Friday, June 20, 2008

A Visit from Jesus

Ruth went to her mail box and there was only one letter. She picked it up and looked at it before opening, but then she looked at the envelope again. There was no stamp, no postmark, only her name and address. She read the letter:

Dear Ruth:

I'm going to be in your neighborhood Saturday afternoon and I would like to visit.

Love Always,

Her hands were shaking as she placed the letter on the table. "Why would the Lord want to visit me? I'm nobody special. I don't have anything to offer." With that thought, Ruth remembered her empty kitchen cabinets.

"Oh my goodness, I really don't have anything to offer. I'll have to run down to the store and buy something for dinner." She reached for her purse and counted out it's contents. Five dollars and forty cents. "Well, I can get some bread and cold cuts, at least." She threw on her coat and hurried out the door. She bought a loaf of French bread, a half-pound of sliced turkey, and a carton of milk...leaving Ruth with grand total of twelve cents to last her until Monday. Nonetheless, she felt good as she headed home, her meager offerings tucked under her arm.

"Hey lady, can you help us, lady?" Ruth had been so absorbed in her dinner plans, she hadn't even noticed two figures huddled in the alleyway. A man and a woman, both of them dressed in little more than rags. "Look lady, I ain't got a job, ya know, and my wife and I have been living out here on the street, and, well, now it's getting cold and we're getting kinda hungry and, well, if you could help us, lady, we'd really appreciate it."

Ruth looked at them both. They were dirty, they smelled bad and frankly, she was certain that they could get some kind of work if they really wanted to.

"Sir, I'd like to help you, but I'm a poor woman myself. All I have is a few cold cuts and some bread, and I'm having an important guest for dinner tonight and I was planning on serving that to Him."

"Yeah, well, okay lady, I understand. Thanks anyway."

The man put his arm around the woman's shoulders, turned and they headed back into the alley. As she watched them leave, Ruth felt a familiar twinge in her heart.

"Sir, wait!" The couple stopped and turned as she ran down the alley after them. "Look, why don't you take this food. I'll figure out something else to serve my guest." She handed the man her grocery bag.

"Thank you lady. Thank you very much!" "Yes, thank you!" It was the man's wife, and Ruth could see now that she was shivering. "You know, I've got another coat at home. Here, why don't you take this one." Ruth unbuttoned her jacket and slipped it over the woman's shoulders. Then smiling, she turned and walked back to the street... without her coat and with nothing to serve her guest.

"Thank you lady! Thank you very much!" the man called after her.

Ruth was chilled by the time she reached her front door, and worried too. The Lord was coming to visit and she didn't have anything to offer Him. She fumbled through her purse for the door key. But as she did, she noticed another envelope in her mailbox. "That's odd. The mailman doesn't usually come twice in one day." She took the envelope out of the box and opened it.

Dear Ruth:

It was so good to see you again. Thank you for the lovely meal. And Oh, thank you, too, for the beautiful coat.

Love Always,

The air was still cold, but even without her coat, Ruth no longer noticed.

Mat 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

An Impressive Dream

In a dream given me Sept. 29, 1886, I was walking with a large company who were looking for berries. There were many young men and women in the company who were to help in gathering the fruit. We seemed to be in a city, for there was very little vacant ground; but around the city there were open fields, beautiful groves, and cultivated gardens. A large wagon laden with provisions for our company went before us.

Soon the wagon halted, and the party scattered in every direction to look for fruit. All around the wagon were both high and low bushes, bearing large, beautiful whortleberries; but the company were all looking too far away to see them. I began to gather the fruit near by, but very carefully, for fear of picking the green berries, which were so mingled with the ripe fruit that I could pick only one or two berries from a cluster.

Whortleberry (Blueberry) photo by Gari Baldi

Some of the nice large berries had fallen to the ground, and were half consumed by worms and insects. "Oh," thought I, "if this field had only been entered before, all this precious fruit might have been saved! But it is too late now. I will, however, pick these from the ground, and see if there is any good in them. Even if the whole berry is spoiled, I can at least show the brethren what they might have found if they had not been too late."

Just then two or three of the party came sauntering around where I was. They were chatting, and seemed to be much occupied with each other's company. Seeing me, they said, "We have looked everywhere, and can find no fruit." They looked with astonishment at the quantity I had. I said, "There are more to be gathered from these bushes." They began picking, but soon stopped, saying, "It is not fair for us to pick here; you found this spot, and the fruit is yours." But I replied, "That makes no difference. Gather wherever you can find anything. This is God's field, and these are His berries; it is your privilege to pick them."

But soon I seemed to be alone again. Every little while I heard talking and laughing at the wagon. I called out to those who were there, "What are you doing?" They answered, "We could not find any berries, and as we were tired and hungry, we thought we would come to the wagon and take a lunch. After we have rested awhile, we will go out again."

"But," I said, "you have brought in nothing as yet. You are eating up all our supplies, without giving us any more. I cannot eat now; there is too much fruit to be picked. You did not find it because you did not look close enough. It does not hang on the outside of the bushes, you must search for it. True, you cannot pick it by handfuls; but by looking carefully among the green berries, you will find very choice fruit."

My small pail was soon full of berries, and I took them to the wagon. Said I, "This is the nicest fruit that I ever picked, and I gathered it near by, while you have wearied yourselves by searching at a distance without success."

Then all came to see my fruit. They said, "These are high-bush berries, firm and good. We did not think we could find anything on the high bushes, so we hunted for low-bush berries only, and found but few of these."

Then I said, "Will you take care of these berries, and then go with me to look for more fruit on the high bushes?" But they had made no preparation to care for the fruit. There were dishes and sacks in abundance but they had been used to hold food. I became tired of waiting, and finally asked, "Did you not come to gather fruit? Then why are you not prepared to take care of it?"

One responded, "Sister White, we did not really expect to find any fruit where there were so many houses, and so much going on; but as you seemed so anxious to gather fruit, we decided to come with you. We thought we would bring enough to eat, and would enjoy the recreation, if we did not gather any fruit."

I answered, "I cannot understand this kind of work. I shall go to the bushes again at once. The day is already far spent, soon the night will be here, in which we can gather no fruit." Some went with me, but others remained by the wagon to eat.

In one place a little company had collected, and were busily talking about something in which they seemed much interested. I drew near, and found that a little child in a woman's arms had attracted their attention. I said, "You have but a little time, and might better work while you can."

The attention of many was attracted by a young man and a young woman who were running a race to the wagon. On reaching it, they were so tired that they had to sit down and rest. Others also had thrown themselves down on the grass to rest.

