Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Promise in the storm...

    The rain falls in torrents. The trees sway wildly in the sudden gales of wind.  "Flash!" a bright white bolt of electrifying light streaks across a mass of gray thunderheads in the east.  A deafening clap of thunder follows close on it's heals.  The roar of rain fills our ears.  A sudden summer thunderstorm is upon us.
     We dash for shelter and watch from the window as the awesome display continues. our hearts beating fast with the excitement of the storm.  Suddenly there is a lull.  The rain falls in soft showers.  The thunder rumbles low and far away.  For a moment the clouds part,  a warm ray of sunshine lightens the sky, and then while the rain continues to fall all around a rainbow appears. It's iridescent hues glow against the somber gray of the sky shining with promise.
     Now it fades.  The wind picks up.  There is the roar of thunder, more flashes of light.  The rain falls heavily, whipped against the walls of our home by the driving wind.  The sky looks darker than ever and we turn away to other tasks, but still in my mind's eye I see the rainbow, a covenant made long ago by a faithful God that never again would a flood destroy the earth.  It is a promise that this storm too will pass.
     Sometimes in our lives the storms rage.  The winds of trial buffet us, the thunder of fear and an unknown future rumble in our ears, the soaking downpour of pain and affliction soak us through and through, the lightening of evil flashes again and again across the sky of our lives or the lives of those we love, threatening destruction and doom.  We dash for the shelter of our Father's arms and watch from the window of our hearts as the storm rages.  Then suddenly there is a lull.  In the stillness our weary, aching hearts hear the soft whisper of our Father's voice.  It is like the sunshine has just burst through the clouds.  Then in the stillness rings a promise, some promise just for us.  Some assurance that perfectly fits our situation.  It is the shimmering brilliance of a rainbow of promise.  A promise that "I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.  When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour:"  (Isaiah 43:1b-3a)
     Though the storm returns in it's furry and the rainbow fades from our sight, it's glowing memory remains in our hearts, giving the hope that only He can give.  The calm restful assurance that He is more than able and that He will work all for good to those who love Him.                  Rachael Lofgren

Friday, July 23, 2010

Thou dost know the way

My Father, to my heart I take,
Thy simple word of truth today,
I shall not lose me in the brake;
For Thou dost know the way.

Oh, music that the soft winds blow
Sweet song of peace for troubled day;
I am contented not to know,
Since Thou dost know the way.

Before my face a mountain frowns,
Above me all the sky is gray;
The mist is lying on the downs;
But Thou dost know the way.

Around me various voices call,
But Thou wilt never let me stray;
For Thou, my Father, knowest all
The windings of the way.

My Father to my heart I take,
This simple word of truth today;
I will not lose me in the brake,
For Thou dost know the way.
                         ---Amy Carmichael

