Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Key Called Promise

I've been wanting to make this post ever since Sunday night's sermon, but I'm just getting to it. As you probably already know, next to the Bible, The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan is the most widely read book in the English language. Not only has it been translated into over two hundred languages, but it's still alive and quite well after having been first published in 1678. It has never gone out of print. Isn't that remarkable? If you've never read it, I urge you to do so and to introduce it to your children. There are versions for the younger folks, you know, and there are tapes that can be gotten.

You may also be familiar with the part of the story where Christian unfortunately leads his friend Hopeful out the the way by attempting an easier path, a poor choice, where they find themselves in all kinds of difficulties, last of which is on the grounds of Doubting Castle, owned by Giant Despair. The old giant was, of course, determined to do them in and they were at their wit's end when on Saturday about midnight they began to pray and continued to do so until almost dawn. It is here that Mr. Bunyan ingeniously weaves in a truth that we all must remember:

Now a little before it was day, good Christian, as one half amazed, brake out in this passionate speech: What a fool, quoth he, am I thus to lie in a stinking dungeon, when I may as well walk at liberty! I have a key in my bosom called Promise, that will, I am persuaded, open any lock in Doubting Castle. Then said Hopeful, That's good news; good brother, pluck it out of thy bosom and try.

And so Christian did pull it out of his bosom and he tried and opened every door so that they eventually escaped from that horrible place and made it back to the King's highway and were safely away from the giant's jurisdiction. All of us have that key, you know, and it doesn't matter what the circumstances might be.

This has been a week of sad news. Actually, every week we'll hear of sad news. My point here is that I hope those undergoing trials will remember this key. As believers, we have it in our bosoms, and it will unlock the doors that close us into despair and doubts. For some it's particularly difficult--the many saints who are being persecuted as well as those who are going through trials. How easy it would be for the Christians in Myanmar and China to despair right now. The pain and grief inflicted on the Chapman family at this time could bring doubts of the goodness of God. I hope these and the many others who are groping in dark times will read the many promises given by our God in His Word--there is the key that will unlock any doors that would keep them from finding the way of faith.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Life In a Jar

Did you know about this woman? I didn't. Her name is Irena Sendlerowa and she died this morning in Poland at the age of 98. As I write about this, it's not that she and I shared the same religious affiliation and beliefs. I really don't want to get into that at all with this post, but I was captivated by her story when I read it this morning. Apparently, very few people knew about her accomplishments in Nazi Poland during World War II until 1999, when a high school teacher assigned her life as a project from which the students created a play called "Life In a Jar"based on their findings. Have any of you seen or heard of this play? Apparently it's been performed in many places in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. I notice that they just produced a DVD, which I'm thinking about ordering. If it seems like a worthwhile investment, I'll put it in my Amazon Listmania and do a post on my other blog.

Irena S. seems to have been a woman who had a spirit of courage and valor, similar to Corrie Ten Boom and Amy Carmichael, evangelical Christians who were loved by all of us. We can do little harm to let our daughters and granddaughters know that women like these existed, and hopefully still exist, in a world of hate, cruelty and evil. I hope it will spur them in the direction of the character qualities possessed by women such as these. Maybe the circumstances won't be as horrific as those known by Amy, Corrie, and Irena, but if they ever are going to be mothers and raise children to love Christ in the days that are coming, my take on it is that they will be rescuing children from evil. And they certainly need courage and valor for that.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

My Mother's Hands

My Mother's Hands

Such beautiful, beautiful hands!
They're neither white nor small;
And you, I know, would scarcely think
That they are fair at all.
I've looked on hands whose form and hue
A sculptor's dream might be;
Yet are those aged, wrinkled hands
More beautiful to me.

Such beautiful, beautiful hands!
Though heart were weary and sad,
Those patient hands kept toiling on,
That children might be glad.
I always weep, as, looking back
To childhood's distant day,
I think how those hands rested not
When mine were at their play.

Such beautiful, beautiful hands!
They're growing feeble now,
For time and pain have left their mark
On hands and heart and brow.
Alas! alas! the nearing time,
And the sad, sad day to me,
When 'neath the daisies, out of sight,
These hands will folded be.

But oh! beyond this shadow land,
Where all is bright and fair;
I know full well these dear old hands
Will palms of victory bear;
Where crystal streams through endless years
Flow over golden sands,
And where the old grow young again,
I'll clasp my mother's hands.

~G. P. Morris

That sad, sad day has come for me, but I'm looking ahead to those endless years (through tears as I type). A blessed Mother's Day to all. May you lovingly clasp the hands of your mother now and those of your children.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

National Day of Prayer

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped." Psalm 28:7

Well, that certainly is true and it's true of all of life, even for our country in this time of uncertainty and for me, confusion. I wrote a post about this a few weeks ago, and I still need to remind myself that my Lord is my hope for the future, not any political candidate. If my hope were in any of the candidates at this time, I would be most miserable.

I notice that this year's theme for the National Day of Prayer is "Prayer! America's Strength and Shield," taken from the above psalm. I wish that were true. For some reason, reading the President's proclamation did not bring any comfort to me. We were a Christian nation at one time and now I wonder if we can still lay claim to that. I think we want to be a country where "all religions" feel comfortable and I'm wondering what our triune God intends to do about it. We were a country at one time wherein the principles of God's Word were at the foundation of what we did in our homes, schools, and elsewhere. I think now anything goes and it's not what God thinks that's governs us, but the wants of the individual, no matter how immoral that may be. I wonder how long our holy God will endure it.

Well, saints, we can pray for this, our beloved country. We can pray on this National Day of Prayer and we should be praying during the many days ahead, especially between now and November. Who knows that He may spare us for the sake of ten righteous within the city.