The Greater Love

Hear thou my prayer, great God of opulence;
Give me no blessings, save as recompense
For blessings which I lovingly bestow
On needy stranger or on suffering foe.
If Wealth, by chance, should on my path appear,
Let Wisdom and Benevolence stand near,
And Charity within my portal wait,
To guard me from acquaintance intimate.

Yet in this intricate great art of living
Guide me away from misdirected giving,
And show me how to spur the laggard soul
To strive alone once more to gain the goal.

Repay my worldly efforts to attain
Only as I develop heart and brain;
Nor brand me with the ‘Dollar Sign’ above
A bosom void of sympathy and love.

If on the carrying winds my name be blown
To any land or time beyond my own,
Let it not be as one who gained the day
By crowding others from the chosen way;
Rather as one who missed the highest place
Pausing to cheer spent runners in the race.
To do–to have–is lesser than to BE:
The greater boon I ask, dear God, from Thee.

– Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Cast Thy Burden

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“Cast thy burden on the Lord” (Ps. lv. 22).

Dear friends, sometimes we bring a burden to God, and we have such a groaning over it, and we seem to think God has a dreadful time, too, but in reality it does not burden Him at all.

God says: It is a light thing for Me to do this for you. Your load, though heavy for you, is not heavy for Him. Christ carries the whole on one shoulder, not two shoulders. The government of the world is upon His shoulder.

He is not struggling and groaning with it. His mighty arm is able to carry all your burdens. There is power in Christ for our sanctification. He is able to sanctify you. Yes, yes, the Lord can sanctify, the Lord can heal, the Lord can do anything.

You must have faith in God. If you come to this river this morning, it will take you as your Niagara would take a little boat, and just bear you down–to a precipice? Oh, no, but to the bosom of love and blessing forever.

Oft there comes a wondrous message,
When my hopes are growing dim,
I can hear it thro’ the darkness
Like some sweet and far-off hymn.
Nothing is too hard for Jesus,
No man can work like Him.

A.B. Simpson

NO other Name- Jesus

“For there is none other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

Jesus! the only name that’s given,
Through which salvation we may claim;
This, this alone, we breathe to Heaven,
For God accepts no other name.

No other name when skies are bright.
And sunshine glows on field and flower;
No other name when, dark as night,
The heavy clouds tempestuous lower.

No other name when, drooping low,
O’erburdened by sin’s heavy load,
The contrite spirit pines to know
The way to hope, to Heaven, to God.

No other name when, like a flood,
Temptations beat upon the soul;
Faith, breathing that one name to God,
The raging billows shall control.

In peace or conflict, toil or rest,
In wealth or want, in praise or blame,
Still wear it graven on thy breast,
And, dying, plead no other name!

– Mrs. J. C. Yule

Requirement

We live by Faith; but Faith is ot the slave
Of text and legend. Reason’s voice and God’s,
Nature’s and Duty’s, never are at odds.
What asks our Father of his children, save

Justice and mercy and humility,
A reasonable service of good deeds,
Pure living, tenderness to human needs,
Reverence and trust, and prayer for light to see

The Master’s footprints in our daily ways?
No knotted scourge nor sacrificial knife,
But the calm beauty of an ordered life
Whose very breathing is unworded praise!–

A life that stands as all true lives have stood,
Firm-rooted in the faith that God is Good.

– John Greenleaf Whittier

Behold The Sun

Behold the Sun, how bright
From yonder East he springs,
As if the soul of life and light
Were breathing from his wings.

So bright the Gospel broke
Upon the souls of men;
So fresh the dreaming world awoke
In Truth’s full radiance then.

Before yon Sun arose,
Stars clustered thro’ the sky–
But oh how dim, how pale were those,
To His one burning eye!

So Truth lent many a ray,
To bless the Pagan’s night–
But, Lord, how weak, how cold were they
To Thy One glorious Light!