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Matchless Pearl

                        THE MATCHLESS PEARL

     A heavy splash was followed by many ripples and then the water below the pier was still. An American missionary crouched on the low Indian pier, his eyes riveted on the place where a stream of little bubbles rose to the surface from deep under the water.
     Suddenly a black head appeared and a pair of bright eyes looked up. Then the old Indian pearl diver was clambering onto the dock, grinning and shaking the water from his shining oiled body.
     "As nice a dive as I've ever seen, Rambhau!" cried David Morse, the missionary.
     "Look at this one, Sahib," said Rambhau, taking a big oyster from between his teeth. "I think it'll be good."
     Morse took it and while he was trying it open with his pocket knife Rambhau was pulling other small oysters from his loincloth. "Rambhau! Look!" exclaimed Morse, "Why, it's a treasure!"
     "Yes, a good one," shrugged the diver.
     "Good! Have you ever seen a better pearl? It's perfect, isn't it!" Morse had been turning the big pearl over and over and then handed it to the  Indian.
     "Oh, yes, there are better pearls, much better. Why, I have one-" his voice trailed off. "See this one-the imperfections-the black specks here, this tiny dent; even in shape it is a bit oblong, but good as pearls go. It is just as you say of your God. To themselves people look perfect, but God sees them as they actually are." The two men started up the dusty road to town.
     "You're right, Rambhau. And God offers a perfect righteousness to all who will simply believe and accept His free offer of salvation through His Beloved Son."
     "But, Sahib, as so many times before I have told you, it's too easy. I cannot accept that. Perhaps I am too proud. I must work for my place in heaven."
     "Oh, Rambhau! Don't you see, you'll never get to heaven that way. There's only one way to heaven. And see, Rambhau, you are getting older now. Perhaps this is your last season of diving for pearls.
If you ever want to see heaven's gates of pearl, you must accept the new life God offers you in His Son."
     "My last season! Yes, you are right. Today was my last day of diving. This is the last month of the year; and I have preparations to make."
     "You should prepare for the life to come."
     "That's just what I'm going to do. Do you see that man over there? He is a pilgrim, perhaps to the temples in Mumbai or Kolkotha. He walks barefooted and picks the sharpest stones and see-every few rods he kneels down and kisses the road. That is good. The first day of the New Year I begin my pilgrimage. All my life I have planned it I shall make sure of heaven this time. I am going to the temples in and around Delhi on my knees."
     "Man! You're crazy! It's more than fourteen hundred miles to Delhi! The skin will break on your knees, and you'll have blood poisoning or leprosy before you get to Mumbai."
     "No, I must get to Kashy and Delhi. And then the immortals will reward me. The suffering will be sweet, for it will purchase heaven for me."
     "Rambhau! My friend! You can't! How can I let you do this when Jesus Christ has died to purchase heaven for you?" But the old man could not be moved.
     "You are my dearest friend on earth, Sahib Morse. Through all these years you have stood beside me. In sickness and want you have been sometimes my only friend. But even you cannot turn me from this great desire to purchase eternal bliss. I must go to Delhi."
It was useless. The old pearl diver could not understand, could not accept the free salvation of Christ.
     One afternoon Morse answered a knock at the door to find Rambhau there. "My good friend!" cried Morse.
     "Come in, Rambhau."
     "No," said the pearl diver, "I want you to come with me to my house, Sahib, for a short time. I have something to show you. Please do not say, No."
     The heart of the missionary leaped. Perhaps God was answering prayer at last. "Of course, I'll come," he said.
     "I leave for Delhi just one week from today, you know," said Rambhau as they neared his house ten minutes later. The missionary's heart sank. Morse was seated on the chair his friend had built especially for him, where many times he had sat explaining to the diver God's way to heaven.
     Rambhau left the room to return soon with a small but heavy English strong box. "I have had this box for years," he said. "I keep only one thing in it. Now I will tell you about it. Sahib Morse, I once had a son."
     "A son! Why, Rambhau, you had never said a word about him!"
   "No, Sahib, I couldn't." Even as he spoke the diver's eyes were moistened. "Now, I must tell you, for soon I will leave, and who knows whether I shall ever return? My son was a diver, too. He was the best pearl diver on the coast of India. He had the swiftest dive, the keenest eye, the strongest arm, the longest breath of any man who sought for pearls. What joy he brought me! He always dreamed of finding a pearl beyond all that had ever been found. One day he found it. But when he found it, he had already been underwater too long. He lost his life soon after."
     The old pearl diver bowed his head and for a moment his whole body shook. "All these years I have kept the pearl," he continued, "but now I am going, not to return...and to you, my best friend, I am giving my pearl."
The old man worked the combination on the strong box and drew from it a carefully wrapped package. Gently opening the cotton, he picked tip a mammoth pearl and placed it in the hand of the missionary. It was one of the largest pearls ever found off the coast of India, and it glowed with a luster and brilliance never seen in cultured pearls. It would have brought a fabulous sum in any market.
     For a moment the missionary was speechless and gazed with awe.
"Rambhau," he said, "this is a wonderful pearl, an amazing pearl. Let me buy it. I would give ten thousand Rupees for it."
     "Sahib," said Rambhau, stiffening his whole body, "this pearl is beyond all price. No man in all the world has money enough to pay what this pearl is worth to me. On the market a million rupees could not buy it.
     "I will not sell it. You may only have it as a gift."
     "No, Rambhau, I cannot accept that. As much as I want the pearl, I cannot accept it that way. Perhaps I am proud, but that is too easy. I must pay for it, or work for it."
The old pearl diver was stunned. "You don't understand at all, Sahib. Don't you see? My only son gave his life to get this pearl, and I wouldn't sell it for any money. Its worth is in the lifeblood of my son. I cannot sell this, but do permit me to give it to you. Just accept it in token of the love I bear for you."
     The missionary was choked and for a moment could not speak. Then he gripped the hand of the old man. "Rambhau," he said in a low voice, "don't you see? That is just what you have been saying to God."
     The diver looked long and searchingly at the missionary and slowly he began to understand. "God is offering to you eternal life as a free gift. It is so great and priceless that no man on earth could buy it. No man on earth could earn it. No man is good enough to deserve it. It cost God the lifeblood of His only Son to make entrance for you into heaven. In a hundred pilgrimages, you could not earn that entrance. All you can do is accept it as a token of God's love for you, a sinner.
    Rambhau, of course, I will accept the pearl in deep humility, praying God I may be worthy of your love. Rambhau, won't you too accept God's great gift of eternal life, in deep humility, knowing it cost Him the death of His Son to offer it to you?" "The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom. 6:23).
     Great tears were rolling down the cheeks of the old man. The veil was lifting. He understood at last. "Sahib, I see it now. I believe Jesus gave Himself for me. I accept Him."
                                                          Author Unknown

