February 23, 2011
The Barren Fig Tree Within a vineyard's sunny bound An ample fig tree shelter found, Enjoying sun and showers - The boughs were graceful to the view, With spreading leaves of deep-green hue, And gaily blushing flowers. When round the vintage season came, The blooming fig was still the same, As promising and fair; But though the leaves were broad and green, No precious fruit was to be seen, Because no fruit was there. "For three long years," the master cried, "Fruit on this tree to find I've tried, But all in vain my toil; Ungrateful tree! the axe's blow Shall lay thy leafy honours low; Why cumbers it the soil?" "Ah! let it stand just one year more," The dresser said, "till all my store Of rural arts I've shown; About the massy roots I'll dig, And if it bear, we've gained the fig - If not, then cut it down." How many years hast thou, my heart, Acted the barren fig tree's part, Leafy, and fresh, and fair, Enjoying heavenly dews of grace, And sunny smiles from God's own face - But where the fruit? ah! where? How often must the Lord have prayed That still my day might be delayed, Till all due means were tried; Afflictions, mercies, health, and pain, How long shall these be all in vain To teach this heart of pride? Learn, O my soul, what God demands Is not a faith like barren sands, But fruit of heavenly hue; By this we prove that Christ we know, If in His holy steps we go - Faith works by love, if true.
August 14, 1834.
A great preacher once wrote these words down for the encouragement of his congregation, ” if you have fallen into any special sin during this day, it may be my Master has sent this admonition this evening, to bring you back before you have backsliden very far. Turn thee to Jesus anew; he has not forgotten to love thee; his grace is still the same.”
So turn to Jesus again, his love stays the same. Faith is not a one time choice but a continued pattern of turning to Jesus for the renewing of our mind in hope and love.
Poem by Robert Murray M’Cheyne (1813-1843), a godly pastor and evangelist with a great love for people. Taken from http://www.mcheyne.info/poems1.php
February 18, 2011
The Father fixed his gaze on me,
Foreknew my soul that I should be
At first ashamed before his face,
And then a vessel for his grace;
– John Piper
Lord, in your Word it says that you chose me before the foundation of the word. In the darkness of the beginning, when I only existed as a thought in your mind you wrote my name in a book, in the book of your Son, the Book of the Lamb that Was Slain. You knew how black my sins were to be, how much I would rebel against your name, how many countless days and nights I would grieve your Spirit but you chose to love me. You put my sins on your Son. You turned your back on him for a moment so that you could look to me forever as your son.
Lord, it is by your strength I stand and it is by your strength I breathe life, faith.
It was almost 3 years ago you reached out and washed away my sins. I felt the blackness drip from my heart and I finally knew what they meant when they said that you were Love. I asked so many times before then “whither shall I go?” The burden of my sin on my soul grew bigger and bigger as my legs sunk into the deep. I was drowning in the pit but you saw my sorrow and you felt pity on me. You pulled me from the mire and washed the blackness from me. No one pointed me to you but you came to me and pulled the burden off of my back and set it firmly on your Son.
Oh Lord how free I felt! That Summer I went with my sister to Lancaster and as I rode my ATV through the desert of this world I looked up at the clouds, at the incoming storm, the storm of your grace, and I sang in my heart a song of freedom. I knew nothing about you but I knew if I was to die at that moment I would see the beauty of your face, I would see your smile and I would join the choir of the saints to sing of your beauty for all ages.
But Lord, I felt paralyzed. I esteemed my righteousness more than yours. You had given me everything but I still sought to preserve my own morals above yours. I had a girlfriend and I promised myself I would never leave her. She did not have faith in you. Out of unbelief I fasted to change your will but you struck me hard. You showed me that your will was not for me to be tied to an unbeliever. I hardened my heart to stick to my beliefs but you in your majesty separated us. She hardened her heart to me and I had no choice but to leave her and trust in you.
Lord, if those who esteem choice above your will were correct I would never have seen Your beauty, but you saw the danger I was in. You saw the depth of my depravity and out of your good you set my feet on your Rock.
Lord, I pray that you will bless this site, that as lowly as it is it may serve to magnify the glory of your great name. Lord, grant me the blessing of an unwasted life and work through me to bless those who stumble here to read the thoughts of your servant.