Friday, November 24, 2017

Like Dew on a Rose


Have you ever noticed the almost imperceptible beauty of the dew glittering on a rose in the early morning light or the exquisite ethereal aroma?"The lives of godly people are sometimes compared to the dew. One point of likeness, is the quiet way in which the dew performs its ministry. It falls silently and imperceptibly. It makes no noise. No one hears it dropping. It chooses its time in the night when men are sleeping, when none can see its beautiful work. It covers the leaves with clusters of pearls. It steals into the bosoms of the flowers, and leaves new cupfuls of sweetness there. It pours itself down among the roots of the grasses and tender herbs and plants. It loses itself altogether, and yet it is not lost. For in the morning there is fresh life everywhere, and new beauty. The fields are greener, the gardens are more fragrant, and all nature is clothed in fresh luxuriance!

Is there not in this simile, a suggestion as to the way we should seek to do good in this world? Should we not wish to have our influence felt—while no one thinks of us; rather than that we should be seen and heard and praised? Should we not be willing to lose ourselves in the service of self-forgetful love, as the dew loses itself in the bosom of the rose—caring only that other lives shall be sweeter, happier, and holier—and not that honor shall come to us? 

We are too anxious, some of us, that our names shall be written in large letters on the things we do, even on what we do for our Master; and are not willing to sink ourselves out of sight—and let Him alone have the praise.

Our Lord's teaching on the subject is very plain. He says: "Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full." That is, they have that which they seek—the applause of men."But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." The meaning would seem to be, that we are not to wish people to know of our good deeds, our charities, our self-denials; that we should not seek publicity, when we give money or do good works; indeed, that we are not even to tell ourselves what we have done; that we are not to think about our own good deeds so as to become conscious of them; not to put them down in our diaries and go about complimenting ourselves, throwing bouquets at ourselves, and whispering: "How good I am! What fine things I have done!"

This is an insightful test of our lives. Are we willing to be as the dew—to steal abroad in the darkness, carrying blessings to men's doors, blessings that shall enrich the lives of others and do them good—and then steal away again before those we have helped or blessed awaken, to know what hand it was that brought the gift? Are we willing to work for others . . . without gratitude, without recognition, without human praise, without requital?

Are we content to have our lives poured out like the dew—to bless the world and make it more fruitful—and yet remain hidden away ourselves? Is it enough for us to see the fruits of our toil and sacrifice—in others' spiritual growth, and deeper happiness; yet never hear our names spoken in praise or honor—perhaps even hearing others praised for things we have done?

If you go about doing good in simple ways, in gentle kindnesses, not thinking of reward, not dreaming of praise, not hoping for any return—you are enshrining your name where it will have immortal honor! Our lesson teaches us that this is the way we are to live—if we are followers of Christ!" 

7 And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men. Micah 5:7

~J. R. Miller

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Simple Joys



They miss so much who do not know
The simple joys of long ago.
The quiet hour, the easy pace,
A path to walk, a day to face.
A small white flower, a bird that sings,
The happiness in the little things.
The patience for a task, well done,
The gift of rest at set of sun.
The thankful heart, the lift of care,
A friend nearby, a time of prayer.
How much they miss who do not know
The simple joys found long ago.

~by Amy Perrin

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanks



In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Thanks to God for my Redeemer,
Thanks for all Thou dost provide!
Thanks for times now but a memory,
Thanks for Jesus by my side!
Thanks for pleasant, balmy springtime,
Thanks for dark and stormy fall!
Thanks for tears by now forgotten,
Thanks for peace within my soul!
Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered,
Thanks for what Thou dost deny!
Thanks for storms that I have weathered,
Thanks for all Thou dost supply!
Thanks for pain, and thanks for pleasure,
Thanks for comfort in despair!
Thanks for grace that none can measure,
Thanks for love beyond compare!
Thanks for roses by the wayside,
Thanks for thorns their stems contain!
Thanks for home and thanks for fireside,
Thanks for hope, that sweet refrain!
Thanks for joy and thanks for sorrow,
Thanks for heav’nly peace with Thee!
Thanks for hope in the tomorrow,
Thanks through all eternity!
  • Thanks to God (George C. Steb­bins 1846-1945)</

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

A Secret



One secret of sweet and happy Christian life
—is in learning to Live by the day! It is the long stretches which tire us. We say that "we cannot carry this load until we are eighty—or that we cannot fight this battle continually for half a century." But really, there are no long stretches. Life does not come to us in lifetimes; it comes only a day at a time. Even tomorrow is never oursuntil it becomes today; and we have nothing whatever to do with it—but to pass down to it a fair and good inheritance in today's work well done and today's life well lived.

It is a blessed secret—this of living by the day.

Anyone can carry his burden, however heavy—until nightfall. Anyone can do his work, however hard—for one day. Anyone can live sweetly, quietly, patiently, lovingly, and purely—until the sun goes down. This is all the life which we really ever have—just one little day.

God gives us nights to shut down the curtain of darkness on our little days. We cannot see beyond—and we ought not to try to see beyond. Short horizons make life easier, and give us one of the blessed secrets of noble, happy, holy living.

We ought not to be content to live otherwise—than beautifully. We can live our life only once. We cannot go over life again—to correct its mistakes or amend its faults. We ought therefore to live it well. And to do this, we must make every day beautiful, as it passes. Lost days must always remain blanks in the records; and stained days must carry their stains. Beautiful days make beautiful years, and beautiful years make a beautiful life!"As your days—so shall your strength be." Deuteronomy 33:25

~J. R. Miller

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Love Abiding



I read within a poet's book
A word that starred the page;
"Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage."

