“THEY SHALL BE MINE,
SAITH THE LORD OF HOSTS,
IN THAT DAY WHEN I MAKE UP MY JEWELS”
My mother, also known as Aunt Gladys, devoted her life to boys and girls in so many ways. Not only did she have a natural love for them, but she also had a deep desire for their eternal blessing.
The stories in this book, “THEY SHALL BE MINE”, are all true stories, though some of the names have been changed. She also wrote a children’s book, “WEE WILLIE WHEAT” which presents the parable of the Sower, using 3 grains of wheat. It is an allegory that encourages children to obey the Bible even in difficult circumstances, because there will be a heavenly reward in the end for those who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour. I pray the hearts of children will be drawn by the beautiful operation of the Spirit of God.
Lord’s day afternoon Sam and Randy were down by the barn, when they heard a clop, clop, clop on the road. They peered around the corner of the barn and to their surprise they saw a strange horse all alone, trotting toward the crossroads. There it paused, as if it was trying to read the sign posts and wondering which way to go.
The boys slipped under the fence and headed her off to one side, and then chased her into the corral. She was hungry and thirsty, but almost too nervous to eat, even though the boys tried hard to get her interested. It wasn’t until the next day that Sam tried to ride her. What a nervous animal! She gave him a wild ride that he would long remember. He was glad to get off that horse.
After almost two weeks of waiting for someone to claim her, and of looking in the “Lost” column of the newspaper, Daddy sent for the brand inspector to come to try to identify her brand mark. It turned out to be two marks—one on top of the other. This horse had some kind of a shady background. Anyway, the owner was notified and drove out one day to get his horse.
He was rather disgusted. “She’s a runaway; nothing but a runaway! I can’t keep her fenced up, and neither could the man I got her from. Would you just keep her here till spring and I’ll pay you for feeding her?”
Daddy rubbed his chin. “Well, we’re short on feed this fall, and I have all these cattle to winter. I’d rather you just took her back with you.”
But the man finally convinced Daddy to keep her for the winter and left with the parting warning that she’d probably make a break in a fence and get away again anyway. The family horse, Silver, and the new horse which was named Pet were soon on good terms. Silver was very tame and loved to be fed special treats from the children’s hands. Pet, however, refused to let anyone get near her and always backed away when Daddy tried to catch her to put a bridle on her.
It was Beth who took a special fancy to this shy, highstrung horse. She would often go down to the corral without anyone knowing it, and would sit on the top rail of the fence and talk gently to the horse. Pet would snort and run to a far corner with a frightened look in her eyes. If Beth would approach a few slow steps, she would quiver all over. Even a pan full of oats was no bait for friendship as long as Beth was watching. She would set it down and go back to the house. But after visiting the horse every day for a few weeks Beth felt rewarded when she saw Pet take a few slow steps towards the pan and start nibbling. Beth would sit patiently on the top rail of the fence watching Pet eat the oats.
What kind of master are you serving? Maybe you do not realize that you are serving any kind of master, but you are. “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” Romans 6:16. If we think that we do as we please, we deceive ourselves, for we are gradually being brought into the bondage—hard bondage of sin and Satan. The beginning is small and gradual; sinful pleasures. But habits grow and sin that hardens the conscience will end in death. “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23.
Now that Pet would eat oats from the pan, Beth tried to get the horse to accept some oats from her hand. Pet reared up in terror, and pawed with her front hoofs. Beth managed to soothe her by talking quietly. Gradually she began to stroke her a bit, and then after a few more days started to groom her a little with a curry comb. The wild tangle of her mane was carefully smoothed and the burrs were trimmed out.
The rest of the family didn’t know at all what was going on. Pet was no rare beauty when she came, and probably never would be but she was now looking sleek and well groomed. Even her owner was surprised when he drove in the next spring, pulling a trailer in which to haul her, to see her looking so well groomed.
