Sunday, June 24, 2012

Lessons of Life

      Life is full of lessons that we can learn if we take the time to notice them. God has put a profusion of object lessons into nature and our daily existence. Even in that fact there is something to learn: God does not waste. He could have set up an educational institution that would be attended for a couple hours daily by all who wanted to learn to live like Christians. But our all-knowing Heavenly Father didn’t do that. Yes, there is that special time each morning to study from our Creator, but God has made life itself to be a school for us. The spare minutes of time, so easily wasted, are full of potential if used to learn of God. 

The sunbeams from our Father's hand,
Recite His heart of love 
The very ground on which we stand,
Speaks volumes from above
The hill, the sea, and fertile plain,
Are written every day
With truths and lessons we should gain,
If we would learn God's way

So as we seek from God to learn,
What treasure we may find!
The daily tasks, or misty fern,
Are vittles for the mind
Life's little circumstances preach,
They're blessings for our sake
An accident may even teach,
Of things that will not break

Let's read today from nature's book,
From smell and sight and sound
Let's strive to take a deeper look,
For lessons can be found
In home or school, at work or play,
There's something we can learn
For God has lessons to convey,
That we will Him discern

      Here’s a key: the scriptures illuminate nature. “Nature and revelation” do alike testify of God, but our faulty human reasoning can easily lead us amiss. In looking for object lessons, let us dig deeper into the word. Psalm 119:67 says, “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.” Keep the word, learn the lessons, and learn of Him who is Life.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Preserved forever...

      “Soddle-doddle, soddle, soddle-doddle…” The pressure canner hissed and jingled with its final load of the day. The recently removed jars bubbled as they continued cooling. “One, two, three, four… good they all sealed.” My bean cannery had been ticking along at a good pace. The jars from the day’s first batch had all sealed, and were just about cool. Thinking that they were ready for the next step, I removed the rings. “This is great,” I said to myself, “I should be able to have the jars in the cellar before the day is out.” After it was washed, the first jar was set in waiting for its decent to the basement cold storage. Jar two… 

      “Boing!” The second jar was obviously not ready for the treatment that I had given it. Though it had the appearance of being sealed, it wasn’t. In the very least the process wasn’t finished. The jar had had the same ingredients put into it; it underwent the same crucible of a pressure canner as the first jar; it was even brought out of the experience by the same hand as the can that had sealed. 
       These cans are very much alike. Before I removed the “boundary” from the second jar, there would have been very little to distinguish it from the first. Both appeared to be as genuine as the other, but the preservation aspect of a can was lacking in one of the jars. The second jar had not been subject to the safety of its ring long enough to be thoroughly sealed. Once the boundary was removed, the appearance of a seal was removed as well. 

      At the final day, it will matter whether or not the vessel has been sealed. Ephesians 4:30 says, “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” There is a boundary to God’s grace and mercy. “...When this boundary is passed, the aid of His Spirit, so wickedly refused and insulted, is withdrawn, and the soul is given over to the worst of tyrants,—the power of a perverted will.” – {ST June 5, 1884 Par. 7}. 
      Continuing with the quote, “If we are closely connected with sacred things, and yet do not realize their importance, the heart will become so hard that the most earnest appeals will not move it to contrition. We must cherish every ray of light. We must work intelligently to form our characters after the divine model, continually striving, with all the powers God has given us, to reach the high standard set before us in his word.” – {ST June 5, 1884 Par. 7}. While probation remains open, we have the opportunity to humble our hearts and seek the Lord. 

      My unsealed can of beans got another opportunity to be sealed. In His infinite love and pity, our Heavenly Father will take us through another crucible, as we remain willing, until we are sealed. He will complete what He began in us, but only as we let Him. It is our choice. We don’t have to surrender to the One who bled and died on our behalf… but what do we gain without Christ? The trials in your life might be hot right now, but take courage my friends. There is One who cares if we are sealed in the final day, One who will not forsake His saints. Psalm 37:28 says, “For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.” Hmmm… Preserved forever...