Friday, July 27, 2012

A Humble Vessel

      “Boioioing kirclink!” As I grab my travel-scarred water bottle, my ears are greeted with the familiar clink of unscrewing stainless steel. My canteen is in ongoing service. Day in, day out, it travels with me. A humble vessel? Yes, but treasured for what it holds.
      The particular type of water bottle that I happen to be blessed with is not quiet. It clinks before you drink, and it clinks after you drink, and it clinks if it experiences too sudden contact with a hard surface. Does this particular character flaw stop me from utilizing the container? No. The vital part is internal. Would the bottle be easier to use if it was quiet? Yes, but it can still be used for good. 
      The vessel may have defects, but the precious contents would be lost if it were discarded. Each container is important because it has the potential to hold pure, living Water. There is a Fountain with an unending supply. The limiting factor is with the containers. It was so in Elisha’s day, and it is so today. 
      “Boioioing kirkleclink!” I drink again. Thankfully in the christian life, there is growth. While my bottle will not be growing out of it’s clinking any time soon, by the grace of God you and I have that blessed opportunity. Giving what we possess, we can be vessels unto the honor of God and saving of souls. But what we hold is of vital importance. Is it life-giving, refreshing draughts of the Savior? Or is it the cares of this life? Of what do we think? Of what do we speak? Of what do we dream and plan to accomplish?

      "Fill the whole heart with the words of God. They are the living water quenching your thirst." - {CE 57.1}. Let us strive to be vessels, however humble, but filled with LIving Water.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Thorns

      “Ouch!” As the thorn makes itself a new dwelling place in my finger I grimace. “This fruit would be so much easier to pick if it weren’t for these things!” I pull on the offending piece of vegetation. My inward dialogue continues. “The picking is so good… and some of the best fruit is the most difficult and painful to grasp.” I move around the bush to get an easier hold of some berries. 

      Wait. Am I really doing that? Picking only the fruit that is obtained with little pain? Spiritually speaking... do I want all the benefits of Christianity — Christ-like living, without so much as the thorns of Christ’s crown? 

     Christ’s yoke is easy and His burden light. He promises “an hundredfold” in this life, and eternal life to come. Yet, at times there seems to be pain between us and the precious fruit of righteousness. 
      …If heaven considered thorns a thing to be avoided, where would we be? In the presence of greater pain than any piece of rubus fruiticosus could inflict, Christ valued the fruit of souls as something worth the pain to gain. To God, You are more valuable than price of pain.

      What about us? What value do we place upon salvation? Either for ourselves, or another, are thorns enough to squelch our desire for fruit? 
      A very wise author wrote,“If the thing you desire is valuable, it is worthy of a strong, earnest effort… If it costs you something to obtain it you will prize it more when obtained.” - {Pr 108.4}. Salvation… souls… the Savior… these are worth the thorns. What do you say?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A transcendental One...

God chooses not the wise of earth,
To spread abroad His word
Nor are those of apparent worth,
The ones by Him preferred
God's ways are far above our own,
For He can see the heart
To those who've yielded up the throne,
He will this trust impart

God chooses not the strong of men,
By virtue of their might
In history see this o'er again,
The weakest spreading light
Our Father seeks for all of those,
Who know they have a need
And with these ones the Spirit goes,
For these ones He can lead

God calls the weak, the poor, the shy,
For this exalted task
He will their deficit supply,
Just as they humbly ask
So when the gospel work to do,
Seems more than can be done
Remember that our might is through,
A transcendental One!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Another's Arm

      Proximal forearm hooked in axillary cavity, hand clasping the hypothenar eminence. All set. “One...Two...Three…” I lift. She’s up. Done in a matter of seconds… but the confidence in her eyes…  It would pay for a much harder work.

      “How am I going to get up? My legs just don’t obey me.” The face clearly expresses the concern in her voice. 
      “I will help you, don’t worry.”  
      Her helplessness is impressed upon me all the more. Without strength from an outside source, she cannot arise. Even though it is a delight to help, some disdain the gesture. Some prefer to stay where they are than rely upon another’s arm. But if they ask, I get excited. I know they want help. It’s not my choice, it’s theirs.
      “Will you help me up? You know how to do it.” Arm in arm, hand in hand, I lift, she asks… and wills… hmmm. Interesting, eh? The patient didn’t need to persuade me. But her confidence nails it shut. How can I deny it? When I can help, and want to help, and she asks… it’s a done deal.

      As I muse upon the matter, the picture of a Savior is impressed upon my consciousness. He lifts. He encourages. He strengthens with His own strength. Apart from His aid I would not arise
      “Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me.” Psalm 44:3. Of Israel the prophet Isaiah writes, “For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but Thy right hand, and Thine arm, and the light of Thy countenance, because Thou hadst a favour unto them.” Isaiah 27:5. When we have hold upon the arm of the Lord, we can have confidence in God. “If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” John 15:7. 

     “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. 1 John 5:14-15. 

      Someone is waiting for us to desire His help. Will we take hold of His arm? “He does not always bring us into pleasant places. If He did, in our self-sufficiency we should forget that He is our helper. He longs to manifest Himself to us, and to reveal the abundant supplies at our disposal, and He permits trial and disappointment to come to us that we may realize our helplessness, and learn to call upon Him for aid. We shall never know until we are face to face with God, when we shall see as we are seen and know as we are known, how many burdens He has borne for us, and how many burdens He would have been glad to bear, if with childlike faith we had brought them to Him…” {ML 12}.
      George Duffield’s weighty words come to mind ...The arm of flesh will fail you, ye dare not trust your own… Friends, let us have confidence in Another’s arm!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Give Me True Repentance...

Father give me true repentance,
Please melt my heart within
Make me see the heavy sentence,
That One bore for my sin

As ice upon a frozen lake,
My sin obscures Your face
My heart true sorrow cannot fake,
'Tis mine but by Your grace

This ice can melt, yes Lord, I know,
As sun on summer days
Your warmth I've felt, but let it flow,
In clearer, stronger rays

See, only with a melted heart,
Can I Your likeness bear
For in the grief that You impart,
Your joy as well You share

Oh, grief and sorrow last a night,
But dawning is the day
When icy lakes transformed by Light,
Christ's likeness will convey