Saturday, December 31, 2011


I stood the children, straight and tall,
By last year’s marks upon the wall.
Another year! How soon they go,
And see how fast the children grow!

And then I thought of how God’s Word
Says, “Grow in grace, and in the Lord.”
And as I knelt with God alone
He asked me gently, “Have you grown?

Can you look back and understand
How sun and rain came form My hand?
The trials which My love decreed,
Did they not prove Me real indeed?

Or would you change a single hour
And miss the knowledge of My power?
Do I seem nearer when you pray
Than just a year ago today?

And does your zeal for lost men die,
Or greater grow, as years go by?”
What deep and searching questions these!
They kept me long upon my knees;

Before His gaze my soul must own
How very little it had grown.
Dear Lord, this year may all men see
That I grow daily more like Thee.

By Barbara C. Ryberg

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ye Are Not Your Own

“Know ye not that. . .ye are not your own?” I Cor. 6:19

The first thing God does with us is to get us based on rugged Reality until we do not care what becomes of us individually as long as He gets His way for the purpose of His Redemption. Why shouldn’t we go through heartbreaks? Through those doorways God is opening up ways of fellowship with His Son. Most of us fall and collapse at the first grip of pain; we sit down on the threshold of God’s purpose and die away of self-pity, and all so called Christian sympathy will aid us to our death bed. But God will not. He comes with the grip of the pierced hand of His Son, and says - “Enter into the fellowship with Me; arise and shine.” If through a broken heart God can bring His purposes to pass in the world, then thank Him for breaking your heart.

My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Thousandth Man

One man in a thousand, Solomon says,
Will stick more close than a brother.
And it’s worth while seeking him half your days
If you find him before the other.
Nine hundred and ninety-nine depend
On what the world sees in you,
But the Thousandth man will stand your friend
With the whole round world agin you.

‘Tis neither promise nor prayer nor show
Will settle the finding for ‘ee.
Nine hundred and ninety-nine of ‘em go
By your looks, or your acts, or your glory,
But if he finds you and you find him,
The rest of the world don’t matter;
For the Thousandth Man will sink or swim
With you in any water.

You can use his purse with no more talk
Than he uses yours for his spending,
And laugh and meet in your daily walk
As though there had been no lendings.
Nine hundred and ninety-nine of ‘em call
For silver and gold in their dealings;
But the Thousandth Man he’s worth ‘em all,
Because you can show him your feelings.

His wrong’s your wrong, and his right’s your right,
In season or out of season.
Stand up and back it in all men’s sight --
With that for your only reason!
Nine hundred and ninety-nine can’t bide
The shame or mocking or laughter,
But the Thousandth Man will stand by your side
To the gallows-foot---and after!

by Rudyard Kipling

Friday, December 16, 2011

Envy or pity?

If every man's internal care
Were written on his brow,
How many would our pity share
Who raise our envy now?

~Peitro Metastasio

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Woodburned sea themed spoons

Someone recently requested me to burn some sea themed spoons as well as a bike. I can burn a variety of different kinds of designs on spoons for $3 each. Some of my other wood burned spoons can be seen here and here.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Trust him little who doth raise
To one height both great and small,
And sets the sacred crown of praise,
Smiling, on the head of all.

Trust him less who looks around
To censure all with scornful eyes,
And in everything has found
Something that he dare despise.

But for one who stands apart,
Stirred by nought that can befall,
With a cold indifferent heart,--
Trust him least and last of all.

- Adelaide Anne Procter

Saturday, December 3, 2011

If you can

If you can start the day without caffeine,
If you can get going without pep pills,

If you can resist complaining and
boring people with your troubles,

If you can eat the same food
everyday and be grateful for it,

If you can understand when your loved ones
are too busy to give you any time,

If you can overlook it when something goes wrong
through no fault of yours and those you love take it out on you,

If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can ignore a friend’s limited education and never correct him,

If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor one,
If you can face the world without lies and deceit,

If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without liquor and sleep without the aid of drugs,

Then you are almost as good as your dog.

- Author Unknown

Monday, November 28, 2011


One old maid,
And another old maid,
And another old maid--that's three--
And they were agossiping, I am afraid,
As they sat sipping their tea.

They talked of this,
And they talked of that,
In the usual gossiping way
Until everybody was black as your hat,
And the only ones white were they.

One old maid,
And another old maid,--
For the third had gone into the street--
Who talked in a way of that third old maid,
Which never would do to repeat.

And now but one Dame sat all alone,
For the others were both away.
"I've never yet met," said she, with a groan,
"Such scandalous talkers as they."

"Alas! and alack!"
"We're all of a pack!
For no matter how we walk,
Or what folk say to our face, our back
Is sure to breed gossip and talk."


Linking up with A Wise Woman Builds Her Home

Friday, November 25, 2011

Partakers of His Sufferings

“Rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings.” I Peter 4:13

If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a multitude of experiences that are not meant for you at all, they are meant to make you useful in His hands, and to enable you to understand what transpires in other souls so that you will never be surprised at what you come across. Oh, I can’t deal with that person. Why not? God gave you ample opportunity to soak before Him on that line, and you barged off because it seemed stupid to spend time in that way.

The sufferings of Christ are not those of ordinary men. He suffered “according to the will of God,” not from the point of view we suffer from as individuals. It is only when we are related to Jesus Christ that we can understand what God is after in His dealings with us. It is part of Christian culture to know that God’s aim is. In the history of the Christian Church the tendency has been to evade being identified with the sufferings of Jesus Christ; men have sought to procure the carrying out of God’s order by a short cut of their own. God’s way is always the way of suffering, the way of the “long, long trail.”

Are we partakers of Christ’s sufferings? Are we prepared for God to stamp our personal ambitions right out? Are we prepared for God to destroy by transfiguration our individual determinations? It will not mean that we know exactly why God is taking us that way, that would make us spiritual prigs. We never realize at the time what God is putting us through; we go through it more or less misunderstanding; then we come to a luminous place, and say - “Why, God has girded me, though I did not know it!”

My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Words are lighter than the cloud-foam
Of the restless ocean spray;
Vainer than the trembling shadow
That the next hour steals away.
By the fall of summer raindrops
Is the air as deeply stirred;
And the rose-leaf that we tread on
Will outlive a word.

Yet, on the dull silence breaking
With a lightning flash, a Word,
Bearing endless desolation
On its blighting wings, I heard:
Earth can forge no keener weapon,
Dealing surer death and pain,
And the cruel echo answered
Through long years again.

I have known one word hang starlike
O'er a dreary waste of years,
And it only shone the brighter
Looked at through a mist of tears;
While a weary wanderer gathered
Hope and heart on Life's dark way,
By its faithful promise, shining
Clearer day by day.

I have known a spirit, calmer
Than the calmest lake, and clear
As the heavens that gazed upon it,
With no wave of hope or fear;
But a storm had swept across it,
And its deepest depths were stirred,
(Never, never more to slumber,)
Only by a word.

I have known a word more gentle
Than the breath of summer air;
In a listening heart it nestled,
And it lived for ever there.
Not the beating of its prison
Stirred it ever, night or day;
Only with the heart's last throbbing
Could it fade away.

Words are mighty, words are living:
Serpents with their venomous stings,
Or bright angels, crowding round us,
With heaven's light upon their wings:
Every word has its own spirit,
True or false, that never dies;
Every word man's lips have uttered
Echoes in God's skies.

Adelaide Anne Procter

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thoughts to ponder

1. The best way to get even is to forget. . .

2. Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death. . .

3. God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts. . .

4. Marriages may be made in heaven, but they have to be maintained on earth. . .

5. Unless you can create the whole universe in 5 days, don’t try to give “advice” to God.

6. Sorrow looks back, worry looks around, faith looks up. . .

7. Standing in the middle of the road is dangerous. You will get knocked down by the traffic from both ways.

8. Words are the windows to the heart.

9. A skeptic is a person who when he sees the handwriting on the wall, claims it’s a forgery.

10. It isn’t difficult to make a mountain out of a molehill, just add a little dirt.

11. A successful marriage isn’t just finding the right person - it’s being the right person.

12. The mighty oak was once a little nut that held its ground.

13. The tongue must be heavy indeed, because so few can hold it.

14. To forgive is to set the prisoner free, and then discover the prisoner was you.

15. You’ll notice a turtle only makes progress when it sticks out is neck. . .

16. You are richer today if you have laughed, given, or forgiven.

17. If the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, be assured the water bill is higher.
Author(s) Unknown

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Ministry of Darkness

“What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light” (Matt. 10:27)

Into the dark of the shadowed home
Where sorrow has drawn the blind,
Into the dark of the lonely life
Where friendships are left behind,
Into the darkness of sorrow and pain,
Our Lord leads His children, again and again.

