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Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 32:7’

 

 

From the time Darlene McIntosh was ten years old, she knew God wanted her serve him on the mission field.

By age twenty-two, Darlene was newly married to pioneer missionary Russell Deibler, and settled in the jungle of New Guinea where he had built a two-room home for her out of woven bamboo mats.

 

 

Russell and Darlene proceeded to build relationships with members of a nearby primitive tribe, the Kapauku, who had never heard of Jesus. She fell in love with the people, the work, and her surroundings.

On her twenty-third birthday in May of 1940, the couple heard that the Nazis had invaded Holland. It didn’t take long for the war to find them, even in their remote location. The Deiblers and other missionaries could have escaped to safety but chose to stay at their mission compound.

In January of 1942 the Japanese came and took the men captive. Russell’s last words to Darlene were: “Remember one thing, dear: God said that He would never leave us nor forsake us.” That was the last time she saw Russell; he would die in the prison camp.

 

 

For a short while, the women and one older man continued to live at the mission.

One night Darlene heard scuffling noises in the house. She got up from her bed and encountered a bandit armed with a knife.

Darlene surprised herself by rushing at him. Even more surprising, the bandit turned and fled; Darlene chased him out of the house. Suddenly a gang of bandits ran out of the jungle to join the first. She expected them to attack her. Instead the first bandit yelled to the others, and they all turned and ran.

From then on, the missionaries kept clubs at the feet of their beds, but they never had to use them.

Darlene always suspected the compound gardener had been the bandit, because he was familiar with the house. After the war, Darlene asked him why he had never tried to steal from the missionaries again.

“It was because of all those people you had there–” he replied.  “Those people in white who stood about the house!”

 

 

In May of 1943, Darlene and the other remaining missionaries were taken to a prison camp in Kampili. Commander Yamaji, a man with a mercurial temper, required strenuous work quotas of the six hundred women living there, including killing flies.

The flies bothered the pigs, raised at the camp to feed Japanese soldiers. Each prisoner was required to bring Commander Yamaji 100 dead flies every day (That’s 60,000 flies!)—even while completing numerous other tasks.

Darlene prayed for Commander Yamaji and was able to tell him about Jesus. “He died for you,” she told him. “Maybe that’s why God brought me here, to tell you he loves you.” The commander suddenly left his office with tears on his cheeks.

 

 

In May of 1944, the Japanese secret police came to escort Darlene to another prison. She was put in solitary confinement, falsely accused of espionage.

Darlene endured nightly mosquito swarms, near-starvation, malaria and other serious illnesses, inhumane conditions, brutal interrogations, and torture.

But only her Heavenly Father saw her tears, never the captors. She sustained herself by singing hymns, quoting scripture, and reciting Russell’s last words: God will never leave you nor forsake you.

 

 

One day Darlene pulled herself up to look out the small window of her cell. She saw a woman make her way to the fence, reach through the underbrush, and come away with a bunch of bananas, which she quickly concealed in the folds of her skirt.

Oh, to eat just one banana, Darlene thought. Lord, how I would love a banana! Darlene could not get the coveted fruit out of her mind. She talked to God about her craving, knowing that such a fantastical desire could not be fulfilled.

The next morning, Darlene had a surprise visitor, Commander Yamaji. Tears filled her eyes. “It’s like seeing an old friend,” she exclaimed.

“You are very ill, aren’t you,” he remarked.

“Yes, Mr. Yamaji, I am.”

When the commander left, Darlene watched him speak to the guards for a long time. Later she heard the familiar stomp of boots outside her cell. The door was unlocked and one of the guards threw a stalk of bananas onto the floor.

“From Mr. Yamaji,” he said.

With tears of praise to God, Darlene counted ninety-two bananas. God had provided—far above what she imagined. She savored them, one per day for three months.

 

 

Darlene would surely have been beheaded as a spy, but she was inexplicably returned to Kampili, the POW camp under Commander Yamaji’s leadership.

Soon nightly bombings began. The women hid as best they could in ditches. Every morning they would have to bury those who had not survived.

One night during the siege, Darlene felt compelled by God to leave her shelter in the dirt, go back to the barracks, and retrieve a Bible. By the time she returned to her ditch the bombing had subsided.

But during Darlene’s brief absence, her refuge had been hit directly and destroyed.

 

 

Finally, in the fall of 1945 the horrific ordeal ended. Darlene returned to her family in America to be nursed back to health. She weighed 80 pounds.

Four years later, Darlene was back in New Guinea. God had brought Gerald Rose into her life, another missionary who also carried a passion for indigenous people. They were married and together raised two sons. For forty years they served God, not only in New Guinea but also in the Outback of Australia.

In 1976, a friend told Darlene she had heard Mr. Yamaji sharing his story on Japanese radio. The angry and cruel prison camp commander had become a changed man because of Jesus.

 

 

No doubt God had used Darlene as an important influence in his life—and in the lives of countless others as well.

