“I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11). The Apostle Paul, deprived of every comfort, wrote the above words while in his dungeon.
* * *
A story is told of a king who went in his garden one morning, and found everything withering and dying.
He asked the oak that stood near the gate what the trouble was. He found it was sick of life and determined to die, because it was not tall and beautiful like the pine. The pine was disheartened because it could not bear grapes, like the vine.
The vine was going to throw its life away because it could not stand erect and have as fine fruit as the peach tree. The geranium was fretting because it was not tall and fragrant like the lilac; and so on through all the garden.
Coming to a little pansy, he found its bright face lifted as cheery as ever. “Well, pansy, I’m glad, amidst all this discouragement, to find one brave little flower. You do not seem to be the least disheartened.”
“No, I am not of much account, but I thought if you wanted an oak, or a pine, or a peach tree, or a lilac, you would have planted one. But I knew you wanted a pansy, so I am determined to be the best little pansy that I can.”
* * *
From one deaf and blind from childhood, the following words give us a glimpse of Helen Keller’s happy heart: “Is it not true that my life, with all its limitations, touches at many points the beauty in life? Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn whatever state I may be in, therein to be content. Sometimes, it is true, a sense of isolation enfolds me like a cold mist as I sit alone and wait at life’s shut gate. Beyond there is light and music and sweet companionship, but I may not enter. . . . Silence sits immense upon my soul.
“Then comes Hope with a smile and whispers, ‘There is joy in self-forgetfulness.’ So I try to make the light in others’ eyes my sun, the music in others’ ears my symphony, the smile on others’ lips my happiness.”–Helen Keller
* * *
“I’d rather be in the heart of Africa in the Will of God than on the throne of England out of the Will of God.”–David Livingstone
* * *
Faith in God, trust in God, gives you a feeling of rest of body, peace of mind, contentment of heart, and spiritual well-being.–David Fontaine
* * *
Your present situation may not be to your liking. Perhaps you are dissatisfied and discouraged. Put the matter in God’s hands. If He wants you elsewhere, He will lead you there, providing you are yielded to His Will.
But perhaps He wants you where you are. In that case, He will help you to adjust to the situation. If you yield to Him, He will make you content, even grateful for present opportunities.
Learn the great art of doing the best you can, with what you have, where you are. When you do this, you will either be content with how things are, or you will have the satisfaction of knowing you have made them better.
Think of the things that make you happy,
Not the things that make you sad;
Think of the fine and true in Mankind,
Not its sordid side and bad;
Think of the blessings that surround you,
Not the ones that are denied;
Think of the virtues of your friendships,
Not the weak and faulty side.
Think of the gains you’ve made in business,
Not the losses you’ve incurred;
Think of the good of you that’s spoken,
Not some cruel, hostile word;
Think of the days of health and pleasure,
Not the days of woe and pain;
Think of the days alive with sunshine,
Not the dismal days of rain.
Think of the hopes that lie before you,
Not the waste that lies behind;
Think of the treasures you have gathered,
Not the ones you’ve failed to find;
Think of the service you may render,
Not of serving self alone;
Think of the happiness of others,
And in this you’ll find your own!
To a Worldchanger . . .
If God has called you, don’t spend time looking over your shoulder to see who is following.
Dare to Be Different
Dare to be different; life is so full
Of people who follow the same push-and-pull,
Poor, plodding people who, other than name,
Try to pretend they’re exactly the same.
God made men different; there never will be
A replica soul made of you or of me.
The charm–the glory of all creation
Rests on this very deviation.
Your charm–your own glory, too,
Lies in being uniquely you–
Lies in being true to your best,
That part of you different from all of the rest.
Be a Fighter!
Comments by David Fontaine
–May God give us fighters who like to fight for the Lord with the weapon of His Word and who enjoy defeating evil and who know they can’t lose and who like to win victories!–Conquering heroes that like to live and fight and die for Jesus and their brethren and the Truth!
–There’s no crown without a cross, no testimony without a test, no triumph without a trial, no victory without a battle, no rose without a thorn! That’s what you joined the Lord’s army for: to fight and to win! Let’s get on with the Lord’s battle!
–We may not win all the battles, but we’re going to win the war!
-–Keep on holding on to God’s promises!–Don’t let go! Keep on standing on the Word!–Don’t get off! Keep on going for Jesus!–Don’t stop! Keep on keeping on!
-–Anything can happen in that little margin of time when you do not give up, but keep on believing and keep on praying!
-–We can’t lose! The victory is already ours! Just keep fighting until we get there! If you keep fighting, you can’t lose! Keep resisting the Devil, keep raising up the standard of the Spirit, keep wielding the weapon of the Word, and you cannot lose if you keep fighting! “Fight the good fight of faith!” (See 1 Timothy 6:12; Jude 3; 2 Timothy 2:3; 4:7; Ephesians 6:13-17.)
To deny self is to become a nonconformist. The Bible tells us not to be conformed to this world either physically or intellectually or spiritually.–Billy Graham
* * *
A young man came to Dwight L. Moody, the famous American evangelist, and said, “Mr. Moody, I want to be a Christian, but must I give up the world?”
Moody characteristically replied, “Young man, if you live the out-and-out Christian life, the world will soon give you up.”
* * *
“Be not con- formed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect Will of God” (Romans 12:2).
* * *
One of the outstanding ironies of history is the utter disregard of ranks and titles in the final judgements men pass on each other. The final estimate of men shows that history cares not an iota for the rank or title a man has borne, or the office he has held, but only the quality of his deeds and the character of his mind and heart.
* * *
You have to have conviction or you can’t live!–And then you have to do something about your conviction, or you can’t stand to live with yourself!–David Fontaine
* * *
It is so easy to make excuses– legitimate, logical, reasonable, acceptable excuses–why you can’t make it, why you shouldn’t be expected to make it.–And in most cases most people will accept your excuses, because they don’t have the faith either, and in excusing you they’re excusing themselves. But is God going to excuse you?–David Fontaine
* * *
Florence Nightingale, who left wealth and comfort for poverty, war, and disease to nurse the sick, wrote in her diary, “I am thirty years of age, the age at which Christ began His mission. Now no more childish things, no more vain things. Now, Lord, let me think only of Thy Will.” Years later, near the end of her illustrious, heroic life, she was asked for her life’s secret, and she replied: “Well, I can only give one explanation. That is, I have kept nothing back from God.”