There He tells them secrets eternal,
Where their ear can hear each word,
For the tumults of earth had drowned His voice,
But there, His alone is heard.
And the eyes which the glare of earth made dim,
Now in the darkness behold only Him.

But we are not meant long to linger
In the darkened hours of night,
“What I tell you here in the darkness,
Speak ye in the place of light.”
You who have found Him sufficient indeed
Bear words of comfort to others in need.

Our souls need their mountains of fellowship,
Their valleys of quiet rest,
Their nights ‘neath the stars with infinite view
For a vision of God’s best;
That man who the pathway of darkness hath trod,
With light in his soul, is the man who knows God!

by Barbara C. Ryberg

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ministry is....

Giving when you feel like keeping...

Praying for others when you need prayed for...

Feeding others when your own soul is still hungry...

Living truth before people when you cannot see results...

Hurting for others when your own hurts cannot be spoken...

Keeping your word when it is not convenient...

Being faithful when your own flesh wants to run away.

-Author Unknown

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Unfailing Love

He took away the love of those
Whom I had loved so well,
And what it cost my grieving soul
No word nor pen could tell.
But as I leaned against His heart,
Wounded and crushed and sore,
I deeply drank of truer love
Than I had known before;
A love that knows no selfish aim,
That trial cannot kill,
That chides me for my faults, ah, yes,
But keeps on loving still.

Dear Lord, in Thine omnipotence
Thou surely couldst recall
My many sins of yesterday,
Remind me of them all;
But love like Thine delights to cast
Them in the deepest sea
And will remember them no more
Through all eternity.
Earth holds so many hungry hearts,
To men be this the sign
That we are Thy disciples, Lord,
Give us a love like Thine.

by Barbara C. Ryberg

Monday, October 10, 2011


He who boasts of being perfect is perfect in folly. I have been a good deal up and down the world, and I never did see either a perfect horse or a perfect man, and I never shall till two Sundays come together. You cannot get white flour out of a coal sack nor perfection out of human nature; he who looks for it had better look for sugar in the sea. The old saying is, "Lifeless, faultless About dead men we should say nothing but good“; but as for the living, they are all tarred more or less with the black brush, and half an eye can see it. Every head has a soft place in it, and every heart has its black drop. Every rose has its prickles, and every day its night. Even the sun shows spots, and the skies are darkened with clouds. Nobody is so wise but he has folly enough to stock a stall at Vanity Fair. Where I could not see the fool's cap, I have nevertheless heard the bells jingle. As there is no sunshine without some shadows, so is all human good mixed up with more or less of evil. Even poor law guardians have their little failings, and parish beadles are not wholly of heavenly nature. The best wine has its dregs. All men's faults are not written on their foreheads, and it's quite as well they are not, or hats would need very wide brims. Yet, as sure as eggs are eggs, faults of some sort nestle in every bosom. There's no telling when a man's sins may show themselves, for hares pop out of the ditch just when you are not looking for them. A horse that is weak in the legs may not stumble for a mile or two, but it is in him, and the rider had better hold him up well. The tabby cat is not lapping milk just now, but leave the dairy door open, and we will see if she is not as bad a thief as the kitten. There's fire in the flint, cool as it looks: wait till the steel gets a knock at it, and you will see. Everybody can read that riddle, but it is not everybody that will remember to keep his gunpowder out of the way of the candle.

If we would always recollect that we live among men who are imperfect, we should not be in such a fever when we find out our friends' failings. What's rotten will rend, and cracked pots will leak. Blessed is he who expects nothing of poor flesh and blood, for he shall never be disappointed. The best of men are men at best, and the best wax will melt.

It is a good horse that never stumbles,
And a good wife that never grumbles.

But surely such horses and wives are only found in the fool's paradise, where dumplings grow on trees. In this wicked world the straightest timber has knots in it, and the cleanest field of wheat has its share of weeds. The most careful driver one day upsets the cart; the cleverest cook spills a little broth; and as I know to my sorrow a very decent plowman will now and then break the plow and often make a crooked furrow. It is foolish to turn off a tried friend because of a failing or two, for you may get rid of a one-eyed nag and buy a blind one. Being all of us full of faults, we ought to keep two bears, and learn to bear and forbear with one another. Since we all live in glass houses, we should none of us throw stones. Everybody laughs when the saucepan says to the kettle, "How black you are!" Other men's imperfections show us our imperfection for one sheep is much like another; and if there's an speck in my neighbor's eye, there is no doubt one in mine. We ought to use our neighbors as mirrors to see our own faults in, and mend in ourselves what we see in them.

I have no patience with those who poke their noses into every man's house to smell out his faults, and put on magnifying glasses to discover their neighbors' flaws. Such folks had better look at home; they might see the devil where they little expected. What we wish to see, we shall see or think we see. Faults are always thick where love is thin. A white cow is all black if your eye chooses to make it so. If we sniff long enough at rose water, we shall find out that it has a bad smell. It would be a far more pleasant business, at least for other people, if fault-finders would turn their dogs to hunt out the good points in other folks; the game would pay better, and nobody would stand with a pitchfork to keep the hunters off his farm. As for our own faults, it would take a large slate to hold the account of them; but, thank God, we know where to take them and how to get the better of them. With all our faults, God loves us still if we are trusting in His Son. Therefore, let us not be downhearted, but hope to live and learn and do some good service before we die. Though the cart creaks, it will get home with its load, and the old horse, broken-kneed as he is, will do a sight of work yet. There's no use in lying down and doing nothing because we cannot do everything as we should like. Faults or no faults, plowing must be done; imperfect people must do it, too, or there will be no harvest next year. Bad plowman as John may be, the angels won't do his work for him, and so he is off to do it himself. Go along, Violet! Gee, whoa! Dapper!

John Ploughman’s Talk; or, Plain Advice for Plain People by C. H. Spurgeon

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Not Knowing

I know not what will befall me: God hangs a mist o’er my eyes;
And thus, each step of my onward path, He makes new scenes arise.
And every joy He sends to me comes like a sweet surprise.

I see not a step before me as I tread on another year;
But I’ve left the past in God’s keeping,—the future His mercy shall clear.
And what looks dark in the distance may brighten as I draw near.

For perhaps the dreaded future is less bitter than I think;
The Lord may sweeten the waters before I stoop to drink.
Or, if Marah must be Marah, He will stand beside its brink.

It may be He keeps waiting, for the coming of my feet.
Some gift of such rare blessedness, some joy so strangely sweet,
That my lips shall only tremble with the thanks they cannot speak.

O restful, blissful ignorance! ’tis blessed not to know;
It keeps me still in those mighty Arms which will not let me go,
And lulls my weariness to rest on the Bosom that loves me so.

So I go on not knowing,—I would not if I might;
I would rather walk in the dark with God than go alone in the light;
I would rather walk with Him by faith than walk alone by sight.

My heart shrinks back from trials which the future may disclose,
Yet I never had sorrow but what the dear Lord chose;
So I send the coming tears back with the whispered words, “He knows.”

–Mary Gardiner Brainard

“Not knowing the things that shall befall me there.” Acts 20:22

Saturday, October 1, 2011

On Patience

Patience is better than wisdom: an ounce of patience is worth a pound of brains. All men praise patience, but few enough can practice it. It is a medicine which is good for all diseases: therefore, every old woman recommends it, but it is not every garden that grows the herbs to make it with. When one's flesh and bones are full of aches and pains, it is as natural for us to murmur as for a horse to shake his head when the flies tease him, or a wheel to rattle when a spoke is loose. But nature should not be the rule with Christians, or what is their religion worth? If a soldier fights no better than a plowboy, off with his red coat. We expect more fruit from an apple tree than from a thorn, and we have a right to do so. The disciples of a patient Savior should be patient themselves. Grin and bear it is the old-fashioned advice, but sing and bear it is a great deal better. After all, we get very few cuts of the whip, considering what bad cattle we are; and when we do smart a little, it is soon over. Pain past is pleasure, and experience comes by it. We ought not to be afraid of going down into Egypt when we know we shall come out of it with jewels of silver and gold.

