Weekly Spurgeonism 9/1/2013

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This was reportedly spoken by Spurgeon to his friend J.W. Harrald prior to his death:

“Ah! the bridge of grace will bear your weight, brother. Thousands of big sinners have gone across that bridge, yea, tens of thousands have gone over it. I can hear their trampings now as they traverse the great arches of the bridge of salvation. They come by their thousands, by their myriads; e’er since the day when Christ first entered into His glory, they come, and yet never a stone has sprung in that mighty bridge. Some have been the chief of sinners, and some have come at the very last of their days, but the arch has never yielded beneath their weight. I will go with them trusting to the same support; it will bear me over as it has borne them.”

(The Forgotten Spurgeon, p.164)

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Praise

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Shadows

Let’s get something straight: I’m complicated. There’s a rabbit trail of distractions that run through my head like a pink-nosed freight train.

Originally I started Mug of Mercy as a blog to just journal my occasional thought. It was kind of an electronic scrapbook of my thoughts. Sometimes months would pass between entries as life swallowed me up, or a distance grew between God and myself.

I can say the same thing about my personal Facebook page, really.

But it’s not about me. I’m just some shlub of a guy that just happens to be here on this planet wandering through life trying to figure it all out. I’m nothing special, and really — as some of you would agree, I really lack any talent. I’m not a musician. (But I love to sing! — Trust me, I rock at singing The Bohemian Rhapsody!) I’m not an artist, I cannot draw very well. Photography is cool, but there are so many better at it and have a way better eye for framing a picture.

I really enjoy writing… But I never really knew the difference from a pro-noun to an adverb about literary skills. I’m not letting that stop me. I do all these things, despite my inadequacies.

I know a little about alot of things — Electronics, Amateur radio, computers, cooking, music… but really, nothing extraordinary.

I do however trust and love one absolutely extraordinary God. He really is the only constant in my ever-changing world. Because of that constant, I feel the need to point Him out to you — because without that constant anchor of consistency, my life falls apart.

So… I write a little. I doodle with my iPad and play with pictures and graphics. It’s fun!

Some people play “Candy Crush Saga” or other games. Nothing wrong with that — I just doodle and play with pictures and fonts. Think of these banners as my “High Score.”

All of the banners come from a thought. The words cause me to focus on whatever it is I am focusing on. It’s kind of my own little “Bible Study” and it’s how God slows me down long enough to get my attention.

Often times, the thought comes from a song. God will bring to mind a song or hymn, and mentally highlight a section or sentence. He uses that then to bring his words to life.

That will start me searching the scriptures. I’ll look through different Bible versions and let the Holy Spirit talk to my heart.

This morning was a perfect example.

I got up, poured my morning coffee and just tried to get quiet and focused on God. “Where are we going today, Lord?”

I turned on some old “Resurrection Band (REZ).” The song “Shadows” has always moved me.

As the words caressed my soul, it brought back a flood of memories from earlier this year. I was in a really bad place mentally — and if it had not been for the grace and mercy of our God, I might have become just another statistic.

“In the words of his mama, “He was my only son.”
In the words of his sister, “He was on the run.”
In the words of his girl, “How could it end this way?”
In the words of his daddy, “Well he never had much to say.”

Goodbye Kathy and goodbye Mom, there’s voices in my head
Angel dust and tortured dreams say I’d be better dead.”

Wow… I’ve heard those voices. It’s way to easy to listen to the wrong voices if your not focusing where you should be.

“You chased the shadows because your hopes and dreams have been lost to the night.”

Without hope.

Have you been to a place in your life when you have lost hope?

Even as a Christian believer, I’ve been to the valley where God seemed so distant, and evil just taunted and mocked me. “Loser! Where is you’re God now? You’re nothing but a hypocrite! End it! You’re better off dead! You’re family is better without you!” The lies spewed and continued for weeks.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. (John 10)

“Hey, Billy, did you hear the news?
Johnny’s gone for good
They say his mama’s all broke up
They found him in the woods
Kathy just couldn’t understand
Sheriff, he just looked tired
Some will play and some will pay
And Johnny played with fire”

I’ve had friends who have commit suicide. If you’ve ever had to wrap your head around the thoughts of those left behind — it will change you. It leaves way to many unanswered riddles and questions.

