Sunday, October 26, 2008

"The World's Bible"

Christ has no hands but our hands
To do His work today;
He has no feet but our feet
To lead men in His way;
He has no tongue but our tongue
To tell men how He died;
He has no help but our help
To bring them to His side.

We are the only Bible
The careless world will read;
We are the sinners gospel,
We are the scoffer's creed;
We are the Lord's last message,
Given in deed and word;
What if the type is crooked?
What if the print is blurred?

What if our hands are busy
With other work than His?
What if our feet are walking
Where sin's allurement is?
What if our tongues are speaking
Of things His lips would spurn?
How can we hope to help Him
And hasten His return?

~Annie Johnson Flint~

Ye are our epistle written in our hearts,
known and read of all men:

2 Corinthians 3:2

Vessels Unto Honour

In a great house, there are vessels
Some of wood and some of clay
There are great ones and small ones
You can choose the ones you may.
Some for service, some for beauty,
Others bear refreshing wine.
Lord I care not how You use me,
Please just hear this prayer of mine.

Make me a vessel unto honour
The fame of this world, I refuse
Sanctify me, cleanse me and fill me
Meet for the Master’s own use.

Lord, my vessel is empty
It is purged from dross and sin
By your precious blood on Calvary,
It has cleansed me now within.
Tho’ unworthy for Your service,
Yet Your grace is mine today.
So I offer You my vessel
For your use and this I pray.

Make me a vessel unto honour
The fame of this world, I refuse
Sanctify me, cleanse me and fill me
Yes I’ll be meet, for the Master’s own use.

Words and Music by Julia Montoro

2 Timothy 2:20-21 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.

The Vessel

The Vessel

The Master was searching for a vessel to use;
On the shelf there were many - which one would He choose?
"Take me," cried the gold one, "I'm shiny and bright,
I'm of great value and I do things just right.
My beauty and luster will outshine the rest
And for someone like You, Master, gold would be the best!"

The Master passed on with no word at all;
He looked at a silver urn, narrow and tall;
"I'll serve You, dear Master, I'll pour out Your wine
And I'll be at Your table whenever You dine,
My lines are so graceful, my carvings so true,
And my silver will always compliment You."

Unheeding the Master passed on to the brass,
It was wide-mouthed and shallow, and polished like glass.
"Here! Here!" cried the vessel, "I know I will do,
Place me on Your table for all men to view."
"Look at me," called the goblet of crystal so clear,
"My transparency shows my contents so dear,
Though fragile am I, I will serve You with pride,
And I'm sure I'll be happy in Your house to abide."

The Master came next to a vessel of wood,
Polished and carved, it solidly stood.
"You may use me, dear Master," the wooden bowl said,
"But I'd rather You used me for fruit, not for bread!"

Then the Master looked down and saw a vessel of clay.
Empty and broken it helplessly lay.
No hope had the vessel that the Master might choose,
To cleanse and make whole, to fill and to use.

"Ah! This is the vessel I've been hoping to find,
I will mend and use it and make it all Mine.
I need not the vessel with pride of its self;
Nor the one who is narrow to sit on the shelf;
Nor the one who is big-mouthed and shallow and loud;
Nor one who displays his contents so proud;
Not the one who thinks he can do all things just right;
But this plain earthy vessel filled with My power and might."

Then gently He lifted the vessel of clay.
Mended and cleansed it and filled it that day.
Spoke to it kindly. "There's work you must do,
Just pour out to others as I pour into you."

~Beulah V. Cornwall~

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels,
that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

2nd Corinthians 4:7

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Race

I have shared this for a devotion at the Gospel Mission, with the perspective of considering the father in the poem as your Heavenly Father. This is basically what I preached that day (with more references added this morning): Running The Race Of The Christian Life.

The Race

Whenever I start to hang my head in front of failure’s face,
my downward fall is broken by the memory of a race.
A children’s race, young boys, young men; how I remember well,
excitement sure, but also fear, it wasn’t hard to tell.

