Daily Archives: November 26, 2011

Attributed to Henry Ward Beecher (Source Unknown)

     This little story has a message that’s very powerful.  The more you read it and think about it the more profound it becomes. 

Good Deeds Performed Unconsciously

A farmer goes to market to purchase grain. He puts the bags containing it into his wagon, and drives slowly home. As the wagon jolts over the stony road, one of the bags becomes untied, and the grain is scattered along the way. The birds catch some of the grain and fly off with it, and drop it in distant places. Some is blown in different directions by the winds. Thus the farmer goes on for miles, without knowing what he is doing; but the next summer finds the scattered seed. It starts and grows, and when he sees his own grain he does not know it. He did not even know that he lost it. And so it is with good deeds. Men often perform them unconsciously, and they bear fruit, and when they see that fruit they do not know that it is the result of anything they have done.

–Beecher

From “Goszner’s Treasury” by Johannes Gossner

     Sometimes we forget that God is in control, that creation-all we experience with our senses-is His gift to us, and that His time table is not ours, but would the author of such precision, such design, leave an end unfulfilled?   Let us not take for granted the gifts He gives us or the ultimate fulfillment of His divine plan.   

 

Little children, it is the last time. 1Jn_2:18. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Heb_10:37. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 1Th_5:2

 

Thus the apostles think and speak of the coming of the Lord. They never considered themselves safe, but watched day and night and kept themselves ever ready to receive Him. If “the last time” commenced over eighteen hundred years ago, how can much of it be left? Who can count on the fraction of a second? How, according to the admonition in 2Pe_3:11-15, we ought to be diligent in holy conversation and godliness, to wait and long for the coming of the day of God! How earnestly we ought to strive to be found blameless of Him if He were to come to-morrow! The Savior Himself warns us in Luk_21:34-36. All this ought in our day to be well considered: for we are nearer to this “day,” which will surely come, by eighteen hundred years, than the first Christians who even then hoped to live that day and daily prepared themselves for it. Alas! who knows how near the terrible judgments that are to precede that day, may be to us? No one believes it before it falls upon men as a ”snare,” and as ”a thief in the night.” Ye children of light, do not sleep! Awake! ye daughters and ye brides of the Lamb, the Bridegroom is at hand: He is at the door. We are not safe a single hour. He may swiftly and suddenly come upon us. Blessed is he who shall then be awake, who together with the bride shall long for His coming and meet Him with the shout, “Come, Lord Jesus! ” Examine yourself daily to see if you will be able confidently to cry thus if you will be able to stand in His presence. He has eyes like flames of fire, eyes that will detect and bring to light all dishonesty and every unfaithfulness, no matter how well hidden in the heart. Do not hesitate in clearing out of your hearts everything that is not pleasing to His eye.

 

Lord Jesus Christ, do not delay,
O hasten our salvation!
We often tremble on our way.
In fear of tribulation.
Then hear us when we cry to Thee;
Come mighty Judge, come, make us free
From every evil. Amen!

 

 

From “Daily Meditation” by the Rev. George Bowen

     Most of us human beings don’t like to think about death, but how can we really understand the gift of life without it’s contemplation?  This world offers many things to it’s inhabitants that are illusive and transitory which hold seeming value but turn to dust over time and reveal their true worth.  This world offers an infinite variety of paths to follow, but in the end they all seemingly end at one place.  It’s the wise person who gives as much thought to the end of life as to the beginning . . . . 

 

” . . . grave, where is thy victory?” –

1Co_15:55.

In great cities we find monumental arches, columns, obelisks and tablets, telling of victories won by man over man; but death writes his name loftily on all these, saying, ” Man’s victories are my victories.” But the monumental trophies of death are found in all cities great and small, in all places, in fact. Death lords it everywhere and over all. Scarcely has humanity begun to put on nobility or virtue in any quarter, before death appears and sweeps away the excellent object, terrifying the stricken admirers with the display of its prodigious power.

Yet we make bold to say, ” Where is thy victory, O grave? Where, death, thy sting?” We tell death to the face that the captives whom he has apparently taken are not to be found in his chambers. In fact we can point to them in mansions where death has no admission. We can show the Son of God, once dead on Calvary, standing at the right hand of the Majesty on high. And with him the saints redeemed from the earth, the noble, the beautiful, the virtuous, dwelling in habitations not made with hands, clothed in purity, exempt from pain and sorrow, and not at all despondent because of their mortal remains sleeping in dust. How art thou become a picture of confusion, death, standing there with a crumbling bone in thy hand and looking at a celestial being walking amid the groves of the New Jerusalem, once connected with earthly life by that bone, now wearing many crowns of perfection bestowed by him who died and rose again! After having conquered all, behold, thou art thyself conquered, and a new in violable life given to those who once succumbed to thee. Behold the keys of death and hades are in the hands of our Lord; and what wonder if hereafter thou shouldst be compelled to restore even the dust of the once dead. Sweep as thou wilt with thy scythe from pole to pole; there is a sword impending over thee. Thou thyself shalt die. What canst thou do to him whose life is hid with Christ in God? He will sit upon a throne in the day when thou shalt be driven to darkness.