Pet was terrified at being loaded into the trailer, for she stood trembling and nickering to her friend Silver who, in turn whinnied loudly from the other side of the fence. Silver ran back and forth as if upset to see Pet soon to be taken away.
While the man complained about the price he had agreed to pay Daddy for keeping Pet during the winter months, Beth slipped into the trailer to be close to Pet. Beth put her arms around her neck trying to soothe the scared animal and soothe her own feelings at the same time. Daddy was saying, “No, I don’t need another horse.” “Well, all right then!” The man turned quickly to go and nearly stumbled over the group of children who had gathered closely around the trailer. They all hated to see Pet go. Beth’s eyes filled with tears as she said, “Please Daddy.” She could go no further and had to bite her lower lip to keep it from trembling. She was so disappointed. Daddy was completely surprised. “Why all this fuss over a stray horse that’s half wild?”
“She isn’t wild, she isn’t wild a bit. She has been mistreated, and is afraid, I know. She is just frightened, really,” pleaded Beth. “But we don’t need. . . . ” began Daddy.
“Two horses are much nicer than just one” Randy suggested. The rest chimed in to voice their opinion in Pet’s behalf. Pet didn’t understand why the trailer gate was opened again, but it was, so she could back down to the ground. She did not know she had been bought by a new master. But when she got out of the trailer there she stood, right out in the open. She looked at the faces around her. She looked at the road open ahead of her, and then with a shake of her head, she trotted to the fence where Silver was and waited to get in. Nor did she ever run away again.
Are you unhappy? Would you like to start over? There is a new beginning for you, a new birth and a new life to all who come to the Lord Jesus, and own their lost condition. The Lord Jesus has paid the price to redeem your soul from hell. Come to Him and learn of Him, Who loved you and gave Himself for you. (Galatians 2:20). To know Him is to love Him. His invitation is, “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.
Beth spent many happy hours that summer riding Pet, grooming her till she was sleek and shining. She taught her to lift each hoof in turn so she could pick out any rocks and sharp gravel lodged in the soft spots of her feet. Even Daddy had to smile when he saw Beth hold up the bridle one afternoon, and Pet came running right up to her as if to say, “At your service.”
Some think they can serve two masters. They would like to have the pleasures of sin for a season now and heaven later. But again they deceive themselves.
“NO MAN CAN SERVE TWO MASTERS:
FOR EITHER HE WILL HATE THE ONE, AND LOVE THE OTHER;
OR ELSE HE WILL HOLD TO THE ONE, AND DESPISE THE OTHER.”
“CHOOSE YOU THIS DAY WHOM YE WILL SERVE.”
I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD:
THE GOOD SHEPHERD GIVETH HIS LIFE FOR THE SHEEP.
MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE, AND I KNOW THEM,
AND THEY FOLLOW ME: AND I GIVE UNTO THEM ETERNAL LIFE;
AND THEY SHALL NEVER PERISH, NEITHER SHALL ANY MAN PLUCK THEM OUT OF MY HAND.
John 10:27, 28
THAT IF THOU SHALT CONFESS WITH THY MOUTH THE LORD JESUS,
AND SHALT BELIEVE IN THINE HEART THAT GOD HATH RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD,
THOU SHALT BE SAVED.
I WILL BOTH LAY ME DOWN IN PEACE, AND SLEEP:
FOR THOU, LORD, ONLY MAKEST ME DWELL IN SAFETY.
Second Chance Corner
“Four more minutes till the bus rolls” said Daddy, zipping up his jacket. For fourteen years he had been driving the school bus, and kept a clock-like schedule. The children began a mad scramble that somehow repeated itself daily in spite of the advice given in advance to have things all ready.
