Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Life and Diary of David Brainerd book review

By almost every standard known to modern missionary boards, David Brainerd would have been rejected as a missionary candidate. He was tubercular — died of that disease at twenty-nine — and from his youth was frail and sickly. He never finished college, being expelled from Yale for criticizing a professor and for his interest and attendance in meetings of the "New Lights," a religious organization. He was prone to be melancholy and despondent.

Yet this young man, who would have been considered a real risk by any present-day mission board, became a missionary to the American Indians and, in the most real sense, "the pioneer of modern missionary work." Brainerd began his ministry with the Indians in April, 1743, at Kannameek, New York, then ministered in Crossweeksung and Cranberry (near Newark), New Jersey.

Brainerd's first journey to the Forks of the Delaware to reach that ferocious tribe resulted in a miracle of God that preserved his life and revered him among the Indians as a "Prophet of God." Encamped at the outskirts of the Indian settlement, Brainerd planned to enter the Indian community the next morning to preach to them the Gospel of Christ. Unknown to him, his every move was being watched by warriors who had been sent out to kill him. F.W. Boreham recorded the incident:

But when the braves drew closer to Brainerd's tent, they saw the paleface on his knees. And as he prayed, suddenly a rattlesnake slipped to his side, lifted up its ugly head to strike, flicked its forked tongue almost in his face, and then without any apparent reason, glided swiftly away into the brushwood. "The Great Spirit is with the paleface!" the Indians said; and thus they accorded him a prophet's welcome.
That incident in Brainerd's ministry illustrates more than the many Divine interventions of God in his life — it also illustrates the importance and intensity of prayer in Brainerd's life. Believe it — Brainerd prayed!

Brainerd died in 1747 in the home of Jonathan Edwards. His ministry to the Indians was contemporary with Wesley, Whitefield and Edwards as they ministered to the English-speaking people during the period called in English and American history, the "Great Awakening." Brainerd's centuries-spanning influence for revival is positive proof God can and will use any vessel, no matter how fragile and frail, if it is only sold out to souls and the Saviour!

The Life and Diary of David Brainerd ought to be read — and read often — by God's people. It will do something for you spiritually.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Motherhood (poem)

I have a poem here called "Motherhood," showing two sides of the question. The author is unknown, so I'm sorry I can't give credit. The one side says this:

It's such a waste of time to cook.
I'm just a walking cookery book.
I make and bake the morning through,
The favorite pies and pudding, too.
And then in half an hour or less,
My toil has gone to nothingness.
It's a waste of time to dust the stairs,
To clean the brass and polish chairs,
To sweep and pick up bits of fluff,
For nothing's ever clean enough.
Five minutes after I have done,
Someone is sure to romp and run,
Kick out the stair rods, flick the mats,
Slam the doors and scare the cats.
Some sticky hand is sure to press
The brasses from their sprightliness.
I tidy up and do the dusting,
But all the while my wings are rusting.
Then washing day it seems to me
Is just a waste of energy.
What use to stand before a tub
And soak and rinse and blue and rub?

I guess we know that this poem must have been written a long time ago. I think modern housewives haven't a clue what bluing is. But I remember it.

What use to stand before a tub
And soak and rinse and blue and rub?
Next week the selfsame garment's stain
Will come into my hands again.
It's such a waste of time to mend.
One has no sooner reached the end
Of last week's pile then, need you ask it,
This week's filled up the mending basket.
The stockings, which were hale and hearty,
Return from each picnicking party,
Weak and worn and wanly show
Great gaping holes in heel and toe,
While buttons have a cantankerous way
Of disappearing every day.
Sponging off the spots and ironing creases,
Between it all I'm worn to pieces.
Woman, from cradle to grave,
Is nothing but a galley slave.

Now there is a lot of truth in that side, isn't there? But there's another side.

I've done an angel's work today.
Yes, such an honor came my way.
Real angel's work. Lest you doubt it,
I'm going to tell you all about it.
Well, first I cooked. It was so nice
To plan the pies, stewed fruit and rice.
God sent His angel once to make
Cakes for a poor wayfarer's sake.
Just today He honored me
And sent the task my way, you see.
Then while I tidied up the place,
Gave every knob a radiant face,
Back of my mind this thought would lurk--
That I was still at angel's work.
Putting away coats and dresses
And moving small, unsightly messes,
For oh, 'tis such a lovesome thing,
Just straightening out and freshening.
And after that, I washed a few
Small woolly garments, old, not new,
Things I had rubbed and rinsed before,
Quite forty times or even more.
And as I hung them on the line,
I thought what Godlike work was mine--
To cleanse, ah me, to wash out stains
Till not a single speck remains.
So later in the day, 'twas sweet
To sit and rest my tired feet,
Mending the clothes and plan out, too,
How to make old things into new.
For surely it is an angel's way
To put things right from day to day,
To find thin places and repair
The glad rags and the sturdy wear.
Since wear and tear must surely be
On this side of eternity,
I'm feeling very proud to say
I've done an angel's work today.

This poem certainly expresses two very different attitudes toward what has always been called women's work. I define women's work as the kind of work that nobody notices, as long as you do it, but the whole world is going to notice if you don't do it.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Mustard Tree

Matthew 13:31,32- Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.
Here, the parable is used for the Kingom of heaven, however, in Luke it is used for the Kingdom of God.
Luke 13:18,19- Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.
These two kingdoms are different. The kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom. The kingdom of heaven is a literal, physical kingdom. When Christ was present on the earth, so were both kingdoms.
Notice that in Matthew the seed is sown in the field, and in Luke it is sown in a garden- showing once again that careful attention to the words of God will show a difference between the two kingdoms!
A mustard seed is associated with faith.
Matthew 17:20- And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
The field is the world.
Matthew 13:38- The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;
This man has misplaced his faith. He put it in the things of the world. And, when sight fails and things go badly, as they so often do, then his faith will waiver because it was never in something that would last!
Luke 18:8- I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? This makes it clear that there will be little of true faith on the earth at the coming of Christ.
True faith as a grain of mustard seed, is classified as an herb. But, the mustard seed in this parable grows wild until it is no longer an herb, but it becomes a tree. Birds don't roost in mustard plants, they set up their homes in trees. Birds (unclean spirits) lodging in the branches shows that it is a bad tree- Ezekiel 31.
The standard interpretation is that the tree is the church, offering a haven of rest for all. It is the exact opposite. In fact, if coupled with the next parable, it is the Roman Catholic monstrosity, which offers a worldly faith which is "for the birds".
Revelation 18:1,2- And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
A side note: the graven images, known as saints, which are in Catholic churches worldwide are placed in settings called Niches. The root of "niche" is Latin- nidus' meaning "Nest".
What about Luke 13?
Song Of Solomon 5:1- I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.
Song Of Solomon 6:2- My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies.
The church is likened to a garden (see also Song Of Solomon 4). Christ and the church have a fellowship in the garden. It is delicate and fragile (Song of Solomon 5:1-7).
Our garden can be a sweet place of fellowship and blessing, but it can also be the place where we tell Christ "no". It was in a garden that man's fellowship with God was first broken. The twelve disciples forsook Christ in a garden after sleeping instead of praying(while men slept, his enemy came- Matthew 13:25).
Christ's borrowed tomb was in a garden. Christ chose the setting of a garden as the place to show the world that He triumphed over death.
Your garden can become your resting place, your triumphant place, or even your forsaking place. Be very careful not only where you plant your seed of faith, but also how you cultivate it!