* * *
John and Betty Stamm, missionaries in China, were martyred December 8, 1934. On December 6, John Stamm wrote, “My wife, baby and myself are today in the hands of Communists. All our possessions and stores they have taken, but we praise God for peace in our hearts and a meal tonight. God grant you wisdom in what you do and us fortitude, courage and peace of heart. He is able, and a wonderful Friend in such a time.” And in closing he said, “The Lord bless and guide you, and as for us, may God be glorified, whether by life or death.”
* * *
You cannot stop the man of faith! You cannot dissuade him! You cannot divert him! He’ll go on, with or without you, or right over you, if necessary!–David Fontaine
* * *
It’s better to die for something than to live for nothing.
A classic in the annals of the U.S. Coast Guard is the story of Captain Pat Etheridge of the Cape Batterne station. One night in the howling hurricane, the look-out saw a distress signal from a ship that had gone aground on the dangerous Diamond Shoals, ten miles at sea. The lifeboats were ordered out. One of the lifeguards protested, “Captain Pat, we can get out there, but we can never get back.”
Responding to the call of duty, the captain gave the reply that has gone down in history: “Boys, we don’t have to come back.”
The Lord has given us our marching orders. He has commanded that the Gospel be preached in all the World. He has not promised His messengers an easy time. He has not given the assurance of a safe return to the home base, but He did say, “Go!”
* * *
David Livingstone, the great missionary and explorer, said of his life: “People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that which is simply paid back as a small part of a great debt we owe to our God be called a sacrifice? Is that a sacrifice which brings its own best reward in healthful activity, the knowledge that one is doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter?
“It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say, rather, it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or danger now and then, with less of the common conveniences of this life, may make us pause and cause the spirit to waver and the soul to sink, but let this be only for a moment.
“All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice! We ought not to talk of this when we remember the great sacrifice made by Him who left His Father’s throne on high to give Himself to us.”
* * *
We are not here to play, to dream, to drift;
We have hard work to do, and loads to lift.
Shun not the struggle; face it.
‘Tis God’s gift.
Say not the days are evil–Who’s to blame?
And fold the hands and acquiesce–O shame!
Stand up, speak out, and bravely,
In God’s name.
It matters not how deep entrenched the wrong,
How hard the battle goes, the day how long,
Faint not, fight on!
Tomorrow comes the song.
–Maltbie D. Babcock
Once upon a time in the heart of the Eastern Kingdom lay a beautiful garden. And there in the cool of the day was the Master of the garden, who went for a walk. Of all the dwellers of the garden, the most beautiful and beloved was a gracious and noble Bamboo.
Year after year Bamboo grew yet more beautiful and gracious. He was conscious of his Master’s love and watchful delight. Yet he was modest and in all things gentle. Often when Wind came to revel in the garden, Bamboo would throw aside his dignity. He would dance and sway merrily, tossing and swaying and leaping and bowing in joyous abandon. He would lead the great dance of the garden which most delighted his Master’s heart.
One day the Master himself drew near to contemplate his Bamboo. With eyes of curious expectancy, Bamboo bowed his great head to the ground in loving greeting. The Master spoke: “Bamboo, Bamboo, I would use you.”
Bamboo said, “Master, I am ready, use me as you want.”
“Bamboo,” the Master’s voice was grave, “I would be obliged to take you and cut you down.” A trembling of great horror shook Bamboo.
“Cut … me … down? Me, whom You, Master, have made the most beautiful in all of Your garden? To cut me down? Ah, not that! Not that! Use me for Your joy, O Master, but cut me not down!”
“Beloved Bamboo,” the Master’s voice grew graver still, “if I do not cut you down, then I cannot use you.”
The garden grew still. Wind held his breath. Bamboo slowly bent his proud and glorious head. There came a whisper. Bamboo replied, “Master, if You cannot use me unless You cut me down, then do Your Will and cut.”
“Bamboo, beloved Bamboo, I would cut your leaves and branches from you also.”
“Master, Master, spare me! Cut me down and lay my beauty in the dust, but would You take from me my leaves and branches also?”
“Bamboo, alas; if I do not cut them away, I cannot use you.” The Sun hid his face. A listening butterfly glided fearfully away.
Bamboo shivered in terrible expectancy, whispering low, “Master, cut away.”
“Bamboo, Bamboo, I would divide you in two and cut out your heart, for if I do not cut so, I cannot use you.”
“Master, Master, then cut and divide.”
So did the Master of the garden take Bamboo and cut him down and hack off his branches and strip off his leaves and divide him in two and cut out his heart. Lifting him gently, he carried him to where there was a spring of fresh, sparkling water in the midst of Master’s dry fields.
Then putting down one end of Bamboo in the spring, and the other end into the water channel in his field, the Master laid down gently his beloved Bamboo. The spring sang welcome. The clear sparkling water raced joyously down the channel of Bamboo’s torn body into the waiting fields.
Then the rice was planted and the days went by. The shoots grew. The harvest came. In that day was Bamboo, once so glorious in his stately beauty, yet more glorious in his brokenness and humility. For in his beauty he was life abundant. But in his brokenness he became a channel of abundant life to his Master’s world!
“And when He had called the people unto Him with His disciples also, He said unto them, ‘Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for My sake and the Gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?’” (Mark 8:34-36).
* * *
LOVE Is Giving Yourself Away…
Whatever their planned target, the mortar rounds landed in an orphanage run by a missionary group in the small Vietnamese village. The missionaries and one or two children were killed outright, and several more children were wounded, including one young girl, about eight years old.
People from the village requested medical help from a neighbouring town that had radio contact with the American forces. Finally, an American Navy doctor and nurse arrived in a jeep with only their medical kits. They established that the girl was the most critically injured. Without quick action, she would die of shock and loss of blood.
