Monday, November 23, 2009

and a few more treasured pictures...


daily, i think back on our family reunion a few weeks ago, and the exquisitely beautiful times we had together. God was so good to give me just what I had asked for...just TIME. just TOGETHERNESS. just a TASTE of eternity.

tracey, my daughter in love, took the pictures. here are a few of her great shots for which i am so thankful.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

some earnest heart...

...some earnest heart enters an objection here, perhaps. you are thinking that if you were there you could influence men by your personal contact, by the living voice.

so you could.

and there must be the personal touch. would that there were many times more going for that blessed personal touch.

But this is the thing to mark keenly both for those who may go, and for those who must stay: no matter where you are you do more through your praying than through your personality.

If you were in India you could add your personality to your prayer. That would be a great thing to do.

But whether there or here, you must first win the victory, every step, every life, every foot of the way, in secret, in the spirit realm, and then add the mighty touch of your personality in service.

You can do more than pray, after you have prayed.

But you can not do more than pray until you have prayed.

Monday, November 16, 2009

quiet talks on prayer, cont'd...

In touch with a planet....

Prayer opens a whole planet to a man's activities. I can as really be touching hearts for God in far away India or China through prayer, as though I were there. Not in as many ways as though there, but as truly. Understand me, I think the highest possible privilege of service is in those far off lands. There the need is greatest, the darkness densest, and the pleading call most eloquently pathetic. And if one may go there- happy man!- if one be privileged to go to the honoured place of service he may then use all five outlets direct in the spot where he is.

Yet this is only one spot. But his relationship is as wide as his Master's and his sympathies should be. A man may be in Africa, but if his heart be in touch with Jesus it will be burning for a world. Prayer puts us into direct dynamic touch with a world.

A man may go aside today, and shut his door, and as really spend a half-hour in India- I am thinking of my words as I say them, it seems so much to say, and yet it is true- as really spend a half hour of his life in India for God as though he were there in person. Is that true? If it be true, surely you and I must get more half-hours for this secret service. Without any doubt he may turn his key and be for a bit of time as potentially in china by the power of prayer, as though there in actual bodily form. I say potentially present. Of course not consciously present.

But in the power exerted upon men he may be truly present at the objective point of his prayer. He may give a new meaning ot the printed page being read by some native down in Africa. He may give a new tongue of flame to the preacher or teacher. He may make it easier for men to accept the story of Jesus, and then to yield themselves to Jesus, - yonder men swept and swayed by evil spirits, and by prejudices for generations- make it easier for them to accept the story, and, if need be, to cut with loved ones, and step out and up into a new life.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

remember... lest we forget...remember

today is remembrance day.

my father is one old soldier who deserves to be remembered...he was in training in England with the RAF when his crew went missing on a bombing training run. he was in the hospital with illness at the time. he never got over it, always lived with the "survivor complex". he was alive, but something inside him died that night with his crew. we honor you dad for your sacrifice for your country.

and we will not forget.

my dear old grandfather- who had no voice because he was gassed in the french trenches during i wish he had lived long enough for me to know him. all i know of him is from my mother, long gone to be with him in heaven. how can i remember someone i never knew? oh, i can. i can. he is not forgotten.

one of the first poems my father ever read to me was the haunting "In Flanders fields", and i shall add it here.

In Flanders fields, the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
that mark our place,
and in the sky, the larks
still bravely singing fly
scarce heard amid the guns below...

we are the dead
short days ago we lived
felt dawn
saw sunset glow
loved and were loved,
and now we lie
in Flanders fields.

Take up the quarrel with the foe
to you, from failing hands we throw
the torch
be yours to hold it high,
if ye break faith with us
who die
we shall not sleep,
we shall not sleep
tho poppies blow
in Flanders fields...

(i wrote that all from memory without checking...that's how deeply it sank into my subconscious as a child...)


Sunday, November 8, 2009

quiet talks on prayer, cont'd...

It is wholly a secret service. We do not know who these people are, though sometimes shrewd guesses may be made. I often think that sometimes we pass some plain-looking woman quietly slipping out of church; gown been turned two or three times; bonnet fixed over more than once; hands that have not known much of the softening of gloves; and we hardly give her a passing thought, and do not know, nor guess, that perhaps she is the one who is doing far more for her church, and for the world, and for God, than a hundred who would claim more attention and thought, because she prays: truly prays as the Spirit of God inspires and guides.

Let me put it this way: God will do as a result of the praying of the humblest one here what otherwise he would not do. Yes, I can make it stronger than that, and I must make it stronger, for the Book does. Listen: God will do in answer to the prayer of the weakest one here what otherwise He could not do. "Oh!" someone thinks, "you are getting too strong now."

Well, you listen to Jesus' own words in that last long quiet talk He had with the eleven men between the upper room and the olive grove. John preserves much of that talk for us. Listen: "Ye did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that ye should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should abide: that"- listen, a part of the purpose why we have been chosen- "that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it to you." Mark that word "may"; not "shall" this time, but may. "Shall" throws the matter over on God- His purpose. "May" throws it over on us- our cooperation. That is to say our praying makes it possible for God to do what otherwise He could not do.