Thus the day wore on, and very little was accomplished. At last I said: "Brethren, you call this an unsuccessful expedition. If this is the way you work, I do not wonder at your lack of success. Your success or failure depends upon the way you take hold of the work. There are berries here; for I have found them. Some of you have been searching the low bushes in vain; others have found a few berries; but the high bushes have been passed by, simply because you did not expect to find fruit on them. You see that the fruit which I have gathered is large and ripe. In a little while other berries will ripen, and we can go over the bushes again. This is the way in which I was taught to gather fruit. If you had searched near the wagon. You might have found fruit as well as I.

"The lesson that you have this day given to those who are just learning how to do this kind of work, will be copied by them. The Lord has placed these fruit-bearing bushes right in the midst of these thickly settled places, and He expects you to find them. But you have been altogether too much engaged in eating, and amusing yourselves. You did not come to the field with an earnest determination to find fruit.

"You must hereafter work with more zeal and earnestness, and with an altogether different object in view, or your labors will never be successful. By working in the right way, you will teach the younger workers that such matters as eating and recreation are of minor importance. It has been hard work to bring the wagon of supplies to the ground, but you have thought more of the supplies than of the fruit you ought to carry home as the result of your labors. You should be diligent, first to pick the berries nearest you, and then to search for those farther away; after that you can return and work near by again, and thus you will be successful."

--Gospel Workers, pp. 136-139.

I have always found this sad vision intensely interesting. The fruit represents souls to be saved, gathered or harvested, if you will. Some of the fruit is ripe and ready for gathering. These people are looking wistfully to heaven and yearning for someone to show them the way. Some of the fruit is not yet ripe, but can be gathered if we will continue to work the field at a later date. These people will be ready to be gathered in the future, but they are not quite ready now. Some of the fruit was spoilt and had fallen to the ground and was being eaten by worms. These are those who have died in trespasses and sins and are lost to the Kingdom of God, but whom might have been saved if God's people had expressed interest in them and gathered them while they were "ripe."

The worker's excuses for not working are a sad, but all too true commentary on the state of God's Laodicean people. They went out without expecting results, worked superficially to please men, looked in the wrong places, didn't take counsel from successful workers as to where to look for fruit, and didn't really care whether or not they found any fruit at all. They ate, they drank, they played, they visited, they recreated, and all the while the day wore away. How tragic!

Lord God, please give me a heart for souls, a heart that bleeds for the men and women in my circle of influence hour by hour and day by day. Please lead me to men and women who are ripe for salvation, men and women who are looking wistfully to heaven that I might gather them into Your garner. Please help me to recognize them when You, by Your providential leading, bring them across my path and give me wisdom and grace to labor effectually on their behalf. Thank You, Father. Amen.

Remain faithful,

Friday, May 30, 2008

Why Persecution Slumbers

red hot coals
The apostle Paul declares that "all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."

Photo courtesy of Marcus Vegas

Why is it, then, that persecution seems in a great degree to slumber? The only reason is, that the church has conformed to the world's standard, and therefore awakens no opposition. The religion which is current in our day is not of the pure and holy character that marked the Christian faith in the days of Christ and His apostles. It is only because of the spirit of compromise with sin, because the great truths of the Word of God are so indifferently regarded, because there is so little vital godliness in the church, that Christianity is apparently so popular with the world. Let there be a revival of faith and power of the early church, and the spirit of persecution will be revived, and the fires of persecution will be rekindled.--The Great Controversy, p. 48.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Life You Save

Sodium Vapor Light on SnowI have read of a man who, journeying on a winter's day through the deep, drifted snow, became benumbed by the cold which was almost imperceptibly stealing away his vital powers.

Photo by Flickr artist Ctd 2005

And as he was nearly chilled to death by the embrace of the frost king, and about to give up the struggle for life, he heard the moans of a brother traveler, who was perishing with cold as he was about to perish. His humility was aroused to rescue him. He chafed the ice-clad limbs of the unfortunate man, and, after considerable effort, raised him to his feet; and as he could not stand, he bore him in sympathizing arms through the very drifts he had thought he could never succeed in getting through alone. And when he had borne his fellow traveler to a place of safety, the truth flashed home to him that in saving his neighbor he had saved himself also. His earnest efforts to save another quickened the blood which was freezing in his own veins, and created a healthful warmth in the extremities of the body. These lessons must be forced upon young believers continually, not only be precept, but by example, that in their Christian experience they may realize similar results.

--Testimonies, vol. 4,pp. 319, 320.

It is so often true in the Christian walk that in watering we are watered and in helping we are helped. In order to be true to our Lord and Master, we must reach out to those around us. The life that you save could be your own...

Remain faithful,

Friday, May 16, 2008

Checking In Today

Now the Old Man by chefranden
A minister passing through his church
in the middle of the day,
Decided to pause by the altar
and see who had come to pray.

Photo by chefranden

Just then the back door opened,
a man came down the aisle,
The minister frowned as he saw
the man hadn't shaved in a while.

His shirt was kinda shabby
and his coat was worn and frayed,
the man knelt, he bowed his head,
then rose and walked away.

In the days that followed,
each noon time came this chap,
each time he knelt just for a moment,
a lunch pail in his lap.

Well, the minister's suspicions grew,
with robbery a main fear,
He decided to stop the man and ask him,
"What are you doing here?"

The old man said, he worked down the road.
Lunch was half an hour.
Lunchtime was his prayer time,
for finding strength and power.

"I stay only moments, see,
because the factory is so far away;
as I kneel here talking to the Lord,
this is kinda what I say:



The minister feeling foolish,
told Jim, that was fine.
He told the man he was welcome
to come and pray just anytime.

Time to go, Jim smiled, said
"Thanks." He hurried to the door.
The minister knelt at the altar,
he'd never done it before.

His cold heart melted, warmed with love,
and met with Jesus there.
As the tears flowed, in his heart,
he repeated old Jim's prayer:



Past noon one day, the minister noticed
that old Jim hadn't come.
As more days passed without Jim,
he began to worry some.

At the factory, he asked about him,
learning he was ill.
The hospital staff was worried,
but he'd given them a thrill.

The week that Jim was with them,
brought changes in the ward.
His smiles, a joy contagious.
Changed people, were his reward.

The head nurse couldn't understand
why Jim was so glad,
when no flowers, calls or cards came,
not a visitor he had.

The minister stayed by his bed,
he voiced the nurse's concern:
No friends came to show they cared.
He had nowhere to turn.

Looking surprised, old Jim spoke up
and with a winsome smile;
"the nurse is wrong, she couldn't know,
that in here all the while

Everyday at noon He's here,
a dear friend of mine, you see,
He sits right down, takes my hand,
leans over and says to me:



May God hold you in the palm of His
hand and Angels watch over you.

~Author Unknown~

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

It Was Only a Quarter

Several years ago, a preacher from out-of-state accepted a call to a church in Houston, Texas. Some weeks after he arrived, he had an occasion to ride the bus from his home to the downtown area. When he sat down, he discovered that the driver had accidentally given him a quarter too much change.

As he considered what to do, he thought to himself, 'You'd better give the quarter back. It would be wrong to keep it.'

