Saturday, May 28, 2011

The following quote presents some very insightful and useful principles regarding success in whatever arena applied. It is an encouragement to those who may think they don’t have all it takes.

"We see other men, who, with comparatively slender talents, are the instruments of achieving more important results than are effected by men of far greater endowments. They know precisely the extent of their faculties, and never aim at objects beyond their reach. They carefully survey their means of success, and never fix their attention so strongly upon one point as to overlook others equally important. Never struggling obstinately against the stream, they are constantly ready, as the aspect of things changes, to vary their plans or remit their exertions, yet in all their variations they keep one object steadily in view. Preferring to play a small game rather than to stand out, and content with petty advances when a more rapid progress is impossible, they quicken their pace and enlarge their schemes as fortune favors, and, though unnoticed by the world, exert a more important influence over its destinies than many who have filled a larger space in the eye of mankind. "

Two of my sons are engaged in missionary ventures and both would tell you they have developed in ways they never foresaw. They had one object steadily in view but God brought twists and turns never imagined requiring nearly all of the principles above.

Photo I took in Thailand, quote from Getting On In The World by William Mathews, LL.D.

Monday, May 23, 2011


"It has been remarked that the modest deportment of really wise men, when contrasted to the assuming air of the vain and ignorant, may be compared to the difference of wheat, which, while its ear is empty, holds up its head proudly, but as soon as it is filled with grain bends modestly down and withdraws from observation."

Golden Gems of Life, photo from the internet

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Educating ourselves

“Any and every legitimate means of acquiring information is to be pursued, and all the odds and bits of time pressed into use. Set a high price upon your leisure moments. They are sands of precious gold; properly expended they will procure for you a stock of great thoughts; thoughts that will fill, stir, invigorate, and expand the soul.

We should esteem those moments best improved which are employed in developing our own thoughts, rather than in acquiring those of others, since in this kind of intellectual exercise our powers are best brought into action and disciplined for use. Knowledge acquired by labor becomes a possession: a property entirely our own. A greater vividness of impression is secured, and facts thus acquired become registered in the mind in a way that mere imparted information fails of securing. A habit of reflection and observation is well-nigh everything…….

Be not dismayed at doubts, for remember that doubt is the vestibule through which all must pass before they can enter into the temple of wisdom; therefore, when we are in doubt and puzzle out the truth by our own exertions, we have gained a something which will stay by us and serve us again. But if to avoid the trouble of a search we avail ourselves of the superior information of a friend, such knowledge will not remain with us; we have borrowed it and not bought it.”

I think this applies to our religious beliefs more than any other subject. It is easy to say we believe such and such, when in reality we rarely study out a teaching on our own but rather we “borrow” it from the pulpit, creed or denomination.

The Golden Gems of Life, photo from the Internet.

“Both poetry and philosophy are prodigal of eulogy (give lavish applause) over the mind which rescues itself, by its own energy, from a captivity to custom, which breaks the common bonds of empire and cuts a Simplon (Napaloeon’s pass over the Alps) over mountains of difficulty for its own purposes, whether of good or of evil. We can not help admire such a character. It is a positive relief to turn from the contemplation of those relying on some one else for a solution of the difficulties that surround them to those who are strong in their own self-reliance, who, when confronted with fresh trials and difficulties, only put on a more determined mien, and more resolutely apply their own powers to remove the obstacle so unexpectedly put in their way. There is no surer sign of an unmanly and cowardly spirit than a vague desire for help, a wish to depend, to lean upon somebody and enjoy the fruits of the industry of others.”

I like this kind of teaching and being fatherless at fourteen I was faced with the two options – depend on myself or depend on others. I didn’t have a large pool of “others” running to my rescue, so by default I learned to depend on myself. I may have taken this too far and maybe I still do; but at 23 when Christ Jesus came courting my heart and offering his help I listened, experimented and gave in to what seemed an irresistible offer. That being said, it has always been of some difficulty to know where we let go and where God takes over. Either choice in its self is not the answer, of that I’m sure. We are made with mastery to work, think, reason, endure and strive, as well as many other abilities; not to use them is shameful. To use them instead of faith in God is futility. I’ll let each person determine the balance.

“It has been said God never intended that strong, independent beings should be reared by clinging to others, like the ivy to the oak, for support. The difficulties, hardships, and trials of life – the obstacles one encounters on the road to fortune, are positive blessings. They knit the muscles more firmly, and teach him self-reliance, just as wrestling with an athlete who is superior to us we increase our own strength and learn the secret of his skill. All difficulties come to us, as Bunyan says of temptation, like the lion which met Sampson, the first time we encounter them they roar and gnash their teeth, but once subdued we find a nest of honey in them. Peril is the very element in which power is developed.”

The Golden Gems of Life by S.C. Ferguson and E.A. Allen, photo by Lemon Bartleboom

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Smoking Flax

I was reading out of F.B. Meyer's book "Christ in Isaiah" and ran across the following piece. I can't think of a more important exhortation than what's contained below as he bares his heart for the marginalized.

"So feebly does love burn in some hearts, that only He who knows all things can know that love is there at all. So fitful, so irregular, so destitute of kindling power. Ah me! Reader, you and I have known hours when not the coals of juniper, but the smoking flax, have been the true emblem of our love.

The superficial worker ignores these in rude haste. He passes them by to seek an object more commensurate with his powers. Give me, he cries, a sphere in which I may influence strong, noble, and heroic souls! Give me an arena where I may meet foe-men worthy of my steel! Give me a task where my stores of knowledge may have adequate scope! And if these fail, he counts himself ill-used. “I will do naught, if I cannot do the best.” Oh, foolish words. The best, the noblest, is to bend with a Divine humility over those whom the world ignores, exercising a holy ingenuity, a sacred inventiveness; making of bruised reeds pipes of music or measuring rods for the New Jerusalem; fanning the spark of the smoking flax until that which had nearly died out in the heart of a Peter, sets on fire three thousand souls within seven weeks of its threatened extinction.

This is also the test of true work. Where does it find thee, fellow-worker? Art thou ambitious for a larger sphere; grudging the pains needed to explain the gospel to the ignorant; to cope with the constant relapses and backslidings of the weak; to combat the fears of the timorous and mistrustful; to adjust the perpetual disputes and quarrellings of new-made disciple; to suit thy pace to the weakest and youngest of the flock? Beware! Thy work is in danger of losing its noblest quality; the hue is passing off the summer fruit; the tender tone which God loves is fading from thy picture; the grace of the day is dying. Before it is too late, get alone with God to learn the noblest souls are sometimes found within bruised bodies, and the greatest work often emanates from the most inconspicuous sparks.”

Photo by Birte Person