“Your hair doesn’t look combed to me, Herb” reminded Mother. Beth remembered at the same moment that she hadn’t brushed her teeth after breakfast. Sam scattered a pile of books in an attempt to sort out which ones were his. Beth followed Mother explaining that she was out of theme paper and needed some money and Randy needed an excuse written for yesterday’s absence. Sam was rummaging through the apple box, looking for some extra ones to eat on the way. The bus horn sounded and there were hasty kisses and goodbyes. Some ran out the door and some rushed back after forgotten lunch boxes and mittens. It was hard to direct traffic without some kind of casualties.
“Where’s my library book? It’s due today!” “That’s my scarf, your’s is in the closet!” A scuffling of feet, a slamming of doors; then a sudden roar of the idling bus engine and they were off. All was quiet, and then a small wail arose from the back porch. “I was just putting my boots on, and he didn’t wait for me.”
“Well, Herb, it looks as if you are left behind, but you know why, don’t you?” “I just about had them on too,” was the sad answer.
“Who didn’t get up when he was called this morning? Who was late to breakfast? You always think there’s plenty of time—until it’s too late. Now you will have to run down to “the second chance corner” and see if you can meet the bus at the crossroads as Daddy comes back down the road from Waggoners.”
Mother watched the little fellow run out the gate and head for the crossroads. Yes, sometimes there is a “second chance” but it is a poor thing to count on. It can mean losing one’s own soul, heaven and eternity with Christ.
“IN A MOMENT, IN THE TWINKLING OF AN EYE,
AT THE LAST TRUMP: FOR THE TRUMPET SHALL SOUND,
AND THE DEAD SHALL BE RAISED INCORRUPTIBLE,
AND WE SHALL BE CHANGED.”
I Corinthians 15:52.
But what if we’re not ready? What if we really meant to get saved? What if we had even thought about it? What if we had listened in Sunday School? What if we had said our verses every Sunday, but had put off turning to Him and being saved?
It will be too late, no second chance to be ready then.
“BEHOLD, NOW IS THE ACCEPTED TIME;
BEHOLD, NOW IS THE DAY OF SALVATION.”
2 Corinthians 6:2.
FORASMUCH AS YE KNOW THAT
YE WERE NOT REDEEMED WITH CORRUPTIBLE THINGS,
AS SILVER AND GOLD . . .
BUT WITH THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST.
1 Peter 1:18,19
The cattle were more restless than usual. With heads bent low looking for the bunch grass that grows here and there on the desert, they wandered far from the outskirts of the little town. The steady hot wind that had been blowing all morning was now turning into a sand storm. It blew hard at the faces of Beth and Sam who were “riding herd” that day, and stung their eyes.
“There’s an old shack up ahead. Shall we take shelter till this blows over?” Sam called to his sister.
Sure enough! They were approaching an old homesteader’s cabin, but it was deserted and apparently had been so for a long, long time. They were thankful for any kind of shelter, however, and after hitching their horses to a post they took refuge in the little building that had become as weathered and bleached as a bone.
There were just two rooms inside. The bare wooden walls showed daylight between the cracks of the boards, and regular sand dunes had formed in the corners. The windows were all broken out, and the wind whistled through their poor shelter.
“This isn’t much better than outdoors” said Beth in great disappointment. “But look, here is a big old cupboard that’s as snug as can be!” exclaimed Sam. The shelves probably had been removed by someone that needed the lumber. “The only trouble is that the doors won’t stay shut, but I can fix that.” Sam found an old two-by-four which he braced against the opposite wall, and after they had both stepped into the cupboard he eased the other end down and then let it settle against the doors. While the storm howled about them, they were content to stay huddled down within the crowded space of the old cupboard. At last the wind seemed to die down a little and they decided they should start out again and get the cattle rounded up.
Sam pushed against the old, well built cupboard doors, but they wouldn’t yield. He pushed harder and harder. Then they both pushed together with all their might. The fact the doors wouldn’t yield made them afraid they wouldn’t get out at all. But Sam was still confident of his own strength. A rotten two-by-four shouldn’t be too hard to break! He braced his back against the wall and placed his feet against the door, then pushed with every ounce of strength he had. How Sam wished this door was a flimsy panel of wood that would give way under such pushing, but it wasn’t and it didn’t budge! Sam and Beth examined and tested the hinges, but they too were of sturdy stuff that didn’t give.