Spare Change by ThrasherDave Then he thought, 'Oh, forget it , it's only a quarter. Who would worry about this little amount? Anyway, the bus company gets too much fare; they will never miss it. Accept it as a 'gift from God' and keep quiet.'

Photo by Thrasher Dave

When his stop came, he paused momentarily at the door, then he handed the quarter to the driver and said, 'Here, you gave me too much change.'

The driver, with a smile, replied, 'Aren't you the new preacher in town? I have been thinking a lot lately about going somewhere to worship. I just wanted to see what you would do if I gave you too much change. I'll see you at church on Sunday.'

When the preacher stepped off of the bus, he literally grabbed the nearest light pole, held on, and said, 'Oh God, I almost sold your Son for a quarter.'

Our lives are the only Bible some people will ever read. This is a really scary example of how much people watch us as Christians and will put us to the test!
Always be on guard and remember that you carry the name of Christ on your shoulders when you call yourself 'Christian.'

Watch your thoughts; they become words.

Watch your words; they become actions.

Watch your actions; they become habits.

Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

I'm glad a friend forwarded this to me as a reminder.

by Victor Gill

Sunday, May 4, 2008

It's Jewish

by Uriah Smith

When we present God's holy Law
And arguments from Scripture draw,
Objectors say, to pick a flaw:
"It's Jewish!"

Though at first Jehovah blessed
And sanctified His day of rest,
The same belief is still expressed:
"It's Jewish!"

Though with Creation this rest began
And thence through all the Scriptures ran,
And Jesus said 'twas made for man—
"It's Jewish!"

Though not with Jewish rites which passed,
But with the moral Law 'twas classed,
Which must exist while time shall last—
"It's Jewish!"

If from the Bible we present
The Sabbath's meaning and intent,
This answers every argument:
"It's Jewish!"

Though the disciples Luke and Paul
Continued still this rest to call
The Sabbath day, this answers all:
"It's Jewish!"

The Gospel Teacher's plain expression
That sin is of the Law transgression
Seems not to make the least impression;
"It's Jewish!"

They love the day of man's invention,
But if Jehovah's rest we mention
This puts an end to all contention:
"It's Jewish!"

Oh ye who thus God's day abuse
Simply because 'twas kept by Jews,
The Saviour, too, you must refuse—
"He's Jewish!"

The Scriptures, then, we may expect
For the same reason you'll reject.
For if you stop to recollect,
"They're Jewish!"

Thus the apostles, too, must fall,
For Andrew, Peter, James, and Paul,
Thomas, Matthew, John, and all,
Were Jewish.

So to your hapless state resign
Yourself in wretchedness to pine;
Salvation surely you'll decline—
"It's Jewish!"

This poem reminds me of a wonderful moment from The Hiding Place, the story of Corrie Ten Boom. Corrie's pastor is visiting to warn the family about their pro-Jewish sentiments. He begins to say, "It was the Jews who..." The anticipated end of his sentence was, "...killed Christ," but Father Caspar Ten Boom interrupts him saying, "...gave us the Bible - and gave us our Savior."

Poor cheap self proudly points at the nails and the hammer in the hands of another, but when God's grace gets hold of his life and he sees himself through God's eyes, he discovers that, not only is he holding the hammer and nails in his own hands, but that his hands are wet with the precious blood of the dear Son of God, as well.
It would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ. We should take it point by point, and let the imagination grasp each scene, especially the closing ones. As we thus dwell upon His great sacrifice for us, our confidence in Him will be more constant, our love will be quickened, and we shall be more deeply imbued with His spirit. If we would be saved at last, we must learn the lesson of penitence and humiliation at the foot of the cross. -- Desire of Ages p.83

Remain faithful,

Monday, April 14, 2008

Chartreuse Pillowcase

When I lay down in bed to sleep tonight, I will sleep on a Chartreuse Pillowcase. I bought it at a thrift store along with a set of sheets. I did not buy it because it matched the sheets, because it didn't. Nor did I choose it because it matched the sheets that were already on my bed, because it didn't. The reason I bought it, however, was because it clashed with the sheets I was buying less than the other pillowcases in the bin. And the funny thing is that, though the sheets are long gone, I still have the pillowcase and I sleep on it every night. It doesn't match my sheets; in fact it clashes. I reflected to my bride one night, “Honey, I hope my pillowcase doesn't keep you awake. It's pretty loud.”

And you know what else is funny? I have a pillowcase that matches my sheets, but I don't use it.

My sheets have a Navajo sort of print with lots of Southwestern colors, like turquoise, green, and salmon. It should be fairly easy to find something that matches something in my sheets because they have so many different colors.

But, like the crippled boy who buys a crippled dog “because the dog needs somebody who can understand him,” I love my Chartreuse Pillowcase because it is so reflective on my life and my walk with God.

From a purely practical point of view, it really doesn't matter what color my pillowcase is. All I really need is a bit of cloth around my pillow to keep it from getting greasy, to keep it form getting sneezed on, and, perhaps most importantly, to keep it from getting drooled on. Certainly, my designer bride would prefer something that matched some color in our home or in my sheets. And it isn't as if there wasn't quite a palate from which to choose. My wooden headboard offers some great wood tones. The bare linoleum on the floor is in warm stone tones and the carpeting that covers part of it is in an earthy blue and gray. The quilt on the bed offers a rainbow of blues. The under quilt is off-white with red and blue embroidery flowers. The sheets try to fit in with a Southwestern palate of turquoise, green, burnt salmon and beige. But for all of the color, there is no chartreuse. In fact, there is no chartreuse in our entire house. The pillowcase doesn't fit in. It is a stranger, an alien, a refugee from some bold bedroom set made up of a palate completely missing from my home. More than once I have thought I should get rid of it and replace it with something else, something more agreeable, something more “normal.”

And that is how I feel in this world of ours. I have set my heart upon God, upon His law, upon His values and I find that I frequently stand out in my dealings with the inhabitants of this world. My employers often wonder that I would make such a big deal over not working on the Sabbath, and that I would be so ticklish about when Sabbath started and what I would be willing to do on the Sabbath. My business associates marvel that I would be willing to lose money on a sale because I insisted on speaking the truth concerning some “gray” area. My banker was aghast that I would risk losing the house I was trying to buy because I insisted that, if the document said that I signed it on such and such a day, that I had, in fact, signed it on such and such a day. Every day, it seems, Satan is at hand to tell me how mentally deficient I am and how exalted position I could obtain if I would just compromise on this principal and how much easier my life would be if I would just give in on that scruple.

I am afraid that I am called to be a Chartreuse Pillowcase in a world of earth tones, off-white and gray. The world would have me dim my colors by dye or by bleach, just so long as I didn't stand out quite so much. “You're clashing with the headboard. You're clashing with the sheets. You're clashing with the comforters! Why don't you just get real and grow up?”

