What Have I to Give?

I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35

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And When your road seems frozen cold

and if your heart feels old

And When the snows lie over grass

And no Spring thaw seems soon to pass

Then God’s word comes from ancient days

And shows us how to walk the ways

To give away our widow’s mite

And like the jailer who bowed one night

And bandaged wounds that he had made

Then asked of Paul how to be saved

So when some friend or neighbor bleeds

And you feel helpless to meet their needs

And wonder what you have to give

Remember its God’s love that lives

Inside the things we give to them

When we give our best we are giving Him

“What have I to give” you said

When you were feeling very small

Look to the cross where Jesus bled

“It is finished”  was the Savior’s call

He breathed His last

He bowed His head

He had nothing left

So He gave His all!

Of

Whiter than Snow

Many year back I heard this ending of a long poem that an evangelist read at the close of his service It has always stayed with me. When I stand in the midst of a farm field filled with snow it feels for the moment like a barren place, forsaken by all life and hope. Winter in all its harshness has covered everything that was once green and growing. But God in His goodness and wonderful love knows exactly where we are. He has not lost track of our whereabouts. He is close by calling us to the warm fire of His home. There He will gently welcome us, wrap us in the covering of His love and comfort our hearts. There we will not be white like the snow -we will be washed and by made His blood…even whiter than snow

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Filthy and black as the old trampled snow,
Sinner, despair not! for Christ has stooped low
To rescue the soul that is lost in its sin,
And raise it to life and enjoyment again;
Groaning—
Bleeding—
Dying for thee,
The Crucified hung on th’ accursed tree!
His voice full of mercy falls now on your ear:
“There is mercy for you”—He will hear your weak prayer:
“O God, in the blood that for sinners did flow,
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”                                   Anonymous

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:7

The Grace of Gratefulness Day Three Challenge

When I was small my mother always made me wait till after we had said grace before we ate. In Spanish we would say muchas gracias (much grace).  In my little mind I didn’t quite grasp why, but in the passing years I am learning that the word grace really is at the center of gratefulness. Yesterday was a complete failure for me in the gratefulness challenge. I found though that as I genuinely confessed my own failures at ceasing my complaining and faced my own lack of gratitude, a real sense of God’s peace and mercy came to me.

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David gives a glimpse of this mercy

Psalm 103:11-13 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
    so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.

      How wonderful it is to know and experience the real grace of God. We will never really become grateful or stop our complaining until the cross of Jesus Christ (The center of God’s grace) becomes the center of our thoughts and attitudes.

At the cross at the cross where I first saw the light

And the burdens of my heart rolled away

It was there by faith I received my sight

And now I am happy all the day                 Isaac Watts

Today

This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

I part the curtain and look out the window again to see snow, not flowers and grass. As I breathe a longing sigh there stirs in me the familiar complaint that I hate the cold and wish it were Summer. But then today I realized that when I woke up and looked out the window God had given me an unimaginably valuable gift. No matter that my eyes see snow drifts and everything stands frozen – God is at work. He has fashioned today and placed it into my hands.

Though you may be facing circumstances, both physical and spiritual that are worse than bad weather, God is at work for you as well. Today was His before it was ours. It isn’t Spring yet because God has chosen Winter. In spite of my own struggles I have decidedKIMG0581 to be glad. One thing is for sure – today will never come again and tomorrow will grow better when it has its roots in the joy of the Lord…

No Tresspassing

…“Don’t touch this,” “Don’t taste that” and “Don’t handle the other”? “This”, “that” and “the other” will all pass away after use! I know that these regulations look wise with their self-inspired efforts at worship, their policy of self-humbling, and their studied neglect of the body. But in actual practice they do honour, not to God, but to man’s own pride. Colossians 2:23 (Phillips Ver)

Neither the split rail fence nor the no trespassing sign ever kept people out who wanted in. In the same way, the law with its rules and regulations, can never truly govern the soul of man. Eve will always taste the fruit, AdamKIMG0573[1] will always disobey God. Only the power of the Holy Spirit in our life will break the cycle of sin and set us free to unlimited freedom found only in Jesus Christ!

There is always work in God’s Vineyard!

And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ Matthew 20:6-7

Often this parable is taught as if the workers were being sent into the harvest of the vineyard. BKIMG0128ut though harvest is the high point of any year in farming, Jesus never mentions harvesting. Often people forget that in every season of the year there is work to be done on a farm and all of the seasons matter to God in His vineyard. The owner kept going out to find workers even till the eleventh hour because of the urgency of the work.

I am more a pruner of apple trees than of grapevines, but the process is very much the same. As we sit in Winter it seems the hopes and the flowers of Summer are only a distant memory, But, God has a job to be done even under the load of Winter snow. This is the time of pruning and it begins when the trees reach full dormancy. At that moment when everything seems cold and hopeless the preparations for next year’s harvest urgently need to begin.

SSPX0771_crop That is the perfect time for pruning away the sucker growth that will rob the plants of their fruit bearing strength. Those are the days when diseased branches can be cut out without spreading the infections. That is the exact moment when the dead branches no longer can hide under the leaves of the living and can be stripped away to open the trees up to sunshine and air.

As co-workers in God’s vineyard we should never be discouraged in whatever season He is sending us out to work. Even at the eleventh hour Jesus sends us out with His promise that we will receive from Him His reward of equal grace. It is never too late, nor too early to press ahead with the work He has sent us to do.

His House is in the Village Though

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow                      Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost
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    I have always loved the poetry of Robert Frost, possibly because we both hail from New England. An interesting footnote to our Yankee history is that the first New England towns were settled with a “Green or Commons”  in the center. Around that village green were built the homes and of course the Congregational church. Outside of town each family was assigned a place for plowing and a wood-lot. (His house is in the village).  I say all this not to give a history lesson  but to make the point that the purpose behind the plan was community. Most central to that community was the sharing of experiences of worship, work and trade. At the root of the Ferguson and New York City protests that are shaking the foundations of our country today is the loss of  that community. Where is the church? Churches often have fled for safety to the suburbs but have left behind their purpose. Though we may have forgotten our house in the village, maybe it is not too late to relocate, remember and get involved where God intended. That city on a hill should be right at the center of the action!

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You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Matthew 5:14