Impatient people water their miseries and plow up their comforts; sorrows are visitors that come without invitation, but complaining minds send a wagon to bring their troubles home in. Many people are born crying, live complaining, and die disappointed; they chew the bitter pill which they would not even know to be bitter if they had the sense to swallow it whole in a cup of patience and water. They think every other man's burden to be light and their own feathers to be heavy as lead. They are hardly done by in their own opinion: no one's toes are so often trodden on by the black ox as theirs, the snow falls thickest round their door, and the hail rattles hardest on their windows. Yet, if the truth were known, it is their fancy rather than their fate which makes things go so hard with them. Many would be well off if they could but think so. A little sprig of the herb called content, if put into the poorest soup will make it taste as rich as the Lord Mayor's turtle. John Ploughman grows the plant in his garden, but the late hard winter nipped it terribly, so that he cannot afford to give his neighbors a slip of it; they had better follow Matthew 25:9, and go to those who sell and buy for themselves. Grace is a good soil to grow it in, but it wants watering from the fountain of mercy. To be poor is not always pleasant, but worse things than that happen at sea. Small shoes are apt to pinch, but not if you have a small foot; if we have little means it will be well to have little desires. Poverty is no shame, but being discontented with it is. In some things, the poor are better off than the rich; for if a poor man has to seek meat for his stomach, he is more likely to get what he is after than the rich man who seeks a stomach for his meat. A poor man's table is soon spread, and his labor spares his buying sauce. The best doctors are Dr. Diet, Dr. Quiet, and Dr. Merryman, and many a godly plowman has all these gentlemen to wait upon him. Plenty makes dainty, but hunger finds no fault with the cook. Hard work brings health, and an ounce of health is worth a sack of diamonds. It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness. There is more sweet in a spoonful of sugar than in a cask of vinegar. It is not the quantity of our goods, but the blessing of God on what we have that makes us truly rich. The parings of a pippin are better than a whole crab; a dinner of herbs with peace is better than a stalled ox and contention therewith. Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith. A little wood will heat my little oven; why, then, should I murmur because all the woods are not mine?

When troubles come, it is of no use to fly in the face of God by hard thoughts of providence; that is kicking against the pricks and hurting your feet. The trees bow in the wind, and so must we. Every time the sheep bleats it loses a mouthful, and every time we complain we miss a blessing. Grumbling is a bad trade, and yields no profit, but patience has a golden hand. Our evils will soon be over. After rain comes clear shining; black crows have wings; every winter turns to spring; every night breaks into morning.

Blow the wind never so fast,
It will lower at last.

If one door should be shut, God will open another; if the peas do not yield well, the beans may; if one hen leaves her eggs, another will bring out all her brood. There's a bright side to all things, and a good God everywhere. Some where or other in the worst flood of trouble there always is a dry spot for contentment to get its foot on; if there were not, it would learn to swim.

Friends, let us take to patience and water gruel, as the old folks used to tell us, rather than catch the miserables and give others the disease by wickedly finding fault with God. The best remedy for affliction is submitting to providence. What can't be cured must be endured. If we cannot get bacon, let us bless God that there are still some cabbages in the garden. "Must" is a hard nut to crack, but it has a sweet kernel. "All things work together for good to them that love God." Whatever falls from the skies is, sooner or later, good for the land: whatever comes to us from God is worth having, even though it be a rod. We cannot by nature like trouble any more than a mouse can fall in love with a cat, and yet Paul by grace came to glory in tribulations also. Losses and crosses are heavy to bear, but when our hearts are right with God, it is wonderful how easy the yoke becomes. We must go to glory by the way of Weeping Cross; and as we were never promised that we should ride to heaven in a feather bed, we must not be disappointed when we see the road to be rough, as our fathers found it before us. All's well that ends well; and, therefore, let us plow the heaviest soil with our eye on the sheaves of harvest, and learn to sing at our labor while others murmur.

John Ploughman’s Talk; or, Plain Advice for Plain People by C. H. Spurgeon

Monday, September 26, 2011

Gentleness of Voice

It’s not so much what you say
As the manner in which you say it;
It’s not so much the language you use
As the tone in which you convey it;

“Come here!” I sharply said,
And the child cowered and wept.
“Come here,” I said-
He looked and smiled
And straight to my lap he crept.

Words may be mild and fair
And the tone may pierce like a dart;
Words may be soft as the summer air
But the tone may break a heart;

For words come from the mind
Grow by study and art-
But tone leaps from the inner self
Revealing the state of the heart.

Whether you know it or not,
Whether you are mean or care,
Gentleness, kindness, love and hate,
Envy, anger, are there.

Then, would you quarrels avoid
And peace and love rejoice?
Keep anger not only out of your words-
Keep it out of your voice.

Author Unknown

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Prove all things - Marriage/divorce/re-marriage

From time to time, I have thought about posting some of the divorce/re-marriage articles from “Test all things.” Instead, here is the link with numerous articles on the subject and of the scriptural family in general. Not all the authors are in complete agreement with their views and I am not necessarily in complete agreement with all of them either.  Despite any variances in interpretation of certain passages, they all are in harmony on one point - remarriage is never scripturally permissible without the death of one’s husband/wife. Even the best of men are mere men and no author or book is infallible save God and His Word. All other writings should be laid beside the Bible to test its truth.

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” I Thessalonians 5:21

Friday, September 16, 2011

Three Gates

If you are tempted to reveal
A tale to you someone has told
About another, make it pass,
Before you speak, three gates of gold.

These narrow gates: First, "Is it true?"
Then, "Is it needful?" In your mind
Give a truthful answer. And the next
Is last and narrowest, "Is it kind?"

And if to reach your lips at last
It passes through these gateways three,
Then you may tell the tale, nor fear
What the result of speech may be.

---Author Unknown

Monday, September 12, 2011

I Asked God

I asked God to take away my habit.
God said, No.
It is not for ME to take away,
But for YOU to give it up.

I asked God to grant me patience.
God said, No.
Patience is a byproduct of tribulations;
It isn't granted, it is learned.

I asked God to give me happiness.
God said, No.
I give you blessings;
Happiness is up to you.

I asked God to spare me pain.
God said, No.
Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares
And brings you closer to me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow.
God said, No.
You must grow on your own!
But I will prune you to make you fruitful.

I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life.
God said, No.
I will give you life,
So that you may enjoy all things.

I ask God to help me LOVE others, as much as He loves me.
God said...Ahhhh;
Finally, you have the idea.