But when I stop and listen for that still, small voice within, I hear a smile and anticipate the echo of His voice, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in little things. I will entrust you with big things. Enter into My rest.”

And that makes it all worthwhile.

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


open book face down in house at night
by Steve Taylor
from the album Meltdown

photo by megan @ flickr
When the house fell asleep
there was always a light
and it fell from the page to the eyes
of an American boy
in a storybook land
I could dream what I read

when it went to my head I'd see
I wanna be a hero
But the practical side
said the question was still
when you grow up what will you be?
I wanna be a hero
it's a nice-boy notion that the real world's gonna destroy
you know it's a Marvel comicbook Saturday matinee fairytale, boy
Growing older you'll find
that illusions are brought
and the idol you thought you'd be
was just another zero
I wanna be a hero

Heroes died when the squealers bought 'em off
died when the dealers got 'em off
welcome to the "in it for the money as an idol" show
when they ain't as big as life
when they ditch their second wife
where's the boy to go?
gotta be a hero

When the house fell asleep
from a book I was led
to a light that I never knew
I wanna be your hero
and he spoke to my heart
from the moment I prayed
here's a pattern I made for you
I wanna be your hero

About The Song
From Clone Club News Flash Spring/Summer 1984:

"['Hero'] is the most personal song on the album. I remember as a boy I'd pull a book out from under my bedcovers after my parents had turned out the lights and read by streetlight outside my window. My favorite books were biographies of presidents or generals or kings and queens, but as I'd grow older and read more in-depth accounts, I'd discover that my heroes weren't all they were made out to be. Yet the more I read about Jesus, the more I realized that He was the one hero who wasn't going to disappoint me, and that I could pattern my life after Him."

"Role models may vary in quality and consistency, but all are ultimately born to disappoint. Jesus is the only hero worth having." - Steve Taylor

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Out of this World Desktop Wallpaper

Tired of using the images that came with your computer for wallpaper? Why not download some out-of-this-world pictures?

NASA shuttle sts123 launches at nightA rare nighttime shuttle launch (STS123 - Endeavour)

One fantastic source of high-quality high-definition images is the NASA - Image of the the Day. This picture of the recent shuttle launch was originally 3.11 MB , though you can download smaller sizes, as well. Their images include Space Shuttle, International Space Station, and pictures returned from various space probes. Wonderful!

NASA pictures are generally in the pubic domain with some restrictions.

Another great place to find space pictures is The Astronomy Picture of the Day. Pictures from this site include some NASA images, as well as spectacular images from other sources. Copyrights vary depending upon where they get the image. There is a new image every day and the archive goes back several years.

Space Shuttle Endeavor docked to the International Space StationShuttle Endeavor as seen from the International Space Station, but from a different mission as the picture above.

Click the pictures to see a wallpaper-sized image.

Have these images been a blessing? Leave a comment and let me know!

- Dave

Cracked Pots

woman carrying a water jug
An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole, which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water.

photo by Ajay in India Tallam

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do. After 2 years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house."

The old woman smiled, "Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house."

Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.

SO, to all of my crackpot friends, have a great day and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the path!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Why is the World so Desperately Evil?

The following quotes have helped me to come to grips with the reality of evil in the world. While the world groans under wars, famine, violence, bloodshed, strife, I had never understood “why?” What is so wonderful about causing pain and suffering? What kinds of entity likes to see people cry? Even more incredible, what kind of entity likes to make people cry? Even more incredible, what kind of entity gets off on hurting people in a way that they never, never stop hurting? And just as incredible, what kind of entity draws strength from causing one person to inflict pain and suffering on another? I just could not wrap my mind around the motivation.
And then I read this passage from the Patriarchs and Prophets and it suddenly made sense. Don't get me wrong. I'm not justifying what this entity is doing – I only note that it has a logic of its own.

And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by.

Zechariah 3:1-5

The tempter stands by to accuse [God's people], as he stood by to resist Joshua. He points to their filthy garments, their defective characters. He presents their weakness and folly, their sins of ingratitude, their unlikeness to Christ, which has dishonored their Redeemer. He endeavors to affright them with the thought that their case is hopeless, that the stain of their defilement will never be washed away. He hopes so to destroy their faith that they will yield to his temptations, and turn from their allegiance to God.

Satan has an accurate knowledge of the sins that he has tempted God's people to commit, and he urges his accusations against them, declaring, that by their sins they have forfeited divine protection, and claiming that he has the right to destroy them. He pronounces them just as deserving as himself of exclusion from the favor of God. "Are these," he says, "the people who are to take my place in heaven, and the place of the angels who united with me? They profess to obey the law of God; but have they kept its precepts? Have they not been lovers of self more than lovers of God? Have they not placed their own interests above His service? Have they not loved the things of the world? Look at the sins that have marked their lives. Behold their selfishness, their malice, their hatred of one another. Will God banish me and my angels from His presence, and yet reward those who have been guilty of the same sins? Thou canst not do this, O Lord, in justice. Justice demands that sentence be pronounced against them."

Prophets and Kings by Ellen G. White, page 588-589

So, why is there evil? Satan is quoted to say, "Will God banish me and my angels from His presence, and yet reward those who have been guilty of the same sins? Thou canst not do this, O Lord, in justice. Justice demands that sentence be pronounced against them." Satan says that he has been banished from God's presence. (Luke 10:18;Rev 12:7-8) The way he behaves, it's no wonder. At the same time, Satan accuses God of injustice. Has not Satan caused the Human family to sin on the earth? even to do the same things that have caused Satan to be banished from God's presence? And if the inhabitants of the earth have done the same, aught they, too, be banished from God's presence and given over to destruction? How can God not destroy the inhabitants of the earth and be just in destroying Satan? We see here that Satan is fighting for his life. The only way, it seems to him, that he has any chance to avoid being destroyed by God's judgments, is to prove that God's law cannot be kept by causing the entire human family to sin. But, thanks be to God, there is more to the story.

But while the followers of Christ have sinned, they have not given themselves up to be controlled by the satanic agencies. They have repented of their sins and have sought the Lord in humility and contrition, and the divine Advocate pleads in their behalf. He who has been most abused by their ingratitude, who knows their sin and also their penitence, declares: "The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan. I gave My life for these souls. They are graven upon the palms of My hands. They may have imperfections of character; they may have failed in their endeavors; but they have repented, and I have forgiven and accepted them."

Prophets and Kings by Ellen G. White, page 589

Praise the Lord! Jesus demonstrates, by the efficacy of His own blood that He shed on our behalf, that God can be both just, in that the wicked will be destroyed, and also be merciful to those who have repented of evil and been forgiven. And to my own mind, it helps me to understand why the world is so desperately evil.

- Dave

Like the quotes you've read in this post? You can download a free copy of Prophets of Kings here.