A transfusion was imperative, and a donor with a matching blood type was required. A quick test showed that neither American had the correct blood type, but several of the uninjured orphans did.
The doctor spoke some pidgin Vietnamese, and the nurse a smattering of high-school French. Using that combination, together with much impromptu sign language, they tried to explain to the young, frightened audience that unless they could replace some of the girl’s lost blood, she would certainly die. Then they asked if anyone would be willing to give blood to help.
Their request was met with wide-eyed silence. After several long moments a small hand slowly and waveringly went up, dropped back down, and then went up again.
“Oh, thank you,” the nurse said in French. “What is your name?”
“Heng,” came the reply.
Heng was quickly laid on a pallet, his arm swabbed with alcohol, and a needle inserted in his vein. Through this ordeal Heng lay stiff and silent.
After a moment, he let out a shuddering sob, quickly covering his face with his free hand.
“Is it hurting, Heng?” the doctor asked. Heng shook his head, but after a few moments another sob escaped, and once more he tried to cover up his crying. Again the doctor asked him if the needle hurt, and again Heng shook his head.
But now his occasional sobs gave way to a steady, silent crying, his eyes screwed tightly shut, his fist in his mouth to stifle his sobs.
The medical team was concerned. Something was obviously very wrong. At this point, a Vietnamese nurse arrived to help. Seeing the little one’s distress, she spoke to him rapidly in Vietnamese, listened to his reply and answered him in a soothing voice.
After a moment, the patient stopped crying and looked questioningly at the Vietnamese nurse. When she nodded, a look of great relief spread over his face.
Glancing up, the nurse said quietly to the Americans, “He thought he was dying. He misunderstood you. He thought you had asked him to give all his blood so the little girl could live.”
“But why would he be willing to do that?” asked the Navy nurse.
The Vietnamese nurse repeated the question to the little boy, who answered simply, “She’s my friend.”
“Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend” (John 15:13).
* * *
SOMEONE NEEDS YOU
Someone needs your smile today,
Your hug, your listening ear.
Someone needs encouragement
And gentle words of cheer.
Someone needs your helping hand,
A letter–or what’s more,
Someone needs your cheerfulness
To make their spirits soar.
Someone needs affection
When they are feeling blue.
Listen, someone’s calling–
For a special friend like you.
* * *
If you love your neighbour as yourself, you’ll put yourself in his place, and wonder how you would feel if you were there and wonder what you’d want and need to have fulfilled.
Do you want the key to every heart?–Try Love! It never fails!–Because God is Love, and it’s impossible for Him to fail!–David Fontaine
Children Are Forever!
God’s greatest and most precious gift is His Love in a little child!
Dear Lord, I do not ask
That Thou shouldst give me
Some high work of Thine,
Some noble calling, or some wondrous task
Give me a little hand to hold in mine;
Give me a little child to point the way
Over the strange, sweet path
That leads to Thee.
Give me a little voice to teach to pray;
Give me two shining eyes Thy face to see.
The only crown I ask, dear Lord, to wear
Is this: That I may teach a little child.
I do not ask that I may ever stand
Among the wise, the worthy, or the great;
I only ask that softly, hand in hand,
A child & I may enter at the gate.
* * *
I remember a little fellow, frightened by the lightning & thunder, who called out one dark night, “Daddy, come! I’m scared.” “Oh, son,” the father said, “God loves you & He’ll take care of you.” “I know God loves me & that He’ll take care of me,” the small son replied. “But right now, I want somebody who has skin on.” –John Drescher
And here’s Jesus healing the sick!
When God gives you children, they are like a gift on loan from Him. They are His children, God gave them, but He wants you to take care of them and train them. You’ve got to actually feel like it is your duty to God and that you are doing it in obedience and love for Him and for them. And when you’re old, you’ll be thankful that you did your best to raise them with the help and love of God.–And they will be too!
You are investing in Eternity when you invest your time, love and effort in your children, because children are forever! Those eternal lives are going to last forever, and everything you’ve put into them is going to count!
May God help us to be good stewards of the most precious gifts He’s given us, our children! Lord, You have promised in Your Word that if we “train up our children in the way they should go, when they are old, they won’t depart from it!” (Proverbs 22:6).
Help each mother and father to lovingly, diligently, and prayerfully care for their children, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Love Reaches Out!
Where there is great love, there are always great miracles!
One morning as I neared the hospital where I worked, I noticed a frail, stooped, elderly man hurrying in the same direction. I wondered where he was going in such a hurry and at such an hour. I also questioned whether it was safe for him to be out alone in his obviously poor state of health.
Later that day, I was surprised to see the same man walking down a corridor in the hospital. I found out he had always enjoyed helping other people, so one day he had come to the hospital and offered to work as a volunteer. He comes two mornings each week to work in whatever way he is needed. He enjoys the interaction with the staff, the patients, and their families. By helping others, he has been able to forget his own health problems. In giving of himself, he has found a new lease on life and a new reason to get up in the morning.
* * *
Sometimes we’re discouraged and think, “Well, who am I? What can I do? The world’s problems all seem so hopeless and impossible! It looks like there’s nothing one person can do to change things for the better, so what’s the use of trying?” And we’re tempted to just give up and let the world go to Hell, which it seems to deserve!
Well, you may not be able to change the whole world, but you can change your part of the world. If you have changed one life, you have changed a part of the world, and you have proven that there is hope that it can all be changed! The world can be changed, starting even with one person, just one person–maybe you!
If you even change your life, you’ve changed a whole universe, the universe of your body and the sphere in which you live! The place and the very atmosphere around you will be changed if you even change yourself by the power of God’s Love!
Change the world in which you live–your life, your home, your family–and you’ve changed the world, your world!–David Fontaine
* * *
It’s wondrous what a hug can do,
A hug can cheer you when you’re blue.
A hug can say, “I love you so.”–
Or, “Oh, I’m sad to see you go.”
A hug is, “Welcome back again!”–
And, “Great to see you!” or,
“Where’ve you been?”
