Monday, March 31, 2014

Mirrors

“The wearer of Grandmother’s (Lady Wisdom’s) clothes never thinks about how he or she looks, but thinks how handsome other people are” (George MacDonald, The Golden Key. p. 16).

I read today that “(Barzalel) made the basin of bronze and its stand of bronze, from the mirrors of the ministering women…” (Exodus 38:8).

Bezalel was the artisan that made the articles of the tabernacle in the wilderness. Here we’re told that certain “ministering women” gave up their precious copper mirrors to form the material for the bronze basin he was constructing.

“Giving up” our mirrors can be equally costly, but it can be a very good thing—for men as well as women. To be sure, we have to see that our faces are in place each morning, but too much scrutiny and self–examination can be disconcerting, especially as we age. Furthermore, it can be disorienting: It can make us think too much about ourselves, and not enough about others.

We should forget about our own faces just as soon as we can, remembering that God loves us as we are—in all our imperfection—and bring other’s faces to mind, thinking more about them than we do about ourselves (Philippians 2:4).

Augustine said that we get lost in loving ourselves, but found in loving others (Sermon 96:1). Put another way, the secret of happiness is not getting our face right but giving our hearts away, giving our lives away, giving our selves away, in love.


DHR 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

One Day Nearer Home!
Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”
It was more than fifty years ago: A friend and I set out to climb Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the lower forty-eight. We arrived at Whitney Portal late one evening, rolled out our sleeping bags at base camp and tried to get some sleep before we began our ascent at first light. [As those of you who’ve climbed Mt. Whitney know, it’s not a technical climb but rather a long, weary walk—11 hard miles to the summit.] 
The ascent was exhilarating, with stunning vistas, cerulean lakes and lush meadows along the way, but the trail was long and wearisome, a test for legs and lungs. I thought of turning back as the shadows grew long and the trail seemed to stretch endlessly before me.
Occasionally, however, I caught a glimpse of the summit and I realized that each step was bringing me one step closer. If I just kept walking, one foot up and one foot down, I would get there. That was the thought that kept me going.   
Paul assures us: “(Our ultimate) salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11). Every day brings us one day closer to that great day when we shall “summit” and see our Savior’s face.
It’s not long now. If I keep walking with Jesus, one foot up and one foot down, I shall get there someday. That’s the thought that keeps me going.
DHR 
Just one day nearer Home as shadows of the night descend;
Just one day less to roam as fading twilight colors blend.
Beneath the starry dome I’ll rest beside my Guide and Friend;
With each day’s tramping, nightly camping, one day nearer Home!
—Author unknown

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Even to Old Age

Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you.
I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save" (Isaiah. 46:4).

Some of my younger-older friends lament the fact that they're over the hill. "Believe me,” I say, “it only gets worse,” for in my experience, going "over the hill" is not steady, slow descent; it's more like falling off a cliff:  “One woe doth tread upon another’s heel so fast they follow," Hamlet said. Dealing with those cascading woes is the spiritual challenge for us in our latter years, I believe. 

Philosopher Emanuel Kant somewhere said that age wants to be looked upon as meritorious and stand as a good example. It strikes me that one ministry of the aged is simply that: to be a good example and show younger Christians how to age, for barring an early demise, every young person will someday be old.

Charles Spurgeon wrote, “Do not let the young people catch you indulging in melancholy, sitting in your chimney–corner, grumbling and growling, but go about cheerful and happy, and they will think how blessed it is to be a Christian. If you are surly and fretful, they will think the Lord has forsaken you; but keep a smiling countenance, and they will think the promise is fulfilled, "Even to old age I will carry you; I will carry and will save." Children run away from a surly old man, but there is not a child in the world but loves his grandpapa if he is cheerful and happy. You can lead us to heaven if you have got heaven’s sunlight on your face…for so will you prove to us that even to old age God is with you, and that when your strength fails, he is still your salvation.“

The strength of grace does not fail with the passage of time. Our last days can be our best days and our last work our best work if we rest each day on the One who is our righteousness. If we ask Him, He will carry us and He will save.

So, we pray “Even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake (us) until (we) proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come" (Psalm 71:18).

David Roper

3/10/14

A Poor Wise Man ""It is amazing what you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit" (Harry S. Truman). ...