Friday, March 7, 2008

An Empty Chair

written by Steve Dickerson
performed by Hand Picked

I could never hope to tell the joys of Heaven.
There are wonders more than I will ever know.
But the Lord wants me to live with Him forever.
It's the only place I really want to go.

Christ Church CollegeChorus
When the angels start to sing
Hallelujah to the King
It will be a chorus far beyond compare
Then the greatest and the least
Will be seated for the feast
But there'll be an empty chair
If you're not there.

photo by Shellylyn

I expect to meet the saints from all the ages
And I'll see the ones I've loved that's gone before
We'll forget the years of trial and tribulation
As we share in Heaven's joys forevermore.


I'll explore the wonders of the new creation
As I'm looking for the friends that I once knew
And I hope that I will find you there in Heaven
There's a special place intended just for you.

Hand Picked offers several FREE Christian Bluegrass MP3 downloads of their music, along with more information about the group, on their website.

- Dave

Monday, February 25, 2008

Close Your Eyes

by Buddy Houghtaling
from the album Mercy Road

open bible on pillow on bed by lampstandWhen I was just a little boy
I'd be out playing ball
Til the time the sun would set
And then I'd here my mother call
I'll go and put my glove away
Make sure I'd brushed my teeth
Give my folks a kiss good night
And try to go to sleep
But sometimes sleep just wouldn't come
As I'd replay the game
My mom would come and rub my back
And I'd hear her gently say

photo by wheat_in_your_hair

Close your eyes
Time to rest
I know your team got beat today
But I know you did your best
The day is gone
Night is falling
And I'll be calling when the sunlight hits the sky
It's okay child.
Chose your eyes

Later on in life
I was sleepless once again
When the girl I thought would be the one
Said I think we'll just be friends
My mom would try to comfort me
Try to make it be alright
Told me some day I would meet the one
That'd love to be my wife
As I lay there in the darkness
The world right at its end
I remember momma coming in
And I heard her words again

Close your eyes
Time to rest
Just leave it all in God's hands
It'll work out for the best
Day is gone
Night is falling
And I'll be calling when the sunlight hits the skies
It's okay son
Close your eyes

hand with an iv drip resting on a hospital bedSo many things she taught me
Went around inside my head
As I stood there in the hospital
Beside my mother's bed
She fought to live so valiantly
But her strength was getting low
The heaviness within her eyes
Said that it was time to go
She seemed to ask permission
As if she wasn't sure
I kissed her gently on the cheek
And I said these words to her

photo by Tim Samoff

Close your eyes
Time to rest
In showing us a mother's love
Know you're the best
The day is gone
The night is falling
But He'll be calling when the angels fill the skies
It's okay, Mom
Close your eyes
I'll see you there with open eyes

This song is from the album,
Mercy Road, by Buddy Houghtaling, and can be purchased at his website.

Buddy performs from time to time on 3ABN television.

I admire Buddy for being able to share and perform this song. As teary as I can get just listening, I can only imagine how difficult it would be to perform a song about your own mother's death. But, praise the Lord, when a loved one dies in the blessed hope and we can have confidence that we will meet them when the angels fill the skies (1Thes 4:16-17)

It seems quite fitting that the next song on the album is
Precious Lord Take My Hand.

- Dave

Thursday, February 14, 2008

If I Had A Dime for Every Time...

long straight road leading into the mountainsJust Like Me by Sweet Comfort Band
from the album Hearts of Fire

If I had a dime for every time
I've had you on my mind
They would stretch on down the highway
In an endless line
If I had a dime for every time
I've thought about us two
I could buy myself a lifetime
Just to spend on you

photo by twoblueday

And maybe you could care for someone
Just like me
Maybe you're in need of someone
Just like me

Now I told you how I hold you
In my highest esteem
I hope you don't disapprove of me
If I'm not what I seem
As a matter fact fact
I've been holding back
The way I really feel
Cuz I've been afraid
Of what you might say
If my heart had been revealed

And maybe you could care for someone
Just like me
Maybe you're in need of someone
Just like me

Well, I'm no Knight in shining armor
I'm No prince charming, I agree
But what lack in might and valor
I'll make up in honesty

So, here I go
I will try to show
How much for you I care
But the value that I place in you
Is far beyond compare
You mean more to me
Than the eye can see
But your heart can understand
That I'm talking of the kind of love
To a woman from a man

And maybe you could care for someone
Just like me
Maybe you're in need of someone
Just like me
Maybe deep inside you're feeling
Just like me
And maybe you could marry someone
Just like me

Love, if not expressed, dies.

The wife was in tears and ready to leave the marriage. The counselor asked, "Don't you love your wife?" "Of course," the husband replied. "I told her the day I married her and if anything changes I'll let her know."

Have you told your spouse that you love them lately?
Better yet, have told them that you're happy that you married them?
Better yet, have you proposed lately?

Would you marry me?
I still do!

Arise, My Love

couple watching sunset on the beachby Michael Card
from the album The Way of Wisdom
(adapted from the Song of Solomon)

Arise, my love, my lovely one come,
Winter is past and the rains are gone.
The flowers appear, it's the season of song,
My beautiful one, arise and come with me.

photo by steelight

Who is it that appears like the dawn?
As fair as the moon, as bright as the sun?
Show me your face, let me hear your voice.
My beautiful one, arise and come with me.

Set me like a seal on your heart,
For love is unyielding as the grave.
The flash of it is a jealous fire,
No flood can quench,
For love is as strong as death.

Arise my love and come with me
Before the dawn breaks and the shadows flee.
You ravished my heart with just one glance
My beautiful one, arise and come with me.

Do not arose or awaken love
Until it so desires.

Arise, my love, my lovely one come,
The Winter is past and the rains are gone.
The flowers appear, it's season of song,
My beautiful one, arise and come with me.

I am my love's, my beloved is mine.
Arise and come with me. "

A very brave friend of mine sang this song to his bride while she walked down the aisle to him at their own wedding. It was quite a romantic gesture. He was so moved that he could hardly sing. I learned that day that I probably didn't want to do the same thing on my own wedding day. I do, though, sing it to my own well-beloved from time to time just to say:

Deborah, I still do. Arise my love, and come with me...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Take My Yoke and Learn of Me

Did you ever stop to ask what a yoke is really for? Is it to be a burden to the animal which wears it? It is just the opposite: it is to make its burden light. Attached to the oxen in any other way than by a yoke, the plow would be intolerable; worked by means of a yoke, it is light. A yoke is not an instrument of torture; it is an instrument of mercy. It is not a malicious contrivance for making work hard; it is a gentle device to make hard labor light. two oxen wearing a yoke

photo by bcmom
[Christ] knew the difference between a smooth yoke and a rough one, a bad fit and a good one... The rough yoke galled, and the burden was heavy; the smooth yoke caused no pain, and the load was lightly drawn. The badly fitted harness was a misery; the well fitted collar was "easy". And what was the "burden"? It was not some special burden laid upon the Christian, some unique infliction that they alone must bear. It was what all men bear: it was simply life, human life itself, the general burden of life which all must carry with them from the cradle to the grave. Christ saw that men took life painfully. To some it was a weariness, to others failure, to many a tragedy, to all a struggle and a pain. How to carry this burden of life had been the whole world's problem. And here is Christ's solution: "Carry it as I do. Take life as I take it. Look at it from my point of view. Interpret it upon my principles. Take my yoke and learn of me, and you will find it easy. For my yoke is easy, sits right upon the shoulders, and therefore my burden is light."