Beth was scared and said, “What if we never get out—what if we starve in here?” Sam thought hard and then spoke out, “I think we’d better pray.” They had always prayed at bedtime and father always thanked the Lord at mealtimes. They had often heard about the Lord Jesus and heard the Bible read each day, but as yet it had not become a personal matter between their own souls and God. Now they felt for the first time their great need of Him. When we come to the end of ourselves, we then see our need of salvation.
“FOR WHEN WE WERE YET WITHOUT STRENGTH,
IN DUE TIME CHRIST DIED FOR THE UNGODLY.”
Their prayers were very childish, being the only ones they knew. “Now I lay me down to sleep; I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray thee, Lord, my soul to take.” Even though they both knew it didn’t fit this occasion at all, Sam also prayed: “Come, dear Lord, and be our guest. Bless this food which Thou hast provided, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.” This prayer he repeated in German, as though it might be more effective in entreating God’s attention. At the last he added what was really on his heart, “And please help us get out of here.” Did God pay attention? I’m sure He heard those children.
When all goes well we tend to think lightly of God and of eternity. Just as Sam’s lack of thinking ahead had placed them in their difficult situation, so will yours put you in outer darkness if you do not turn to the Lord while there is yet time!
Sam tried again to push against the prison-like doors until he was worn out. Then he sank down and gave serious thought to their hard problem. Through a crack about a foot above the floor, a light streamed in from beneath the cupboard doors. This was something to investigate. He felt around and in this way made the wonderful discovery. There was a way of escape!
“I think we’re sitting in a drawer, Beth. Help me push it open!” Using their bodies for leverage, they pushed with their feet against the front of the drawer, and against the wall with their hands. In just a minute it slid open and in less time than that, they had scrambled out and were free!
Tears and prayers and good works do not cleanse the soul from the stain of sin. But there is a way to be ready when the Lord Jesus comes and gives the shout for His own. Peace has been made long ago at Calvary’s cross. The way is open now to heaven, for all who believe what God’s Word says:
“THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST HIS SON
CLEANSETH US FROM ALL SIN.”
1 John 1:7.
“A MAN SHALL BE AS AN HIDING PLACE FROM THE WIND,
AND A COVERT FROM THE TEMPEST.”
The Day The Steam Engine Stopped
Herb was a happy little boy when he got his dog Spot. He loved being in the country with Spot and he liked the millstream that ran through the pasture and under a little bridge and past another field where asparagus grew so thickly he couldn’t see where the irrigation ditch flowed between the rows.
Beyond the stream was a railroad track. Herb looked forward each day to the coming of the train. This was in the days of steam engines, before diesel engines were used. Like a huge monster of steel and fire, it shrieked at the crossing with a loud whistle, then plunged roaring through the pasture, shaking the very ground beneath his feet and the marrow in his bones, leaving him tingling with excitement.
The fireman and engineer always waved to Herb and he returned the greeting. This was a meeting he must always keep no matter what else was happening. Until the day that his dog Spot was too eager in his welcome and became involved in the wheels and steel and little was left to even remember him by.
From then on, the whistle seemed to make fun of him and he had little desire for the noise and smoke and awful power. He chose to not notice it and would sit on the back steps with his face turned sadly the other way.
The engineer and fireman missed seeing their little boyfriend. They had been boys once too and knew how he must feel. They understood the sadness in the heart of a small boy in losing the friendliest little dog he had ever had.
