The Value Of Time
Our days are like beautiful summer fields which God gives to us. The minutes are blooming flowers and silvery blades of grass gently swaying to the rhythm of the breeze. The hours are trees with their rich foliage, or morning vines with their blossom-prophesies of rich color clusters. All are blessed possibilities of the days and hours and minutes which come to us by God’s own hand.
But what did you do with yesterday? What are you doing with your time today? Every moment God gives us has in it a possibility of beauty as well as something to be accounted for. Are you using your time for God?
We are apt to interpret “providence” according to our own desires. When we want to do a certain thing, it is very easy to find “providence” that favors our preference. We must be careful when interpreting the meaning of events. We are not to enter every door that is opened to us. Many doors are opened by the world which are not opportunities which God gives. God’s voice in providence never contradicts the voice of his word.
The Power Of Speech
The power that we hold through speech is incalculable. It can impart knowledge or foolishness. It can utter kind sentences which will support and cheer, or it can declare statements which destroy and bring sorrow. It can breathe thoughts which inspire and arouse, or give rise to anger and disappointment. It can give flight to words which will live forever —
The lips which speak God’s name in prayer, or sing praise to Christ, should be careful to never defile themselves when communicating with the everyday world.
What Friends Do
We will never know how much we owe to our true friends - how much they add to our joy or what they do toward the formation and enrichment of our character. We do not know what beautiful touches on the canvass of our soul will be left there by the life of a friend. In every life there will be a silver thread woven into our fabric by the friendship over many days. How important are friends with good lives, otherwise the fabric of our life becomes stained and the threads soiled.
All days come to us filled with opportunities. There are opportunities for gaining knowledge. There are opportunities for growing in character, becoming stronger, truer, nobler, and more Christ-like. There are opportunities for doing heroic things for Christ, and for performing gentle ministries of love, sympathy, and kindness in Christ’s name.
Opportunities come to everyone, they come continually — during the most ordinary of days and in the most common of places. The problem is that too many people just watch as they pass by.
We should never keep track of who offends us and how often we forgive. When someone has hurt us, irritated or insulted us, we should remember that the wrongs we have done toward God are infinitely greater, and that his love has freely forgiven us. Should we not be willing to forgive those around us their petty little wrongs toward us?
“Forgive us our debts as we forgive…” God wants us always to remember that we ourselves need forgiveness, and that if we would be like him we must forgive as he does.
Those who do not hold in their hearts an awareness of the world around miss many tender joys which come. Those who do not have ears to hear the voice of nature speak fail to hear whispers of love which drop from God’s own lips. Those who do not use their eyes to admire the exquisite things that God has scattered fail to behold many lovely visions of beauty. Yet most of us do walk amid these inspirations, these sweet voices, and never feel, or see, or hear the comfort and joy from the lovely things with which God has filled the earth.
Leaving All To God
As we go through life we learn more and more to doubt our own wishing and choosing as we see how little really comes from our own ways and plans. We eventually learn not to try and choose, but let God do it. No doubt we often miss heavenly blessings because we do not have the faith to take them as they come disguised as pain or sorrow. Sometimes God even allows us to have what our willful selves want, just to teach us that our way is not the best. Then eventually we learn to simply thank God for being God, and not daring to ask for anything at all, rather accept what comes and be grateful that God thinks of us and knows who we are.
There is an old story about a man who was cheered for one hour each day when a stream of sunshine came into his prison cell. Using an old nail and a stone he found on the floor, he carved a crude image of Christ upon his cross where the sun would gently fall upon it. In this way he mastered his misfortune and made a blessing of it.
Whatever the calamity or the disaster that builds dungeon walls around your life, never let despair lay its chilly hand upon you. Never yield to the gloom. Never let darkness into your soul. There is no dungeon so deep and dark that down into its chilly gloom the rays of God’s love cannot stream. In those rays carve some new beauty on your soul. Carve on the wall of your heart the image of Christ. Master your misfortune and make it yield a blessing to you.
When calamity is conquered it becomes your helper, and leaves beauty on your soul. But when trouble masters you, it will leave an ineffaceable scar upon your life.
How Close Is Christ?
To some people, Christ is a creed or a pattern for life — but not a personal friend. There are a lot of other people who know the “historic Christ,” but to them he is a figure who lived some 2,000 years ago. They read his life much the same as the lives of any other historical person. There are others who see Christ as a dream whose presence has vanished with the dawn. Then there are those who believe his Resurrection, but somehow he is still absent — as if journeying in a distant land. All of these miss the sweet blessedness of knowing Christ.
Christ does not belong to the past, nor to the far away. Rather he is friend who wants to come into the daily life of each of his believing ones. No mother has ever been closer to her child as Jesus is to those who let him in.