Showing posts from September, 2010

Unexpected Mud Bath

(With thanks to Ruth Bell Graham and her stories and poems of redemption in Prodigals and Those Who Love Them)

The clergyman was a "shanty man" working among common sorts as a stevedore or "docker" at the docks of London. His apartment was humble. The wages sparse. But the opportunities were many to get to work beside unsaved men in difficult circumstances, to gain their trust and eventually offer some light.

One day in a hurried gangplank effort he was pushing a wheelbarrow of product onto a ship when a couple of playful workmates rocked the plank. Man and cargo fell into the low-tide Thames mud. Humiliated and looking for a way out of embarrassment, he sensed an inner urging: "This is your opportunity. Just laugh. Show them Jesus"

The hand which reached down to pull him up out of the mud belonged to an uncommon stevedore. Dignified in speech. Confident in gaze. There was a story here.

The missionary offered a simple meal back at his apartment. Confidence an…

Special Grace

For more than fourteen years, I think, Mark and Rose have shouldered a special ministry in the heart of Kitchener with a particular niche for the handicapped and disadvantaged. There was a time when Hilary and I attended their Bible study regularly in the mid-week.

Monthly they offer a men's fellowship breakfast. Now it is held in a new facility close to Victoria Park which is part church, part personal residence and part apartment for otherwise homeless men. I was privileged to attend this past Saturday and to give a short message after the meal.

Jason is a long-time friend of theirs who always offers help but then "cuts out" before the church part of the gathering. There he was huddled over a large pan of steaming bacon and cauldron of scrambled eggs. His daughter Brittany was helping with the tables, along with Rose.

An assembly of men, some churched, some not, enjoyed a pleasant and delicious meal, happily set apart from the grind of day-to-day living. Talk was animated…

Lights On

(Today's entry in Come Ye Apart by J. R. Miller)

Sight to the Blind

“I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.”

Mark 14:7

It is related that one day, several summers ago, the Empress of Austria was riding over the countryside in her carriage. A little distance from the road she saw a woman acting in a strange manner. She soon discovered that the woman was blind, and further, that she was so close to a precipice — that another step might hurl her to her death. The Empress quickly left her carriage and hurried to the poor woman, just in time to save her life. The world admires the act, but here is one still more beautiful. The King of Glory sees a poor blind beggar sitting in darkness, is moved with compassion for him, and stops to open his eyes.

We may trace here the course of Christ with this blind man. He saw him, and was touched by his condition. So the sight of a sinner always touches Christ. He came unasked to the blind man,…

Lord, Bless That Baby

Randy is a friend and workmate in my department at the factory. He and his father Ulysses come from Cuba, and they have brought much good cheer to the workplace.

Randy lives with a woman who has had a daughter in the past by another man. The two have recently purchased a home. Now the healthy baby boy Julius. But still no marriage. I do not know the circumstances or roadblocks.

Randy came to work the very morning of the intended Caesarian section procedure. Full of smiles and excitement, but also having reservations about accompanying his partner into the surgery.

At a point late in the morning I waved him over into a secluded corner of the plant, placed my hands on his shoulders, closed my eyes and began to pray for total success in the procedure; for gentleness, skill and sound judgment in the professionals; for courage for the young couple; for enough time being afforded his young partner in the hospital after the Caesarian and for the safe arrival of a healthy, beautiful new life. It…

Needful Times Alone

(Read a couple of days ago in Streams in the Desert by Mrs. Charles Cowman)

An Hour In The Garden

"He went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when evening was come, he was there alone" (Matt. 14:23).

The man Christ Jesus felt the need of perfect solitude--Himself alone, entirely by Himself, alone with Himself. We know how much intercourse with men draws us away from ourselves and exhausts our powers. The man Christ Jesus knew this, too, and felt the need of being by Himself again, of gathering all His powers, of realizing fully His high destiny, His human weakness, His entire dependence on the Father.

How much more does the child of God need this--himself alone with spiritual realities, himself alone with God the Father. If ever there were one who could dispense with special seasons for solitude and fellowship, it was our Lord. But He could not do His work or maintain His fellowship in full power, without His quiet time.

Would God that every servant of His understood and pract…

A Smack of a Kiss

It was Saturday and I was on duty at the grocery store. From around the corner of the aisle I could hear a loud smack and then a giggle. Curious, I went over to find a Middle Eastern man leaning over his grocery cart to give his two year old daughter another kiss. She was a beautiful child with arresting eyes and long mid-brown hair. For the moment she was delighting in Daddy's attention, unaware of others around, unaware I think of her own beauty. Another man stood to the side. Probably the uncle. His expression to me said, 'Oh yes, I must wait this through. He gets this way often with the child.' The spontaneity of gushing love was a treat to see.

A little later having searched the aisles with a customer looking for a product, I returned to the dairy section to find a tall man standing alone and evidently impatient.

"May I help you find something, sir?"

"No, thanks, I'm just waiting, waiting for HER."

I turned to see a woman in her upper thirties in a…

Joseph Girzone, Liberator

Many have read with blessing the book Joshua by retired Catholic priest Joseph Girzone. It tells the story of a modern-day small community receiving a simple, personable carpenter into their midst. This newcomer, Joshua, is immediately attractive to the children and the hurting. The adults are more reticent until they realize the guilelessness and helpfulness of a new friend. His wisdom on life is grass-roots but compelling. By the end of the book the suggestion is well planted that Jesus has made another visit to planet earth. Get a copy of this first book in the series.

Recently I uncovered another of Joseph's books entitled A Portrait of Jesus. Here is a noteworthy excerpt:

On a morning after a night in the hills, He (Jesus) would reappear in the nearby village. What did He look like? Did He look fresh and neatly dressed? Where would He have found a place to wash, or shave, or brush His teeth, or even comb His hair? He probably was not well-groomed. His hands and arms showed the …