- Author Unknown

Monday, September 5, 2011

On Good Nature and Firmness

     Do not be all sugar, or the world will suck you down; but do not be all vinegar or the world will spit you out. There is a medium in all things, only blockheads go to extremes. We need not be all rock or all sand, all iron or all wax. We should neither fawn upon everybody like silly lapdogs, nor fly at all persons like surly mastiffs. Blacks and whites go together to make up a world. Hence on the point of temper, we have all sorts of people to deal with. Some are as easy as an old shoe, but they are hardly ever worth more than the other one of the pair; others take fire as fast as tinder at the smallest offense and are as dangerous as gunpowder. To have a fellow going about the farm as cross with everybody as a bear with a sore head, with a temper as sour as spoiled milk and as sharp as a razor, looking as surly as a butcher's dog, is a great nuisance; yet there may be some good points about the man, so that he may be a man for all that. But poor soft Tommy, as green as grass, and as ready to bend as a willow, is nobody's money and everybody's scorn. A man must have a backbone, or how is he to hold his head up? But that backbone must bend, or he will knock his brow against the beam.
     There is a time to do as others wish, and a time to refuse. If we make ourselves asses, then everybody will ride us, but if we would be respected, we must be our own masters and not let others saddle us as they think fit. If we try to please everybody, we shall be like a toad under a harrow and never have peace; and if we play lackey to all our neighbors, whether good or bad, we shall be thanked by no one, for we shall soon do as much harm as good. He that makes himself a sheep will find that the wolves are not all dead. He who lies on the ground must expect to be trodden on. He who makes himself a mouse the eats will eat. If you let your neighbors put the calf on your shoulder, they will, they will soon clap on the cow. We are to please our neighbor for his good to edification, but this is quite another matter. There are old foxes about whose mouths are always watering for young geese, and if they can coax them to do just what they wish, they soon make their market out of them. What a Jolly good fellow you will be called if you will make yourself a hack for your friends, and what a mess will they soon bring you into!
     Out of that mess you will have to get all alone, for your friends will be sure to say to you, Good-bye, basket, I've carried all my apples or they will give you their good wishes and nothing more, and you will find out that fair words won't feed a cat, nor butter your bread, nor fill your pocket. Those who make so very much of you either mean to cheat you, or else are in need of you: when they have sucked the orange they will throw the peel away. Be wise, then, and look before you leap, lest a friend's advice should do you more mischief than an enemy's slander. "The simple believeth every word; but the prudent man looketh well to his going." Go with your neighbor as far as good conscience will go with you, but part company where the shoe of conscience begins to pinch your foot. Begin with your friend as you mean to go on, and let him know very early that you are not a man made of putty, but one who has a judgment of his own and means to use it. Pull up the moment you find you are out of the road, and take the nearest way back at once. The way to avoid great faults is to beware of small ones. Therefore, pull up in time if you would not be dragged into the ditch by your friend. Better offend your acquaintance than lose your character and hazard your soul. Don't be ashamed to walk down Turnagain Lane. Never mind being called a turncoat when you turn from bad courses: better to turn in time than to burn in eternity. Do not be persuaded to ruin yourself—it is buying gold too dear to throw oneself away to please our company. Put your foot down where you mean to stand, and let no man move you from the right. Learn to say, "No," and it will be of more use to you than to be able to read Latin.
     A friend to everybody is often a friend to nobody; or else in his simplicity, he robs his family to help strangers and becomes brother to a beggar. There is wisdom in generosity as in everything else, and some had need go to school to learn it. A kind-hearted soul may be very cruel to his own children, while he takes the bread out of their mouths to give to those who call him a generous fellow but laugh at his folly. Very often he that lends his money loses both his gold and his friends, and he who is surety is never sure. Take John Ploughman's advice, and never be security for more than you are quite willing to lose. Remember the word of God says, "He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it: and he that hateth suretyship is sure."
     When we are injured, we are bound as Christians to bear it without malice; but we are not to pretend that we do not feel it, for this will but encourage our enemies to kick us again. He who is cheated twice by the same man is half as bad as the rogue; and it is very much so in other injuries. Unless we claim our rights, we are ourselves to blame if we do not get them. Paul was willing to bear stripes for his Master's sake, but he did not forget to tell the magistrates that he was a Roman; and when those gentlemen wished to put him out of prison privately, he said, "Nay, verily, let them come themselves and fetch us out". A Christian is the gentlest of men, but then he is a man. A good many people don't need to be told this, for they are up in a moment if they think anybody is likely to ill treat them. Long before they know whether it is a thief in the farmyard or the old mare got loose, they are up with the window and firing off the old blunderbuss. Dangerous neighbors these; a man might as well make a seat out of a bull's forehead, as expect to find comfort in their neighborhood.
     Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man thou shalt not go. "He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding; but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly." Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? There is more hope of a fool than of him."
     In my day I have seen a few downright obstinate men, whom neither sense nor reason could alter. There's a queer chap in our village who keeps a bulldog, and he tells me that when the creature once gives a bite at anything, he never lets go again, and if you want to get it out of his mouth, you must cut his head off. That's the sort of man that has fretted me many a time and almost made me mad. You might sooner argue a pitchfork into a threshing machine, or persuade a brickbat to turn into marble, than to get the fellow to hear common sense. Getting spots out of leopards is nothing at all compared with trying to lead a downright obstinate man. Right or wrong, you might as easily make a hill walk to London as turn him when his mind is made up. When a man is right, this sticking to his text is a grand thing (our minister says, "it is the stuff that martyrs are made of"), but when an ignorant, wrong-headed fellow gets this hard grit into him, he makes martyrs of those who have to put up with him. Old Master Pighead swore he would drive a nail into an oak board with his fist and so lamed his hand for life; he could not sell his corn at his own price, and so he let the rats eat up the ricks. You cannot ride by his fields without noticing his obstinacy, for he vows, "He won't have none of these ever newfangled notions," and so he grows the worst crops in the parish. Worst of all, his daughter went among the Methodists, and in a towering rage, he turned her out of doors. Though I believe he is very sorry for it, he will not yield an inch, but stands to it that he will never speak to her so long as he lives. Meanwhile, the dear girl is dying through his unkindness. Rash vows are much better broken than kept. He who never changes, never mends; he who never yields, never conquers.
     With children, you must mix gentleness with firmness; they must not always have their own way, but they must not always be thwarted. Give to a pig when it grunts, and to a child when it cries, and you will have a fine pig and a spoiled child. A man who is learning to play on a trumpet and a petted child are two very disagreeable companions even as next-door neighbors; but unless we look well to it, our children will be a nuisance to others and a torment to ourselves. "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame." If we never have headaches through rebuking our little children, we shall have plenty of heartaches when they grow up. Strict truthfulness must rule all our dealings with the young; our yea must be yea, and our nay be nay, and that always. Never promise a child and then fail to perform whether you promise him a bun or a beating. Be obeyed at all costs—disobedient children are unhappy children; for their own sakes, make them mind you. If you yield up your authority once, you will hardly ever get it again, for he who says A must say B. and so on. We must not provoke our children to anger, lest they be discouraged; but we must rule our household in the fear of the Lord, and in so doing we may expect a blessing.
     Since John Ploughman has taken to writing, he has had a fine chance of showing his firmness and his gentleness too, for he has received bushels of advice for which he begs to present his compliments, as the squire's lady says. He does not mind either returning the advice or some of his own instead, by way of showing his gratitude; for he is sure it is very kind of so many people to tell him so many different ways in which he might make an idiot of himself. He means to glean as many good hints as he can from the acres of his friends' stubble; and while sticking to his own style, because it suits his hand, he will touch himself up a bit if he can. Perhaps if the minister will lend him Cowper or Milton, he may even stick a sprig of poetry into his nosegay, and come out as fine as the flowers in May. But he cannot promise, for the harvest is just on and reaping leaves no time for rhyming. The worst of it is, the kind friends who are setting John to rights contradict one another: one says it is very poor stuff and all in an assumed name, for the style is not rough enough for a plowman; another says the matter is very well, but the expressions are so coarse that he is amazed the editor put it in the magazine. John means to pay his advisers all the attention which they deserve, and as some of the mice have been bold enough to make a nest in the cats ear, he means to be after them and write a paper upon giving advice gratis, in which they will be likely to get a flea in their ear in return for their instructions.

C. H. Spurgeon in John Ploughman’s Talk; or, Plain Advice for Plain People

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Potter and the Clay

He is strong, for he was broken
On the torture wheel of pain;
He is silent, who has spoken
Hasty judgments, aye, and vain;
He is rich, since he knew losses,
True, by pledges once unkept,
He stands straight, for he bore crosses
And is glad, for that he wept.

He knows beauty, through his blindness,
He is humble, who knew pride;
Tender for his soul’s unkindness,
And the Christ he once denied ;
He is pure for muck and wallow
Where he lay and was unclean,
And sincere for every hollow
Sham and pretense that was mean.

He knows love, for that his spirit
Was unlovely and was mean;
For that fire that swept to sear it
Is that calm soul and serene;
He is whole for waves that battered,
Beat and buffeted and cast
Him upon the shore, a shattered,
Broken, bleeding thing at last.

He is free for that once prison
And the wings that beat on bars;
For that Hell whence he is risen
Is the fellowship with stars;
And that bowed head in its meekness
Was defiant of the laws
He knows courage for the weakness
And the cowardice that was.

How but crushed and bruised and broken
Can the potter mold his clay?
How but through a grief unspoken
Could come Love to light the way?
By this dust of me Thou grindest,
By these tears of me and rue,
With this potter’s clay Thou findest
Thou shalt build my temple new.

by James W. Foley

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The True Man

This is the sort of a man was he:
True when it hurt him a lot to be;
Tight in a corner an' knowin' a lie
Would have helped him out, but he wouldn't buy
His freedom there in so cheap a way--
He told the truth though he had to pay.

Honest! Not in the easy sense,
When he needn't worry about expense--
We'll all play square when it doesn't count
And the sum at stake's not a large amount--
But he was square when the times were bad,
An' keepin' his word took all he had.

Honor is something we all profess,
But most of us cheat--some more, some less--
An' the real test isn't the way we do
When there isn't a pinch in either shoe;
It's whether we're true to our best or not
When the right thing's certain to hurt a lot.

That is the sort of a man was he:
Straight when it hurt him a lot to be;
Times when a lie would have paid him well,
No matter the cost, the truth he'd tell;
An' he'd rather go down to a drab defeat
Than save himself if he had to cheat.

- Edgar A. Guest

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Loyalty to the Core

Now beloved, it is very easy to follow religion when she goes abroad in her silver slippers, but the true man follows her when she is in rags, and goes through the mire and the slough. To take up with Christ when everybody cries up his name is what a hypocrite would do, but to take up with Christ when they are shouting, "Away with him! away with him!" is another matter. . .

At another time the gospel is assailed by learned criticisms and by insinuations against the authenticity and inspiration of the books of Scripture, while fundamental doctrines are undermined one by one, and he who keeps to the old faith is said to be behind the age, and so on. But happy is that man who takes up with Christ, and with the gospel, and with the truth when it is in its worst estate, crying, "If this be foolery, I am a fool, for where Christ is there will I be; I love Him better at His worst than others at their best, and even if He be dead and buried in a sepulcher I will go with Mary and with Magdalene and sit over against the sepulcher and watch until He rise again, for rise again He will; but whether He live or die, where He is there shall his servant be." Ho, then, brave spirits, will ye enlist for Christ when His banner is tattered? Will you enlist under Him when His armor is stained with blood? Will you rally to Him even when they report Him slain? Happy shall ye be! Your loyalty shall be proven to your own eternal glory. Ye are soldiers such as He loves to honor.