– Sir Thomas Moore

Creation

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The impulse of all love is to create.
God was so full of love, in his embrace
He clasped the empty nothingness of space,
And low! the solar system! High in state
The mighty sun sat, so supreme and great
With this same essence, one smile of its face
Brought myriad forms of life forth; race on race,
From insects up to men.

Through love, not hate,
All that is grand in nature or in art
Sprang into being. He who would build sublime
And lasting works, to stand the test of time,
Must inspiration draw from his full heart.
And he who loveth widely, well, and much,
The secret holds of the true master touch.

– Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Encourage One Another

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There is a reason why many people, including believers in Jesus, have the opinion that many Christians are aloof, unapproachable, and have unchristian behavior patterns. The things that many of them say, as well as the things that they never say, are a reflection of attitudes that are not in line with the heart of Christ. Sadly, this is harming the people of God, especially new believers in Jesus who do not know the Bible well. Because of their lack of Bible knowledge, they might not know when someone is misrepresenting the heart of Christ. There are many who undoubtedly would like to ask some Christians, “Why is it so easy for you to preach the truth to me, citing scripture after scripture, but it is so difficult for you to say something encouraging to me?

Discouraging Words

If we want to be Christians who do the will of the heart of Christ, we will edify the church; we will not discourage her. Every person who has received Jesus as Lord is part of the church.

Let’s focus on the need to learn what it means to love our brethren who are going through difficult times, tribulation, and the fiery trial of their faith. Following are some examples of the insensitive comments and statements that many Christians make in response to the suffering and the problems of their brethren in the faith. Take note of the words that are said, as well as those that are NOT said. And, compare the insensitive “Christian” responses with biblical responses that indeed do reflect the heart of Christ.

1. Should Christians who live in countries where they don’t suffer persecution for their faith in Jesus say to the martyrs: “Stand strong. You shouldn’t be sad because the Lord is our joy. You have to dress in the armor of God. That’s how we stand.” Although these words are true, they do not reflect the heart of Christ that is revealed when we read, “…Weep with them that weep” (Romans 12:15). “Bear ye one another’s burdens…” (Galatians 6:2).

2. Is it okay for those who have parents that love them to say to the orphan who wants a father and mother: “Orphan, you shouldn’t be sad. Having parents is not what makes you happy in life. The Lord will be your Father and will take better care of you than a mother. The heart of Christ says, “I understand that you want a stable home and parents that love you. I join your prayers for God to grant your desire as there’s nothing wrong or abnormal in your desire. We read, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction…” (James 1:27).

3. Is it okay for those who can walk to say to the person in a wheel chair: “Being able to walk will not make you happy. The only thing we need is a relationship with the Lord to be happy. But, the apostles Peter and John, who had the heart of Christ, did not give such an insensitive response to the man who was born lame. We read, “Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer…. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate…. Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something from them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold I have none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up. And, immediately his feet and ancle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking and leaping, and praising God” (Acts 3:1-9). Finally, that man could enjoy what so many people take for granted.

4. Should women who are mothers say to women who are barren: “You shouldn’t be sad. Having children will not make you happy in life. You can have many spiritual children through your service to the Lord.” Does the heart of Christ give such a callous response to the desires of others? No, it does not. We read, “And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the Lord had shut up her womb. And she (Hannah) was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore. …And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the Lord remembered her. Wherefore it came to pass when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel…. For this child I prayed (said Hannah). And the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him” (1 Samuel 1:6,10,19,20,27).

5. Is it right for married Christians to say to their single brothers and sisters: “You shouldn’t be sad. Having a husband or wife is not what makes you happy. The Lord is your joy. Do we forget how the heart of Christ responded to the desire of Hannah to have a child? The Lord did not make light of her desire. Why should Christians make light of the desires as well as the tribulations of their brethren in the Lord? If the only joy we need is the joy of the Lord, why did the Lord himself tell us to ask our petitions in his name that our joy may be FULL (St. John 16:24)?