A hug can soothe a small child’s pain
And bring a rainbow after rain.
The hug! There’s just no doubt about it,
We scarcely could survive without it.
A hug delights and warms and charms,
It must be why God gave us arms!
Hugs are great for fathers and mothers,
Sweet for sisters, swell for brothers.
And chances are some favourite aunts
Love them more than potted plants.
Kittens crave them. Puppies love them.
Heads of state are not above them.
A hug can break the language barrier
And make the dullest day seem merrier.
No need to fret about the store of ‘em,
The more you give,
The more there are of ‘em.
So stretch those arms without delay
And give someone a hug today!
* * *
Harry Mudd has learned a lot in his many busy years as Director of the Great House Experimental Husbandry Farm since it began many years ago.
He knows that all good farmers are attached to their animals, and have a sensitive regard for them. He says: “A stockman learns to appreciate the animals and understand their little ways, and treat them as individuals–not a collective herd.”
He told me a surprising fact: Two men can have the same kind of stock, the same conditions, and feed them the same food, yet the one who treats his cows as individuals can get two hundred gallons of milk a year more from an animal.
If animals respond to love and care, how much more will people?–Francis Gay
* * *
Jesus said, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:39). Those He was speaking with then asked Him, “Who is my neighbour?” And with the story of the Good Samaritan, He tried to show them that it is anyone who needs our help, regardless of their race, creed, colour, nationality, or condition–or location!
For if we have real love, we can’t face a needy situation without doing something about it. We can’t just pass by the poor man on the road to Jericho! We must take action like the Samaritan did! (See Luke 10:25-37.)
That’s the difference between pity and compassion: Pity just feels sorry; compassion does something about it.–David Fontaine
* * *
One day in France, during World War I, I did a favour for a soldier and he actually presented me with his Croix de Guerre which the French Government had bestowed upon him for courage. He could afford to give me that one, for that boy actually had so many medals for bravery that he had them to spare. It was over that gift that we got to discussing why armies and governments give medals, and I learned for the first time that they give medals to a man when he does something “outside the line of duty”. He is never rewarded for doing something which comes within the line of duty. It is only when he steps outside the path of duty and does the unusual, the extra thing, that he wins a medal.
We do not win the richest rewards of life for doing the things we ought to do anyway, or for doing things with the hope and expectation of reward. It is by doing things in the spirit of “not letting thy right hand know what thy left hand doeth” that we discover golden keys to life: when we do something through sheer compassion, sympathy, love, and friendship.
* * *
“This is My commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12).
* * *
LIVING IN HIS LOVE
Love is like a stream.
Some days it flows and rushes,
For there is plenty.
On other days it trickles
And you can see it bouncing
Against the unseen rocks.
But when love is dry
And has lost its flow
And lies nearly empty
On the muddy bottom,
There is more love to come.
We remember how Jesus loved,
How He forgave,
And how He reached out
To show He cared.
By using Jesus as the Source
We can fill up the stream
Life has the extra dimension
Found in Jesus Christ.
He is the Authority on love.
Jesus loves when love is hard.
He loves when love is rejected.
He loves when love makes
Jesus loves when others
Jesus loves when others
Jesus loves when others
Jesus loves when others
And when we feel that love
Has dried up,
We reach out to Him,
And learn to love
Turning Trials into Treasures!
Were there no night, we could not read the stars;
The heavens would turn into a blinding glare.
Freedom is best seen through prison bars,
And rough seas calmed make a passing fair.
We cannot measure joys but by their loss;
When blessings fade away, we see them then.
Our richest clusters grow around the cross,
And in the nighttime angels sing to men.
The Touch of the Master’s Hand
By Myra Brooks Welch
Dr. Hubert Davidson visited the noted poetess, Myra Brooks Welch, who perhaps is best known for her masterpiece, “The Touch of the Master’s Hand”. As he turned to leave her home, Myra Welch patted the arm of her wheelchair and said, “And I thank God for this!” Imagine being grateful for a wheelchair! But her talent lay undiscovered prior to her wheelchair days. Rather than becoming bitter, she chose to let her handicap make her better, and a wonderful ministry opened new doors for her.
‘Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To spend much time on the old violin,
But he held it up with a smile.
“What am I bidden for this?” he cried.
“Who’ll start the bidding for me?
A dollar–one dollar; then two–only two:
Two dollars are bidden; say three.
“Three dollars once: Three dollars twice:
Going for three!” But lo!
From the back of the crowd a grey-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow.
Then, wiping the dust from the old violin
And tight’ning the loosened strings,
He played a melody passing sweet,
The kind that haunts and clings.
The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was soft and low,
Said, “Now what is bid for the old violin?”
And he held it up with the bow.
“A thousand dollars: Who’ll make it two?
Two–two thousand; say three!
Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
Three thousand–gone!” said he.
The people cheered, but some exclaimed,
“We do not quite understand
What changed its worth?” and the answer came:
“‘Twas the touch of the master’s hand.”
And many a man with soul out of tune,
And battered and scarred by sin,
Is auctioned cheap by the thoughtless crowd,
Just like the old violin.
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul, and the change that is wrought
By the touch of the Master’s hand.
O Master! I am the tuneless one:
Lay, lay Thy hand on me.
Transform me now, put a song in my heart
Of melody, Lord, to Thee!
A life need not be great to be beautiful. There may be as much beauty in a tiny flower as in a majestic tree, in a little gem as in a great jewel. A life may be very lovely and yet be insignificant in the world’s eyes. A beautiful life is one that fulfils its mission in this world, that is what God made it to be, and does what God made it to do. Those with only commonplace gifts are in danger of thinking that they cannot live a beautiful life–cannot be a blessing in this world. But the smallest life that fills its place well is beautiful in God’s sight.
–Mrs. Charles Cowman
* * *
The great composer, George Frideric Handel had lost his health. His right side was paralysed. His money was gone. His creditors threatened to imprison him. Handel became so disheartened by his tragic experiences that he almost lost faith and despaired. He came through the ordeal, however, and composed his greatest work, “The Hallelujah Chorus”, the climactic point of his great “Messiah”.