Yes, that is true, and something more;
You'll find where'er you roam,
That marble floors and gilded walls
Can never make a home.

But every house where Love abides,
And Friendship is a guest,
Is truly home, and home-sweet-home;
For there the heart can rest.

--Henry van Dyke

Photograph:  This is my dear sweet grandma G and her home where she raised nine children, each one just the nicest person you could imagine.  I don't for a moment think her life was easy, but her children are a testament of what a loving home can be and do!

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Heritage of Faithfulness


We're pilgrims on the journey
Of the narrow road
And those who've gone before us line the way
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary
Their lives a stirring testament to God's sustaining grace
Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize
But as those who've gone before us
Let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone
And our children sift through all we've left behind
May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover
Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find.
~S. Green

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Autumn Days



Yellow, mellow, riped days,
Sheltered in a golden coating;
O’er the dreamy, listless haze,
White and dainty cloudlets, floating;
Winking at the blushing trees,
And the somber, furrowed fallows;
Smiling at the airy ease,
Of the southward flying swallow.
Sweet and smiling are thy ways,
Beauteous, golden autumn days.

Will Carleton

Monday, November 13, 2017

Simplicity



"For my part, as I grow older,
I am more and more inclined to reduce my baggage,
to lop off superfluities.
I become more and more in love with simple things and simple folk--
a small house, a hut in the woods, a tent on the shore.
The show and splendor of great houses, elaborate furnishings, stately halls,
oppress me, impose upon me.
They fix the attention upon false values,
they set up a false standard of beauty;
they stand between me and the real feeders of character and thought."

~John Burroughs

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good;
and what doth the LORD require of thee,
but to do justly,
and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with thy God?
Mic 6:8

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Humble Awe



Open, Lord, my inward ear, and bid my heart rejoice;
Bid my quiet spirit hear your comforting voice.
From the world of sin and noise and hurry I withdraw;
For the small and inward voice I wait with humble awe.

~Charles Wesley

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Friday, November 10, 2017

Fall


Falling, falling leaves!
And indoors
Cellars sweet-smelling with apples,
Fair hands busy with canning and stores for the winter.

Morning in frosty apron,
Noon in a bonnet of blue,
Night with a cool dark cloak overtaking the day.

Once in awhile a sky a-swirl with rain
And winds in wild cavalcades,
But always,
On the greensward,
Falling, falling leaves!

~from A Canadian Calendar.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Yet Lovely Beyond All Telling



The Rose is gowned in petaled grace and lovely beyond telling;
She always lifts a friendly face, regardless of her dwelling.
Her golden silence can express to us, no matter where, joy shared;
Give solace in distress from those who fondly care.
The Rose has ways of saying things we much delight to hear;
without a spoken word, she brings and keeps our loved ones near.
~Laura S. Beck~

Hmmmmm . . . now isn't that thought-provoking, given the rose hips were encased in ice? I am sure that there is much to learn from this, not the least of which is the wonder of God's care for us in each and every circumstance of our lives as God works His will! We are inexplicably and unmeasureably blessed far beyond our knowing!
"Some of the evidences of God's work in the soul, are:
a lively interest in the things which concern our eternal welfare,
a trembling at God's Word
and being suitably affected thereby,
hatred of sin,
loathing of self,
and a childlike love for the Lord.
Ah, we never prize Divine grace so much -
as when we have been afflicted by indwelling sin.

It is a sense of our pollution and filth -
which moves us to turn again to the Fountain
open for sin and for impurity!"

(Arthur Pink, "Experimental Preaching" 1937)

~Photography c. 12/08 by hmmooreniver

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

In the Garden of my Heart


In the Garden of my Heart
There’s a sacred and hallowed retreat,
Where my soul finds a fellowship sweet,
Where the Lord of my life I may meet,
In the garden of my heart.
Refrain
In the cool of the day He walks with me,
In the rose bordered way He talks with me;
In love’s holy union,
And sacred communion,
In the garden of my heart.
There is naught can disturb or molest,
There my spirit finds comfort and rest,
And my soul is no longer distressed
In the garden of my heart.
Refrain
Shut away from earth’s strife and its din,
And protected from soul staining sin,
For my Savior is dwelling within,
In the garden of my heart.
Refrain
There the dove of sweet peace always sings,
And my faith ever trustingly clings;
And the chime of sweet happiness rings
In the garden of my heart.
Haldor Lillenas (1919)

Monday, November 6, 2017

Autumn



Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,--
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft,
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

~John Keats

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Like a Garden



Thy Word is like a garden, Lord, with flowers bright and fair;
And every one who seeks may pluck a lovely cluster there.
Thy Word is like a deep, deep mine; and jewels rich and rare
Are hidden in its mighty depths for every searcher there.
Thy Word is like a starry host: a thousand rays of light
Are seen to guide the traveler and make his pathway bright.
Thy Word is like an armory, where soldiers may repair;
And find, for life’s long battle day, all needful weapons there.
O may I love Thy precious Word, may I explore the mine,
May I its fragrant flowers glean, may light upon me shine!
O may I find my armor there! Thy Word my trusty sword,
I’ll learn to fight with every foe the battle of the Lord.
Edwin Hodder 1864

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

There is no unbelief;
Whoever plants a seed beneath the sod
And waits to see it push away the clod,
He trusts in God.
Whoever says when clouds are in the sky,
Be patient, heart, light breaketh by and by,
Trusts the Most High.
Whoever sees 'neath the field of winter snow,
the silent harvest for the future grow,
God's power must know.
Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Desires of the Heart


"The richest blessing that prayer can bring--is to bring us into closer communion and agreement with the all-holy and the all-loving God. The very first essential to all right prayer--is unconditional submissiveness to God's will."