. . .Now, dear young people, if you believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is yours, give yourselves up to Him by a distinct act and deed. Feel that one grand impulse without needing pressure or argument—"The love of Christ constraineth me"; but do not wait to have your duty urged upon you, for the more free the dedication the more acceptable it will be. I am told that there is no wine so delicious as that which flows from the grape at the first gentle pressure. The longer you squeeze the harsher is the juice. We do not like that service which is pressed out of a man: and certainly the Lord of love will not accept forced labor. No; let your willinghood show itself. Say—

Take myself, and I will be
Ever, only, ALL for thee.
. . . You have been bought with a price, and you should, therefore, in a distinct manner own your Lord's property in you, and transfer to Him the title-deeds of your body, spirit, and soul.

Where is our Master? Well, He is always on the side of truth and right. And, O, you Christian people, mind that in everything, politics, business, and everything you keep to that which is right, not to that which is popular. Do not bow the knee to that which for a little day may be cried up, but stand fast in that which is consistent with rectitude, with humanity, with the cause and honor of God, and with the freedom and progress of men. It can never be wise to do wrong. It can never be foolish to be right. It can never be according to the mind of Christ to tyrannize and to oppress. Keep you ever to whatsoever things are pure and lovely and of good report, and you will so far keep with Christ. 'Temperance, purity, justice-these are favorites with Him; do your best to advance them for His sake.
I conclude with this observation. Will our Lord Jesus Christ accept at our hands tonight such a consecrating word? If we are trusting in Him for salvation will He permit us to say that we will keep with Him as long as we live? We reply, He will not permit us to say it in our own strength. There was a young man who said, "Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest," but Christ gave him a cool reception: and there was an older man who said, "Though all men shall forsake thee yet will not I," and in reply his Master prayed for Him that his faith should not fail. Now, you must not promise as Peter did, or you will make a greater failure. But, beloved, this self-devotion is what Christ expects of us if we are His disciples. He will not have us love father or mother more than Him; we must be ready to give up all for His sake. This is not only what our Master expects from us, but what He deserves from us.

Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Excerpt from C. H. Spurgeon’s sermon “Loyalty to the Core.”

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sermons We See

After posting “Sermons We See” not too long ago, I found there were more verses, so it is now being posted with the additional verses.

I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day;
I'd rather one should walk with me than merely tell 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 preachers are the men who live their creeds,
For to see good put in action is what everybody needs.

I soon can learn 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 lecture you deliver may be very wise and true,
But I'd rather get my lessons by observing what you do;
For I might misunderstand you and the high advice you give,
But there's no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.

When I see a deed of kindness, I am eager to be kind.
When a weaker brother stumbles and a strong man stays behind
Just to see if he can help him, then the wish grows strong in me
To become as big and thoughtful as I know that friend to be.
And all travelers can witness that the best of guides today
Is not the one who tells them, but the one who shows the way.

One good man teaches many, men believe what they behold;
One deed of kindness noticed is worth forty that are told.
Who stands with men of honor learns to hold his honor dear,
For right living speaks a language which to every one is clear.
Though an able speaker charms me with his eloquence, I say,
I'd rather see a sermon than to hear one, any day.

- Edgar Guest

Monday, August 1, 2011

Keep me sweet at home

Amid the duties of today,
In all I think or do or say,
Whether I work or rest or pray –
Lord, keep me sweet at home.
When pressing duties claim my care,
And I seem needed everywhere,
Then tune my heart to praise and prayer
And keep me sweet at home.
No matter what the day may bring,
Or night, I pray in everything
My life may glorify my King
Especially at home!
- Mrs. Fletcher Ford

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Fellowship of Books

I care not who the man may be,
Nor how his tasks may fret him,
Nor where he fares, nor how his cares
And troubles may beset him,
If books have won the love of him,
Whatever fortune hands him,
He'll always own, when he's alone,
A friend who understands him.

Though other friends may come and go,
And some may stoop to treason,
His books remain, through loss or gain,
And season after season
The faithful friends for every mood,
His joy and sorrow sharing,
For old time's sake, they'll lighter make
The burdens he is bearing.

Oh, he has counsel at his side,
And wisdom for his duty,
And laughter gay for hours of play,
And tenderness and beauty,
And fellowship divinely rare,
True friends who never doubt him,
Unchanging love, and God above,
Who keeps good books about him.

by Edgar Guest

This poem is along the same thoughts of the poem My Books and I. The summer months have not left me with as much time for the counsel or laughter of my books friends. It would be too difficult to pick a best friend from amongst books or authors. The past couple of winters have found me several good friends in T. S. Arthur’s books. Numerous ones can be read online at Project Gutenberg and Internet Archive.

I do not agree with everything T. S. Arthur writes and would not recommend all his books or stories. Even in some of his books which I like, there may be questionable portions in some of them. Overall though, there is a wealth of treasure in his books if the principles were applied. T. S. Arthur has a deep and rare insight into the human heart and nature. To write as he did, he must have seen and experience much in life. In his stories of love, treachery, bitterness, and forgiveness, he endeavors to teach from others mistakes between parents and children, husbands and wives, and friends and neighbors that we not suffer the same misery others have found in error.

It has been so long since I’ve visited these friends. I had some extra time of peace and quite this afternoon (so welcomed!), so while gathering the links for this post, I couldn’t resist a short visit to another friend - The Wedding Guest. I had time for only one story in it so I can’t really say if it is a good book, but there was some excellent advice to young ladies (or old ones, if it is not too late) in the one story. A few of his books that I have enjoyed are:

Words of Cheer for the Tempted, the Toiling, and the Sorrowing
PREFACE. AS we pass on our way through the world, we find our paths now smooth and flowery, and now rugged and difficult to travel. The sky, bathed in golden sunshine to-day, is black with storms to-morrow! This is the history of every one. And it is also the life-experience of all, that when the way is rough and the sky dark, the poor heart sinks and trembles, and the eye of faith cannot see the bright sun smiling in the heavens beyond the veil of clouds. But, for all this fear and doubt, the rugged path winds steadily upwards, and the broad sky is glittering in light. Let the toiling, the tempted, and the sorrowing ever keep this in mind. Let them have faith in Him who feedeth the young lions, and clothes the fields with verdure--who bindeth up the broken heart, and giveth joy to the mourners. There are Words of Cheer in the air! Listen! and their melody will bring peace to the spirit, and their truths strength to the heart.

All's for the Best
(no preface)

Orange Blossoms Fresh and Faded
PREFACE: Ah, if they would never fade these sweet and fragrant blossoms ! If the little foxes would never spoil the vines ! They do not always fade, nor are the tender grapes always spoiled. There are many brows on which the orange blossoms are as fresh to-day as when placed there by loving hands in years long past. They will always be fresh and fragrant. Time has no power over them. But they fade alas ! how quickly ! on so many brows. To keep them fresh to bring back their sweetness when faded is the loving mission of our book. It is a book of life- pictures. It takes you into other homes, makes you familiar with other experiences than your own. It shows you where others have erred, what pain and loss have followed, and how love, self-denial and reason have turned sorrow into joy and threatened disaster into permanent safety.

Link-up with A Wise Woman Build Her Home.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lifting and Leaning

There are two kinds of people on earth today,
Just two kinds of people, no more, I say.

Not the good and the bad, for ‘tis well understood
The good are half bad and the bad are half good.

Not the happy and sad, for the swift-flying years
Bring each man his laughter and each man his tears.

Not the rich and the poor, for to count a man’s wealth
You must first know the state of his conscience and health.

Not the humble and proud, for in life’s busy span
Who puts on vain airs is not counted a man.

No! the two kinds of people on earth I mean
Are the people who lift and the people who lean.

Wherever you go you will find the world’s masses
Are ever divided in just these two classes.

And, strangely enough, you will find, too, I ween,
There is only one lifter to twenty who lean.

In which class are you? Are you easing the load
Of overtaxed lifters who toil down the road?

Or are you a leaner who lets others bear
Your portion of worry and labor and care?

- Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Kindness quotes

Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much. - Blaise Pascal

Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate. - Albert Schweitzer

When kindness has left people, even for a few moments, we become afraid of them, as if their reason had left them. - Willa Sibert Cather

Kindness in ourselves is the honey that blunts the sting of unkindness in another.

Life is made up, not of great sacrifices or duties, but of little things, in which smiles, and kindnesses, and small obligations, given habitually, are what win and preserve the heart and secure comfort. - Humphrey Davy

Be kind to unkind people - they need it the most. - Ashleigh Brillirant

Be generous with kindly words, especially about those who are absent. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Write injuries in sand, kindnesses in marble.

