Sunday, June 30, 2013

Three courses

   Let’s examine three men who are leaving any one period of life behind them and go out into a new one; one of them is driven out of his past and leaves it only because he cannot stay there and help himself;
Another goes forth from his past because he has grown weary and disgusted with it or the past has grown tame and the future may offer something new, he is willing to flee from it for the pure love of change;
The third leaves his past full of honor, full of gratitude for the equipment which it has given him for his future life and leaves with the eager hope that the Lord is at hand, and with larger circumstances and with mature powers he will come nearer to Christ and more useful in His service. He has the mind of a discoverer, who has gathered all the knowledge and character which he could gain at home, and is now eager to use them in reading the secret of some hidden country or place to make the world larger and better for mankind.

  Now the first two men will doubtless find the new page like the last, another great flat plain on which they may wander pleasantly, but aimlessly. Always coming back at last to the dead campfires where they had slept before. Their tomorrow will be as their today.
The third man, the noble soul, as with most earnest men and women, has thought of his life as an unfolding of God’s will for them.
The power of any life lies in its expectancy. “What do you hope for? What do you expect? The answer to these questions is the measure of the degree in which a man is living.

Am I truly expecting a higher, deeper, more pervading revelation of Christ and His work for me? If not, what hope is there that tomorrow will be different from today?
Paraphrased from Phillips Brooks, "The Great Expectation."

Saturday, June 29, 2013


The whole care of providing grain for Rome was committed to Pompey, he sent abroad his agents into all quarters, and he himself sailing into Sicily, Sardinia, and Africa, where they collected great quantities of grain. As he was just ready to embark in order to return home, there arose a great storm, so that his pilots were unwilling to set sail. But Pompey himself going first aboard, commanded the mariners to weigh anchor, crying out, “It is necessary for me to go, but it is not necessary for me to live.” This zeal and resolution was seconded by fortune, so that he made a prosperous voyage and stored all the markets in Rome with corn and covered the sea with ships Such was the quantity of provisions imported, that there was a sufficient supply not only for the city of Rome, but for foreigners and into all parts of Italy.

2Tim. 2:1 “You therefore, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”

If they drink any deadly thing.....

  “Imagine if you will, two men walking in a large city, through the vilest streets in this city. One of the men has nothing in him but selfishness and low love of self-indulgence. Whereas the other is glowing with human charity, seeking perhaps a child of his own who has wandered into that dreadful hell; or longing, it may be, to pluck out of the burning some man or woman’s life, whose fiery iniquity makes those streets the streets of hell. Why is it that one man fills himself full of the iniquity through which he walks, steeps himself in its vileness, and the other comes out with garments all the whiter for the fire? Is it not what Jesus said,
“This sign shall follow them that believe. If they drink any deadly thing it shall not harm them.”? Phillips Brooks.

  This reminds me when my son Matt worked with an organization to rescue pre-teen girls captured in the child trafficking trade where he was required to go into the most vile and depraved parts of Thailand in search of girls. They were only to be found in brothels, strip clubs and houses of prostitution where danger and sin ran its course without restraint. The deadly potion and the venomous snake loomed at every door, and but for the mission of charity and the protection of Christ, one dare not go there and hope to come away unscathed.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

  I read this little story from a book titled "Touching Incidents and Remarkable Answers to Prayer," written about 1897. This story touched me. 

“The Bridal wine-cup.”

