said in a recent sermon, that each day has some beauty in it.
It is good if our heart is trained to see and assimilate this beauty.
This morning I awoke to find Lucretia, my wife, bathed in sunshine that
streamed in at the east window. She lay quietly, enjoying the kisses of
the great orb of day. As I watched, enthralled, I thought it to be a
parable of the kisses of God. I immediately quoted the words in
scripture, "Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth". She is
conscious of the daily kisses of His mouth. Else how could she be so
calm and sweet-tempered in spite of her inability to walk and work?
However, she is improving, and I expect her recovery.
Looking from the kitchen window a few moments later, I saw literally
hundreds of birds in a pecan tree that stands majestically in the back
yard. It seems that they were getting ready to begin the day. They
chattered happily, proof of the scripture which says; "Thou openest
Thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing". God is the
great Benefactor. There were hundreds of proofs of this fact, before my
Another proof of this is my well-filled pantry that I saw as I turned
from the window. I knew that, soon, I would be seated at the table,
eating whatever my soul desired for breakfast. And I know that God is
the first Cause of this food being here. For almost sixty-eight years I
have been fed by His bountiful hand. I went back into the bedroom,
saying, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
Mrs. Ray, the housekeeper, came in with her face wreathed in smiles, as
is the case every morning. Lucretia beamed her approbation as she
entered. Not once has Mrs. Ray said an unkind word or done a spiteful
deed to my wife. This morning she was as usual. I thought of the passage
which says, "In her tongue is the law of kindness".
As I was going to the post office after breakfast, I met a man of whom I
am fond. Time was when he did not seem pleased to see me. Love conquers
all, and now he is one of my best friends. We stopped and talked of some
of the things that we have in common, so far as our views are concerned.
His faith is beautiful. Our conversation was concerning God as he is
related to our daily living, and the desirability of trusting Him daily,
and under all circumstances. We spent some minutes together. During the
time we were together, he offered me some of his wares without
charge---for he sells certain things. I thought of those whom Paul
called "friends in faith".
As I proceeded on my way I was accosted by one of the pastors of town,
and he stopped me for a chat on matters in which we are jointly
interested. What he said was quite uplifting to my spirit. I went on
thinking, "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell
together in unity.
A lady who was seeking me found me. There was certain trouble in her
family, and she wanted to request special prayer for some of her loved
ones. I promised, and gave assurance that matters would be much improved
quickly, for "According to your faith, so be it unto you".
In the post office in the stores, in the barber shop, and on the
streets, I encountered good cheer, kindness, and laughter. We had lots
of fun, as we do every day. I thought of the fact that "A merry heart
doeth good like a medicine".
The work that I did during the day was pleasant and successful. I did
not hurry. I felf well satisfied with what was accomplished. I did not
engage in work without first asking God to be my Partner in every
Letters which I received were cheering and uplifting to my spirit.
We had callers in the afternoon. These were people who love us, and love
to do what is possible to help Lucretia endure what would otherwise be a
somewhat drab day, for she is not yet able to get out among the people.
Now, as I write, she lies on her day bed, awake and calm.
Who will say that I have not encountered beauty today?
And yet is is only an average day.
Years ago a writer in Europe said something to the effect that, it is
not what happens to us that hurts us, but it is our thought concerning
what happens to us that hurts.
I have not given the exact words, but the sense is stated. I do not have
the quotation at hand.
The truth of the saying is borne out in the scripture, abundantly. Paul
says "We may be glorying in affliction". Not everyone does so glory. To
many, affliction brings bitterness. Why the difference?
Paul says the difference is in thought. Our minds lead us to perceive
that "affliction is producing endurance, yet endurance testedness, yet
testedness expectation", Rom. 5:3, 4. What condition of mind gives this
assurance? Faith! This is the subject of that chapter.
So it is true that, not the affliction, but our reaction to affliction,
determines whether we are injured by it.
Having faith, we may be having peace toward God, through Jesus Christ.
By faith we have the access, through Christ into this grace in which we
stand. If we stand solidly, instead of "going to pieces" in time of
trouble, this is grace. The gift of faith is graciously given to us, and
because of it we have access into the grace of courage, and may be
glorying in expectation of the glory of God.
Expectation is not mortifying. It is when we merely fool our self and
pretend to be having expectation, that mortification comes to us.
Sometimes we deceive our own self, and think we have expectation. If we
do not have it, we will find that what we are trying to accomplish
through faith and prayer, does not come into manifestation.