To be humble to superiors is duty, to equals courtesy, to inferiors nobleness. - Ben. Franklin

It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice. ~Author Unknown

Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you - not because they are nice, but because you are. ~Author Unknown

Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not. ~Samuel Johnson

Don't wait for people to be friendly, show them how. ~Author Unknown

You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

By swallowing evil words unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach. ~Winston Churchill

The kindest word in all the world is the unkind word, unsaid. ~Author Unknown

One can pay back the loan of gold, but one dies forever in debt to those who are kind. ~Malayan Proverb

Make it a practice to judge persons and things in the most favorable light at all times and under all circumstances. ~Saint Vincent de Paul

The best way to knock the chip off your neighbor's shoulder is to pat him on the back. ~Author Unknown

Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again. ~Og Mandino

Nothing is so strong as gentleness, and nothing is so gentle as true strength. - Ralph Sockman

The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you. ~John E. Southard

Love someone who doesn't deserve it. ~Author Unknown

Wise sayings often fall on barren ground, but a kind word is never thrown away. Arthur Helps

Unmerited kindness can be as stern a rebuke as due punishment. - Dave Custer

She openeth her mouth with wisdom: and in her tongue is the law of kindness. Proverbs 31:26

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

One Day at a Time

One day at a time, with its failures and fears,
With its hurts and mistakes, with its weakness and tears,
With its portion of pain and its burden of care;
One day at a time we must meet and must bear.

One day at a time to be patient and strong;
To be calm under trial and sweet under wrong;
Then its toiling shall pass and its sorrow shall cease;
It shall darken and die, and the night shall bring peace.

One day at a time - but the day is so long,
And the heart is not brave, and the soul is not strong,
O Thou pitiful Christ, be Thou near all the way;
Give courage and patience and strength for the day.

Swift cometh His answer, so clear and so sweet;
“Yea, I will be with thee, thy troubles to meet;
I will not forget thee, nor fail thee, nor grieve;
I will not forsake thee; I never will leave.”

Not yesterday’s load we are called on to bear,
Nor the morrow’s uncertain and shadowy care;
Why should we look forward or back with dismay?
Our needs, as our mercies, are but for the day.

One day at a time, and the day is His day;
He hath numbered its hours, though they haste or delay.
His grace is sufficient; we walk not alone;
As the day, so the strength that He giveth His own.

- Annie Johnson Flint

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Destiny of Holiness

“. . .Be ye holy; for I am holy.” I Peter 1:16

Continually restate to yourself what the purpose of your life is. The destined end of man is not happiness, nor health, but holiness. . . .

God has one destined end for mankind, viz., holiness. His one aim is the production of saints. God is not an eternal blessing-machine for men; He did not come to save men out of pity: He came to save men because He had created them to be holy. . . .

Never tolerate through sympathy with yourself or with others any practice that is not in keeping with a holy God. Holiness means unsullied walking with the feet, unsullied talking with the tongue, unsullied thinking with the mind - every detail of the life under the scrutiny of God. Holiness is not only what God gives me, but what I manifest that God has given me.

From My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I've heard it said don't go to bed
while hanging on to sorrow,
you may not have the chance to laugh
with those you love tomorrow.

You may not mean the words you speak
when anger takes its toll,
you may regret your actions
once you've lost your self-control.

When you've lost your temper
and you've said some hurtful things,
think about the heartache
that your actions sometimes bring.

You'll never get those moments back,
such precious time to waste,
and all because of things you said
in anger and in haste.

So if you really love someone
and your pride has settled in,
you may not ever have the chance
to say to them again....

"I love you and I miss you,
and although we don't agree,
I'll try to see your point of view,
please do the same for me."

---Author Unknown

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

When He Hath Tried Me

God fashions with a Father’s care
Creating lusters bright and rare
That all His jewels might enhance
The Gospel message they advance,
And every polished facet show
His image and His love light’s glow.

He knows about the heat and fires
A character of gold requires,
He knows about affliction’s way
That brings those close who’ve gone astray.
He knows the faithful contemplate
And grow in patience as they wait.

A right response on David’s part
Made him a man who pleased God’s heart.
And Job, through tests severe and long,
Emerged as patient, steadfast, strong.
Through tests of faith Paul had to face
He learned God’s secret - strength and grace.

In my life’s tests may others see
Christ’s image also formed in me.
May I reflect God’s glory bright,
His grace and power for the night,
Assured in Him, as Job of old,
“When tried, I shall come forth as gold.”

- Merna B. Shank

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Try Smiling

When the weather suits you not,
Try smiling.
When your coffee isn’t hot,
Try smiling.
When your neighbors don’t do right,
Or your relatives all fight,
Sure ‘tis hard, but then you might
Try smiling.

Doesn’t change the things, of course-
Just smiling.
But it cannot make them worse-
Just smiling.
And it seems to help your case,
Brightens up a gloomy place,
Then it sort o’ rests your face-
Just smiling.

- Unknown

It would probably be better not to drink coffee at all, hot or otherwise.  :-)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

How many friends have you?

The old man turned to me and asked
"How many friends have you?"
Why 10 or 20 friends have I,
And named off just a few...

He rose quite slow with effort
And sadly shook his head
"A lucky child you are
With so many friends," he said

But think of what you're saying
There is much you may not know
A friend is just not someone
To whom you say “Hello”

A friends a tender shoulder
On which to softly cry
A well to pour your troubles down
And raise your spirits high

A friend is a hand to pull you up
From darkness and despair...
When all your other “so called” friends
Have helped to put you there

A true friend is an ally
Who can't be moved or bought
A voice to keep your name alive
When others have not thought

But most of all a friends a heart
A strong and sturdy wall
For from the hearts of friends
There comes the greatest love of all!!

So think of what I've spoken
For every word is true
And answer once again my child
How many friends have you??

And then he stood and faced me
Awaiting my reply
Softly I answered
"If have I"

~Author Unknown

Friday, June 3, 2011

Christian fortitude

What a load of injuries can some Christians digest, who have been frequent in sufferings and long exercised in the school of affliction. Not that they bear them out of baseness or cowardliness, because they dare not revenge—but out of Christian fortitude, because they may not; they have so conquered themselves that wrongs cannot conquer them.

Burder quoted in - A Treatise on Temper—its Use and Abuse

Friday, May 27, 2011

One solid basis of happiness

'Without asserting stoicism, it may be said, that it is our business to exempt ourselves as much as we can from the power of external things. There is but one solid basis of happiness; and that is, the reasonable hope of a happy futurity.'

Dr. Johnson quoted in A Treatise on Temper—its Use and Abuse

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Refiner’s Fire

He sat by the fire of sevenfold heat
As He watched the precious ore,
And closer He bent with a searching gaze
As He heated it more and more,
He knew He had ore that could stand the test,
And He wanted the finest gold
To mould as a crown for the King to wear
Set with gems of a price untold.

So He laid our gold in the burning fire,
Though we fain would have said "Nay"
And he watched the dross that we had not seen,
As it melted and passed away.
And the gold grew brighter and yet more bright,
But our eyes were so dim to tears,
We saw but the fire—not the Master’s hand,
And questioned with anxious fears,
Yet our gold shone out with a richer glow,
As it mirrored a Form above,
That bent o’er the fire, though unseen by us,
With a look of ineffable love.

Can we think that it pleases His loving heart,
To cause us a moment’s pain? Ah, no.
But He sees through the present cross,
The bliss of eternal gain.
So He waited there with a watchful eye,
With a love that is strong and sure,
And His gold didn’t suffer a bit more heat,
Than was needed to make it pure.

~Author Unknown

Thursday, May 12, 2011


This I think as I go my way:
What can matter the words I say,
And what can matter the false or true
Of any deed I am moved to do?

This I think as I go along:
What can matter my right or wrong?
Whichever path I may choose to take,
What possible difference can it make?

This I think as I go to town:
What can matter my smile or frown?
Can any one's destiny altered be
For better or worse because of me?

And something whispers;
"Another may be sadly deceived
By the words you say.
And another, believing and trusting you,
May be led astray by the things you do."

"For much that never you'll see or know
Will mark your days as you come and go.
And in countless lives that you'll never learn
The best and the worst of you will return."

- Edgar Guest

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Christian “Stonewall”

A while back I was discussing with someone how there are certain issues we may can give or take on, while there are some things we should be immoveable on and stand for “like a stonewall.” Being another Confederate buff, the person I was writing would recognize this as referring to Stonewall Jackson. Ever since then I have been thinking about how this applies to a Christian “Stonewall.”

During the first battle of Manassas when “defeat seemed imminent and hearts were failing,” General Jackson’s brigade formed a line along the Confederate gap and Brigadier-General Barnard Bee encouraged his broken company with the shout, “Look! There is Jackson standing like a stone wall! Rally behind the Virginians!” They did rally, and the field was eventually won. (Stonewall Jackson And The American Civil War by G. F. R. Henderson)

We need some “Stonewalls” in the Christian brigade. If there are things God has revealed to you in His Holy Word, things which you believe to be true, then stand for them. Stand for them like a stone wall. Though Satan may heavily assault you, be uncompromising, unwavering, unmovable - unmovable as a stone wall. There are promising youths of sixteen or seventeen who totally turn against what they stood for by the time they are twenty-six or twenty-seven. I liked this article “Greater Expectations” by Anna Sofia Botkin and can echo her statement, “over the years I‘ve seen many whom I counted as friends and allies change course dramatically and walk away from the principles that they fought alongside me to defend.”

