Monday, December 15, 2014

 In Corinthians 12:6, Paul says the Spirit causes a variety of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. I thought about those different effects and would describe it this way -- The Spirit in some seems to catch fire while in others it is as a spark; some germinate and little is seen at first, but like yeast, there is a slow rise. Some are strengthened for the long battle, like defeating addictions and anger; others are energized for the immediate battle and come up from the baptismal waters ready to storm the gates of hell. Some are consoled and others are exhorted. Some like a mighty wind, others like a smoldering wick.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

 "The anger which I propose now for my subject, is such as makes those who indulge it more troublesome than formidable, and ranks them rather with hornets and wasps, than with basilisks and lions. 

  There is in the world a certain class of mortals, know, and contentedly known, by the title of passionate men, who imagine themselves entitled by that distinction to be provoked on every slight occasion, and to vent their rage in vehement and fierce vociferations, in furious menaces and licentious reproaches. Their rage, indeed, for the most part fumes away in outcries of injury, and protestations of vengeance, and seldom proceeds to actual violence, unless a drawer or linkboy (a boy who carried a torch for pedestrians in dark streets.) falls in their way; but they interrupt the quiet of those that happen to be within the reach of their clamors, obstruct the course of conversation, and disturb the enjoyment of society."  Samuel Johnson.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Sheltering your child

People often ask if I sheltered my children. I ran across the following piece on this subject and I think it answers the question very well. 

 "Do you recommend the importance, as some do, that you don't shelter your child from all the many questionable things in our culture, and don't keep the child from "a knowledge of the world"? 
Yes; but of what "world"? -- For that is a large name which covers many different things. 
Do you mean the crowd of contemporaries and peers on the same level with him, his equals or inferiors in principle and character, who by their tendencies and habits vote into existence the customs and trends amid which he is to live? 
Don't be afraid to scorn so poor of an ambition. But rather, let him grow familiar with an older and a better "world" than this; let him learn of men of grander stature, who constitute that honor and luster of history. 
Men who will show him how small and limited is the enclosure of his current culture, and make him aware of the high and noble men and women of the past; who will kindle in him a respect for himself and the opportunities that his very nature allows him; and he can enhance that nature if he learns of the wise and holy men of the past; and he will feel a touch of shame if he allows himself to be unworthy of their society and kindred. 
Those minds above him, the spirits of patriots and saints, martyrs of truth, apostles of righteousness, --- these are the "world," and the "knowledge" of which he should learn and if he excels in these principles, he will become noble and strong, though it's certainly no passport into popularity, and supplies no key to the slang of self-indulgence and foolishness of our day. James Martineau, Mother Teresa on the streets of Calcutta. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

 I read an essay by J.B. Priestley, about two boys playing with a new gadget, and it brought back memories so familiar I could just sense the fascination and joy.

  "I remember that when I was a child, the boy next door was given a tiny printing machine, a gasping, wheezing affair that would print nothing but the blurred image of three ducks. He and I, however, collecting all the paper we could lay our hands on, would spend hours, hours full to the brim, printing ducks, thousands and thousands of ducks, and while we were engaged in producing this monotonous sequence of dim fowls we asked nothing more from life beyond the promise of suety meals at odd intervals."

I couldn't help but smile when reading that, remembering how when a young boy I could busy myself with the most rudimentary task or toy for hours or days. It brought to remembrance a comment from a young Christian I know, who said, " I have so much to learn!" I wonder if some of us are a little like the boys in the story, we have found the joy of being a Christian and we begin to read and love the Bible. In our enthusiasm, we study, listen, go to Bible groups and talk and speculate, and churn out thousands and thousands of verses from memory, like my son calls it, "verse-a-blenders." And then the years go by, the study goes on, but the resolution of the duck pictures does not increase, they are still but a vague representation of the real thing. The words of Christ are not only to be reproduced in the heart, but then they are meant to go into the world to touch, heal, and reproduce.    

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Dorcas and her benefactresses

  "But now, I will speak of Dorcas, from the Bible, and her ministries to the poor. This woman was a representative of all those women who make garments for the destitute, who knit socks for the barefooted, who prepare bandages for the wounded, and fix boxes of clothing for the missionaries. This woman did not spend her time idly planning how the poor of her town were to be relieved; she took her needles and relieved them.

  I am glad that there is not a page of the world's history which is not a record of female benevolence. God says to all the lands and people: "Come now, and hear the widow's mite rattle down into the box for the poor." The Princess of Conti sold all her jewels that she might help the famine-stricken. Queen Blanche of France, hearing that there were some persons unjustly incarcerated in the prison’s, went out amid the rabble and took a stick and struck the door as a signal that they might all strike it, and down went the prison door, and out came the prisoners. Queen Maud went down amid the poor and washed their sores and administered to them medicine. Mrs. Retson, at Matagorda, appeared on the battlefield while the missiles of death were flying around, and cared for the wounded.
  But why go so far back? Why go so far away? Is there a man or woman who has forgotten the fact that before the smoke had gone up from Gettysburg and South Mountain, the women of the North met the women of the South on the battle field, forgetting all their animosities while they bound up the wounded and closed up the eyes of the slain?
  I suppose you have read of the fact that when Josephine was carried out to her grave there were a great many men and women of pomp, and pride, and position, that went out after her; but I am most affected by the story of history, that on that day there were 10,000 of the poor of France who followed her coffin, weeping and wailing until the air rang again, because when they lost Josephine they lost their last earthly friend." T.Dewitt Talmage.