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.

The Calf Path

Black Calf Looking At Me
by Sam Walter Foss (1858-1911)

Photo by Flickr artist Cowboy Dave

One day, through the primeval wood,
A calf walked home, as good calves should;
But made a trail all bent askew,
A crooked trail, as all calves do.

Since then three hundred years have fled,
And, I infer, the calf is dead.
But still he left behind his trail,
And thereby hangs my moral tale.

The trail was taken up next day
By a lone dog that passed that way;
And then a wise bellwether sheep
Pursued the trail o’er vale and steep,
And drew the flock behind him, too,
As good bellwethers always do.

And from that day, o’er hill and glade,
Through those old woods a path was made,
And many men wound in and out,
And dodged and turned and bent about,
And uttered words of righteous wrath
Because ’twas such a crooked path;
But still they followed — do not laugh —
The first migrations of that calf,
And through this winding wood-way stalked
Because he wobbled when he walked.

This forest path became a lane,
That bent, and turned, and turned again.
This crooked lane became a road,
Where many a poor horse with his load
Toiled on beneath the burning sun,
And traveled some three miles in one.
And thus a century and a half
They trod the footsteps of that calf.

The years passed on in swiftness fleet.
The road became a village street,
And this, before men were aware,
A city’s crowded thoroughfare,
And soon the central street was this
Of a renowned metropolis;
And men two centuries and a half
Trod in the footsteps of that calf.

Each day a hundred thousand rout
Followed that zigzag calf about,
And o’er his crooked journey went
The traffic of a continent.
A hundred thousand men were led
By one calf near three centuries dead.
They follow still his crooked way,
And lose one hundred years a day,
For thus such reverence is lent
To well-established precedent.

A moral lesson this might teach
Were I ordained and called to preach;
For men are prone to go it blind
Along the calf-paths of the mind,
And work away from sun to sun
To do what other men have done.
They follow in the beaten track,
And out and in, and forth and back,
And still their devious course pursue,
To keep the path that others do.

They keep the path a sacred groove,
Along which all their lives they move;
But how the wise old wood-gods laugh,
Who saw the first primeval calf!
Ah, many things this tale might teach —
But I am not ordained to preach.