The Apostle John wrote, “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4).
* * *
Greatness is not found in possessions, power, position or prestige. It is discovered in goodness, humility, service and character.
* * *
God doesn’t use anybody who thinks they’re something. He just uses nobodies and nothings that He makes something out of.
* * *
The polyps (hydras) which construct the coral reefs work away under water, never dreaming that they are building the foundation of a new island on which, by and by, plants and animals will live and children of God will be born.
If your place in God’s ranks is a hidden and secluded one, do not complain, do not seek to get out of God’s Will if He has placed you there; for without the polyps, the coral reefs would never be built, and God needs some who are willing to be spiritual polyps, and work away out of sight of men, but sustained by the Holy Ghost in full view of Heaven.
The day will come when Jesus will give the rewards, and He makes no mistakes, although some people may wonder how you came to merit such a wonderful reward, as they had never heard of you before.
* * *
Have you ever considered how only the smaller birds sing? You never heard a note from the eagle in all your life, nor from the turkey, nor from the ostrich. But you have heard from the canary, the wren, and the lark. The sweetest music comes from those Christians who are small in their own estimation and before the Lord. “He hath exalted them of low degree” (Luke 1:52).
* * *
You are God’s opportunity in your day. He has waited for ages for a person just like you. If you refuse Him, then God loses His opportunity which He sought through you, and He will never have another, for there will never be another person on the earth just like you.
Bring to God your gift, my brother;
He’ll not need to call another,
You will do.
He will add His blessing to it,
And the two of you will do it,
God and you.
An oyster on the ocean floor opened wide its shell to let the water pass over it. As the water flushed through, its gills picked out food, sending it to its stomach. Suddenly a large fish nearby stirred up a cloud of sand and silt with a flip of its tail. Sand! Oh, how the oyster disliked sand. It was so rough and made life so unpleasant and uncomfortable and was such a bother whenever any got inside its shell. Quickly the oyster slammed its shell shut, but it was too late. One hard gritty grain of sand had gotten in and lodged itself between his inner flesh and his shell.
My, how that piece of sand bothered the oyster! But almost immediately, special glands God had given him for coating the inside of his shell began working to coat the irritating grain of sand with a lovely smooth and shiny covering. Year after year the oyster added a few more layers of the coating onto the tiny grain of sand until at last, it had produced a beautiful lustrous pearl of great value.
Sometimes the problems we have are a bit like that grain of sand. They bother us and we wonder why we have the irritation and inconvenience they can be. But the grace of God begins to work a wonder with our problems and weaknesses, if we let Him. We become more humble and yielded, more desperate in prayer, closer to the Lord, wiser, and better able to resist the problems. Like blessings in disguise, the Lord soon takes the rough pieces of sand in our life and turns them into precious pearls of strength and power and they become a hope and inspiration to many.
* * *
The Lord makes you stronger with each victory. It’s sort of like inoculation: He gives you small doses so you won’t catch the disease, so you will constantly gradually build up your resistance to it. Whereas, if you are never tested, never given a small dose, you will never be able to take the big dose.
In the Middle Ages, because assassination by poison was so common, kings and important men used to take small doses of poison every day. They’d start off with a very tiny portion, just a few grains, and keep taking a little more each day, until they gradually built up a resistance, so that if somebody gave them a large dose, it wouldn’t be fatal!
It’s kind of like the Lord does with us: He gives us a little more each day to test us, to try us, to build up our strength and resistance. He inoculates us with a little more serum of sacrifice and trial and trouble and battle each day.
He’s trying to make you stronger every day and make you able to give a little more, sacrifice a little more, suffer a little more, fight a little more, and grow a little more.–David Fontaine
* * *
Your sorrow is meant to be a strength-giver to you, and to equip you for giving strength to others.–David Fontaine
* * *
“Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:4-5).
* * *
In medieval times, the goldsmiths had a unique method to determine when the refining fire had purged away all extraneous matter from the precious metal.
They would stand patiently and peer intently into the seething, molten mass, meantime making the fire hotter and hotter. At last, a smile of satisfaction would lighten up the perspiring face of the goldsmith. He could see his face reflected in the molten mass of gold. Seeing his face mirrored there, he knew that the refining fire had wrought its purifying purpose.
Peter admonished, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you” (1 Peter 4:12a).
When God sees the image of His Son reflected in our lives, He knows that His purifying fires have wrought their intended purpose.
An elderly man asked a boy to go with him into the woods to cut down some hickory trees to make axe handles. They soon came to several young hickory trees. The boy said, “These trees would make good axe handles. Let’s cut them down.” The old man said, “These trees in the lowlands have been protected from the storms which rage higher up. Let’s go to the heights where the trees have been rocked back and forth by fierce winds. Those trees have been hardened by the tempest and they will make much stronger axe handles!”
Those who have been exposed to difficulties, rocked to and fro by the temptations, but who have not yielded to them, are made stronger. We can be “more than conquerors through Him that loved us!” (Romans 8:37).
Job said, “When He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10).
* * *
For feelings come and feelings go,
And feelings are deceiving;
My warrant is the Word of God,
Naught else is worth believing.
Though all my heart should feel condemned,
For want of some sweet token,
There is One greater than my heart
Whose Word cannot be broken.
I’ll trust in God’s unchanging Word
Till soul and body sever;
For, though all things shall pass away,
His Word shall stand forever.
If we had more prayers we would have fewer cares.
* * *
Prayer digs the channel from the reservoir of God’s boundless resources to the tiny pools of our lives.
* * *
The one concern of the Devil is to keep the saints from prayer. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.
* * *
Prayer is something you can be doing all the time, no matter what else you’re doing. It’s like thinking on your feet.
* * *
As long as you’re calling, you can expect God to answer; as long as you’re empty, you can be filled.
* * *
I don’t remember the days when sermons were timed by an hour glass on the pulpit, but I do recall thinking, as a small boy, that what we called the “long prayer” seemed to go on for hours!