One day though, Herb’s face turned to see what his ears were telling him had happened. The big engine had snorted to a stop (as if stopped by hands you couldn’t see) right in the middle of the pasture! He couldn’t believe what he saw as he watched the fireman swing down the steps of the big engine with something under his arm and start walking through the tall grass toward him. His sharp eyes noticed the black and white little animal, for he knew the soft ears and nose of a puppy, even before the fireman put it in his arms with a friendly grin. His heart beat real fast and he got so excited that he choked when he tried to say “Thanks.” But the engineer and the fireman didn’t need any thanks. The sight of a little boy waving one arm and holding a little puppy in the other each day after that was all the thanks they wanted.
We have a Friend Who came right down to where we are. Have you come to know this Friend of little children? His name is Jesus, He is God’s Son. He knows where you live and all about you. I hope you will come to Him just as you are and thank Him for dying on the cross to bear the punishment of your sins.
“AS MANY AS RECEIVED HIM,
TO THEM GAVE HE POWER TO BECOME THE SONS OF GOD,
EVEN TO THEM THAT BELIEVE ON HIS NAME.”
WHEREAS YE KNOW NOT WHAT SHALL BE ON THE MORROW.
FOR WHAT IS YOUR LIFE? IT IS EVEN A VAPOUR,
THAT APPEARETH FOR A LITTLE TIME, AND THEN VANISHETH AWAY.
The Berry Patch
Claire was already going down to the shed with a carrier full of berries, while Beth still had a box and a half to go before hers would be ready. She never could figure out how anyone could pick so fast and still clean the bushes. It was quiet there away from the noise of the cars on the highway. The chattering of a chipmunk, an occasional bird call and sounds from the distant logging camp were all that broke the stillness.
Carefully she unsnagged a branch that had caught in her hair, then reached for a stem fairly loaded with dark purple berries. At that very moment a well aimed berry hit her square on the back of her neck.
“All right, Claire!” But then she remembered, Claire was down unloading at the shed. She almost got snagged again in the same branch as she whirled around. There stood the biggest man she had ever seen! Perhaps he wasn’t, but she was almost petrified at finding herself face to face with a total stranger.
He had a friendly smile. “Sorry I gave you such a start. I just walked toward town from the logging camp and here’s what I ran into.” He sampled a few berries from a bush. She still hadn’t recovered her power of speech. “My rigger broke down and they have to splice a cable, so I have time on my hands” he said as he flipped a few more berries into his mouth. He was a young man and she didn’t doubt his story, but what should she say to him? She found words at last. “Do you know the Lord Jesus as your personal Saviour?” “No,” he replied with an amused smile.
“Well, you really should, because we don’t know when the Lord is coming and we should be ready to meet Him.” “I suppose so” was the answer.
“Why don’t you go to the tent meeting tonight? Maybe you will get saved.” “Maybe I might” was the quiet answer this time. “It’s at 7:30” Beth continued. “All right, it’s a promise” the big man said suddenly. “But I’ll have to go now. Goodbye.”
He disappeared as quickly as he had come. Claire could hardly believe that Beth had really had a visitor. That night after practically everyone was seated in the big tent, and the singing had begun, a tall young lumberjack ducked his head to enter the tent and quietly took a back seat. Claire and Beth silently prayed for him. The speaker opened with the verse, “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:7. To illustrate it, he read from Genesis 27 through 37 of how Jacob deceived his aged father Issaac to get the blessing that his father intended to give his brother Esau. In later years Jacob himself was deceived, first by his father-in-law’s giving him the wrong wife.
But that was only part of the reaping (or getting paid back). Later, when he was old, his sons deceived him by dipping the coat of his dearly loved son Joseph in the blood of a kid so that he might think a wild animal had slain him. He went on to say that if we reject God’s offer of mercy now, in that coming day He will refuse us an entrance into heaven. But if we sow in faith, accepting Christ as our Saviour, we shall reap the reward of faith which is heaven and an eternity with Christ.
Beth was not able to be present the next evening but she did not forget to pray for the young lumberjack. That night about nine-thirty she was awakened by the chugging sound of an old Model T heading up toward the lumber camp.