"Find your happiness in God--and He will give you the askings of your heart."

"This is the exact rendering of Psalm 37:4, and it throws a flood of light upon the important question of--what is right prayer--and what is wrong prayer. A great deal of prayer is born of selfishness, and takes on the airs of dictating to our Heavenly Father. It is not humble supplication, born of a devout, submissive spirit; but it amounts to a demand. God's promises to His children are not unconditional; and we may presume to dictate to the God of wisdom and of love.

What is laid down distinctly, as the indispensable quality of right asking in the above quoted verse? It is a right feeling towards God. When a soul comes into such an entire submissiveness towards God that it can honestly say, "Nevertheless, not as I will--but as You will;" when that soul delights in seeing God reign, and in seeing His glory advanced--then its desires will be so purified from the dregs of selfishness, that they may be fearlessly poured out before God. In this frame of unselfish submissiveness, the soul may indeed come boldly to the throne of grace, and ask for grace suited to its every need. The desires of God--and the desires of a sincere Christly soul, will then agree.

 God loves to give to those--who love to be submissive to Him. They are as willing to accept His "no" as His "yes," for they are seeking not their own desires and glory--but His! As a kind father loves to grant the reasonable requests of a dutiful son, so does our Heavenly Father love to grant righteous and reasonable requests of His children!A man stands in a row-boat out on a lake, and pulls upon a line attached to the shore. His pull does not move the solid ground one hair's breadth--but it does move his boat towards the land.

In like manner, when I attach the line of my desire, fast to the everlasting throne, my faith does not expect to move the throne--but to draw me closer to it. When I get more and more into harmony with God--I receive all that my heart most desires. Finding my happiness in Christ--I am satisfied. Money, health, promotion, ease, and all kindred worldly cravings, are only lawful--when they are subordinated to God's higher desires for me.

The question now arises, What are right desires? As far as my ignorance has been enlightened by the Word, I would reply that every desire is a right one--which aims only to please God--and not SELF. Grace does not forbid desires--but it purifies and directs our desires.  Nay, the Bible exhorts us to "eagerly desire the greater gifts." 1 Corinthians 12:28. Wisdom from above, strength for the hour of need, faith, grace, love and kindred blessings, are in harmony with God's promises. These are the very things which God has told us to covet!

Our Heavenly Father does not hand the reins over to us--when our selfishness grasps after them. Nor does He allow our ignorance to be the judge of what is best for us. He often surprises us by sending something better than what we petitioned for. But infinitely the best thing which He can give us--is His favor and grace. If we find our supreme happiness in these--oh, how our souls are purified from all base, selfish, wayward, and wicked desires! And with what banqueting on His love, and with what foretastes of heaven--are our best askings answered!"

Right and wrong praying by Theodore Cuyler, "Wayside Springs from the Fountain of Life" (1883)

Friday, November 3, 2017

Autumn Sunset


Thy bounty shines in autumn unconfined

And spreads a common feast for all that live."


- James Thomson

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Happiness


"The purest happiness of an earthly nature, is that which springs up in a comfortable home,
 where there is a loving union of hearts between man and wife.

The tender sympathies,
the delicate affections,
the minute attentions,
the watchful solicitudes,
the ceaseless kindnesses of marital love,
--are the sweetest ingredients in the cup of life,

and contribute a thousand times more to earthly enjoyment, than all the possessions of wealth, and all the blandishments of rank, station, and fashion." 

(James, "The Widow Directed to the Widow's God" 1841)

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Sweeter than Honey



Remember that it is not hasty reading—
but serious meditation on holy and heavenly truths,
which makes them prove sweet and profitable to the soul.
It is not the mere touching of the flower by the bee which gathers honey—
but her abiding for a time on the flower which draws out the sweet.
It is not he who reads most, but he who meditates most—
who will prove to be the choicest, sweetest, wisest and strongest Christian."
Thomas Brooks

The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever:
the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold:
sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Psalm 19:9-10

Monday, October 30, 2017

Thankful


"Smoke hangs like haze over harvested fields,

The gold of stubble, the brown of turned earth

And you walk under the red light of fall

The scent of fallen apples, the dust of threshed grain

The sharp, gentle chill of fall.

Here as we move into the shadows of autumn

The night that brings the morning of spring

Come to us, Lord of Harvest

Teach us to be thankful for the gifts you bring us ..."

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Richard Baxter's Guide To The Value Of A Book


Make careful choice of the books which you read: let the holy Scriptures ever have the pre-eminence. Let Scripture be first and most in your hearts and hands and other books be used as subservient to it.

While reading ask yourself:

1. Could I spend this time no better?
2. Are there better books that would edify me more?
3. Are the lovers of such a book as this the greatest lovers of the Book of God and of a holy life?
4. Does this book increase my love to the Word of God, kill my sin, and prepare me for the life to come?