The late Dr. W.E. Sangster, the well-known Methodist preacher, used to speak of what he called “minute prayers”–brief prayers “shot out”, as he put it, at any moment of the day, in a way that can keep us in constant touch with the sense of God’s presence. There could be a lot of prayer in a few words, he suggested.
Famous men comment on prayer:
I can take my telescope and look millions and millions of miles into space; but I can lay my telescope aside, go into my room and shut the door, get down on my knees in earnest prayer, and I see more of Heaven and get closer to God than I can when assisted by all the telescopes and material agencies on earth.–Sir Isaac Newton
* * *
Speak to Him, thou, for He hears,
And Spirit with spirit can meet–
Closer is He than breathing,
And nearer than hands and feet.
–Lord Alfred Tennyson
* * *
Let the Divine Mind flow through your own mind, and you will be happier. I have found the greatest power in the world is the power of prayer. There is no shadow of doubt of that. I speak from my own experience.–Cecil B. DeMille
* * *
Lord, I notice how close You come to me.
You step up to me
with Your peace,
You show me
what is really important.
and forget all the unimportant details
which always loom too large in my life
in Your absence.
The experience of this hour
in the midst of all that is so transitory
is precious beyond words.
You are close to me
in my feelings,
in my mind,
in my spirit.
You are everywhere with Your gentleness.
You are hesitant
because You respect our freedom
and won’t force Yourself on us.
You are more than words,
more than any possible expression:
Your eyes which guide us.
MORE THOUGHTS ON PRAYER
By David Fontaine
Desperate prayer that is full of faith is the most powerful weapon that we have, and can radically alter any situation or heart.
* * *
Prayer and meditation and getting alone with the Lord and quiet and really dealing directly with the Lord is very necessary, because it’s kind of hard for Him to get through to you when your mind is filled with the events of the day.
* * *
It’s not how long you pray or how much you pray, it’s how much you believe.
* * *
Prayer is powerful! When we pray, things will happen and things will be different! God will answer prayer!
* * *
Demand and expect an answer! He has promised it! I know He’ll not fail, He cannot deny Himself! He is bound by His Word. Remind Him of it, cling to His promises, memorise and quote them continually and never doubt for a moment that God is going to answer–and He will! He has to! He wants to! Trust Him and thank Him for the answer, even if you don’t see it immediately. For behold, the trying of your faith is much more precious than gold!
* * *
Maybe sometimes the Lord just lets us have a problem so that He can give us the answer! He likes to have us pray and find out we can’t always solve all our problems and that we need His help! After all, if we could figure it all out and solve all our problems, we wouldn’t need Him! So the Lord lets us have a little problem now and then to show us we need Him and we have to pray. He likes to give us answers to remind us that we’re dependent on Him and we need Him. He likes us to appreciate His help and to love Him for it–like a father!
* * *
Thank You Lord, for answering prayer! You like to hear us pray! You like to hear and see us manifest our love and faith and dependency on Thee, and then You answer.
Prayer Is So Simple . . .
It is like quietly opening a door
And slipping into the very presence of God,
There in the stillness
To listen to His voice.
Perhaps to petition
Or only to listen,
It matters not;
Just to be there
In His presence
BEYOND OUR ASKING
More than hearts can imagine
or minds comprehend,
God’s bountiful gifts
are ours without end.
We ask for a cupful
when the vast sea is ours.
We pick a small rosebud
from a garden of flowers.
We reach for a sunbeam,
but the sun still abides;
We draw one short breath
but there’s air on all sides.
Whatever we ask for
falls short of God’s giving;
For His greatness exceeds
every facet of living.
And always God’s ready
and eager and willing
To pour out His mercy,
All of man’s needs
for peace, joy, and rest;
For God gives His children
whatever is best.
Just give Him a chance
to open His treasures,
And He’ll fill your life
with unfathomable pleasures.
–Pleasures that never
grow worn out and faded,
And leave us depleted,
disillusioned and jaded.
For God has a “storehouse”
just filled to the brim,
With all that man needs,
if we’ll only ask Him.
–Helen Steiner Rice
Does Jesus Care?
Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
Too deeply for mirth and song;
As the burdens press, and the cares distress,
And the way grows weary and long?
Does Jesus care when my way is dark
With a nameless dread and fear?
As the daylight fades into deep night shades,
Does He care enough to be near?
Does Jesus care when I’ve tried and failed
To resist some temptation strong;
When for my deep grief I find no relief,
Though my tears flow all the night long?
Does Jesus care when I’ve said, “Good-bye”
To the dearest on Earth to me,
And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks,
Is it aught to Him? Does He see?
Oh, yes, He cares; I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief.
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,
I know My Saviour cares.
–Frank E. Graeff
WHAT IS FAITH?
Faith is not just hoping, believing or somewhat expecting, but faith is knowing.–Absolutely knowing!
Faith has lost its meaning to us today. Today the word “faith” means kind of a hazy vague belief of some kind in something or other.
Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for” and the word translated “substance” in this verse is the Greek word “hupostasis”. When they translated the New Testament from the Greek into English nearly 400 years ago, they were still puzzled by this word “hupostasis”, as it seemed to be some kind of business terminology not normally used in classical Greek literature. All they knew was that it meant something fairly substantial, so they translated it as “substance”.
But some years ago archaeologists uncovered the remains of an old inn in northern Israel. There they found a small iron chest containing the valuable papers of a Roman noblewoman who had owned lands and property in Israel.–And almost every paper had this title in big letters across the top: “Hupostasis”! They were all title deeds to her properties! This Roman woman had perhaps never seen her properties in Israel, but she knew they were hers and she could prove her ownership because she had the title deeds.
Someone promised to give me a car once, and they sent the title deed to me by mail. Though I’d never seen the car and never driven it, I knew it was mine because I had the title in my hand. So faith is what?–The title deed! “Now faith is the title deed to things hoped for” (Hebrews 11:1). If you’ve asked the Lord for something but haven’t seen the answer yet, don’t worry. If you have real faith, then you’ve got the title to it in your hands, and your name is written on it! It’s yours and you will see it eventually!–David Fontaine
* * *
Faith is believing when all seems past hoping,
Although receiving no glimmer of light,
Leaving the grieving and doubting and groping
To those who are living only by sight.
