Life’s Unknowns

6b7162242c49e27d145b54f99f524f14July 31, 2017

David cared for them with pure motives; he led them with skill. Psalm 78:72

When you are doubtful as to your course, submit your judgment absolutely to the Spirit of God, and ask Him to shut against you every door but the right one…Meanwhile keep on as you are, and consider the absence of indication to be the indication of God’s will that you are on His track…As you go down the long corridor, you will find that He has preceded you, and locked many doors which you would fain have entered; but be sure that beyond these there is one which He has left unlocked. Open it and enter, and you will find yourself face to face with a bend of the river of opportunity, broader and deeper than anything you had dared to imagine in your sunniest dreams. Launch forth upon it; it conducts to the open sea.

God guides us, often by circumstances. At one moment the way may seem utterly blocked; and then shortly afterward some trivial incident occurs, which might not seem much to others, but which to the keen eye of faith speaks volumes. Sometimes these things are repeated in various ways, in answer to prayer. They are not haphazard results of chance, but the opening up of circumstances in the direction in which we would walk. And they begin to multiply as we advance toward our goal, just as the lights do as we near a populous town, when darting through the land by night express.

If you go to Him to be guided, He will guide you; but He will not comfort your distrust or half-trust of Him by showing you the chart of all His purposes concerning you. He will show you only into a way where, if you go cheerfully and trustfully forward, He will show you on still farther.

 

“As moves my fragile bark across the storm-swept sea,
Great waves beat o’er her side, as north wind blows;
Deep in the darkness hid lie threat’ning rocks and shoals;
But all of these, and more, my Pilot knows.

Sometimes when dark the night, and every light gone out,
I wonder to what port my frail ship goes;
Still though the night be long, and restless all my hours,
My distant goal, I’m sure, my Pilot knows.”

~Thomas Curtis Clark

 

@wearywithsorrow

~Cathey Lynn

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What Am I To Do

Matthew 25:40

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July 30, 2017

What am I to do? I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good work, therefore, any kindness, or any service I can render to any soul of man or animal let me do it now. Let me not neglect or defer it, for I shall not pass this way again.
–An Old Quaker Saying

It isn’t the thing you do, dear,
It’s the thing you leave undone,
Which gives you the bitter heartache
At the setting of the sun;
The tender word unspoken,
The letter you did not write,
The flower you might have sent, dear,
Are your haunting ghosts at night.
The stone you might have lifted
Out of your brother’s way,
The bit of heartsome counsel
You were hurried too much to say;
The loving touch of the hand, dear,
The gentle and winsome tone,
That you had no time or thought for,
With troubles enough of your own.
These little acts of kindness,
So easily out of mind,
These chances to be angels,
Which even mortals find
They come in night and silence,
Each chill reproachful wraith,
When hope is faint and flagging,
And a blight has dropped on faith.
For life is all too short, dear.
And sorrow is all too great,
To suffer our slow compassion
That tarries until too late.
And it’s not the thing you do, dear,
It’s the thing you leave undone,
Which gives you the bitter heartache,
At the setting of the sun.
-~Adelaide Proctor

Give what you have; to someone it may be better than you dare to think.
–Longfellow

@wearywithsorrow

The Teaching Of Disillusionment

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July 30, 2017

The Teaching of Disillusionment

Many of us have learned this the hard way, including myself. Trust in no human being.

Jesus did not commit Himself to them…, for He knew what was in man. —John 2:24-25

Disillusionment means having no more misconceptions, false impressions, and false judgments in life; it means being free from these deceptions. However, though no longer deceived, our experience of disillusionment may actually leave us cynical and overly critical in our judgment of others. But the disillusionment that comes from God brings us to the point where we see people as they really are, yet without any cynicism or any stinging and bitter criticism. Many of the things in life that inflict the greatest injury, grief, or pain, stem from the fact that we suffer from illusions. We are not true to one another as facts, seeing each other as we really are; we are only true to our misconceived ideas of one another. According to our thinking, everything is either delightful and good, or it is evil, malicious, and cowardly.

Refusing to be disillusioned is the cause of much of the suffering of human life. And this is how that suffering happens— if we love someone we demand total perfection and righteousness from that person, and when we do not get it we become cruel and vindictive; yet we are demanding of a human being something which he or she cannot possibly give. There is only one Being who can completely satisfy to the absolute depth of the hurting human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord is so obviously uncompromising with regard to every human relationship because He knows that every relationship that is not based on faithfulness to Himself will end in disaster. Our Lord trusted no one, and never placed His faith in people, yet He was never suspicious or bitter. Our Lord’s confidence in God, and in what God’s grace could do for anyone, was so perfect that He never despaired, never giving up hope for any person. If our trust is placed in human beings, we will end up despairing of everyone.

