by W.B. Screws

The Pilgrim's Messenger

"Have a pattern of sound words which you hear from me, in faith and love
which are in Christ Jesus."--11 Timothy 1:13
Published Monthly By W. B. SCREWS, Glennville, Georgia
Twenty-five Cents a Year

Volume XXXI

March, 1952

Number 8

Entered at the postoffice at Glennville, Ga., as second-class matter.

I 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.

For instance----

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 very eyes.

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 enterprise.

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 good.

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 intends.

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 good.

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 of despair.

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 "every implement".

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 on God.

What is our reaction to that which is displeasing to us?

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