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