The sound of ripping fabric
The sound of ripping fabric
Years ago a man went through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and northern West Virginia greeting folks by saying, “Hello! I have good news from heaven.” His name was John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed. This pioneer nursery man saved apple seeds and sold them for a penny each. He sold young sapling apple trees for three cents each. He wanted our country’s settlers to not only have a food supply for themselves, but for future generations as well.
John Chapman was quite an evangelist too. He told stories to children and preached the gospel to anyone who’d listen. The Indians referred to him as someone touched by the Great Spirit.
Our forefathers saved and stored seed year after year to sustain them. Seed had to be preserved, kept safe and when the time was right, planted in the earth. Seed was precious . . . valuable.
We too have valuable, precious seed—God’s Word within us.
He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. Psalms 126:5-6
Are there any Johnny’s or Johnette’s out there? Did you do some sowing this week?
We have good news from heaven!
Barn mice did you know you’d be among the first to hear his voice?
Bethlehem did you know out of you would come the Bread of Life?
Innkeeper did you know your stable would be the birthing room of a king?
Manger did you know you’d cradle the Prince of Peace?
Shepherds did you know while you watched your flocks you’d see The Lamb?
Wise men did you know when you followed the star you’d see The Light?
Paul, the author of the New Testament book, Philemon, encouraged Philemon to take back his run-away slave Onesimus and receive him as a brother (v. 16). Why? Because Paul had instructed Onesimus in the gospel and felt his life had changed. Paul went so far as to guarantee Philemon he would right any of Onesimus’ wrongs and pay his debts. In other words, he would to whatever it took to have Onesimus in good standing–ready to start a redeemed life.
May my heart be soft
As you make your impression
I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Jeremiah 31:33
I’m an old rag.
Stained. Tossed aside.
I’ve scoured and polished. But now?
I sit in a pile with others. We stink.
What? What’s that I hear? A servant says he needs us?
Ebedmelech takes us in his arms. “These’ll do. Soft. Just right.”
”Here Jeremiah!” Ebedmelech shouted as he lowered us down into the dungeon. “Put these rags under your armpits and under the rope tied around you.”
One more use for us. Not to wipe or clean, but to cushion and protect the fragile skin of the emaciated prophet.
Our softness and gentleness absorb his frailness.
What made us old rotten rags?
And Ebedmelech the Ethiopian said unto Jeremiah, Put now these old cast clouts and rotten rags under thine armholes under the cords. And Jeremiah did so. So they drew up Jeremiah with cords, and took him up out of the dungeon: and Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison. Jeremiah 38: 12, 13 KJV
The inner chamber, a phrase from Isaiah 26:20, means any place apart. For Edward Wilson, it was the crow’s nest on the ship Terra Nova. He’d often climb to it during his expeditions to Antarctica. He called it his private chapel.
Vesta Mangun’s father, Royal Gibson would slip away to his favorite place of prayer–a secluded oak grove not far from his house. Many miracles and healings occurred throughout his ministry. He knew that power with God came through unwavering faith in His word and in the power of the name of Jesus.
Susanna Wesley, (1669-1742), mother of nineteen children including John and Charles Wesley, would sit down and pull her apron up over her head. Her children knew to be extra quiet during this time so they wouldn’t disturb her time of prayer.
What does this have to do with outreach? Everythng! John 6:44.
We must pray until~
This robe of flesh I’ll drop and rise
To seize the everlasting prize
And shout while passing through the air
Fare well, fare well, sweet hour of prayer.
(Last verse of Sweet Hour of Prayer)
Mmmmm. Roasted grasshoppers. Six grams of protein in each one.
While on a family camping trip, my brother demonstrated grasshopper flambé–one of the many survivalists’ skills he learned in the military. After spearing a grasshopper, he carried it to the picnic table and held his arthropod appetizer over a flaming candle. Assured the grasshopper was fully cooked he allowed it to cool a few seconds before popping it in his mouth. Crunch. Crunch. Swallow. He smiled at his wide-eyed audience and soon four young boys were hunting grasshoppers, all eager to check this accomplishment off their man-card. Besides, God’s word says their clean (Leviticus 11:22).
As strange as it seems, this is exactly what John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus ate in the wilderness, (along with wild honey). He was the voice commissioned to break four hundred years of silence. Clothed with leather and camel’s hair, he heralded the news, Repent ye for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. John 3:2.
Although our clothes and diet are different from John’s, our mission is the same. We are the 21st century voice in this millennial wilderness.
Jesus is coming! Jesus is coming!
May this mission drive everything we do–our interactions with our family, co-workers, friends, neighbors, store clerks, waitresses and even the unexpected divine appointments at Walmart and TaMollys.
Hmmm? Grasshoppers and salsa anyone?
“When you lift your hands you make a funnel for God’s spirit to come down to you,” said Reverend Lee Stoneking at a recent conference. Hmmm? I’d never thought of it that way. I’d always thought of it as a sign of surrender. Here I am God. I give up. I give it all to you. But make a funnel? OK.
I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. (and make a funnel) Psalm 63:4
Pour it on God.
In John Bunyan’s classic, The Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian the journeying pilgrim traveled with a heavy load on his back until he came to a hill. On it stood a cross and below it, at the bottom, was a tomb. When Christian came up to the cross, his burden loosened from his shoulders and fell onto the ground. It rolled and rolled until it tumbled into the empty tomb. He never saw it again.
Christian stood in awe at the sight of the cross–amazed that his oppressive burden dropped and rolled away so quickly. He felt released from the pressure he had carried. As a result, he wept and sang and leaped for joy. The cross became a bridge that brought him from a life of despondent sighing, to over flowing gladness and singing.
Like Christian, I basked in a feeling of warm joy when I met Him at the cross. He gave me a new song and turned my mourning into dancing.
Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing. Psalm 30:11a
Thank you Jesus!