Spurgeon’s Story of the Gardner

Thank you, Josh Harris —  I didn’t want to lose this one.

A child had a little garden in which she planted many flowers, but they never grew. She put them in, as she thought tenderly and carefully, but they would not live. She sowed seeds and they sprang up; but very soon they withered away. So she ran to her father’s gardener, and when he came to look at it, he said, “I will make it a nice garden for you, that you may grow whatever you want.” He fetched a pick, and when the little child saw the terrible pick, she was afraid for her little garden. The gardener struck his tool into the ground and began to make the earth heave and shake for his pickaxe had caught the edge of a huge stone which underplayed almost all the little plot of ground. All the little flowers were turned out of their places and the garden spoiled for a season so that the little maid wept much. He told her he would make it a fair garden yet, and so he did, for having removed that stone which had prevented all the plants from striking root he soon filled the ground with flowers which lived and flourished.

Just so, the Lord has come, and has turned up all the soil of your present comfort to get rid of some big stone that was at the bottom of all your spiritual prosperity, and would not let your soul flourish. Do not weep with the child, but be comforted by the blessed results and thank your Father’s tender hand!

Miry Bog and Psalm 40

So, today…we went fishing…a GORGEOUS NJ day for it…I only caught 2 tiny smallmouths…but I did the chance to spend the morning hours with my son, Mikey and good buddy Brian.

At one point, we nosed in to the shoreline and took a walk to another remote pond…however they had drew down the lake, so we were walking to said pond across a miry bog.  Jumping from rock to rock to avoid getting your feet buried up to your ankles in yucko mud.

Mikey, as you can see from the image on the left, wasn’t successful in keeping his balance and more than once ended up ankle-deep in the mud of the miry bog.

When I got home, the Lord drew my attention to Psalm 40, which I had not remembered mentions a miry bog!  How many times do you have actual personal real-life experience with elements mentioned in scripture…not to mention obscure ones like miry bogs!

Psalm 40:1-3 says:

I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.

In this Psalm we have the assurance that God hears  our prayers, especially our cries – so when we are overwhelmed – cry out to him from the midst of the miry bog, when the gross mud is up past our ankles and we can’t pull it out without losing a shoe.

My beautiful, Godly wife was quick to point out when we discussed this passage that we next see that it is not US that lifts us out of the miry bog…it’s GOD. He will  lift us out of the  mud and set our feet on the rock.  I know, the few times that I had close encounters with the mud in the bog, it was a relief to jump to a rock and land on safe, solid, clean, stable ground.

He puts a NEW song in our mouth, praise to our God – he gives us JOY.

And what do we see the end goal of all this is?  Why does HE lift us out of the bog, give us JOY?

So that “Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD”

It is always for his glory, not ours.  He doesn’t rescue us for the mud, but in the mud…in the grossness of life when we are sinking and our losing or shoes in gross soggy mud – HE lifts us out so that others can see what he has done for us and come to know him!  Others will have seen where we were (in the mud) and now how we have been lifted out, and they will know that it was GOD.

The biggest bog we were lifted out was our own selves – our own sin.  God sent Jesus to reconcile us to Him and set our feet on the rock of solid ground of being an adopted son of God, holy and dearly loved, if we have faith in who he was and what he did for us on the cross!

M

The Alaska Ranger

So, in my house we are all fans of various reality shows…the Discovery Channel can usually hold our attention quite well.

One of such shows that we like is “Deadliest Catch” the chronicles of Alaskan King Crab fishermen in the Bering Sea.  (Yes…we were saddened to hear that Capt Phil died – strange how you grow attached to people you’ve never met…)

So I noticed that there was going to be a special documentary/reality program on the Alaska Ranger – which was a fishing boat that sunk with 47…yes…FORTY SEVEN…crew members on board.

A very well done program – and my son and I were riveted to the screen for the hour.  (OK, more like 42 minutes thank you TIVO).  They saved 42 of the 47 crew members.  The biggest rescue in US Coast Guard history.

The program had close-ups with some of the survivors, and one fellow recalled how he at one point gave in to the thought that he was not going to make it.  He said

I made my peace with God, apologized for everything I had done.

I am continually amazed by these sorts of things.  This man, like probably the vast majority of humanity, knows somewhere deep down in his soul, that there is a God.  When folks are close to death, they attempt to grow close to God.  Despite the fact that they may have been ignoring him most of their lives, but now that they think they will probably go see him face-to-face, it’s time to make peace.  I sincerely hope and pray this fellow will allow God to use this opportunity t0 bring him to know God thru Jesus…

I was at one time, distracted completely from God by this world and my self. Like the rest I was therefore alienated from him because of my sin.  God saved me.  Brought me back to Him. I have made peace with God, and here is how the Bible says to make peace:

Rom 5:1-2 says:

1(A) Therefore, since we have been justified by faith,(B) we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2Through him we have also(C) obtained access by faith[b] into this grace(D) in which we stand, and(E) we[c] rejoice[d] in hope of the glory of God.

Let’s consider those around us, who may be waiting to somehow in the end…make peace with God, let’s be sure we direct them to his Word to tell them how they can do it. Ironically enough, the boat sank on Easter 2008 – the very day Jesus rose from the grave securing life for all those who trust in Him.

Something else very cool on that program with 47 people to rescue from the water, they can’t all fit into one helicopter in one shot. I think only 9 or so at a time could be rescued by helicopter – one of the US Coast Guard rescue swimmers – actually stayed behind floating in the water so that one more person could be saved. (He made it)  He floated in the water, just like the others from the ship, until another helicopter came back.  That’s selfless – Christ-like love.  Christ emptied himself so that we can live thru his sacrifice. (see Phil 2)