Things do not work out the way a young person thinks, expects, or by the time they had anticipated, and they are ready to “galvanize.” (war term for changing to the enemy’s side) If what you believed at seventeen was true, it will be true when you are thirty-seven. We may change, but truth never changes. Sometimes we may have believed wrong, or not seen clearly, and growth is necessary. All too often though, the change is not from a Berean study of the Scriptures, but is simply because the going is rougher than they predicted. Our Lord tell us, “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” Luke 9:62. The young make a nice looking brigade when all they have to do is march in parades and drill on safe camp grounds, but if they turn and run when under enemy fire, they are useless. True faith stands to its post of duty when it “sees the elephant,” or when it becomes necessary to pour the sand on the floor.

There is always room for growth. A good line to remember humility is, “Are you sure that you are Right? How fine and strong! But were you ever just as sure - and wrong?” If we find like the Pharisees, we have been “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” and have been keeping our “own tradition” Mark7:7,8, then we should correct the error. This is not what I am referring to. I am thinking of ones like Demas who forsook the Apostle Paul “having loved this present world better.” II Timothy 4:10 Most young people change simply because they love this present world better. In Andrew Murray’s book, School of Obedience, he stresses when we become Christians we are to be “obedient unto death.” Our lives are not our own. They have been bought with Jesus’ blood. We are to obey in everything unto death, or to be a “living sacrifice.” Often it is harder to be a “living sacrifice” than it is to give one’s life in death for a cause. Yet to be a living sacrifice is our “reasonable service.” Romans 12:1 While we give no ground to the enemy, we are to have “Absolute Surrender” to God. How well it would be if we could live as the Romans did of whom Paul wrote, “your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf.”

Sometimes we are prone to weigh the consequences of our beliefs and look into the future asking, “Can I really live this and endure the consequences of declaring this stand for the rest of my life?” This is the wrong question. We should not question ourselves, “Is this hard? Is it difficult? Is this what I want? Will I still be able to hold to this ten years from now?” Instead we should ask ourselves, “Is this truth?” By God’s grace we should always stand for solid truth, saying with Stonewall Jackson, “Duty is ours. Consequences are God’s.” Again, Anna S. Botkin wrote, “If we believe something because we know it’s true, then we will keep believing — even when it becomes hard, inconvenient, socially unacceptable, and appears to be costing, not paying.”

Though we call Stonewall Jackson’s un-flinching stand before the fire “bravery,” it is a different and more difficult kind we look for in a “Christian Stonewall.” On page 18 and 19 of Hopes and helps for the young of both sexes, G. S. Weaver writes:

“The noblest bravery in the world is moral bravery, that which meets disappointment, trial, affliction, failure, misfortune, sickness, and all the varied ills of life with a determined and vigorous composure and a stern and trained self-reliance, [maybe “a reliance on God” would be better wording than “self-reliance”] which enable its possessor to pursue his even course undismayed, and add to, rather than detract from, his strength. Such a bravery is a lofty moral heroism, as great as that which nerved the martyrs’ hearts and bared the reformers’ stalwart arms. The bravery that faces the cannon’s mouth is often the fear of public rebuke or love of public praise. Seldom is true bravery exhibited on the field of battle, or in any of the great conflicts of arms or minds carried on in the audience of the world. It is more generally ambition, fear of censure, love of gain, animal excitement, or the madness of narcotic or stimulating drugs or drinks. These supply the place of bravery, and the world knows not the difference. But there is a bravery that is true. It is the proudest, sublimest of human virtues. It is that bravery which dares be true to duty though the heavens come down; true when the world knows it not; true in the calm resolve of the midnight hour, when no eye but God’s looks into the soul; true when the world would applaud for being false, and every worldly interest should seem to offer a price for cowardice. The bravery that under these circumstances is the same calm, undismayed, unreduced, dauntless vigor and determination of soul, is worthy the name, and is a godlike grandeur of moral greatness worthy a place in the calendar of the sublimest heroism. Our youth want more of this heroism. There is a fearful deficiency everywhere. It is as much needed in the common walks of life, as in the higher or highest pursuits, and often more so; for in public life the world often sustains the martyr, or the defender of humanity, or her injured rights; but in common life it is often that the severest trials have to be borne in solitary silence, while the contumely of neighbors, unjustly given, adds another trial scarcely less severe. To suppress the mutiny of the passions, to silence the clamors of lust, avarice, and ambition, to moderate the vehemence of desire, to check the repining of sorrow, to disperse the gloom of disappointment, and suppress the dark spirits of despondency, requires a degree of vigorous moral courage that is not so often possessed as it is needed. It is everywhere needed, and very seldom possessed to a very great degree.”

One reason this “moral bravery” is more difficult is because we are ever in danger of losing the proper balance. While we need to be rock solid as a stone wall in our beliefs and not, “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine,” we are also to speak “the truth in love” Ephesians 4:14,15. While holding fast to those things which call us to “be true to duty though the heavens come down,” there must still be patience with others and a remembrance that having compassion is also a duty. “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous” I Peter 3:8. The years have deepened my adherence to some truths, while at the same time it has taught me to be more sympathetic and more understanding when a friend turns with their sorrow and pain looking for solace. Being true to duty need not make us callous and uncaring. As the Confederates sang from Bayard Taylor’s "Song of the Camp,”
“Ah, soldiers! To your honoured rest
Your truth and valour wearing:
The bravest are the tenderest,--
The loving are the daring.”
A friend of J. R. Miller gave him this description, “. . .He was as gentle as a child, yet firm as a rock. . .” This is difficult ground to achieve. The naturally kind, gentle, and mild, can tend to compromise, ever weakening their standards in a natural desire to please and for fear of hurting someone’s feelings; while the “stone walls,” the true and faithful to duty, can tend to stern rigidness forgetting to temper justice with mercy, forbearance, and compassion. While we learn to “endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” II Timothy 2:3, may we ever endeavor to keep our hearts softened to the pain, grief and struggles of others, yet never to the point of doing wrong or condoning sin. Dr. Channing says, “It is worth of especial remark, that without this moral energy, resisting passion and impulse, our tenderest attachments degenerate more or less into weaknesses and immoralities; sometimes prompting us to sympathize with those whom we love in their errors, prejudices, and evil passions; sometimes inciting us to heap upon them injurious praises and indulgences; sometimes urging us to wrong or neglect others, that we may the more enjoy or serve our favorites; and sometimes poisoning our breasts with jealousy or envy, because our affection is not returned with equal warmth. The principle of love, whether exercised toward our relatives or our country, whether manifested in courtesy or compassion, can only become virtue, can only acquire purity, consistency, serenity, dignity, when imbued, swayed, cherished, enlarged by the power of a virtuous will, by a self-denying energy.” p. 40 Hopes and Helps

Just as a stone wall is made up of numerous individual stones, there are many truths, which call us to stand like a stone wall. Stone by stone, truth upon truth, we must build our wall. C. H. Spurgeon notes a few of these stones in his sermon “The Broken Fence.” Here is a small portion of his thoughts:

“Protection to character is also found in the fact that solid doctrines have been learned. This is a fine stone wall. Many among us have been taught the gospel of the grace of God, and they have learned it well, so that they are able to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. Happy are they who have a religion that is grounded upon a clear knowledge of eternal verities. A religion which is all excitement, and has little instruction in it, may serve for transient use; but for permanent life-purposes there must be a knowledge of those great doctrines which are fundamental to the gospel system. I tremble when I hear of a man's giving up, one by one, the vital principles of the gospel and boasting of his liberality. I hear him say, "These are my views, but others have a right to their views also." That is a very proper expression in reference to mere "views," but we may not thus speak of truth itself as revealed by God: that is one and unalterable, and all are bound to receive it. It is not your view of truth, for that is a dim thing; but the very truth itself which will save you if your faith embraces it. I will readily yield my way of stating a doctrine, but not the doctrine itself. One man may put it in this way, and one in another; but the truth itself must never be given up. The spirit of the Broad School robs us of everything like certainty. I should like to ask some great men of that order whether they believe that anything is taught in the Scriptures which it would be worth while for a person to die for, and whether the martyrs were not great fools for laying down their lives for mere opinions which might be right or might be wrong? This Broad-churchism is a breaking down of stone walls, and it will let in the devil and all his crew, and do infinite harm to the church of God, if it be not stopped. A loose state of belief does great damage to any man's mind.