 

Meeting Tracey

    Walking across the parking lot toward the bus where I was going to meet Tracey was the longest walk of my life.  If I were a movie maker, I could have  made at least a dozen different movies showing the different emotions and thoughts I had along the way.  To say I was nervous is an understatement.  Butterflies?  Bats?  Bigger than that!  More like condors flapping around in my stomach.  I felt like I was going to puke.  (Sorry, I know that’s gross, but it’s true nontheless.)  I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited, so scared, as I was walking toward that bus.  I’d like to tell you I was overwhelmed with confidence and positive thoughts, but I’d be lying.  I kept telling myself that it was going to be okay, that it was going to work out, that we would meet and it wouldn’t be awkward.  We would see each other, and it would be just wonderful.  While I was thinking these thoughts, I had to keep banishing the ones coming inbetween.
     I told myself it wasn’t too late.  I could always high tail it and run.  I could go back to the van, and beg Dad to take me away (By the way my Dad would never have done that).  I doubted my sanity, my intelligence, my courage, my faith.  I lashed myself with all the failures of my past.  How could I even consider asking another woman to be a part of my life?  How in the world could I have done it this way?  Here I was meeting a woman for the first time that I had never ever seen, and didn’t have a clue what she looked like.
     I thought of a million reasons to turn and run, to do anything other than what I was doing, and yet I kept walking toward the bus that had just pulled up.  I walked toward the gate Tracey would come through with a boquet of flowers in my hand, and hope in my heart.  As I mentioned I had all kinds of reasons for not going forward to meet her, and yet I walked on, and reached the gate she was going to come through just as the door of the bus opened.
     People began to get off, and here I stood waiting for Tracey.  I can’t imagine how I must have looked to people as I stood there waiting for her.  I can’t remember if I thought of the flowers at the last minute or not.  I’d like to think that I thought of them way before hand, but in truth I don’t know if I did or not.  I only know that I had the flowers with me ready to give her should she show.  Yes, the thought did cross my mind that this was just a terrible prank being played on me by some scam artist on the internet, but I had put the thought away bound and determined to see it through.  I figured if she didn’t show it would be no less than I deserved.  So there I stood feeling more than a little stupid, as the question “Is that her” kept repeating itself in my mind with the appearance of each woman that came off the bus.
     I know it couldn’t have been more than maybe ten or fifteen minutes but it seemed like it took hours for people to get off.  With each woman that got off, I’d look intently at her, trying to make eye contact, with-what I’m sure was-a ridiculous smile on my face.  Since I have the nervous habit of shifting my weight from one foot to the other, I’m fairly sure that I looked exactly how I felt.  I knew that she had the advantage.  I was the only one standing at the gate.  I don’t mean the only man standing with a bunch of flowers in my hand.  I mean I was the only one at the gate, so I was pretty sure she knew who I was, but I had no idea who she was.  She could take a good long look at me and if she decided she didn’t like what she saw she could just walk right by me and I’d never know.  So not only was I asking myself “Is she the one” as each woman passed, but I was also thinking “maybe that was her and she didn’t like what she saw.”  
     I kept running the gamut of emotions as each woman came off the bus.  Looking for some tell-tale sign.  Any kind of smile, a quick glance, a frown, a snort of disgust, a shriek in panic, anything to give me an indication that this was the woman I was supposed to meet.  Here I was standing in front of this bus watching people disembark, shifting from one foot to the other, smiling insanely (how you smile insanely I don’t know, but I felt sure I was), staring so hard at people I felt as if I could look right through them, and alternately holding the flowers at waist level, then in front of my face peeking around them like I was standing behind a tree.  I don’t know when it was I realized that I was playing looky loo through the flowers, but when it dawned on me that I was doing so I was really embarrassed and beet red (I turn red when embarrassed or angry so there’s never any hiding what I feel from anyone).
     Suddenly, this black woman steps off the bus, looks directly at me, gives me this great big smile, and starts walking toward me with her arms open as if to embrace me.  I’m stunned, frozen, can’t move.  I want to move toward her.  Tell myself that I have to.  Command my feet to move, but I can’t.  At this moment I’m absolutely terrified, and having a real moment.  “But this can’t,” I tell myself.  “This can’t be Tracey.  It doesn’t feel right.  Something’s wrong.”  Suddenly I realize I’m faced with something I hadn’t really allowed myself to consider.  I thought I had.  Somehow, during all our hours together talking over the internet, I had formed a picture of Tracey in my mind; an impression had begun to grow; it was almost as if I could feel her, as if I knew her as I did myself, and this woman walking toward me wasn’t . . . .her.  At that second had there been a hole I could have crawled into I would have.  How was I going to face her?  What was I going to say?  How could I tell this woman approaching me that she didn’t fit the image I had of her.  
     I started to move toward her, then suddenly she waves at me, and veers away walking off in the opposite direction.  I’m so stunned to see her walking away from me that I don’t know what to do or think, then from behind me I hear this lovely female voice say, “Hi Wayne.”  I turned around to see a tall redhead standing there with the biggest grin on her face, and a big black duffle bag slung over her shoulder.  “Are those for me,” she asked.  Just as I knew almost instantly that the woman who had approached me earlier couldn’t be Tracey, I knew that this woman was.  How?  I can’t tell you except that I knew.  It took me a minute to switch on, then I said, “who else would they be for?”
     “You’re sweet,” she said, drops the bag and gives me the biggest, most fierce hug I’ve ever had in my life, and that was how me and Tracey met, but it was just the beginning.