6. Is is right for young Christians to tell the elderly believers who languish away in nursing homes: “You need not be sad, because you have the Lord. He is your friend and faithful companion.” What an insensitive and ugly response that does not reflect the caring heart of Christ. The Lord is the one who put the desire for friendship, as well as other desires, in man. He wants those desires satisfied, which is why he does not make light of them.

7. Is it right for those who have their freedom to tell our brethren imprisoned for their faith, as well as the innocent in prison: “Don’t be sad. If you are truly saved, Jesus is right there in prison with you. If these insensitive words truly reflected the heart of Christ, why then did Jesus say that when we visit our brethren in prisons it is the same as visiting him in prison (Matthew 25:31-46)?

8. Should gentile Christians, not having been subjected to the partial spiritual blindness that has happened to Israel, say things like: “The evidence that Christ is your Messiah and Savior of the world is as clear as can be, but you don’t see it. What’s wrong with you? The heart of Christ tells us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. True peace is Jesus. Do we love Christ, but not the people from which he came according to the flesh?

This list could go on and on. The idea is to keep in mind that when our brethren in the Lord are going through hardships, some of them are fighting the good fight of faith. The heart of Christ tells us to encourage, edify, and pray for them instead of making light of their troubles and their desires.

We are not told to send them negative messages that say that because they are depressed for a while that they are weak, abnormal, or don’t really know the Lord.

The Saints Experienced Great Depression

“For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8).

And, we read, “…Though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1: 6-7).

Let Us Not Be Like Job’s “Friends”

The insensitive words that come out of our mouth as well as the encouraging words that we do NOT speak send messages, sometimes very negative ones. Saying things like, “You don’t need this or that to be happy. Let the Lord be your joy,” amounts to taking a “holier than thou” attitude. It can be perceived as saying, “Were I in your shoes, I’d be strong in the Lord. I’d know how to “hide” myself in Jesus.”

Let’s not forget that the so-called friends of Job got into much trouble because of the words they spoke to a suffering servant of the Lord. They spoke words that did not come from the comforting heart of Christ. They provoked the anger of God (Job 42:7).

The apostle Paul defines true Christian love. We read, “Though I speak with tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (love), I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity (love), I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned (sacrificed), and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity (love) suffereth long, and is kind. Charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth…” (1 Corinthians 13:1-6). Love is the heart of Christ.

Heavenly Manna

Trained To Comfort

streams_title“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God” (Isa. 40:1).

Store up comfort. This was the prophet’s mission. The world is full of comfortless hearts, and ere thou art sufficient for this lofty ministry, thou must be trained. And thy training is costly in the extreme; for, to render it perfect, thou too must pass through the same afflictions as are wringing countless hearts of tears and blood. Thus thy own life becomes the hospital ward where thou art taught the Divine art of comfort. Thou art wounded, that in the binding up of thy wounds by the Great Physician, thou mayest learn how to render first aid to the wounded everywhere. Dost thou wonder why thou art passing through some special sorrow? Wait till ten years are passed, and thou wilt find many others afflicted as thou art. Thou wilt tell them how thou hast suffered and hast been comforted; then as the tale is unfolded, and the anodynes applied which once thy God wrapped around thee, in the eager look and the gleam of hope that shall chase the shadow of despair across the soul, thou shalt know why thou wast afflicted, and bless God for the discipline that stored thy life with such a fund of experience and helpfulness. –Selected

God does not comfort us to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters. –Dr. Jowett

“They tell me I must bruise
The rose’s leaf,
Ere I can keep and use
Its fragrance brief.

“They tell me I must break
The skylark’s heart,
Ere her cage song will make
The silence start.

“They tell me love must bleed,
And friendship weep,
Ere in my deepest need
I touch that deep.

“Must it be always so
With precious things?
Must they be bruised and go
With beaten wings?

“Ah, yes! by crushing days,
By caging nights, by scar
Of thorn and stony ways,
These blessings are!”