"The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails - given by one Shepherd. Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them. Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body." Ecclesiastes 12:11-12

Saturday, October 28, 2017

As You Think


This quote, which has been in my notebook for eons, is quite worth pondering:

"As you think, you travel, and as you love, you attract. You are today where your thoughts have brought you; and you will be tomorrow where our thoughts take you. You cannot escape the result of your thoughts, but you can endure and learn, can accept and be glad. You will realize the vision (not the idle wish) of your heart, be it base or beautiful, or a mixture of both, for you will always gravitate toward that which you secretly most love. In your hands will be placed the exact result of your thoughts; you will receive that which you earn; no more, no less. Whatever your present environment may be, you will fall, remain, or rise with your thoughts, your wisdom, your ideal. You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration."
~James Allen

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Little Things



"The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions -
the little soon forgotton charities of a kiss or smile,
a kind look,
a heart-felt compliment,
and the countless infinitesimals of pleasurable and genial feeling."

~Coleridge

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Culture


"The most distinctive mark of a mind is the ability to take another's point of view; to put one's self in another's place, and to see life and its problems from a point of view different from one's own.  To be willing to test a new idea; to be able to live on the edge of difference in all matters intellectually; to examine without heat the burning question of the day; to have imaginative sympathy, openness and flexibility of mind steadiness and poise of feeling, cool calmness of judgment, is to have culture."

~A. H. R. Fairchild

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Blossom of the Soul



"Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains..."