Perhaps I have had occasion to notice this more, than many persons.
People in distress come to me and request prayer for a certain painful
condition in their life or in that of some member of the family, and I
can see that they have no conviction that my ministration will avail
anything, for even while they are asking for help, they are planning
what to do in case prayer and faith fail.
I am moved to these observations by a letter which I received today. It
is a letter of praise---not one of complaint---although it lists a very
unreasonable obstacle. The writer---a lady--- sees that the affliction
she mentions has wrought much good in leading one member of the family
to a place nearer God. She is not despondent, but is expecting that when
the impediment has served its purpose it will be removed. Now this is
expectation. I do not believe that she will suffer mortification.
A reason---a very good one---why expectation is not mortifying is the
fact that the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the
holy spirit which is being given to us.
The Lord says that He makes peace and creates evil. This last word means
that which is unpleasant. It does not mean sin. Peace, of course, is
It was said of Christ before He was born, "Butter and honey shall He eat
all His days, that He may know to choose the good and reject the evil."
Thus we see that the way to keep evil from harming us, is to reject it.
In another use, it may be good for us.
For instance, the shell of a pecan is good for preserving the "meat".
But if we choose it as an article of food, it becomes evil to us. Like
Christ, we may choose the good, and, if unpleasantness comes to us we
may use it for the purpose it is intended to serve, and thus evil
becomes useful to us. I am writing about affliction. If we can use it to
produce endurance, testedness, and expectation, it is serving its
purpose, even as the pecan shell serves a good purpose when used as God
And we can so use it, if, as the prophet says of the Christ, we eat
butter and honey. This is a figure of speech, to denote the fact that we
may so view and react to life, that we find the richness and sweetness
of God every day. We may come face to face with it, and assimilate it in
appreciation and thanksgiving. This attitude will enable us to have the
proper reaction to evil---to retain our equilibrium and spirituality,
and to perceive that it may be turned to good account.
The radio has given us a good word to use here---"tune in". We may tune
in to God and His purpose and His grace, and His daily care. Thus we may
pray to Him even in the presence of evil, and trust Him to turn it to
good for us.
But if evil produces irritableness, fault-finding, and a generally sour
disposition, then evil has truly harmed us.
May our reaction be such as was Paul's, and that of the Christ. No one
ever met more opposition, and endured more suffering, than did Jesus. No
one can point to one instance in which it turned out to be harmful to
Him, ultimately. Rather, it brought to Him and the world, incalculable
If you "go into a hole" because of trouble---this is definitely not the
way to "tune in" to God. It is far from the correct reaction. The comics
picture a man who goes to bed and refuses to be comforted, when
something that he dislikes takes place. I have seen his counterpart many
a time---a person quits attending meetings for worship because of
sickness in the family, or other grievous situations. Such a person is
doing that which is sure to mean defeat in his life.
God is worthy to be worshipped. We owe it to Him. He does not grant us a
leave of absence because there is trouble in the family. The worship of
God is not because He needs it. We are the ones who need it. Absence
from the atmosphere of worship causes us to slip more into the doldrums
If there is a hard day, God is calling on my faith in Him, to assert
itself. We would need no lamp of we were always in the light. Nor would
we need faith very much, if we were always on the housetop of delight.
It is when appearances are against us, that we need the faith to respond
to the urging of Jesus, "Judge not by appearances, but judge right
judging." Appearances count for but little, when our reaction to trouble
is like that of Paul.
We need enthusiasm. We should face life squarely, for it is part of our
mission to express our self bravely, intelligently, patiently, instead
of "going to pieces" when the evil days come. Paul says to us, "Be
invigorated in the Lord and in the might of His strength. Put on the
panoply of God, to enable you to stand up to the stratagems of the
adversary". The word, "panoply" is the translation of a word that means
It is important that we have, and use, every implement of God---truth to
gird our loins; sandals of peace, that we may walk in quietness and
confidence, and calmness, with good will toward mankind; the cuirass of
righteousness that we may not be overthrown by our own misdoings; the
large shield of faith that may be turned wherever needed, to extinguish
all the fiery darts of the wicked one; the helmet of salvation that we
may be certain of having a perfect Saviour; and the sword of the spirit,
which is a declaration of God---a reliance of what God says.
With these we are able to present the proper reaction to things that
would, otherwise, discourage us and rob us of the delight of dependence
What is our reaction to that which is displeasing to us?