They all lined up so full of hope, each thought to win that race
or tie for first, or if not that, at least take second place.
Their parents watched from off the side, each cheering for their son,
and each boy hoped to show his folks that he would be the one.

The whistle blew and off they flew, like chariots of fire,
to win, to be the hero there, was each young boy’s desire.
One boy in particular, whose dad was in the crowd,
was running in the lead and thought “My dad will be so proud.”

But as he speeded down the field and crossed a shallow dip,
the little boy who thought he’d win, lost his step and slipped.
Trying hard to catch himself, his arms flew everyplace,
and midst the laughter of the crowd he fell flat on his face.

As he fell, his hope fell too; he couldn’t win it now.
Humiliated, he just wished to disappear somehow.
But as he fell his dad stood up and showed his anxious face,
which to the boy so clearly said, “Get up and win that race!”

He quickly rose, no damage done, behind a bit that’s all,
and ran with all his mind and might to make up for his fall.
So anxious to restore himself, to catch up and to win,
his mind went faster than his legs. He slipped and fell again.

He wished that he had quit before with only one disgrace.
“I’m hopeless as a runner now, I shouldn’t try to race.”
But through the laughing crowd he searched and found his father’s face
with a steady look that said again, “Get up and win that race!”

So he jumped up to try again, ten yards behind the last.
“If I’m to gain those yards,” he thought, “I’ve got to run real fast!”
Exceeding everything he had, he regained eight, then ten...
but trying hard to catch the lead, he slipped and fell again.

Defeat! He lay there silently. A tear dropped from his eye.
“There’s no sense running anymore! Three strikes I’m out! Why try?
I’ve lost, so what’s the use?” he thought. “I’ll live with my disgrace.”
But then he thought about his dad, who soon he’d have to face.

“Get up,” an echo sounded low, “you haven’t lost at all,
for all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.
Get up!” the echo urged him on, “Get up and take your place!
You were not meant for failure here! Get up and win that race!”

So, up he rose to run once more, refusing to forfeit,
and he resolved that win or lose, at least he wouldn’t quit.
So far behind the others now, the most he’d ever been,
still he gave it all he had and ran like he could win.

Three times he’d fallen stumbling, three times he rose again.
Too far behind to hope to win, he still ran to the end.
They cheered another boy who crossed the line and won first place,
head high and proud and happy -- no falling, no disgrace.

But, when the fallen youngster crossed the line, in last place,
the crowd gave him a greater cheer for finishing the race.
And even though he came in last with head bowed low, unproud,
you would have thought he’d won the race, to listen to the crowd.

And to his dad he sadly said, “I didn’t do so well.”
“To me, you won,” his father said. “You rose each time you fell.”
And now when things seem dark and bleak and difficult to face,
the memory of that little boy helps me in my own race.

For all of life is like that race, with ups and downs and all.
And all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.
And when depression and despair shout loudly in my face,
another voice within me says, “Get up and win that race!”

~Author Unknown~

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Lord Is My Shepherd

The Lord is my Shepherd, This I surely know.
He gently leads and guides me in the way that I should go.
He leads in green pastures by the water that is still,
Where I can lay down in peace, and know that He is real.

He leads in paths of righteousness, this is for His Name's sake,
The path is so wonderful, no other would I take.
Sometimes He leads in valleys where His face I cannot see.
But I will fear no evil for I know He's there with me.

His rod and staff - they comfort, I wonder what I would do
Without His Love and Mercy to bring me safely through?
When the enemy opresses hard - A table He doth spread,
He anoints me with fresh oil, I have not a thing to fear.

Sometimes my cup runneth over and I feel so compelled
To think of my Great Shepherd - and to others tell
Of His Goodness, Love and Mercy that will follow me all my life,
If I stay true and follow Him and keep my soul upright.

One day I'll dwell in the house that He has gone to prepare
But I will first find my Shepherd, Who helped me to get there.
Then I'll enjoy the splendor of that city so fair
Where we can rest in peace and not have a care.

~Aliene Sanchez~
(Used With Permission)

I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
John 10:14

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
John 10:27

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I Am Learning, Lord!