Diane Ackerman

````````

THOU half-unfolded flower

With fragrance-laden heart,

What is the secret power

That doth thy petals part?

What gave thee most thy hue

The sunshine or the dew?

Thou wonder-wakened soul!

As Dawn doth steal on Night,

On thee soft Love hath stole.

Thine eye, that blooms with light,

What makes its charm so new—

Its sunshine, or its dew?


The Blossom of the Soul  By Robert Underwood Johnson

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Fragrance of Love



 Love walks along life's ways with gentle step.
Fragrant flowers grow in its path,
and the air is always sweeter when it has passed by.
Love is kindly, thoughtful, full of pity, and compassionate.
It has patience with human faults,
and looks with an eye of tender love on those who have fallen.
It is tolerant of others who, through weakness, err or turn aside.
It is forbearing and long suffering.
It meekly endures injury and wrong,
giving sweet love in return for the hurts of unkindness.
It sees eagerly and joyfully the good things in others,
and has a wide cloak of charity for their failings and sins.
It is merciful, forgiving not seven times only—
but seventy times seven.
Conscious of its own faults and evils,
it is lenient toward the blemishes it sees in others.
J. R. Miller (1907)

Monday, October 23, 2017

"The Calm Retreat, the Silent Shade"


"We should be better Christians if we were more alone; we should do more if we attempted less, and spent more time in retirement, and quiet waiting upon God.

The world is too much with us; we are afflicted with the idea that we are doing nothing unless we are fussily running to and fro; we do not believe in "the calm retreat, the silent shade." As a people, we are of a very practical turn of mind; "we believe," as someone has said, "in having all our irons in the fire, and consider the time not spent between the anvil and the fire as lost, or much the same as lost." Yet no time is more profitably spent than that which is set apart for quiet musing, for talking  withGod, for looking up to Heaven. We cannot have too many of these open spaces in life, hours in which the soul is left accessible to any sweet thought or influence it may please God to send. 

"Reverie," it has been said, "is the Sunday of the mind." Let us often in these days give our mind a "Sunday," in which it will do no manner of work but simply lie still, and look upward, and spread itself out before the Lord like Gideon's fleece, to be soaked and moistened with the dews of Heaven. 

Let there be intervals when we shall do nothing, think nothing, plan nothing, but just lay ourselves on the green lap of nature and "rest awhile." Time so spent is not lost time. The fisherman cannot be said to be losing time when he is mending his nets, nor the mower when he takes a few minutes to sharpen his scythe at the top of the ridge. City men cannot do better than follow the example of Isaac, and, as often as they can, get away from the fret and fever of life into fields. Wearied with the heat and din, the noise and bustle, communion with nature is very grateful; it will have a calming, healing influence. A walk through the fields, a saunter by the seashore or across the daisy-sprinkled meadows, will purge your life from sordidness, and make the heart beat with new joy and hope."

~Mrs. Chas. Cowman 
"The little cares that fretted me,
 I lost them yesterday, . . . 
Out in the fields with God."
 
~Photograph: Path to the meadows

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Oh???



 We think about keeping/taking care of our homes and hearths, our gardens and families but so often we take our hearts for granted.

It surprises me how often I recall a line from a song that I may have heard on the radio in years gone by or think of a scene from a movie, book or even my life. Everything we read, hear, see, think and even smell somehow becomes a part of us.

There was a time when this fact didn't strike me as important as it does now. We tend to become jaded and influenced by the images we see on television, in magazines, in everything we see and do. It is very subtle. We may think we are immune to these influences, that we can perhaps sort of file them away somehow.

What we choose to watch or listen to on television, the movies, on the radio or in countless other places indicates a certain acceptance. Oh?

Perhaps this piece by will explain much better than I:
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this,
To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction,
and to keep himself unspotted from the world
James 1:27

Holiness means separation unto God. The life which belongs to Christ--must be kept from sin. The hands which are held up in prayer--must not touch any unclean thing. The lips which speak to God, and sing His praise--must not be stained by any sinful or bitter words. The heart which is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit--must not open to any thought or affection which would defile God's temple. The feet which Christ's pierced hands have washed--must not walk in any of sin's unhallowed paths. A Christian's life must be holy.
Unholiness is very subtle. It creeps in when we are not aware. It begins in the heart. At first it is but a thought, a moment's imagination, a passing emotion, or a desire. Hence the heart should be kept with unremitting diligence. Only pure and holy thoughts should be entertained.
It is in the thoughts, that all acts begin. All acts are first thoughts. Our thoughts build up our character, as the coral insects build up the great reefs. "As a man thinks in his heart--so is he." If we are to keep ourselves unspotted from the world, as we pass through its foul streets--we must see to it that no unholy thing is for a moment tolerated in our heart! A crime stains one's name before the world; a sinful thought or desire stains the soul in God's sight, and grieves the divine Spirit within us!


Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
Proverbs 4:23
(J. R. Miller, "In His Steps" 1897)

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Unfolding the Rose



"The secret of unfolding flowers
Is not known to such as I.
GOD opens this flower so easily,
But in my hands they die."

"If I cannot unfold a rosebud,
This flower of God's design,
Then how can I have the wisdom
To unfold this life of mine?"

"So I'll trust in God for leading
Each moment of my day.
I will look to God for guidance
In each step along the way."

"The path that lies before me,
Only my Lord and Savior knows.
I'll trust God to unfold the moments,
Just as He unfolds the rose."

author unknown




Friday, October 20, 2017

hmmmm ...


"I care little for the government which presides at Washington, 
in comparison with the government which rules the millions of American homes. 
No administration can seriously harm us 
if our home life is pure, frugal, and godly. 
No statesmanship or legislation can save us, 
if once our homes become the abode of profligacy."

~T. L. Cuyler

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Bees

If you look closely, you will see a honey bee on the Autumn Joy Sedum

HOW DOTH THE LITTLE BUSY BEE

How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower.
How skilfully she builds her cell!
How neat she spreads the wax!
And labours hard to store it well
With the sweet food she makes.
In works of labour, or of skill,
I would be busy too;
For Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do.
In books, or work, or healthful play,
Let my first years be past,
That I may give for every day
Some good account at last.
Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

"Well, Glory Be!"



"How fair is a garden amid the trials and passions of existence." 
~Benjamin Disraeli 
One might expect to see the glories, blessings and wonders of God in a garden, in the joys of our loved ones, in hearth and home, but far more precious are those to be found in our troubles and afflictions, those places we may fear to trod.