@wearywithsorrow

Overcoming Discouragements

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July 28, 2017

OVERCOMING DISCOURAGEMENTS

Suffering brings discouragements, because of our impatience. `Alas!’, we lament, `I shall never get through such a trial.’ But if God brings us into the trial he will be with us in the trial, and at length bring us out, more refined. We shall lose nothing but dross (Zech. 13:9). From our own strength we cannot bear the least trouble, but by the Spirit’s assistance we can bear the greatest. The Spirit will add his shoulders to help us to bear our infirmities. The Lord will give his hand to heave us up (Psa. 37:24). ‘Ye have heard of the patience of job,’ says James (James 5:11). We have heard of his impatience too, but it pleased God mercifully to overlook that. It yields us comfort also in desolate conditions, such as contagious sicknesses and the like, in which we are more immediately under God’s hand, that then Christ has a throne of mercy at our bedside and numbers our tears and our groans. And, to come to the matter we are now about, the Sacrament’, it was ordained not for angels, but for men; and not for perfect men, but for weak men; and not for Christ, who is truth itself, to bind him, but because we are ready, by reason of our guilty and unbelieving hearts, to call truth itself into question. Therefore it was not enough for his goodness to leave us many precious promises, but he gives us confirming tokens to strengthen us. And even if we are not so prepared as we should be, yet let us pray as Hezekiah did: `The good LORD pardon every one that prepareth his heart to seek God, the LORD God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary’ (2 Chron. 30:18,19). Then we come comfortably to this holy sacrament, and with much fruit. This should carry us through all duties with much cheerfulness, that, if we hate our corruptions and strive against them, they shall not be counted ours. `It is no more I that do it,’ says Paul, `but sin that dwelleth in me’ (Rom. 7:17). For what displeases us shall never hurt us, and we shall be esteemed by God to be what we love and desire and labour to be. What we desire to be we shall be, and what we desire truly to conquer we shall conquer, for God will fulfill the desire of them that fear him (Psa. 145:19). The desire is an earnest of the thing desired. How little encouragement will carry us to the affairs of this life! And yet all the helps God offers will hardly prevail with our backward natures.

@wearywithsorrow

Cathey Lynn

Let Us Not Delay

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July 28, 2017

Procrastination is “the act of willfully delaying the doing of something that should be done,” and in some people it is a habitual way of handling any task. While the word itself is not found in the Bible, we can find some principles to help guide us.

Sometimes, procrastination is the result of laziness, and the Bible has plenty to say about that. The Bible commends hard work and industry (Proverbs 12:24; 13:4) and warns against sloth and slackness (Proverbs 15:19; 18:9). One cure for procrastination is more diligence, regardless of the task. The Christian should be supremely motivated to be diligent in his work, since he is ultimately serving the Lord. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:23). If we put our hearts into our work, as this verse says to do, we will probably find it difficult to procrastinate too much.

The Bible says that when it comes to some things, we should never delay. Jesus taught that reconciling with an offended brother should be done immediately upon our remembrance of the situation (Matthew 5:23-24). He also said to “settle matters quickly” with our adversaries (verse 25). However distasteful it may be to pursue peace with an enemy, we must avoid stalling. Similarly, we are instructed, “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” (Ephesians 4:26). Dealing appropriately with our anger is a matter of great importance, and we must not put it off until tomorrow, which will give the devil “a foothold” (verse 27).

Christians must not procrastinate when it comes to sharing the gospel with the lost. There is no time to waste. Jesus likened evangelistic efforts to a man inviting people to a great banquet. As he sent out his servants with the invitations, he said, “Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame” (Luke 14:21). The most striking qualities of the invitation are its openness (anyone and everyone was invited) and its urgency (the call to the feast must go out “quickly”).

Some people, upon hearing the gospel and knowing their spiritual need, delay in making a response. This is the most dangerous type of procrastination. Life is short, and we do not know what will happen tomorrow (James 4:13-14). The Bible urges us to get right with God today. “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. As has just been said: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion’” (Heb 3:12-13, 15). To procrastinate and put off getting right with God is to harden one’s own heart.