The song continues and talks about a friend who visits the grave of his friend who was called by those shadows:

“Johnny’s dead and buried now out on the edge of town
Drove by his grave the other day, that’s when the fear came down
I hate the night that took his life, but now it’s haunting me
I may be young, may be confused but I gotta be free…”

So by now in my quiet time — I’m remembering those feelings. I’m remembering the hurt I felt both with those unanswered questions and by my own trouble thoughts of hopelessness.

I start “Googling” public domain images of death… suicide. (I don’t recommend it.) My mind takes me to the cemetery where my folks and half of my hometown is buried. I stumble on a picture of graves with shadows over a road.

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As I process the words of the song into fonts, I study them… I remember the feelings, and I remember how I felt when there seemed not to be any more reason to live and even less hope.

And God Himself reached down into my life. He intervened in a HUGE way. He made Himself REAL to me. He reached down and placed me on a solid rock. He restored the joy of my salvation. (I may get excited here and start to PREACH! — Sorry…)

“Lord, You took the shadows…
You gave me hope and love and turned darkness to light.”

And it became a picture and words to me.

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When we read scripture, God hides His Words in our heart.

I recall — and become amazed at how God brings to mind that classic part of the 23rd Psalm:

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” – Psalm 23 verse 4

In my darkest hour, I was never really without hope — Because Jesus was right there, walking with me through the valley of the shadow of death. Perhaps, He was actually carrying me.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. What do I see in this banner?

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There is a road that leads through life. We are all on a journey. Death is all around us, and the shadows cast over the road we travel. Off in the distance, you will see life going on — houses and civilization going on about it’s business… but here on the road, you are alone. The trees seperate you from everybody. Death taunts you and calls out your flaws — They are the cracks in the road.

But you are not alone. There is one who will stick closer than a brother to you. If you grab his hand He will lift you out of a slimy pit… Those shadows will flee in the presence of Jesus.

The banner reaches completion. It’s time to post. It’s my “High Score” from today’s quiet time.

Facebook asks: “What’s on your mind?”

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Focus

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“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
and the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.”

I would love to tell you that the above graphic was today’s inspiration, but my focus was off… here was the original picture:

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I finished the picture, posted it to Instagram, and then looked back at it and heard the internal words from within: “Is the focus on CHRIST and His MERCY?”

I’m not pleased with the state of todays media culture… I honestly don’t advocate the message of today’s shock for popularity pushing of the envelope.

As a father I am disappointed that Miley Cyrus would throw off her “good girl” persona to create attention. As a man trying hard to focus on what’s important, I’m not proud of a 35 year old man and father imitating relations on stage with a girl 15 years his junior… My feelings aside, that should not be my focus.

Today’s world is full of distractions. Post a picture of a cat on Facebook and you’ll get 300 likes! Post a gospel message, and you’ll be lucky to even get a like from the folks who claim to be your Christian brothers and sisters. We are WAY too concerned (and vocal) about the political climate… and we placate ourselves in a daily filling of social media.

So — I refocused and created the “Focus” graphic.

Like Peter (Who despite his humanness DID INDEED walk on water) we see the distractions around us… The wind, the waves… And we start to sink (and drown?) in those distractions.

Re-focus on CHRIST.

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No Longer Defined

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Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. – 2 Corinthians 5:17

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One True King

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Hello my name is CHILD OF THE ONE TRUE KING!

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Grace

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When the time was right, the Anointed One died for all of us who were far from God, powerless, and weak. Now it is rare to find someone willing to die for an upright person, although it’s possible that someone may give up his life for one who is truly good. But think about this: while we were wasting our lives in sin, God revealed His powerful love to us in a tangible display—the Anointed One died for us. As a result, the blood of Jesus has made us right with God now, and certainly we will be rescued by Him from God’s wrath in the future.

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Amazing Things

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Do you think that God calls the qualified? Or qualifies the called?

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Lord, You Never Let Go

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“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, Your perfect love is casting out fear.”

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Without Discretion

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I’m not being negative, or anti-Miley Cyrus… I’m praying for her. I see somebody’s daughter, a father’s baby girl and I hurt for her bad choices. Miley needs Jesus.

True success is found in Him!

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