- Henry Drummond

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Two Different Worlds

from the album Ten Commandments
by Steve Hamby

Sunset in My Rearview MirrorAll of my closest friends think I'm a fool
They laugh and call me names and sometimes they're cruel
I try to live my life by His Golden Rule
By all of their standards I know I'm not cool

photo by Code Poet

They try to make me think I'm not what I could be
I could have glamor and gold and then they'd be pleased
But I just don't have a need for their diamonds and pearls
They say I'm crazy and in my own world

Yes I'm in my own world where Jesus is king
And only his true sheep will know what I mean
I could have anything like diamonds and pearls
But I know I'm livin' in two different worlds

Sometimes they ask me why I live this way
I like to tell them the promise He made
That there is another world too good to be true
And He tailor made it for just me and you

And we'll have our own world where Jesus is king
And of his true sheep will be at his feet
We can anything not just diamonds and pearls
And that's why were livin' in two different worlds

This song strikes so close to my heart. All of my life people have told me that I could accomplish this or I could achieve that if I would just stop being so persnickety. "It's a gray area," they said. Stop being so peculiar. Just check your conscience at the door. Abandon your family. Make choices for self.

It's the tyranny of the "got to's." You've "got to" do what it takes. You've "got to" do it now. You've "got to" seize the moment because they'll pull out the Captain's chair for you only once....

- Dave

Thursday, February 7, 2008

An Impressive Dream

4th of July Storm at Sunset on Trail Ridge Road
While at Battle Creek in August, 1868, I dreamed of being with a large body of people. A portion of this assembly started out prepared to journey. We had heavily loaded wagons. As we journeyed, the road seemed to ascend. On one side of this road was a deep precipice; on the other was a high, smooth, white wall, like the hard finish upon plastered rooms.

photo by Adam Baker

As we journeyed on, the road grew narrower and steeper. In some places it seemed so very narrow that we concluded that we could no longer travel with the loaded wagons. We then loosed them from the horses, took a portion of the luggage from the wagons and placed it upon the horses, and journeyed on horseback.

As we progressed, the path still continued to grow narrow. We were obliged to press close to the wall, to save ourselves from falling off the narrow road down the steep precipice. As we did this, the luggage on the horses pressed against the wall and caused us to sway toward the precipice. We feared that we should fall and be dashed in pieces on the rocks. We then cut the luggage from the horses, and it fell over the precipice. We continued on horseback, greatly fearing, as we came to

the narrower places in the road, that we should lose our balance and fall. At such times a hand seemed to take the bridle and guide us over the perilous way.

As the path grew more narrow, we decided that we could no longer go with safety on horseback, and we left the horses and went on foot, in single file, one following in the footsteps of another. At this point small cords were let down from the top of the pure white wall; these we eagerly grasped, to aid us in keeping our balance upon the path. As we traveled, the cord moved along with us. The path finally became so narrow that we concluded that we could travel more safely without our shoes, so we slipped them from our feet and went on some distance without them. Soon it was decided that we could travel more safely without our stockings; these were removed, and we journeyed on with bare feet.

We then thought of those who had not accustomed themselves to privations and hardships. Where were such now? They were not in the company. At every change some were left behind, and those only remained who had accustomed themselves to endure hardships. The privations of the way only made these more eager to press on to the end.

Our danger of falling from the pathway increased. We pressed close to the white wall, yet could not place our feet fully upon the path, for it was too narrow. We then suspended nearly our whole weight upon the cords, exclaiming: "We have hold from above! We have hold from above!" The same words were uttered by all the company in the narrow pathway. As we heard the sounds of mirth and revelry that seemed to come from the abyss below, we shuddered. We heard the profane oath, the vulgar jest, and low, vile songs. We heard the war song and the dance song. We heard instrumental music and loud laughter, mingled with cursing and cries of anguish and bitter wailing, and were more anxious

than ever to keep upon the narrow, difficult pathway. Much of the time we were compelled to suspend our whole weight upon the cords, which increased in size as we progressed.

I noticed that the beautiful white wall was stained with blood. It caused a feeling of regret to see the wall thus stained. This feeling, however, lasted but for a moment, as I soon thought that it was all as it should be. Those who are following after will know that others have passed the narrow, difficult way before them, and will conclude that if others were able to pursue their onward course, they can do the same. And as the blood shall be pressed from their aching feet, they will not faint with discouragement; but, seeing the blood upon the wall, they will know that others have endured the same pain.

At length we came to a large chasm, at which our path ended. There was nothing now to guide the feet, nothing upon which to rest them. Our whole reliance must be upon the cords, which had increased in size until they were as large as our bodies. Here we were for a time thrown into perplexity and distress. We inquired in fearful whispers: "To what is the cord attached?" My husband was just before me. Large drops of sweat were falling from his brow, the veins in his neck and temples were increased to double their usual size, and suppressed, agonizing groans came from his lips. The sweat was dropping from my face, and I felt such anguish as I had never felt before. A fearful struggle was before us. Should we fail here, all the difficulties of our journey had been experienced for nought.

Before us, on the other side of the chasm, was a beautiful field of green grass, about six inches high. I could not see the sun; but bright, soft beams of light, resembling fine gold and silver, were resting upon this field. Nothing I had seen upon earth could compare in beauty and glory with this field. But could we succeed in reaching it? was the anxious inquiry. Should the cord break, we must perish. Again, in whispered

anguish, the words were breathed: "What holds the cord?" For a moment we hesitated to venture. Then we exclaimed: "Our only hope is to trust wholly to the cord. It has been our dependence all the difficult way. It will not fail us now." Still we were hesitating and distressed. The words were then spoken: "God holds the cord. We need not fear." These words were then repeated by those behind us, accompanied with: "He will not fail us now. He has brought us thus far in safety."

My husband then swung himself over the fearful abyss into the beautiful field beyond. I immediately followed. And, oh, what a sense of relief and gratitude to God we felt! I heard voices raised in triumphant praise to God. I was happy, perfectly happy.

I awoke, and found that from the anxiety I had experienced in passing over the difficult route, every nerve in my body seemed to be in a tremor. This dream needs no comment. It made such an impression upon my mind that probably every item in it will be vivid before me while my memory shall continue.

from Testimonies for the Church Volume Two : Page 594, by E.G.White

Friday, February 1, 2008

To Know the Value...