Jesus could return at any time; we do not know when (Luke 12:40). Our Lord illustrated the importance of being prepared for His coming in Matthew 25:1-13. In this parable, ten virgins await the arrival of the bridegroom and the commencement of the wedding feast. Five of the virgins were prepared for his arrival; five did not attempt to prepare until it was too late, and they were left behind. Jesus calls the unprepared virgins “foolish”; one reason they were unprepared may have been that they procrastinated.

So in the matter of our spiritual life, we dare not procrastinate. It is also unwise to delay healing a broken relationship or dealing with anger. And since our service to God motivates all we do, we have no reason to procrastinate. In short, procrastination is a bad habit that can have eternal effects.

@wearywithsorrow

The Tempest

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July 28, 2017

The Lord hath His way in the whirlwind and storm (Nahum 1:3).

I recollect, when I was younger and sitting on an elevation of a mountain, and watching a storm as it came up the valley. The heavens were filled with blackness, and the earth was shaken by the voice of thunder. It seemed as though that fair landscape was utterly changed, and its beauty gone never to return.

But the storm swept on, and passed out of the valley; and if I had sat in the same place on the following day, and said, “Where is that terrible storm, with all its terrible blackness?” the grass would have said, “Part of it is in me,” and the daisy would have said, “Part of it is in me,” and the fruits and flowers and everything that grows out of the ground would have said, “Part of the storm is incandescent in me.”

Have you asked to be made like your Lord? Have you longed for the fruit of the Spirit, and have you prayed for sweetness and gentleness and love? I know I have everyday. Then fear not the stormy tempest that is at this moment sweeping through your life. A blessing is in the storm, and there will be the rich fruitage in the “afterward.”

 

The flowers live by the tears that fall
From the sad face of the skies;
And life would have no joys at all,
Were there no watery eyes.
Love thou thy sorrow: grief shall bring
Its own excuse in after years;
The rainbow!–see how fair a thing
God hath built up from tears.
–Henry S. Sutton

@wearywithsorrow

Cathey Lynn

The Gathering Of His Sheep

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July 27; 2017

This was a devonial I read this morning and the Lord lead me to share because I know that many of us are here or have been here. I titled this The Gathering of His Sheep.

I Am Definitely a Sheep!
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young (Isaiah 40:11, NIV).

Friend to Friend

As a little girl, I really did have a little lamb whose fleece was white as snow. I can remember the day my mother showed me the lamb and explained that she did not have a bottle with which to feed the stray lamb. I agreed to let the lamb have my bottle if I could have the lamb. I have been fascinated by the unique relationship between sheep and their shepherd ever since.

The type of shepherding referred to in the Bible is not the farming of fenced pasturelands, but a type of nomadic grazing. The shepherd must carefully plan the path and lead the way so that the sheep have neither too little nor too much grazing, and are able to get to the water hole on time. Pastures are often lost to extreme heat, which means the shepherd has to scour the countryside in search of green grass. Several flocks of sheep are gathered together at night in a sheltered place so that shepherds can share the watches of the night, protecting the sheep from wild animals and thieves. Good shepherds are always willing to risk their lives to save their flocks from any harm, any enemy, and even from themselves.

Sheep are dumb, can never be left alone, and often stray, requiring the shepherd to find and rescue them. A shepherd never pushes his sheep but rather leads his sheep, going before them, making sure they are not walking into danger. The natural instinct of sheep is to be afraid. When faced with a dangerous situation, sheep panic and run – often into dangerous places. Without a shepherd to care for the sheep, they will not last long.

Personally, I definitely fit the profile of a sheep. I can’t count the number of times I have stubbornly stuck to my plan, foolishly thinking it was better than God’s plan, only to end up in some pit somewhere, calling for help. Psalm 40:1-3 has become my life maxim – with one exception. I rarely wait patiently! Remember, I am a sheep!

I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD (Psalm 40:1-3, NIV).

I sometimes allow fear to drive me to a place where I am trapped by doubts and darkness…until He rescues me. I try to satisfy my hunger by eating the wrong things found in the wrong places at the wrong times. The result is always the same; my soul remains ravenous for what is good while stuffing my heart and mind with what is bad.

Like every sheep, I don’t like to be pushed. Good shepherds do not push, no matter how great the temptation. A good shepherd stands in front of his sheep, gently calling their names, leading them to a place where he has already been, positioning himself between danger and his sheep.