And if you think into it a bit, this fits in with the true conception of prayer. In its simplest analysis, prayer- all prayer- has, must have, two parts. First, a God to give. "Yes," you may say, "certainly a God wealthy, willing, all of that." And, just as certainly, there must be a second factor, a man to receive. Man's willingness is God's channel to the earth. God never crowds or coerces. Everything God does for man and through man He does with man's consent, always. With due reverence, but very plainly, let it be said that God can do nothing for the man with shut hand and shut life. There must be an open hand and heart and life through which God can give what He longs to.

An open life, an open hand, open upward, is the pipe line of communication between the heart of God and this poor befooled old world. Our prayer is God's opportunity to get into the world that would shut Him out.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

quiet talks on prayer, cont'd...

Second: through the lips, through what we say. It may be said stammeringly and falteringly. But if said your best with the desire to please the Master it will be God-blest.

I have heard a man talk. And he stuttered and blushed and got his grammar badly tangled, but my heart burned as I listened. And I have heard a man talk with smooth speech, and it rolled off me as easily as it rolled out of him. Do your best, and leave the rest. If we are in touch with God His fire burns whether the tongue stammer or has good control of its powers.

Third: through our service, what we do. It may be done bunglingly and blunderingly. Your best may not be the best, but if it be your best it will bring a harvest.

Fourth: through our money, what we do not keep, but loosen out for God. Money comes the nearest to omnipotence of anything we handle.

And, fifth: through our prayer, what we claim in Jesus' name.

And by all odds the greatest of these is the outlet through prayer. The power of a life touches just one spot, but the touch is tremendous. What is there, we think, to be compared with a pure, unselfish, gently strong life?

Yet its power is limited to one spot where it is being lived. Power through the lips depends wholly upon the life back of the lips. Words that come brokenly are often made burning and eloquent by the life behind them. And words that are smooth and easy, often have all their meaning sapped by the life back of them.

Power through service may be great, and may be touching many spots, yet it is always less than that of a life.

Power through money depends wholly upon the motive back of the money. Begrudged money, stained money, soils the treasury. That which comes nearest to omnipotence also comes nearest to impotence.

But the power loosened out through prayer is as tremendous, at the least, as the power of a true fragrant life, and, mark you, may touch not one spot but wherever in the whole round world you may choose to turn it.

The greatest thing anyone can do for God and for man is to pray. It is not the only thing. But it is the chief thing. A correct balancing of the possible powers one may exert puts it first. For if a man is to pray right, he must first be right in his motives and life. And if a man be right, and put the practice of praying in its right place, then his serving and giving and speaking will be fairly fragrant with the presence of God.

The great people of the earth today are the people who pray. I do not mean those who talk about prayer; nor those who can explain about prayer; but I mean those people who take time and pray. They have not time. It must be taken from something else. This something else is very important. Very important, and pressing, but still less important and less pressing than prayer. There are people that put prayer first, and group the other items in life's schedule around and after prayer.

These are the people today who are doing the most for God; in winning souls; in solving problems; in awakening churches; in supplying both men and money for mission posts; in keeping fresh and strong those lives far off in sacrificial service on the foreign field where the thickest fighting is going on; in keeping the old earth sweet awhile longer.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Prayer, the Greatest Outlet of Power

Five Outlets of Power.

A great sorrow has come into the heart of God. Let it be told only in hushed voice- one of his worlds is a prodigal!

Hush your voice yet more- ours is that prodigal world.

Let your voice soften down still more- we have consented to the prodigal part of the story.

But, in softest tones yet, He has won some of us back with His strong tender love. And now let the voice ring out with great gladness- we won ones may be the pathway back to God for the others. That is His earnest desire. That should be our dominant ambition. For that purpose He has endowed us with peculiar power.

There is one inlet of power in the life- anybody's life- any kind of power: just one inlet- the Holy Spirit. He is power. He is in every one who opens his door to God. He eagerly enters every open door. He comes in by our invitation and consent. His presence within is the vital thing.

But with many of us while He is in, He is not in control: in a guest; not as host. That is to say that He is hindered in His natural movement; tied up, so that He cannot do what He would. And so we are not conscious or only partially conscious of His presence. And others are still less so. But to yield to His mastery, to cultivate His friendship, to give Him full swing- that will result in what is called power. One inlet of power- the Holy Spirit in control.

There are five outlet of power; five avenues through which this One within shows Himself, and reveals His power.

First: though the life, what we are. Just simply what we are. If we be right the power of God will be constantly flowing out, though we are not conscious of it. It throws the keenest kind of emphasis on a man being right in his life. There will be an eager desire to serve. Yet we may constantly do more in what we are than in what we do. We may serve better in the lives we live than in the best service we ever give. The memory of that should bring rest to your spirit when a bit tired, and maybe disheartened because tired...


i am going to begin blogging from an old book i have: "Quiet Talks on Prayer" by S.D. Gordon. It's a very old book. each page is separate within the cover, it's falling apart. But each line is profound. I am on my third reading, and recently thought what a shame that this is no longer in print. am i willing to reproduce it here, in my blog, hoping it will bless you? yes. it's a lot of work, but the writing is so marvelous that i count it a privilege to allow this lovely book to be read and remembered.

there is something about the words of a quiet, humble soul who has no flowery sentences, just truth and careful ponderings.

quiet talks on prayer.