Suddenly it stopped right on the hillside road going past the picker’s camp. Two voices rich in harmony rang out joyfully in the night air, with the strains of a familiar hymn. Beth recognized the voice of one of them, though she never saw him again. When the last note of the hymn was finished the car sputtered into motion and was gone.
Suddenly she wondered if truly there had been fruit for eternity out in that berry patch . . .
“IF THOU SHALT CONFESS WITH THY MOUTH THE LORD JESUS,
AND SHALT BELIEVE IN THINE HEART THAT GOD HATH RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD,
THOU SHALT BE SAVED.”
“A WORD SPOKEN IN DUE SEASON,
HOW GOOD IS IT!”
BLESSED IS THE MAN THAT WALKETH NOT IN THE COUNSEL OF THE UNGODLY,
NOR STANDETH IN THE WAY OF SINNERS,
NOR SITTETH IN THE SEAT OF THE SCORNFUL.
The Extra Gumball
It was story time again and the little family on the farm were all gathered around Mother as she settled down to tell them another story of her childhood.
Mother was going to tell how when she was just four years old, she had been given two pennies to spend and was so happy as she went hippity-hop down the sidewalk to the candy store. As the children settled down to listen, she continued, “It was the first time I had ever gone shopping alone. I trotted straight up to the gumball machine on the counter of the corner drug store and fitted one of my pennies into the slot just as I had watched others do, and then I pulled the lever over till it clicked. Out rolled a nice pink gumball!
“This I popped into my mouth; then I inserted the other penny I had into the machine and pulled back on the lever again. A green one dropped into my hand. This one was for Mommy.
“Having gotten what I came for and my money gone, I left the drug store and hurried for home. The warm summer sun and all the hippity-hops made my hands sweaty. I stopped to change the sticky gumball to the other hand. My hand was green where the color from the gumball had rubbed off. I sampled it with the pink tip of my tongue. Mmmmm—it was minty flavored and good—almost better than my pink one was! Mommy would like it, I knew. I skipped along another block. By then the other hand was feeling sticky, so I paused to change it again. This time my left hand was all green inside. I licked it off and then sniffed the gumball too. It smelled so good.
Candy was a special treat at our house, for we were poor. Besides, Mommie was sick and had to stay in bed all the time now. In fact, I had become so used to seeing her there that I hardly gave it a thought. My sharp teeth bit into the side of the gumball again as I walked along.
“Mother’s eyes twinkled as she smiled at the sorry looking gumball I presented to her. ‘Thank you, my little sweetheart. My, my! I wonder what could have happened to this poor gumball.’ My face turned red as I said, ‘I—dropped it on a rock, and—it broke.’ Then I hurried outside.
“The smile faded from mother’s face and her heart became sad. She was sorry she had even noticed or remarked about the condition of my gift; it was so childlike. What really hurt was that this was the first lie that she had ever known me to tell.
“How true is God’s Word which plainly says,
“THE HEART IS DECEITFUL ABOVE ALL THINGS,
AND DESPERATELY WICKED:
WHO CAN KNOW IT?”
It does not take long for sin to show itself for “they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” Psalms 58:3.
“FOR ALL HAVE SINNED,
AND COME SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD.” Romans 3:23.
“I went to the side of the house where I had been making mud pies. I stirred up the dirt and water and made some little cakes. These I decorated with rocks for raisins and left them in a row for the sun to bake. But I was troubled. I did not sing as usual, and I felt that I must stay outdoors where Mommy wouldn’t watch me. I felt very lonely. My hands were all muddy, so I went to the outside faucet and washed them off. Then I sat down and tried to pick some of the dirt out from under my fingernails. As I worked on them I noticed a little white mark on one of my nails. It looked like chalk, but though I rubbed and rubbed, it would not come off.
“Indoors Mother was praying. The Lord was her Comforter as well as her Saviour, for she had long trusted Him for all things. She prayed for wisdom, and that He would help her lead me to Himself before He took her Home.
