you’re able to pay your house off. Our attitude should be, “My child may be off course, making poor decisions, but I’m expecting a flood of God’s mercy to bring him back.” Or, “My house has been on the market for a year and still hasn’t sold, but I’m expecting a flood of favor to cause it to stand out and sell.”

In the midst of that difficulty, don’t get discouraged. You’re in a prime position to see a flood of God’s goodness. Keep praising Him. Keep thanking Him and stay in faith because His light will break through the darkness!


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(Source: teenofchrist)


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~ Saturday, July 20 ~
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The Cup of Suffering

"The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?" (John 18:11).

This was a greater thing to say and do than to calm the seas or raise the dead. Prophets and apostles could work wondrous miracles, but they could not always do and suffer the will of God. To do and suffer God’s will is still the highest form of faith, the most sublime Christian achievement. To have the bright aspirations of a young life forever blasted; to bear a daily burden never congenial and to see no relief; to be pinched by poverty when you only desire a competency for the good and comfort of loved ones; to be fettered by some incurable physical disability; to be stripped bare of loved ones until you stand alone to meet the shocks of life—to be able to say in such a school of discipline, “The cup which my Father has given me, shall I not drink it?’—this is faith at its highest and spiritual success at the crowning point. Great faith is exhibited not so much in ability to do as to suffer. —Dr. Charles Parkhurst

To have a sympathizing God we must have a suffering Saviour, and there is no true fellow-feeling with another save in the heart of him who has been afflicted like him.

We cannot do good to others save at a cost to ourselves, and our afflictions are the price we pay for our ability to sympathize. He who would be a helper, must first be a sufferer. He who would be a saviour must somewhere and somehow have been upon a cross; and we cannot have the highest happiness of life in succoring others without tasting the cup which Jesus drank, and submitting to the baptism wherewith He was baptized.

The most comforting of David’s psalms were pressed out by suffering; and if Paul had not had his thorn in the flesh we had missed much of that tenderness which quivers in so many of his letters.

The present circumstance, which presses so hard against you (if surrendered to Christ), is the best shaped tool in the Father’s hand to chisel you for eternity. Trust Him, then. Do not push away the instrument lest you lose its work.”

"Strange and difficult indeed
We may find it,
But the blessing that we need 
Is behind it.”

The school of suffering graduates rare scholars.


~ Thursday, January 10 ~
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Text from The Rule of St Benedict: Insight for the Ages.

“How does a person seek union with God?’ the seeker asked.
“The harder you seek,” the teacher said, “the more distance you create between God and you.”
“So what does one do about the distance?”
“Understand that it isn’t there,” the teacher said.
“Does that mean that God and I are one?” the seeker said.
“Not one. Not two.”
“How is that possible?” the seeker asked.
The sun and its light, the ocean and the wave, the singer and the song. Not one. Not two.


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~ Tuesday, October 30 ~
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When all our hopes are gone,
‘Tis well our hands must keep toiling on
For others’ sake:
For strength to bear is found in duty done;
And he is best indeed who learns to make
The joy of others cure his own heartache.