"The Lord our God hath shewed us His glory." --Deuteronomy 5:24

God's great design in all His works is the manifestation of His own glory. Any aim less than this were unworthy of Himself. But how shall the glory of God be manifested to such fallen creatures as we are? Man's eye is not single, he has ever a side glance towards his own honour, has too high an estimate of his own powers, and so is not qualified to behold the glory of the Lord. 

It is clear, then, that self must stand out of the way, that there may be room for God to be exalted; and this is the reason why He bringeth His people ofttimes into straits and difficulties, that, being made conscious of their own folly and weakness, they may be fitted to behold the majesty of God when He comes forth to work their deliverance. He whose life is one even and smooth path, will see but little of the glory of the Lord, for he has few occasions of self-emptying, and hence, but little fitness for being filled with the revelation of God. They who navigate little streams and shallow creeks, know but little of the God of tempests; but they who "do business in great waters," these see His "wonders in the deep." Among the huge Atlantic-waves of bereavement, poverty, temptation, and reproach, we learn the power of Jehovah, because we feel the littleness of man.

 Thank God, then, if you have been led by a rough road: it is this which has given you your experience of God's greatness and lovingkindness. Your troubles have enriched you with a wealth of knowledge to be gained by no other means: your trials have been the cleft of the rock in which Jehovah has set you, as He did His servant Moses, that you might behold His glory as it passed by. Praise God that you have not been left to the darkness and ignorance which continued prosperity might have involved, but that in the great fight of affliction, you have been capacitated for the outshinings of His glory in His wonderful dealings with you.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Home



Our homes are meant to be a foretaste of heaven on earth, a place where we are at peace, surrounded by love. It is not money or things that make a house a home, but rather the heart. It is the heartfelt gestures that mean so much, that say "I love you" and "You matter to me."

When we were first married, like most young couples, we didn't have much, but I noticed that if everything was sparkling clean and neat, it was the small touches like a bouquet of wild flowers, peaceful music, the aroma of a homemade bread or an apple pie baking in the oven that made our little apartment welcoming. Whoever said that "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach" was not far from the truth.

My mother-in-law says that if she has a pie and a pan of her homemade rolls to take out of the freezer, even the simplest fare seems special and she is right. Every meal is filled with love.

Last evening when I was getting my husband's breakfast ready for morning, he said, "You know, dear, you don't really have to put a plate under my cereal bowl [filled with homemade granola, which he loves and which helps keep him healthy]." I said that I wanted him to feel special. He glowed . . . Surely that is a trifling thing that most would not bother with, but little things mean a lot, and it is just an example of another simple, quiet way of letting someone know they are appreciated, that you think they are special enough to "go the extra mile." Surely, we each have our own countless ways of showing we care.

There is no place in the world where the amenities of courtesy should be so carefully maintained as in the home. There are no hearts that hunger so for expressions of affection as the hearts of which we are most sure. There is no love that so needs its daily bread as the love that is strongest and holiest. There is no place where rudeness or incivility is so unpardonable as inside our own doors and toward our best beloved. The tenderer the love and the truer, the more it craves the thousand little attentions and kindnesses which so satisfy the heart. It is not costly presents at Christmas and on birthdays and anniversaries that are wanted; these are only mockeries if the days between are empty of affectionate expressions. Jewelry and silks and richly-bound volumes will never atone for the want of warmth and tenderness. Between husband and wife there should be maintained without break or pause, the most perfect courtesy, the gentlest attention, the most unselfish amiability, the utmost affectionateness. Coleridge says,

'The Happiness of life is made up of minute fractions,
the little soon-forgotten charities
of a kiss
or a smile,
a kind look,
a heartfelt compliment,
and the countless infinitesimals
of pleasurable thought and genial feeling."

These may seem trifles, and the omission of them may be deemed unworthy of thought; but they are the daily bread of love, and the hearts go hungry when they are omitted. It may be only carelessness at first in a busy husband or a weary wife that fails in these small, sweet courtesies, and it may seem a little matter, but in the end the result may be a growing far apart of two lives which might have been for ever very happy in each other had their early love but been cherished and nourished.

For love will starve if it is not fed,
And true hearts pray for their daily bread." 
~J. R. Miller


Monday, October 16, 2017

"Racket River"


by Wayne Sheeler
The shades of evening gather o'er me,
As I watch the river flow,
Flowing neath the bending willows,
As the breezes come and go.
The dale moon now has softly risen,
Casting its silvery beams around,
On the church tower in t he distance,
High above our little town.
From the bridge that spans the river
You can hear on every side,
sounds of mirth and sounds of labor,
Mingled with the murmuring tide.
Earth is dressed in robes of beauty,
Now bleak winter's storms are o'er,
Many hearts are filled with gladness,
To welcome summer back once more.
Song and sunshine smile upon u s;
Every rose is blushing sweet;
But lo, the frost of autumn crushes
Every flower beneath its feet.
Night's black curtain now has fallen;
Lonely sounds the distant bell;
Memory now recalls so fondly,
Childhood's days I loved so well.
Friends we knew in childhoods morn
Have vanished from our sight away;
Some are lying 'neath the daisies
That bloom to gladden us to-day.
Life is filled with joys and sorrows,
Happy moments fly so fast;
To my mind now comes this proverb,
"Earth has charms, but not to last".

Racket River, July 2,1892.
From The Northern Observer, Massena, NY

Sunday, October 15, 2017

In the Valley



This photograph, taken in the Shire of Dumfries in Scotland, the area which many of our ancestors called home, really doesn't do justice to the breathtaking beauty of the area. I often wonder how anyone could leave! But, times were hard, and a better life seemed promising in Canada West. Will never forget the wonder and awe upon experiencing this scene!  Never!

In The Valley
Sometimes life seems hard to bear,
Full of sorrow, trouble and woe
It's then I have to remember
That it's in the valleys I grow.

If I always stayed on the mountain top
And never experienced pain,
I would never appreciate God's love
And would be living in vain.

I have so much to learn
And my growth is very slow
Sometimes I need the mountain tops,
But it's in the valleys I grow.

I do not always understand
Why things happen as they do
But I am very sure of one thing.
My Lord will see me through.

My little valleys are nothing
When I picture Christ on the cross
He went through the valley of death;
His victory was Satan's loss.

Forgive me Lord, for complaining
When I'm feeling so very low.
Just give me a gentle reminder
That it's in the valleys I grow.

Continue to strengthen me, Lord
And use my life each day
To share your love with others
And help them find their way.

Thank you for the valleys, Lord
For this one thing I know
The mountain tops are glorious
But its in the valleys I grow!