“She became aware of a few slow footsteps. ‘Mommy, what’s this white thing on my fingernail?’ ‘Well, let’s see’ said Mommy taking the little hand in hers. ‘When I was a little girl and went to school, one day I saw something just like that on mine too. My girl friend told me it was because I told a lie. Perhaps it’s only a lack of calcium or maybe a bruise. What do you think made it?’
“I was uncomfortable again—I didn’t answer. Mother went on to say that the last time the doctor was there to see her, he told her that she wasn’t going to stay here very much longer. Soon she would be leaving me to go to live with Jesus, and she wanted to be sure that I would be coming to heaven too. I wanted to look forward to seeing her again up there.
`No one can ever enter that happy place with sin on them though, you know—for God is holy’ Mother went on. ‘What is sin?’ I asked her. ‘Sin is getting my own way rather than following the way of God as given in the Word of God. God tells us not to lie or steal, or speak bad words, or do unkind things. And even one sin would shut out my little girl forever.’
“My face was hid in my mother’s arms. I cried, ‘Mommy, I didn’t drop the gum, I just took a teeny bite. Will God shut me out?’ He wouldn’t shut you out for tasting the gum, because Uncle Will gave you the pennies to buy it with, it was all yours anyway. But He would shut you out for telling a lie about it. Let’s just confess it to the Lord and thank Him for dying on the cross to bear our punishment and all God’s judgment against sin. His blood cleanses us from all sin, and when we confess our sins He will wash them all away. Once we have accepted the Lord Jesus as our Saviour, we belong to Him and nothing can take us out of His hand.’ (John 10:28).
“WASH ME, AND I SHALL BE WHITER THAN SNOW.”
“IF WE CONFESS OUR SINS,
HE IS FAITHFUL AND JUST TO FORGIVE US OUR SINS,
AND TO CLEANSE US FROM ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS.”
The Cat That Gave Away A Secret
“How would you boys and girls like to hear a story about Mother when she was little?” The family all gathered round with eager faces as Mother began to tell of days long gone by. The hard thing about Mother’s life was that when she was a very little girl her Mother had died, leaving her behind with her younger sister. Her life had often been lonely and she missed her mother very much. Even though she loved her grandmother, she couldn’t ever take the place of the Mother she had known and loved in her early childhood. Now the children were excited as Mother began telling a new story:
“A caravan of trucks arrived at a vacant lot not far from our house one day. They aroused a lot of curiosity as they began to put up tents, a merry-go-round and a ferris wheel, ice cream and candy booths. Sooner than you might think, lilting music filled the air, and sounds of ‘Step right up, ladies and gentlemen . . .
Mother continued. “I went just as far as I was allowed to go away from home—just to the end of the block, and from there I took in all I could. I saw other children going there and after a little while I ran back home and asked my grandmother if I could go too. ‘No,’ she said.”
Mother looked around at her audience. They well knew how disappointed she had been. “Back outside I swung on the front gate, thinking grandmothers really didn’t understand at all—in fact, maybe grandmothers didn’t love little girls very much! But this dear old grandmother did understand—and well she remembered the night my Mother had died, leaving grandmother to take care of me.
“It was going to be hard for grandmother to bring me up for the Lord, as she so wanted to do. Especially since her eyesight was very bad. She could hardly tell the difference between day and night. Sometimes she felt she couldn’t keep her promise to my Mother for she was so tired. She sighed and prayed to the Lord Jesus, asking Him for wisdom and strength to keep me from this world’s snares and temptations, and that I might know what it meant to be truly saved.
“After supper was over and I was putting away the dishes, a knock sounded at the door. It was a little school friend who had stopped to see if I could go to the carnival with her.