When I am tired and ready to give up, I tend to withdraw from the other sheep and even from my Shepherd. Many of us have somehow bought into the lie that we can make it on our own or that the rules, the commandments of God, do not necessarily apply to us…just those other sheep. The longer I serve God, the more I realize just how much we need each other and how much we need Him. When will I learn that I cannot do life on my own – as a sheep or as a shepherd?

I am so glad Jesus was willing to lay down His life for every single sheep – the cute, fluffy ones as well as the dirty, broken lambs like me. Maybe it is time for us all to stop, listen for His voice, seek His plan, and remember that we are indeed needy sheep, called to love and lead other needy sheep to the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ.

Lord, I am so thankful that You are my Shepherd, and that no matter how deep the valley or dark the pit, You have gone before me and made a way. Help me to understand that Your ways are higher than mine. Forgive me when I complain that the way You have made for me is harder than I want it to be. I surrender my life to you, Lord, my God and my Shepherd.

In Jesus name Amen

@wearywithsorrow

Our Reputation

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July 26, 2017

Our Reputation

Exodus 20:16

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” has very far-reaching spiritual applications. Bear means “to spread, carry, render, or give.” At first glance, the commandment appears to involve only lying in a court of law, and this might be true if the words in the commandment were to be taken only at face value. Jesus clearly shows that there is a “spirit,” an intent, to God’s laws in addition to the letter that carries their application far beyond mere face-value judgments.

Many scriptures show that the commandment covers lying under any circumstance, including hypocrisy and self-deception. That is, it covers any wrongful word or example that would tend to injure. The ninth commandment is in a similar position in man’s relationship to other men as the third commandment is in man’s relationship to God. This commandment directly involves faithfulness and loyalty in our speech and in our witness for God before men.

Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold.” The Soncino Commentary remarks that a person’s good reputation, his name, is his most valuable asset. Indeed, the Bible shows that God guards and protects His name very jealously. This is because His name represents what He is.

So it is with us. But why do so many lie, sowing the seeds for the destruction of their reputation? It is the desire for the approval of others that leads them to twist a story or to deliberately exaggerate or diminish their parts in it in the retelling.

When we hear a name, images of that person and what he or she is immediately spring to mind. What we are and how others perceive us has everything to do with what we believe and practice. So, is what we believe and practice true? If we want to have a good name (reputation) in the eyes of both God and man, we, too, have to recognize truth—wherever and whenever it arises in daily life—understand it, and submit to it. This process produces faithfulness.

This is where truth in a person’s witness begins. If truth does not form the foundation of a person’s life, he is already behind the eight-ball to some extent. The urge to lie must be met and overcome. At the base of this problem is a deceitful heart (Jeremiah 17:9) that continually lays traps to make lying an appealing course to follow. Besides lying before men, some of us keep lying to ourselves, and thus our name before God is not good. Faithlessness is the result. In order to have a good name, we, as God’s children, must face up to our vanities and quit deceiving ourselves that God will just have to take us as we are.

We need to stop blaming our failures, problems, and shortcomings on others, which tendency provides us with justifications for what we are and what we do. Within the family, Mom and Dad are frequent targets of this. They are usually guilty to some extent, but God puts the pressure on us to change. Change will not occur in this way of life until we face up to the truth that we are responsible for what we are. We also bear much of the responsibility of becoming what we hope to be. Nobody can do this for us.

This is the day-to-day “stuff” on which trustworthiness and righteous reputations are formed. They are built on the witness of what we do before others. God wants our reputation before men to be built, first, on His truth and then on truth in general. Are we honestly doing this as well as we could be?

@wearywithsorrow

Cathey Lynn

Who Can Understand His Errors

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July 26, 2017

Psalms 19 12-14

(12) Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. (13) Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. (14) Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
King James Version Change your email Bible version

David showed no hostility toward God, and he tried hard to change whenever he could see that he was wrong. However, he could not always see it. For instance, David stole Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, and she became pregnant. After conniving and cheating in an attempt to avoid the consequences, David intentionally arranged for Uriah to be killed in battle.

Incredible as it may seem, David did not see how terribly wrong his sexual immorality in both his thoughts and actions was. He broke both the spirit and letter of the law. Not until the prophet Nathan brought him to his senses did spiritually blind David realize his sinful behavior.

Nevertheless, we cannot judge David too harshly, since our vision is likewise clouded regarding many of our problems. It is hard enough to recognize and admit the problems we can see, much less the ones we cannot. Rather than judge him, we can actually identify with David.

@wearywithsorrow

Love Comes From God

George Matheson

July 26, 2017

This story came across my studies this morning. God speaks to us in mysterious ways because this is going on in my life as well.