~Author unknown

Saturday, October 14, 2017

For I Shall Not Pass This Way Again


"I expect to pass through this world but once.
If, therefore, there is any kindness I can do to any fellow-being,
let me do it now.
Let me not defer or neglect it,
for I shall not pass this way again."

"There are two ways in which all of us work, and two classes of results which flow from our lives. There are things we do purposely—that we deliberately plan to do. We take pains to do them. We spend long years oftentimes in fitting ourselves to do them. They cost us thought and care. We travel many miles, perchance, to perform them. They are the things we live to do.

Then there are other things we do that have formed no part of our plan. We did not set out in the morning to accomplish them. They are unplanned, unpurposed things, not premeditated or prearranged. They are wayside ministries. They are the little things we do between the greater things. They are the seeds we drop by chance from our hand in the path, as we go out to the broad field to sow. They are the minor kindnesses and courtesies that fill up the spaces of our busy days. They are the little flowers and lowly plants that grow in the shade of the majestic trees—or hidden away like violets under the taller plants and shrubs. They are the smaller opportunities of usefulness which open to us—as we carry our great responsibilities. They are the things of which we take no note, and perhaps retain no memory—mere touches given as we hasten by, words dropped as we pass along. We set no store by this part of our life-work. We do not expect to see any result from it.

We pride ourselves on our great masterpieces. We point to them as the things which fitly represent us, the things in which we hope to live. And yet oftentimes these unpurposed things are the holiest and most beautiful things we do—far outshining those which we ourselves prize so highly. I believe that when the books are opened it will be seen that the very best parts of many lives, are the parts by which they set no store and from which they expected no outcome, no fruits—while the things they took pride in and wrought with plan and pains—shall prove to be of but small value.

Our Lord tells us that the righteous shall be surprised in the judgment, to hear of noble deeds wrought by them of which they have no knowledge or recollection. No doubt there is a wondrous amount of good done unconsciously, of which the doers shall never be aware of, until it is disclosed in the future life.

It is said that when Thorwaldsen, the Danish sculptor, returned to his native land with those rare works of art which have made his name immortal, chiseled in Italy with patient toil and glowing inspiration; that the servants who unpacked his statues—scattered upon the ground, the straw which was wrapped around them. The next summer, flowers from the gardens of Rome were blooming in the streets of Copenhagen, from the seeds thus borne and planted by accident! While pursuing his glorious purpose and leaving magnificent results in breathing marble, he was at the same time, and unconsciously, scattering other beautiful things in his path to give cheer and gladness.

And so, in all true living, while men execute their greater plans, they are ever unintentionally performing a series of secondary acts which often yield most beneficent and far-reaching results. There is a wayside ministry, for instance, made up of countless little courtesies, gentle words, mere passing touches on the lives of these we meet casually—impulses given by our greetings, influences flowing indirectly from the things we do and the words we speak—a ministry undesigned, unplanned, unnoted, merely incidental—and yet it is impossible to measure the results of these unintentional kindnesses. We go out in the morning to our round of duties. and perform them with more or less faithfulness and effectiveness.

But during the busy hours of the day—we find opportunity for doing many minor kindnesses. We meet a friend on the street whose heart is heavy—and we stop to speak a word of thoughtful cheer and hope, which sings in his ear like a bar of angels' song all day long. We ring a neighbor's door-bell, to inquire for his sick child, and there is a little more brightness in that sad home all the afternoon because of this thoughtfulness. We walk a few steps with a young man who is in danger of slipping out of the gospel way—and let fall a sincere word of interest which he wall remember and which may help to save him. All sorts of people come to us on all sorts of errands during the day. We cannot talk much to each, and yet we may drop into each heart—a word of kindness that will prove a seed of beauty. We meet people in business relations. To talk to them on Christian themes may be neither practicable nor expedient.

And yet there is not one of them to whom we may not minister in some way. One man has had sorrow in his home. His face carries the marks of sore struggle and inward pain. By a gentler bearing, a mellowed speech, a heartier hand-grasp or longer pressure, and a thoughtful expression of the sympathy and interest we feel, we send him away strangely comforted. Another is staggering under financial burdens, and a hopeful word gives him courage to stand more bravely under his load. We are writing business letters, and we put in a personal sentence or a kindly inquiry, revealing a human heart even amid the great clashing, grinding wheels of business—and it carries a pulse of better feeling into some dingy office and some dreary treadmill life far away. Not one of these things have we done with any clear thought, or even consciousness, of doing good—and yet, like the flower-seeds the sculptor bore back amid the wrappings of his statues, they yield loveliness and fragrance to brighten many a bare and toilsome path.

Social life presents also countless opportunities for these wayside ministries. It would be hard to imagine anything more icy and cold, more devoid of the sweet charities of life, than much of the formal fellowship of society, especially in circles of wealth and fashion. It is regulated by arbitrary rules which leave no room for tender heart-play. It is oftentimes insincere. The staple of its conversation, is the emptiest of idle gossip or the most merciless dissection of character. And yet what opportunities does this very social fellowship afford for the most beautiful wayside ministries! What words of kindness can be spoken! how often, too, where they are most sorely needed and craved!

There are hearts starving under these icy formalities. There are gentle spirits amid all this mad whirl, that long for something true and real. There are sorrows under all this glitter. The doors are shut to those who come professedly to bring blessing. Even Christ stands outside, perchance, knocking in vain. There is no open entrance to any who would come with avowed intent to do good. And yet the Christian woman who enters the doors, even in the most formal way, may carry with her Heaven's sweetest blessings. Many earnest Christians in early, primitive days voluntarily became slaves to gain access to the homes of the noble, that they might at least live out the holy religion of Jesus in the heart of their households, and perchance win souls for heaven. Missionaries study medicine that they may be admitted into the homes of the people as physicians, and while there in that capacity—they cannot but scatter some of the holy fragrance of the love of Christ. To those whose hearts are full of the spirit of grace, there are large opportunities for quiet and unpurposed usefulness, opened in the formalities of social life. There need be nothing done ostentatiously; indeed, ostentation shuts the door at once.