 

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

 

Almighty God, we exult in your sustaining power that carries us through even the most excruciating circumstances. You supply impossible strength, courage, and perseverance to endure. And just as Russell told Darlene, you never leave us nor forsake us. Hallelujah!

(Psalm 28:7; Philippians 4:13; Deuteronomy 31:6; James 1:2-4, Deuteronomy 31:8)

 

Sources:

1) http://reneeannsmith.com/a/tag/darlene-deibler-rose/

2) http://pursuedandconquered.blogspot.com/2012/08/bananas-in-prison.html

3) http://www.danielakin.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Psalm-27-The-Lord-Is-My-Light-and-My-Salvation…Darlene-Diebler-Rose-Convocation-Fall-2016-kh.pdf

4) http://www.scripturaltruths.org/Articles/Real%20Life%20Experiences/REAL%20LIFE%20STORIES%20-%20Darlene%20Deibler%20Rose%20-%20Prisoner%20of%20War%20-%20May%202017%20-%20PDF.pdf

 

Art & photo credits:  http://www.darlenerose.org; http://www.wikimedia.com; http://www.dailyverses.net; http://www.heartlight.org;www.canva.com (2); http://www.heartlight.org (2); http://www.canva.com.

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Music.

It has the power to thrill our hearts, calm our fears, and strengthen our resolve.

Music energizes, encourages, and inspires. It even augments our connection to God.

So it’s no wonder that, in the Bible:

  • There are more than 400 references to singing.
  • There are fifty direct commands to sing.
  • The longest book is a collection of songs.

It would seem that music is important to God.  In fact, God himself sings.

 

GOD SINGS

David proclaimed,

psalm32_7-paul

(“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble

and surround me with songs of deliverance — Psalm 32:7”)

 Granted, we may not hear an actual melody, but the power of his Word sings comfort, hope, and strength into our spirits., much as we can “sing high praises” of someone, without a tune.

The sons of Korah, who were temple musicians, composed Psalm 42. In verse eight they state, “At night his song is with me.” Job also spoke of God “who gives songs in the night” (Job 35:10).  In other words, even when we face dark circumstances, God gives his song of help, salvation, and deliverance.

One more affirmation that God sings is found in this uplifting verse from Zephaniah:

zephaniahweb_large

(“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.

He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love,

he will rejoice over you with singing”–3:17.)

His songs can inspire courage, like a rousing march.  His songs can be like sweet lullabies, expressing peace and love.  And they can be joyful and upbeat, expressing delight in who we are becoming.

The power of God’s songs is in his attributes expressed.

 

NATURE SINGS

An anonymous psalmist wrote:

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“All the earth bows down to you, [God]; they sing praise to you,

they sing praise to your name–Psalm 66:4.”)

Other scriptures offer more specificity:

  • Trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord (1 Chronicles 16:33).
  • Meadows, flocks, valleys, and grain shout for joy and sing (Psalm 66:13).
  • Birds of the air sing among the branches (Psalm 104:12).
  • The heavens sing for joy (Isaiah 44:23).
  • Mountains burst into song (Isaiah 49:13).

Did you notice a theme? All creation sings for joy to their Maker.

Perhaps the biblical poets were speaking metaphorically, giving musical voices to creation where none really exist (except for the birds, of course). However, is it not possible that a choral symphony is wafting on the wind–it’s just that our human ears cannot hear that particular range of decibels? (Just like we can’t hear a dog whistle.)

Imagine:

  • Trees providing sweeping arias
  • Meadows and valleys echoing the refrain
  • Birds creating the grace notes
  • The heavens resounding in a mighty chorus of melody and harmonies
  • The mountains booming deep, rich bass notes

The power of nature’s song may very well be ringing around us this very moment.

 

WE SING

 

Planetshakers-BandCrowd-Melbourne-Planetshakers-Awakening-1

Praise God he has given us the ability to sing also. What a precious gift to fuse melody, harmonies, and rhythm that augment the meaning of our words—sometimes even supersede the necessity of words—as we express our praise, gratitude, devotion and love to God.

But what if we can’t sing or play an instrument? What then?

Meet Antonio, a lover of music who lived long ago. Imagine his bitter disappointment as he grew from boyhood to youth and realized he would never sing or play an instrument well.

But a wise friend told him, “There are many ways to make music. What matters is the song in the heart.” That friend happened to be a violin-maker. And because of his influence, Antonio was encouraged to become a violin-maker himself. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. Antonio Stradivarius?

We would all do well to remember his friend’s wise words:

What matters is the song in our hearts.

Ephesians-5-19

“Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,

always giving thanks to God the Father for everything,

in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

(Ephesians 5:19-20)

The power of our songs is to touch God’s heart.

(Art & photo credits:  www.dreamstime.com; http://www.heartlight.org; http://www.cards.ccojubilee.org; http://www.etsy.com; http://www.christianitymalaysia.com; www,denisehighes.com.)

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