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Be Still My Soul

Be still my soul! The Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently thy cross of grief and pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide,
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still my soul! Thy best thy heavenly friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still my soul! Thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still my soul! the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul, when dearest friends depart
And all is darkened in the vale of tears.
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrows and thy fears.
Be still, my soul, thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still my soul! The hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone
Sorrow forgot love's purest joys restored
Be still my soul! when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

Friday, July 9, 2010

"Crystallized tears"

"He hath... made me a polished shaft."  (Isa 49:2)

     "There is a very famous "pebble beach" at Pescadero, on the California coast. The lone line of white surf comes up with it's everlasting roar, and rattles and thunders among the stones on the shore. They are caught in the arms of the pitiless waves, and tossed and rolled, and rubbed together, and ground against the sharp grained cliffs. Day and night forever the ceaseless attrition goes on - never any rest. And the results?
     Tourists from all the world flock thither to gather the round and beautiful stones. They are laid up in cabinets; they ornament the parlor mantels. But go yonder, around the point of the cliff that breaks off the face of the sea; and up in the quiet cove, sheltered from the storms, and lying ever in the sun, you shall find abundance of pebbles that have never been chosen by the traveler.
     Why are these left all the years through unsought? For the simple reason that they have escaped all the turmoil and attrition of the waves, and the quiet and peace have left them as they found them, rough and angular and devoid of beauty. Polish comes through trouble.
     Since God knows what niche we are to fill, let us trust Him to shape us to it. Since He knows what work we are to do, let us trust Him to drill us to the proper preparation."

"O blows that smite! O hurts that pierce
This shrinking heart of mine!
What are ye but the Master's tools
Forming a work divine?"

"Nearly all God's Jewels are crystallized tears." 

                                                     ---Taken from streams in the desert


Our Conquering King

 "The Lord sat enthroned at the flood. And the Lord sits as King forever.
The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people 
with peace."   ~Psalm 29:10-11

Oh, Lord our strength and confidence,
Our eyes are unto thee;
Thou art the rock of our defense,
Our song of victory;
Thou who dost still the violence,
Of any raging sea.

Thou at the flood didst sit as King;
What are our floods to Thee,
To whom it is a little thing 
To walk upon the sea?
We wait to hail Thee conquering 
King of eternity.

Only, O Lord our God, we pray,
Teach us to do Thy will;
Through windy hours and flying spray,
Thy purposes fulfill;
Until the words of yesterday,
Thou speakest "Peace be still." 
                     ---Amy Carmichael

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Love that will not let me go

"In the mid 1800s, George Matheson of Scotland was engaged to be married. Before the wedding Matheson found out he was losing his eyesight. His fiancee upon hearing the news broke off the engagement telling him that she could not spend her life with a blind man. Years later, on the evening of the marriage of Matheson’s sister he experienced immense mental anguish. But God spoke to him and within just a few minutes Matheson penned lyrics to O Love That Will Not Let Me Go. They expressed that while one had stopped loving him, God would never stop loving him."     Originally found on:     

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.