What is needed is a deep and sincere piety that breathes out unconsciously in face and word and act and manner, like the fragrance of a flower, like the shining of a star, like the irresistible charm of rare beauty, or tender music. Indeed, its unconsciousness is its greatest power! She who goes intending to say certain things or carry certain blessings or leave certain influences, may fail. But, going from house to house with a soul full of goodness, purity and love, with a heart sincerely longing to leave blessing everywhere, with a speech seasoned with grace and breathing kindness and peace—it is impossible not to leave heavenly influences in every drawing-room. Impulses are given to better life. Strength is imparted to struggling weakness. Comfort is breathed softly into hearts that are sore with grief. Flowers from heaven's gardens—are planted in earthly soil. Glimpses into a new and richer life, are given. No woman with deep piety in her heart and Christlike grace in her life—can go in and out in the formal routine of social life and not unwittingly perform a blessed ministry of good, leaving behind her many a bit of brightness and many a lovely flower! Although unnoted on earth and unprized—the results of such ministry may outshine in splendor, in the great disclosure, the things to which most toil and thought have been given.

In every life there are these opportunities for wayside ministry. Indeed, the voluntary activities of any life, do not by any. means measure its influence. The things we do with deliberate intention, make but a small part of the sum-total of our life-results. Our influence is as continuous as life itself. We are leaving impressions all the time on other lives. There is a ministry in our handshaking, in our greeting, in the most casual conversation, in the very expression we wear on our faces as we move along the street, in the gentle sympathy that adds such a thrill of strength to fainting weariness,
"Like moonlight on a troubled sea,

Brightening the storm it cannot calm."

To meet some people on the sidewalk and have their cheery "Good-morning!" makes one happier all day. To encounter others is as dispiriting as meeting a funeral-procession. There is always a magic potency in a sunny face. There is a holy aroma always about unselfish love. A joyful person scatters gladness like song-notes. A consecrated Christian life sheds a tender warmth wherever it moves. What a wondrous sphere of usefulness is thus opened to everyone of us! Preparation for it is best made—by heart-culture. It is purity, truth, helpfulness and love—that sanctify the influence. Full of Christ, wherever we move—we leave brightness and joy.

Amid the busiest scenes, when engaged in the most momentous labors, we carry on at the same time—a quiet, unintentional ministry whose results shall spring up in our pathway like lovely flowers, or echo again in the hearts of others in notes of holy song, or glow in human lives in touches of radiant beauty
~J. R. Miller

Rev Miller appears to have been referring to one of my favourite poems by Eva Rose York:

"I shall not pass this way again-
Although it bordered be with flowers,
Although I rest in fragrant bowers,
And hear the singing
Of song-birds winging
To highest heaven their gladsome flight;
Though moons are full and stars are bright,
And winds and waves are softly sighing,
While leafy trees make low replying;
Though voices clear in joyous strain
Repeat a jubilant refrain;
Though rising suns their radiance throw
On summer's green and winter's snow,
In such rare splendor that my heart
Would ache from scenes like these to part;
Though beauties heighten,
And life-lights brighten,
And joys proceed from every pain,-
I shall not pass this way again.
Then let me pluck the flowers that blow,
And let me listen as I go
To music rare
That fills the air;
And let hereafter
Songs and laughter
Fill every pause along the way;
And to my spirit let me say:
"O soul, be happy; soon 'tis trod,
The path made thus for thee by God.
Be happy thou, and bless His name
By whom such marvellous beauty came.
And let no chance by me be lost
To kindness show at any cost. I
shall not pass this way again;
Then let me now relieve some pain,
Remove some barrier from the road,
Or brighten some one's heavy load;
A helping hand to this one lend,
Then turn some other to befriend.
O God, forgive That now I live
As if I might, sometime, return
To bless the weary ones that yearn
For help and comfort every day,-
For there be such along the way.
O God, forgive that I have seen
The beauty only, have not been
Awake to sorrow such as this;
That I have drunk the cup of bliss
Remembering not that those there be
Who drink the dregs of misery.
I love the beauty of the scene,
Would roam again o'er fields so green;
But since I may not, let me spend
My strength for others to the end,-
For those who tread on rock and stone,
And bear their burdens all alone,
Who loiter not in leafy bowers,
Nor hear the birds nor pluck the flowers.
A larger kindness give to me,
A deeper love and sympathy;
Then, O, one day may someone say-
Remembering a lessened pain-
"Would she could pass this way again."

— eva rose york

Friday, October 13, 2017

Duty


Thank God every morning when you get up,
that you have something to do that day
which must be done,
whether you like it or not.
Being forced to work and forced to do your best
will breed in you temperance and self-control,
diligence and strength of will,
cheerfulness and content,
and a hundred virtues
which the idle never know.
~Charles Kingsley

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Actions Speak Louder than Words


I'd rather see a lecture than hear one any day,

I'd rather one should walk with me, than merely show the way.

The eye's a better pupil and more willing than the ear;

Fine counsel is confusing, but example's always clear;

And the best of all the teachers are the men who live their creeds,

For, to see the words in action, is what everybody needs.

I can soon learn how to do it, if you'll let me see it done,

I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run.

And the lessons you deliver may be very wise and true;

But I'd rather learn the way it's done by observing what you do.

-- Edgar Guest



Monday, October 9, 2017

A Silent Personal Influence





There is a silent personal influence, like a shadow, which goes out from everyone--and this influence is always leaving results and impressions wherever it touches. You cannot live a day--and not touch some other life. Wherever you go--your shadow falls on others, and they are either better or worse for your presence.

Our influence
depends upon what we are--more than upon what we do. It is by living a beautiful life--that we bless the world. I do not under-estimate holy activities. Good deeds must characterize every true life. Our hands must do holy works. But if the life itself is noble, beautiful, holy, Christ-like, one that is itself a blessing and an inspiration--the worth of the influence is many times multiplied.

~J. R. Miller from "In Green Pastures"

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Garden of my Heart



Their soul shall be as a watered garden.” Jeremiah 31:12

In the Garden of my Heart
There’s a sacred and hallowed retreat,
Where my soul finds a fellowship sweet,
Where the Lord of my life I may meet,
In the garden of my heart.
Refrain
In the cool of the day He walks with me,
In the rose bordered way He talks with me;
In love’s holy union,
And sacred communion,
In the garden of my heart.
There is naught can disturb or molest,
There my spirit finds comfort and rest,
And my soul is no longer distressed
In the garden of my heart.
Refrain
Shut away from earth’s strife and its din,
And protected from soul staining sin,
For my Savior is dwelling within,
In the garden of my heart.
Refrain
There the dove of sweet peace always sings,
And my faith ever trustingly clings;
And the chime of sweet happiness rings
In the garden of my heart.
Haldor Lillenas (1919)

Leisure



What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare,
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait til her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have not time to stand and stare.
William Henry Davies
1870-