To know the value of a sister
Ask someone Who doesn't have one.

To know the value of ten years:last moments of a sunset on the ocean
Ask a newly Divorced couple.

To know the value of four years:
Ask a graduate.

To know the value of one year:
Ask a student who Has failed a final exam.

photo by Mike Baird

To know the value of nine months:
Ask a mother who gave birth to a still born.

To know the value of one month:
Ask a mother who has given birth to A premature baby.

To know the value of one week:
Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.

To know the value of one hour:
Ask the lovers who are waiting to Meet.

To know the value of one minute:
Ask a person Who has missed the train, bus or plane.

To know the value of one-second:
Ask a person Who has survived an accident.

To know the value of one millisecond:
Ask the person who has won a silver medal in the Olympics

Time waits for no one.

Treasure every moment you have.
You will treasure it even more when you can share it with someone special. – Author unknown.

Some bonus values...

To know the value of a yard, ask an NFL running back.
To know the value of a tenth of a second, ask a basketball team down by two.
To know the value of an inch, ask an architect.
To know the value of a pint, ask someone in need of a blood transfusion.
To know the value of a child, ask someone who can't have one.

To know the value of a life, ask God while His Son was on the cross.

I especially like that last one.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Water In A Basket

The story is told of an old man who lived on a farm in the mountains of Kentucky with his young grandson. Each morning, Grandpa was up early sitting at the kitchen table reading from his old worn-out Bible. His grandson, who wanted to be just like him, tried to imitate him in any way he could.

One day the grandson asked, "Papa, I try to read the Bible just like you but I don't understand it, and what I do understand I forget as soon as I close the book. What good does reading the Bible do?"
The Grandfather quietly turned from putting coal in the stove and said, "Take this coal basket down to the river and bring back a basket of water."

shadow of a girl making a basket out of grape vinesThe boy did as he was told, even though all the water leaked out before he could get back to the house. The grandfather laughed and said, "You will have to move a little faster next time," and sent him back to the river with the basket to try again.

photo by UpturnedFace

This time the boy ran faster, but again the basket was empty before he returned home. Out of breath, he told his grandfather that it was "impossible to carry water in a basket," and he went to get a bucket instead.
The old man said, "I don't want a bucket of water; I want a basket of water. You can do this. You're just not trying hard enough," and he went out the door to watch the boy try again.

At this point, the boy knew it was impossible, but he wanted to show his grandfather that even if he ran as fast as he could, the water would leak out before he got far at all.
The boy scooped the water and ran hard, but when he reached his grandfather the basket was again empty. Out of breath, he said, "See Papa, it's useless!"

"So you think it is useless?" The old man said, "Look at the basket."
The boy looked at the basket and for the first time he realized that the basket looked different. Instead of a dirty old coal basket, it was clean.

"Son, that's what happens when you read the Bible. You might not understand or remember everything, but when you read it, it will change you from the inside out."

That is the work of God in our lives. To change us from the inside out and to slowly transform us into the image of His son. Take time to read a portion of God's word each day, and remind a friend by sharing this story.

Well, now I have gone to meddling. Even so, I have still found this to be true. Are you looking for meaning, for relevance? Try reading the Bible every day for sixty days and ask God to turn your life around. See if He doesn't.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

William Miller's Dream

(Quoted in Early Writings by Ellen G. White)

I dreamed that God, by an unseen hand, sent me a curiously wrought casket about ten inches long by six square, made of ebony and pearls curiously inlaid. To the casket there was a key attached. I immediately took the key and opened the casket, when, to my wonder and surprise, I found it filled with all sorts and sizes of jewels, diamonds, precious stones, and gold and silver coin of every dimension and value, beautifully arranged in their several places in the casket; and thus arranged they reflected a light and glory equaled only to the sun.

I thought it was not my duty to enjoy this wonderful sight alone, although my heart was overjoyed at the brilliancy, beauty, and value of ipiles of gold coinsts contents. I therefore placed it on a center table in my room and gave out word that all who had a desire might come and see the most glorious and brilliant sight ever seen by man in this life.

Photo by Tao Zyhn

The people began to come in, at first few in number, but increasing to a crowd. When they first looked into the casket, they would wonder and shout for joy. But when the spectators increased, everyone would begin to trouble the jewels, taking them out of the casket and scattering them on the table.

I began to think that the owner would require the casket and the jewels again at my hand; and if I suffered them to be scattered, I could never place them in their places in the casket again as before; and felt I should never be able to meet the accountability, for it would be immense. I then began to plead with the people not to handle them, nor to take them out of the casket; but the more I pleaded, the more they scattered; and now they seemed to scatter them all over the room, on the floor and on every piece of furniture in the room.

I then saw that among the genuine jewels and coin they had scattered an innumerable quantity of spurious jewels and counterfeit coin. I was highly incensed at their base conduct and ingratitude, and reproved and reproached them for it; but the more I reproved, the more they scattered the spurious jewels and false coin among the genuine.

I then became vexed in my physical soul and began to use physical force to push them out of the room; but while I was pushing out one, three more would enter and bring in dirt and shavings and sand and all manner of rubbish, until they covered every one of the true jewels, diamonds, and coins, which were all excluded from sight. They also tore in pieces my casket and scattered it among the rubbish. I thought no man regarded my sorrow or my anger. I became wholly discouraged and disheartened, and sat down and wept.

While I was thus weeping and mourning for my great loss and accountability, I remembered God, and earnestly prayed that He would send me help.

Immediately the door opened, and a man entered the room, when the people all left it; and he, having a dirt brush in his hand, opened the windows, and began to brush the dirt and rubbish from the room.

I cried to him to forbear, for there were some precious jewels scattered among the rubbish.

He told me to “fear not,” for he would “take care of them.”

Then, while he brushed the dirt and rubbish, false jewels and counterfeit coin, all rose and went out of the window like a cloud, and the wind carried them away. In the bustle I closed my eyes for a moment; when I opened them, the rubbish was all gone. The precious jewels, the diamonds, the gold and silver coins, lay scattered in profusion all over the room.

He then placed on the table a casket, much larger and more beautiful than the former, and gathered up the jewels, the diamonds, the coins, by the handful, and cast them into the casket, till not one was left, although some of the diamonds were not bigger than the point of a pin.

He then called upon me to “come and see.”

I looked into the casket, but my eyes were dazzled with the sight. They shone with ten times their former glory. I thought they had been scoured in the sand by the feet of those wicked persons who had scattered and trod them in the dust. They were arranged in beautiful order in the casket, every one in its place, without any visible pains of the man who cast them in. I shouted with very joy, and that shout awoke me. Early Writings, pp. 81-83.

Reflections on Noah's Flood

I wonder what the price of real estate was before the flood?