Faith is still trusting completely God’s promise,
When it would almost seem God has forgot,
Refusing to be a weak doubter like Thomas,
Seeking no sign nor bemoaning our lot.
Faith is believing in God, and in clinging
To hopes of a future that one day shall be,
Faith is the courage to trust without doubting
That all that we hope for we one day shall see.
* * *
“Without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
* * *
HOW DO WE GET MORE FAITH?
It is impossible to have faith unless you have the Word, because your faith is something that is built by faithful study of God’s Word.
Trying to have faith is a work of the flesh. Accepting faith through His Word is a work of God’s grace.
If you’re weak in faith it’s because you’re weak in the Word.
The very Words of God are mingled with supernatural power to be released by the touch of your faith.
THE POWER OF God’s Word!
In 384 A.D. a young teacher from North Africa went to Milan, Italy, to take a position as teacher of rhetoric. While there, he became troubled about his sins and sought desperately to get right with God.
One day in the back yard of his home, while on the verge of almost complete despair, he heard the voice of a child next door chanting, “Take and read, take and read.”
Immediately he took the Scriptures and read that Jesus Christ was the way of complete forgiveness of sins. Through reading the Word of God this man’s life was changed and he became St. Augustine, bishop of Hippo, one of the great Christians of all time.
* * *
The Christian feels that the tooth of time gnaws all books but the Bible. It has a pertinent relevance to every age. It has worked miracles by itself alone. It has made its way where no missionary has gone and done the missionary’s work. . . . Nineteen centuries of experience have tested the Book. It has passed through critical fires no other volume has suffered, and its spiritual truth has endured the flames and come out without so much as the smell of burning.–W.E. Sangster
* * *
It is strange we trust each other,
And only doubt the Lord;
We will take the word of mortals,
And yet distrust His Word.
God makes a promise: Faith believes it; Hope anticipates it; Patience quietly awaits it!
* * *
“It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the Words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).
What God’s Word can do for you:
Many people struggle through life needlessly, when only a little more time spent with God’s Word would bring the peace, faith and happiness they seek.
* * *
Besides the once-and-for-all cleansing of Salvation, you need the daily cleansing of the Word from daily sin.
* * *
The Word of God is like a map to help you find your way through life.
* * *
The more dearly you begin to love His Word and read and study it, the more mature you will become and the more you’ll find that God can speak to you loudly and clearly and supernaturally and miraculously and ecstatically, right through the reading of His Word.
* * *
You grow by feeding on the Word of God continually, the cure for all life’s problems.
* * *
Please don’t neglect the Word, for it is food for your soul and gives you strength for the battle! Read, study, memorize and enjoy it, and you shall have strength for your soul.–David Fontaine
* * *
Oh that you would hear the Words of the Lord
As streams that never run dry!
–That thine ears should be filled with their flowing,
And thine heart should be ever nigh.
The Art of Being Positive . . .
Keep looking up; remember there is only mud under your feet.
* * *
An optimist sees an opportunity in every calamity; a pessimist sees a calamity in every opportunity.–Sir Winston Churchill
* * *
Ella Wheeler Wilcox gives us some wise counsel in her poem “Optimism”:
The world is sad enough
Without your woes. No path is wholly rough;
Look for the places that are smooth and clear,
And speak of those, to rest the weary ear
Of those so hurt by continuous strain
Of human discontent and grief and pain.
The world is better off without
Your uttered ignorance and morbid doubt.
If you have faith in God, or Man, or self,
Say so. If not, push back upon the shelf
Of silence all your thoughts, till faith shall come;
No one will grieve because your lips are dumb.
The dreary, never-changing tale
Of mortal maladies is worn and stale.
You cannot charm, or interest, or please
By harping on that minor chord–disease.
Say you are well, or all is well with you,
And God shall hear your words and make them true.
The Magic Mask
A great and powerful lord once ruled over thousands of soldiers, and with them he conquered vast domains for his own. He was wise and brave, respected and feared by all, but no one loved him. Each year as he grew more severe he grew more lonely, and his face reflected the bitterness in his greedy soul, for there were deep, ugly lines about his cruel mouth which never showed a smile, and a deep frown permanently furrowed his forehead.
It happened that in one of the cities over which he ruled there lived a beautiful girl whom he had watched for many months as she went about among the people, and he loved her and wanted to make her his wife. He decided to go and speak to her of this love. Dressing in his finest robes and placing a golden crown on his head, he looked into his mirror to see what kind of picture he would make for the beautiful girl. But he could see nothing but what would cause fear and dislike for himself–a cruel, hard face which looked even worse when he tried to smile.
Then a happy notion came to him, and he sent for a magician. “Make for me a mask of the thinnest wax so that it will follow every line of my features, but paint it with your magic paints so that it will look kind and pleasant. Fasten it upon my face so that I shall never have to take it off. Make it handsome–attractive. Use your greatest skill and I will pay any price you ask.”
“This I can do,” said the magician, “on one condition. You must keep your own face in the same lines which I paint or the mask will be ruined. One angry frown, and the mask will be ruined forever, nor can I replace it.”
“I will do anything you say,” said the lord eagerly, “anything to win the admiration and love of my lady. Tell me how to keep the mask from cracking.”
“You must think kindly thoughts,” replied the magician, “and to do this you must do kindly deeds. You must make your kingdom happy rather than powerful. You must replace anger with understanding and love. Build schools for your subjects and not just prisons, hospitals and not just warships. Be gracious and courteous to all men.”
So the wonderful mask was made, and no one would have guessed that it was not the true face of the lord. Months passed, and though the mask was often in danger of ruin, the man fought hard with himself to keep it. The beautiful lady became his bride, and his subjects wondered at the miraculous change in him. They attributed it to his lovely wife, who, they said, had made him like herself.
As gentleness and thoughtfulness entered the life of this man, honesty and goodness were his also, and soon he regretted having deceived his beautiful wife with the magic mask. At last he could bear it no longer and he summoned the magician.