My life has taken many falls and tumbles along the way.
The many trials have left me in a sure state of dismay.
For with each trial, I tried alone to tend, and soothe, and mend,
Instead of giving them to God, and on Him just depend.

But, I am learning, Lord.

It seems that I was determined to carry all the load.
I longed for smoother pathways, yet, I walked a rocky road.
Little did I understand, God waited patiently
To pave a new beginning with a better life for me.

But, I am learning, Lord.

It took a real disaster to bring me to my knees;
To finally call upon the Lord and say, “God help me, please.”
He can, with no delaying, with strong arms that could hold,
The weight of all my burdens; He gladly took the load.

And, I am learning, Lord.

What a needless cross I carried, all because I could not see
What a friend I have in Jesus, and the love He has for me.
Peace I find when troubles hover, though the outcome is unknown.
For if yet the road is rocky, I won’t walk it all alone.

For, I am learning, Lord.

~Author Unknown~

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Psalms 46:1

Monday, October 06, 2008

Heaven and Hell: The Road to Paradise

I dare not speak, I cannot tell,
The way of man that leads to Hell.
The flames so fierce with such great woe,
To such a place why would one go?
In that wretched place there is no light,
'Tis forever trapped in eternal night.
Where one is bound with fetter and chain,
Engulfed in fire that brings such pain.
Where in the distance one may ream,
The undying mobs unending scream.

I dare to speak, I can but tell,
The way of man that leads to Hell.
The path of a man that leads this way,
Is a life of sin, many people say.
A life of murder, lies, and rape,
As a child of some prehistoric ape,
Of life like this surely one will pay,
But 'tis not all that leads this way!
But 'tis the path of a life that's trod,
Alone! Alone! Apart from God!

I dare to speak, I'm compelled to tell,
The way of man that leads from Hell.
A place called heaven with a golden shore,
To such a place with wonder galore.
In that great place 'tis forever light,
Where I'll see my Christ with perfect sight.
Where one is free from sickness and pain,
Engulfed in wonder and eternal gain.
Where one may hear throughout the days,
The undying saints unending praise.

I dare to speak, I'm compelled to tell,
The way of man that leads from Hell.
The path of a man that leads this way,
Is a life of goodness, many people say.
A life of service, love, and prayer,
A saintly life that's filled with care.
Of life like this surely one will thrive,
But will not cause us in Heaven to arrive.
But 'tis the path of a life that's trod,
Saved! Saved! With a trust in God!

~Nicholas Cardot~
(Used with permission)

Matthew 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Even In This

I just read an encouraging post over at Christians With Cancer Weblog, entitled Finding The Light In Cancer's Shadow. I am so encouraged by Kate's desire to focus on the Lord even in this trial - she looks for His hand for strength and comfort, even in this trial. In light of losing my Mom and some friends through cancer, I always cringe inside and shy away when someone else tells me they have cancer or think it might be a possibility. Thank you, Sis Kate, for the reminder that the Lord is in control, even in this.

Even In This
(Dedicated to Kate Plourde)

Even in this, the Lord is in control;
Even in this, He is guarding my soul;
When I cannot imagine how I can cope
Even in this, I have reason for hope.

Even in this, this trial that I dread;
Even in this, I can still bow my head;
Praise my loving Father for being near;
Even in this, I have no need for fear.

Even in this, I have Your peace of mind;
Even in this, You are tender and kind;
Your touch, Your gentleness has made me great;
Even in this, You see my low estate.

Even in this, a trial I didn't plan;
Even in this, I see Your loving hand!
My heart has comfort that was sorely missed -
You fill my heart with joy - even in this.

Even in this.

October 6th/08
Jerry Bouey

Psalms 18:35 Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.

Psalms 136:23 Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever:

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

What God Hath Promised

God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

God hath not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
Many a burden, many a care.

God hath not promised smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain rocky and steep,
Never a river turbid and deep.

But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labour, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing kindness, undying love.

~Annie Johnson Flint~

Thy shoes shall be iron and brass;
and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.

Deuteronomy 33:25