  “Toast with wine! A toast with wine!” cried the young and thoughtless Harry.
“A toast with wine!” ran through the bridal party.
  The beautiful bride grew pale. She pressed her hands together, and the leaves of her bridal wreath trembled on her brow; her breath came quicker, and her heart beat more wildly.
  “Yes, Marian, lay aside your scruples for this once,” said the Judge, in a low tone; “the company expects it. Do not so seriously infringe upon the rules of etiquette. In your own home, do as you please, but in mine, for this once, please me.”
  Every eye was turned toward the bridal pair. Marian’s principles were well known. Harry had been always been merry company, but of late his friends had noticed the change in his manner, and a difference in his habits.
  Pouring a brimming cup, they held it with tempting smiles toward her. She was very pale, though now more composed. Smiling, she accepted the crystal tempter and raised it to her lips. But scarcely had she done so, when every hand was arrested by her piercing exclamation of, “Oh, how terrible!”
  “What is it?” cried one and all, thronging together; for she had slowly carried the glass at arms length, and was regarding it as if it were some hideous object.
  “Wait,” she said, “wait and I will tell you. I see,” she added, pointing her jeweled fingers at the sparkling liquid, “a sight that is difficult to describe; and yet, listen, I will paint it for you if I can. I see a lovely spot; tall mountains, crowned with flourishing greenery, rising in awful sublimity all around; a river runs through, and bright flowers grow to the water’s edge. There is a thick, warm mist that the sun seeks vainly to pierce.
  “Trees, lofty and beautiful, wave to the motion of the breeze, and in their midst lies a manly form – but his cheeks, how deathly they look! His eyes, how wildly they glare around him, with the fitful fires of fever! One friend stands beside him; I should say kneels, for see, he is pillowing that poor head upon his breast.
  “Genius in ruins, on that high and holy looking brow. Why should death mark it, and he is so young? Look, how he throws back the damp curls. See him clasp his hands. How he clutches at the form of his companion, imploring to be saved.
Oh, hear him call piteously his father’s name. See him twine his fingers together, as he shrieks for his sister, the twin of his soul, weeping for him in a distant native land. See! His arms are lifted to heaven. How wildly he prays for mercy. But fever rushes through his veins. The friend beside him is weeping. Awe-stricken, the dark men move silently away, and leave the living and the dying together.”
  There was a hush in that princely parlor, broken only by what seemed a sob from some manly bosom. The bride stood yet upright, with quivering lips, and tears streaming down her pallid cheeks. Her arm had lost its tension, and the glass with its contents came slowly toward the range of her vision. She spoke again. Every lip was mute; her voice was low, faint, yet distinct. Still she fixed her sorrowful glance upon the wine-cup.
  “It is evening now; the great white moon is coming up, and her beams fall gently on his forehead. He moves not; his eyes are rolling in their sockets, and there are the piercing glances. In vain his friend whispers the names of father and sister. No soft hand and no gentle touch blesses or soothes him. His head shrinks back. One convulsive shudder, and he is dead.”
  A groan ran through the assembly. So vivid was her description, so unearthly her look, so inspiring her manner, that what she described seemed actually to have taken place then and there. They noticed also that the bridegroom hid his face, and was weeping.
  “Dead!” she repeated again, her lips quivering faster, as if her heart were broken; “and then they scooped him a grave, and then, without a shroud, they lay him down in the damp reeky earth; the only son of a proud father, the idolized brother of a fond sister; and he sleeps today in that distant country, with no stone to mark the spot.
  “There he lies, my father’s son, my own twin brother --- a victim of this deadly poison!
Father!” she exclaimed, turning suddenly, while the tears rolled down her cheeks, “father, shall I drink the poison now?”
  The form of the Judge was convulsed with agony. He raised not his head, but in a smothered voice he faltered: “No, my child, no!
  She lifted the glittering goblet, and letting it fall suddenly to the floor, it was dashed to pieces. Many a tearful eye watched her movements, and instantaneously every glass was transferred to the marble table. Then, as she looked at the fragments of crystal, she turned to the company, saying: “Let no friend of mine who loves me, hereafter tempt me to peril my soul with wine or any other poisonous venom. Not firmer are the everlasting hills (God helping me) than my resolve never to touch or taste the terrible poison. And he to whom I have given my hand, who watched over my brother’s dying form in that land of gold, will sustain me in my resolve. Will you not my husband?”
   His glistening eye, his sad, sweet smile was the answer. The Judge had left the room; but when he returned, and, with a more subdued manner, took part in the entertainment of the bridal guests, none could fail to see that he too had determined to banish the enemy, and at once, from that princely home.  

  Reader, this is no fiction. I was there, and heard the words which I have penned, as nearly as I can recollect them. The bride, her husband, and her brother, who died in the gold regions of California, were school-mated of mine. Those who were present at the wedding of my associates never forgot the impression do solemnly made, and all from that hour forsook the social glass.