Noah invested everything he had in building the ark.
Everyone else in the world was saving their money for a rainy day.

Never be afraid to try something new. Amateurs built the ark. Professionals build the Titanic.

Got a Noah funny that I missed? Add it in the comments!

- Dave

Keep About Your Work

by Dr. H.M.S. Richards

The Lord has given to every man his work. It is his business to do it and the devil's business to hinder him if he can. So surely as God has given you a work to do, Satan will try to hinder you. He may present other things more promising, He may allure you by worldly prospects, He may assault you with slander, torment you with false accusations, set you to work defending your character, employ pious persons to lie about you, editors to assail you, and excellent men to slander you. You may have Pilate and Herod, Annas and Caiaphas all combined against you, and Judas standing by ready to sell you for thirty pieces of silver; and you may wonder why all those things come upon you. Can you not see that the whole thing is brought about through the craft of the devil to draw you off from your work and hinder your obedience to God?

Keep about your work!

Keep about your work, that God has given you.
Do not flinch because the lion roars;
Do not stop to stone the devil's dogs;
Do not fool away your time
chasing the devil's rabbits.

Keep about your work!

Let liars lie,
Let corporations resolve,
Let the devil do his worst;
But see to it that nothing hinders you from
fulfilling the work that God has given you.

Keep about your work!

He has not commanded you to get rich.
He has never bidden you to
defend your character.
He has not set you at work
to contradict falsehoods about yourself,
which Satan & his servants may start to peddle.
If you do those things, you will do nothing else.
You will be at work for yourself & not the Lord.
Let your aim be as steady as a star.

Keep about your work!

You may be assaulted, wronged,
insulted, slandered, wounded, and rejected;
You many be abused by foes, forsaken by friends,
and despised and rejected of men.
But see to it with steadfast determination,
with unfaltering zeal,
That you pursue the great purpose of your life
and object of your being until at last you can say:
"I have finished the work which you gave me to do!"

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Gods of Men

I used to dream of being famous
Well, my name would be a household word.
I thought that it would thrill me, then I saw that it could kill me
Now it strikes me as a little absurd.

I used to dream of being Don Juan,
Of having all these pretty girls on my mind.
It made shambles of my mind, so I found myself a wife
Who's a lover and a friend of mine.

As the world, keeps turning 'round,
You either learn to bend with the wind or it knocks you down.
Turn your back on the gods of men
And the Lord, who is true, will give life back to you again.

big old chunk of fools goldI used to dream of being a rich man,
Yeah, I swore I'd have it all someday.
Once you chase it you will find that it isn't worth a dime
Until you're free enough to give it away.

photo by Issy Craig

And I used to dream of chasing vengeance
All my enemies would crawl and sweat.
Well my happiness was drained from reliving all the pain
Now I'm learning to forgive and forget.

As the world, keeps turning 'round,
You either learn to bend with the wind or it knocks you down.
Turn your back on the gods of men
And the Lord, who is true, will give life back to you again.

I used to dream of being a wanderer,
With just my sneakers and my own guitar.
Well, it got lonely right away, now I'm happy just to play
With my daughter in my own back yard.

And I used to dream of being a hero,
Yeah, I told myself I'd never fall down.
But I couldn't take the strain and Jesus is the name
Of the only hero I've ever found.

As the world, keeps turning 'round,
You either learn to bend with the wind or it knocks you down.
Turn your back on the gods of men
And the Lord, who is true, will give life back to you again.

by Randy Stonehill
from the album Love Beyond Reason
Copyright 1985 by Word Records

I used to listen to this song when I was in high school and the words have always stayed with me. "Turn your back on the gods of men and the Lord who is true will give life back to you again." All of my life "the world" has said, if you are willing to pay the price you can have it all. But what was the price? Only my soul, my values, my family, my time, my God. And my immortal soul is worth more than that.
Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
BTW, the rock hounds among us will notice that the picture that I chose for this post is Iron Pyrite, a pretty, but worthless rock, also known as Fools Gold. Everything that this world has to offer is passing away and only a fool would exchange the things of this world (Fools Gold) for the true riches of the world to come.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Outside of Your Tent

view of sunrise from inside of a tentby Eugene Prewitt (February 21, 2003)

Photo by Rob Lee

The food is now ready
Outside of your tent
Are you hungry, my dear one?
The manna is sent

The angels have brought
Their own fare to the ground
If you will but search
It soon will be found

Christ has given us no promise of help in bearing today the burdens of tomorrow. He has said, "My grace is sufficient for thee"; but, like the manna given in the wilderness, His grace is bestowed daily, for the day's need. Like the host of Israel in their pilgrim life, we may find morning by morning the bread of heaven for the day's supply {SD 119.4}

The manna is waiting
Outside of your tent
Are you hungry, my dear one?
The food has been sent

Wait not ‘til the sun
Will rise bright and warm
And bring to your life
A business-like storm

The provision for the day must be gathered in the morning; for all that remained upon the ground was melted by the sun. {PP 295.1}

And you go on famished
‘til your strength is spent
Up now! my dear one
Quick, out of your tent!

For the morning’s first rays
Will rob you of your bread
Are you hungry, my dear one?
The table is spread

The food is now ready
Outside of your tent
Are you hungry, my dear one?
The manna is sent

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I Walked a Mile With Pleasure

couple walking along path between two rows of trees

by Robert Browning Hamilton

Photo by Erik Ogan

I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.

I walked a mile with Sorrow,
And ne'er a word said she;
But, oh! The things I learned from her,
When sorrow walked with me.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The shades of night were falling fast,
As through an Alpine village passed
A youth, who bore, 'mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange device,

His brow was sad; his eye beneath,
Flashed like a falchion from its sheath,
And like a silver clarion rung
The accents of that unknown tongue,

In happy homes he saw the light
Of household fires gleam warm and bright;
Above, the spectral glaciers shone,
And from his lips escaped a groan,

"Try not the Pass!" the old man said;
"Dark lowers the tempest overhead,
The roaring torrent is deep and wide!"
And loud that clarion voice replied,

"O stay," the maiden said, "and rest
Thy weary head upon this breast!"
A tear stood in his bright blue eye,
But still he answered, with a sigh,

"Beware the pine tree's withered branch!
Beware the awful avalanche!"
This was the peasant's last Good-night,
A voice replied, far up the height,

At break of day, as heavenward
The pious monks of Saint Bernard
Uttered the oft-repeated prayer,
A voice cried through the startled air,

A traveller, by the faithful hound,
Half-buried in the snow was found,
Still grasping in his hand of ice
That banner with the strange device,

There in the twilight cold and gray,
Lifeless, but beautiful, he lay,
And from the sky, serene and far,
A voice fell, like a falling star,


I love this poem because it reminds me that the things that are worth living for are the things that are worth dying for, things that are greater than me, greater than poor, cheap self.