“Remove this false face of mine!” he cried. “Take it away! This deceiving mask that is not my true self!”
“If I do,” said the magician, “I can never make another, and you must wear your own face as long as you live.”
“Better so,” said the lord, “than to deceive one whose love and trust I have won dishonourably. Better that I should be despised by her than to go on doing what is unworthy for her sake. Take it off, I say, take it off!”
The magician took off the mask and the lord in fear and anguish sought his reflection in the glass. His eyes brightened and his lips curved into a radiant smile, for the ugly lines were gone, the frown had disappeared–and lo, his face was the exact likeness of the mask he had worn so long! And when he returned to his beloved wife she saw only the familiar features of the man she loved.
Yes, it’s an old story this legend tells: that a man’s face soon betrays what he is inside his soul, what he thinks and feels, the thoughts of his heart. The wise and true Scripture tells us, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7), and “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
* * *
Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.–Ralph Waldo Emerson
* * *
Cheerfulness is what greases the axles of the world.
* * *
I was brought up to be very honest. It bothers me to be hypocritical or lie or deceive or cover up. So knowing I should act happy when I feel sad posed a problem for me. I wondered, “How can I put on a smile and look happy when I don’t really feel that way?” But the Lord helped me to resolve this question to my satisfaction. The answer is:
You have to realise that when Jesus is in your heart, it’s not you, it’s His happiness that you’re showing in your joyful countenance and happy smile. It is not being hypocritical to put on a happy face when you’re sad, and you are not pretending, because it’s theLord’s happiness that’s showing.
So you are not being hypocritical to show joy on your face when you don’t feel happy inside. To the contrary, you are being a wonderful example of Jesus shining through you.–“Not I, but Christ Who lives within me” (Galatians 2:20). You are showing His face, the beauty of Jesus being seen in you!–Maria Fontaine
* * *
Are You Dissatisfied with Yourself?
“Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
We are often discontented
and much dissatisfied
That our wish for recognition
has not been gratified.
We feel that we’ve been cheated
in beauty, charm, and brains,
And we dwell upon our “losses”,
forgetting all our “gains”.
The qualities we think we lack
make us miserable inside,
As we brood on supposed “deficits”
as seen by selfish pride.
We begin to harbour hatred
and envy fills our heart
That we do not possess the things
that make others “seem so smart.”
And in our condemnation
of the traits that we possess,
We magnify our painful plight,
sinking deeper in distress…
Oh, Lord, please do forgive us
for vanity and pride,
For desiring to please the eye of man
and not You Who sees inside!
Little do we realise
how contented we would be
If we knew that we are beautiful
when our hearts are touched by Thee!
* * *
Jesus wouldn’t pay an infinite price for someone of no value.
* * *
God has two dwellings: one in Heaven and the other in a thankful heart.–Izaak Walton (1593-1683)
A Life Multiplied
The Rev. H. Merriweather, a dedicated missionary of the Sri Lanka and India General Mission, was sent to America to represent the Mission in various capacities. The head office of the Mission asked him to call upon a certain woman who supported a full-time missionary. On arrival in the city, he made his way to her home, and was somewhat surprised by the ordinary type of home found there. He had expected to find a wealthy suburb with pretentious buildings. This woman supported a full-time missionary! It was therefore to be assumed that she was a lady of means. Had he made a mistake?
He read again the address, and carefully checked both the name of the street and the number of the house. There had been no mistake; this was the place. He knocked at the door, and was greeted by a motherly old lady who beamed upon him and said, “Welcome, Mr. Merriweather. I knew you were in the district and I have been waiting for you to call. Come in.”
The missionary explained how he got her address, and even while he was speaking to the lady his eyes were examining the room. The furniture was spotlessly clean, and yet it could hardly be described as expensive. This was the abode of an ordinary working woman who might be struggling against poverty. Yet headquarters had said that she supported a full-time missionary.
Ultimately his curiosity gained the upper hand, and he asked how could she–a woman with meagre means–manage to give so much money to the Mission? Mutely he indicated the mediocre furnishings of the apartment, and his eloquent silence suggested that the task was beyond her capabilities.
The old lady was greatly amused as she said, “But, Mr. Merriweather, I support four missionaries. I have one in India, one in Africa, one in China, and one in South America. Yes, sir, I have four–people all over the world preaching for me.”
The man was amazed. Hardly believing his ears, he repeated, “You have four people preaching for you. And you support them all!–But sister, how on earth do you do this?”
Her lovely old face became grave; only her eyes smiled as she told of the faithfulness of God. She explained how she had always believed in giving one-tenth of her income to God. Regularly she had set aside His portion, and this had accumulated. Then God had blessed her, for someone had bequeathed to her a certain amount of property. The rental from this greatly increased her income, and consequently her “Lord’s Fund” became larger. Soon she found she was able to support a missionary.
She added, “I also discovered that my own funds were increasing, and eventually I was able to purchase more property. And so it continued, Mr. Merriweather. Come over to the window, and I will show you my houses.”
She indicated a row of magnificent villas, and said, “What does a poor old body like me want with such big houses? I have all I require in this little home, and the rent from those places supports my missionaries. I knew I would never be able to preach the Gospel overseas, so I determined others should do it for me.”
Mr. Merriweather concluded: “Some day at the Judgment Seat of Christ, Merriweather the missionary will stand beside this kind helper from America, and I am quite sure her reward will far outshine mine. She knew how to give–to give cheerfully; and the Lord, Who loveth a cheerful giver, blessed her.”
* * *
To serve is to love . . . to love is to give! When you love, you give; when you give, you serve; when you serve . . . you are happy!
* * *
Love never reasons, but profusely gives; gives, like a thoughtless prodigal, its all, and trembles then lest it has done too little.–Hannah Moore (English author, 1745-1843)
* * *
It’s not too late to plot and plan–
Do all the secret good you can!
Take young and old folk by surprise,
And scatter stardust in their eyes.
You’ll find there’s greater joy in living
As you share in the thrill of giving.
* * *