"…Lately we have seen few men with backbone; the most have been of the jelly-fish order. I have lived in times in which I should have said, "Be liberal, and shake off all narrowness"; but now I am obliged to alter my tone and cry, "Be steadfast in the truth." The faith once delivered to the saints is now all the more attractive to me because it is called narrow, for I am weary of that breadth which comes of broken hedges. There are fixed points of truth, and definite certainties of creed, and woe to you if you allow these stone walls to crumble down. I fear me that the slothful are a numerous band, and that ages to come may have to deplore the laxity which has been applauded by this negligent generation. 
"There is yet another stone wall which I will mention, namely, firmness of character. Our holy faith teaches a man to be decided in the cause of Christ, and to be resolute in getting rid of evil habits. "If thine eye offend thee"—wear a shade? No; "pluck it out." "If thine arm offend thee"—hang it in a sling? No; "cut it off and cast it from thee." True religion is very thorough in what it recommends. It says to us, "touch not the unclean thing." But many persons are so idle in the ways of God that they have no mind of their own: evil companions tempt them, and they cannot say, "No." They need a stone wall made up of noes. Here are the stones "no, no, NO." Dare to be singular. Resolve to keep close to Christ. Make a stern determination to permit nothing in your life, however gainful or pleasurable, if it would dishonour the name of Jesus. Be dogmatically true, obstinately holy, immovably honest, desperately kind, fixedly upright. If God's grace sets up this hedge around you, even Satan will feel that he cannot get in, and will complain to God ‘hast thou not set a hedge about him?’”

To those who are older than my age group, we need you to take the Bible truths and, “stand like a stone wall!” It encourages us to rally again. My age group must also stand like a stone wall, for there are those younger that are looking to us. We must also be faithful, dependable reinforcements to the older “Stonewall brigade.” To those younger than my age group, we need you learning and searching for the truths which you should learn to stand for like a stone wall. Knowing you are there to fill the ranks when our faithful fall is an encouragement to us.

A Christian should live for Jesus Christ his Lord and Master and be steadfast to duty “though none go with me.” Yet as much as we should live for the Lord if we were the only one who was not turning back, human nature tends to look on other humans for support and encouragement. Even God’s man Elijah was perhaps discouraged when as far as he could see, he stood alone. By God’s grace one can make it, but two or more is always better. The Preacher tell us in Eccl. 4, “Two are better than one. . .For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. . . And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Christ sent out the disciples in pairs of two. While Paul was in prison, he was encouraged by those who were standing despite the persecution. He wanted the Philippians to hold true so “that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; And in nothing terrified by your adversaries” Philippians 1:27,28.
Youth especially searches for someone to look up to, someone who has already traveled the path, someone who is not merely pointing to the path, but leading up the path. Yes, they can find this in the older grey headed saints, but they naturally look closer to their own age group to whom they can relate. They look for someone like young Timothy whom Paul exhorted, “Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” I Timothy 4:12 They will complain to their parents and elders that they have no fellow comrades in the fight. If indeed those around have turned back, how strong is the discouragement. Yet how blessed it is and such an encouragement when “defeat seems imminent and hearts are failing,” if an elder can point to someone who stands for Bible truths, unwavering amidst the onslaught and say, “Look! There is _____ standing like a stone wall!”

“I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction."—Proverbs 24:30-32.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

That all can control their ill humours is certain

That all can control their ill humours is certain, because all do when there is a necessity for it in certain companies, or in the presence of those we fear, or with whom we have some purpose to effect: either the ill-humour is conquered or it is concealed. However the venom may be rooted in our bosoms, the sting is put forth only at our pleasure; and strange as it is, we reserve it for our best and dearest, for the torment of our homes and the misery of our families!

From A Treatise on Temper - its Use and Abuse

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Brethren

The world is needing you and me,
In places where we ought to be;
Somewhere today it's needing you
To stand for what you know is true.
And needing me somewhere today.
To keep the faith, let come what may.

The world needs honest men today
To lead its youth along the way,
Men who will write in all their deeds
The beauty of their spoken creeds,
And spurn advantage here and gain,
On which deceit must leave its stain.

The world needs men who will not brag,
Men who will honor Freedom's Flag,
Men, who although the way is hard,
Against the lure of shame will guard,
The world needs gentle men and true
And calls aloud to me and you.

The world needs men of lofty aim,
Not merely men of skill and fame,
Not merely leaders wise and grave,
Or learned men or soldiers brave,
But men whose lives are fair to see,
Such men as you and I can be.

- Edgar Guest

This poem says “men” but is mostly quite applicable to women.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Cheat

I cheated a good friend yesterday,
Kept what was his, and went my way,
Wronged him by silence-for in haste
I let a glad thought go to waste.

I had a word of cheer to speak,
To strengthen him when he grew weak,
To send him smiling on his way -
But what I thought I didn't say.

He would have richer been to know
That deed of his had pleased me so,
But oh, I failed to let him see
How much his conquest meant to me.

I cheated him of words of praise
Which would have cheered his troubled days;
In this a faithful friend I wronged,
By keeping what to him belonged.

The praise was his by right to hear,
To him belonged my word of cheer;
In silence, though, from him I turned
And cheated him of what he'd earned.

Edgar Guest

Friday, April 15, 2011

Patience quotes

“One minute of patience, ten years of peace.”

"Patience wears away stones."

“Patience makes lighter what sorrow may not heal.” - Horace

“Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow - that is patience.”

"Patience is the companion of wisdom."

"One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life."

“The strongest of all warriors are these two: Time and Patience.” – Leo Tolstoi

“Patience can't be acquired overnight. It is just like building up a muscle. Every day you need to work on it.” - Eknath Easwaran

“Patience is passion tamed.” - Lyman Abbott

“Patience is bitter, but it's fruit is sweet.”

“Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.” - Thomas Edison

“Patience is the key to contentment.”

“There is no royal road to anything, one thing at a time, all things in succession. That which grows fast, withers as rapidly. That which grows slowly, endures.” - Josiah Gilbert Holland

“Patience is not passive; on the contrary, it is active; it is concentrated strength.”- Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton

“Have patience and endure; this unhappiness will one day be beneficial.” - Ovid

“If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.”

“The trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.” - Moliere

“You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance.” - Franklin P. Jones

“People say they wish they had my patience. I tell them I wasn't born with it. I had to learn it. Everybody has patience. Some of us just make better use of it than others.” - Bruce Law

“Patient waiting is often the highest way of doing God’s will.” - Jeremy Collier

“O man of God. . .follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” - I Timothy 6:11

Monday, April 11, 2011

His Eye Is on the Sparrow

Why should I feel discouraged,
Why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely,
And long for heav’n and home?
When Jesus is my portion,
My constant Friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,”
His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness,
I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth,
But one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow,
and I know He watches me.

Whenever I am tempted,
Whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing,
When hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him,
From care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

- Civilla D. Martin

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Give us Men! - and - God Give Us Women

Give us Men!
Men- from every rank,
Fresh and free and frank;
Men of thought and reading,
Men of light and leading,
Men of loyal breeding,
The nation’s welfare speeding;
Men of faith and not of fiction,
Men of lofty aim in action;
Give us Men - I say again,
Give us Men!

Give us Men!
Strong and stalwart ones;
Men whom highest hope inspires,
Men whom purest honor fires,
Men who trample self beneath them,
Men who make their country wreathe them
As her noble sons,
Worthy of their sires;
Men who never shame their mothers,
Men who never fail their brothers,
True, however false are others:
Give us Men - I say again,
Give us Men!

Give us Men!
Men who, when the tempest gathers,
Grasp the standard of their fathers
In the thickest fight;
Men who strike for home and altar,
(Let the coward cringe and falter),
God defend the right!
True as truth the lorn and lonely,
Tender, as the brave are only;
Men who tread where saints have trod,
Men for Country, Home - and God:
Give us Men! I say again - again
Give us Men!

- Josiah Gilbert Holland
God Give Us Women

God give us women
Women of such mold
Preferring ever honor unto gold

Women who wear their beauty as a flower,
Whose homey virtues are their richest dower.

Say you, "The age needs men!"
I say again, "God give us women
Lest we lack true men."

Author Unknown

Friday, April 1, 2011

-“Thou shalt not commit adultery.”-

“TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.” Daniel 5:27

The Seventh Command-“Thou shalt not commit adultery.”- I cannot dwell on that. It needs to be dwelt upon, but not here. Simply let me say that there is no class of sins upon which God has set the stamp of his disapproval in a plainer way, by the fearful consequences that immediately follow the sins covered by this commandment. The woman untrue to her husband, the husband untrue to his wife: the curse of God always follows them. It may be done by legal means, under the cover of divorce laws that controvert God’s laws, but it does not lessen the sin. The meanest scoundrel that walks the earth, the meanest man alive, is the man who steps in, under any circumstances, between a man and his wife; and the meanest woman on earth is the one who steps in between another woman and her husband. Remember, furthermore, that our Saviour interpreted this law as applying not only to the overt act but to the secret thought of the heart, when He said, “Whoso looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Revival Addresses “Found Wanting” by Reuben A. Torrey

“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. . . .Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.” Mark 10:7-12

“For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.” Romans 7:2,3