For we through the Spirit by faith wait for the hope of righteousness (Galatians 5:5)

There are times when things look very dark to me–so dark that I have to wait even for hope. It is bad enough to wait in hope. A long-deferred fulfillment carries its own pain, but to wait for hope, to see no glimmer of a prospect and yet refuse to despair; to have nothing but night before the casement and yet to keep the casement open for possible stars; to have a vacant place in my heart and yet to allow that place to be filled by no inferior presence–that is the grandest patience in the universe. It is Job in the tempest; it is Abraham on the road to Moriah; it is Moses in the desert of Midian; it is the Son of man in the Garden of Gethsemane. There is no patience so hard as that which endures, “as seeing him who is invisible”; it is the waiting for hope.

Thou hast made waiting beautiful; Thou has made patience divine. Thou hast taught us that the Father’s will may be received just because it is His will. Thou hast revealed to us that a soul may see nothing but sorrow in the cup and yet may refuse to let it go, convinced that the eye of the Father sees further than its own.

Give me this Divine power of Thine, the power of Gethsemane. Give me the power to wait for hope itself, to look out from the casement where there are no stars. Give me the power, when the very joy that was set before me is gone, to stand unconquered amid the night, and say, “To the eye of my Father it is perhaps shining still.”

I shall reach the climax of strength when I have learned to wait for hope.

–George Matheson

 

A short biography of George Matheson if any of you do not know him.

George Matheson was only fifteen when he was told that he was losing what little eyesight he had.
Instead of giving up, Matheson immediately continued with his plans to enroll in the University of
Glasgow, and his determination lead to his graduation at age nineteen. But as he pursued graduate
studies in theology for Christian ministry he finally lost his sight. His sisters joined ranks beside him,
learning Greek and Hebrew to assist him in his studies. He pressed faithfully on.

But his spirit collapsed when his fiancée, unwilling to be married to a blind man, broke their engagement and returned his ring. He never married, and the pain of that rejection never left him. Years later, as a well-loved preacher in Scotland, his sister came to him announcing her engagement. He rejoiced with her, but his mind went back to his own heartache. He consoled himself in thinking of God’s love which is never limited, never conditional, never withdrawn, and never uncertain. In the darkness of those moments George Matheson wrote this hymn. He remarked afterward that it took him five minutes and that it was the only hymn he ever wrote that required no editing.

O love that will not let me go. Heartening hope for you and me.

 

O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go.
O love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths it flow
May richer, fuller be.

O Light that foll’west all my way
I yield my flick’ring torch to thee
My heart restores its borrowed ray
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be

George Matheson

Stabilizing lines, especially for those in darkness.

To understand what it means to love one another you have to understand what the word LOVE really means There are three words in Greek which are translated as LOVE.
The first is word is PHILEO. This means brotherly love or friendship. This is the first level of love.
You get to know someone, you enjoy being around them. Eventually you form a close friendship. In this church I am sure that there are people here that you LOVE hanging around with and are friends

The second word is EROS. This is the word for romantic love. This is the second level. Imagine a
boy and a girl who have been friends for a long time. One day the guy says to the girl “I like you”.
She says “I know, I like you too”. He says, “No, I mean I REALLY LIKE you”. She finally gets the
message. He has moved from PHILEO love to EROS love.
The third word AGAPE is the deepest level of love. This means sacrificial love. Imagine again that boy and girl
have a bad fight. At that point she does not love him as a friend and certainly not romantically.
AGAPE love is not an emotion but a decision. It is an act of the will. Reaching out in AGAPE love draws them back together to work through their problems and eventually the relationship is restored.

Emotions are neutral. We feel what we feel. Emotions are neither good or bad. When Jesus commanded us to love one another He used the word AGAPE. This means that love is not an emotion but a choice. The love that John is talking about here is this deepest level of AGAPE love. sacrificial love. Sacrificial love means that we love others even when it costs us. It means to give yourself to another person in a grace filled relationship and friendship.

Human love is very uncertain and I am sure all of us have experienced rejection at some point in our lives. Like George Matheson we need to learn to lean on and trust God’s perfect love. His love is our hope and our goal. Being a Christian means that we learn to love like Jesus.

1 John 4:7 Let us love one another, for love comes from God.

 

I would like to strive to be one of those–so few–who walk the earth with ever-present consciousness–all mornings, middays, star-times–that the unknown which men call Heaven is “close behind the visible scene of things.”

@wearywithsorrow

Cathey Lynn