~Mrs. Charles Cowman

In Quest

Have I not voyaged, friend beloved, with thee
On the great waters of the unsounded sea,
Momently listening with suspended oar
For the low rote of waves upon a shore
Changeless as heaven, where never fog-cloud drifts
Over its windless wood, nor mirage lifts
The steadfast hills; where never birds of doubt
Sing to mislead, and every dream dies out,
And the dark riddles which perplex us here
In the sharp solvent of its light are clear?
Thou knowest how vain our quest; how, soon or late,
The baffling tides and circles of debate
Swept back our bark unto its starting-place,
Where, looking forth upon the blank, gray space,
And round about us seeing, with sad eyes,
The same old difficult hills and cloud-cold skies,
We said: “This outward search availeth not
To find Him. He is farther than we thought,
Or, haply, nearer. To this very spot
Whereon we wait, this commonplace of home,
As to the well of Jacob, He may come
And tell us all things.” As I listened there,
Through the expectant silences of prayer,
Somewhat I seemed to hear, which hath to me
Been hope, strength, comfort, and I give it thee.

“The riddle of the world is understood
Only by him who feels that God is good,
As only he can feel who makes his love
The ladder of his faith, and climbs above
On th’ rounds of his best instincts; draws no line
Between mere human goodness and divine,
But, judging God by what in him is best,
With a child’s trust leans on a Father’s breast,
And hears unmoved the old creeds babble still
Of kingly power and dread caprice of will,
Chary of blessing, prodigal of curse,
The pitiless doomsman of the universe.
Can Hatred ask for love? Can Selfishness
Invite to self-denial? Is He less
Than man in kindly dealing? Can He break
His own great law of fatherhood, forsake
And curse His children? Not for earth and heaven
Can separate tables of the law be given.
No rule can bind which He himself denies;
The truths of time are not eternal lies.”

So heard I; and the chaos round me spread
To light and order grew; and, “Lord,” I said,
“Our sins are our tormentors, worst of all
Felt in distrustful shame that dares not call
Upon Thee as our Father. We have set
A strange god up, but Thou remainest yet.
All that I feel of pity Thou hast known
Before I was; my best is all Thy own.
From Thy great heart of goodness mine but drew
Wishes and prayers; but Thou, O Lord, wilt do,
In Thy own time, by ways I cannot see,
All that I feel when I am nearest Thee!”

– John Greenleaf Whittier

Eat Laugh Love

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I’ve been granted the most beautiful blessing. Time to spend quality time with my grandmother over the years. I know so many people that never got the opportunity to spend time with their grandparents.

She has imparted so much wisdom and love into my life. Telling me of so many childhood adventures, and also stating things that she would have loved to have done, but didn’t,for what now seems to be fruitless reasons.

It’s sad to hear an older person lament their past: “I would have done “this or that”, if I’d only had the opportunity.”  In some cases they simply let opportunities slip by.  And, as lots of people will attest to, sometimes we just have to go out and find opportunity for ourselves.

How do you do that? By being alert, with all your senses tuned to what’s going on around you.  The simplest comment made in passing could provide the opportunity of a lifetime.  Now that nearly every person in the USA has at least the possibility of logging on to the Internet, there’s really no excuse to explore possibilities.

What are some things that you have always wanted to do? Make it happen, even if its on a small scale.  Want to go to Hawaii, yet don’t have the resources to travel? Well, have a luau in your backyard. Don’t think you have the time? Make time! Life is too short to live with “would have, could have, and should have done this or that! Take advantage of every opportunity to live a fulfilling life without regret.

Live each and every day for God, and fulfill His purposes.

Don’t count each day, but make each day count!

For no one knows what is best for a person during his life–during the few days of his fleeting life–for they pass away like a shadow. Nor can anyone tell him what the future will hold for him on earth. Ecclesiastes 6:12 NET

So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God. Ecclesiastes 2:24 NLT

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Matthew 6:25 NASB