`No,’ grandmother answered, ‘but maybe you can stay here and play with Ann.’ “We were close friends, maybe because both of us had lost our mothers and were drawn to each other in our sadness. Pearl thought for awhile—she was plainly disappointed. Later she showed me her money. It was four dimes—enough said she, for two rides and candy and pop, or else just four rides. Even for my sake she didn’t want to give up the fun.
“Pearl held out her hand to me. ‘Here, you can have these two dimes’ she offered quite unselfishly. I shook my head. `No, I can’t.’ Why not?’ Grandma said I couldn’t go.’ She probably wouldn’t even know, if we ran fast.’ ‘No, you go ahead.’ Sometimes I think you’re nothing but a scaredy cat’ Pearl finished, ending the conversation.
“Nothing much was said after that. The time passed slowly, for we were not friendly and talkative as usual. Shortly afterward we noticed grandmother was nodding and then—quite soundly dozing. Without saying a word we both tip-toed out of the front screen door into the summer evening and ran pell-mell for the twinkling lights and blare of music.
“REJOICE, O YOUNG MAN, IN THY YOUTH;
AND LET THY HEART CHEER THEE IN THE DAYS OF THY YOUTH,
AND WALK IN THE WAYS OF THINE HEART,
AND IN THE SIGHT OF THINE EYES:
BUT KNOW THOU, THAT FOR ALL THESE THINGS GOD WILL BRING THEE INTO JUDGMENT.”
“My heart was pounding so, I felt almost sick as I climbed on a horse on the merry-go-round. Round and round we went till all was a confusion of sight and sound. I tried to smile as Pearl did—but inside was a sickening feeling. Around went the merry-go-round—it seemed as though it would never stop whirling.
“Pearl asked ‘What shall we ride next?’. ‘Nothing’ I said. `Let’s go back home.’ ‘Well, wouldn’t you like some candy then?’ ‘No, I’m going back.’ Come on.’ Then I called goodbye to my little friend.
“When Pearl saw that coaxing was useless, she raced along behind me, till we drew near the house. The twilight had deepened a trifle—and the house which had looked shadowy when we left, was now ablaze with lights.
“I was filled with disappointment—grandmother was for sure awake, and had found me gone! Oh, what had she thought? I felt shaken between fear and worry. I knew my grandmother must be terribly upset.
“Shakily I ran up the front steps and opened the door. There I saw a picture that time would never dim; my dear silver-haired grandmother, with tears welling up in her sightless eyes, praying—praying for me.
“The tears came as I said, ‘I’m sorry, grandma’ for I was broken-hearted at the sorrow I had caused her, and for my being naughty too. ‘But how did you know?’ at last I asked.
“Grandmother nodded at the little cat sitting by the stove. `Why that cat—where did it come from?’ she asked. ‘I don’t know what cat it was, or where it came from—but you must have let it in. It jumped up on the kitchen stove and set up an awful racket, enough to waken anyone.’
“Pearl and I looked at each other, confused. ‘Did you see any cat?’ she asked me. `No, neither did I’ ‘Whose cat could it have been?’ I asked.
“Mother looked around at the little faces gathered about her. “Can any of you guess where the cat came from?” she asked. “Well, I’ll tell you. It was the Lord’s. He prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah when Jonah was disobedient, and He made a dumb ass rebuke Balaam, and He made a rooster crow to remind Peter of his warning that Satan desired to have him that he might sift him as wheat—but the Lord had prayed for him. When Peter heard the cock crow he thought of what the Lord had said—and just then the Lord turned and looked on him—their eyes met, and I know just how Peter felt when he went out and wept bitterly. And He sent that cat too! To think the Lord so loves and watches over His own unworthy ones, and seeks to keep our feet from the wayward path! “He made . . . His own people to go forth like sheep .. . and guided them by the skillfulness of His hands.” Ps. 78:50, 52, 72. “He that keepeth thee will not slumber.” Ps. 121:3.
“It spoke to my heart and conscience and not long afterward I was saved when I realized the Lord’s love and goodness to me, even when I was sinful and wayward. I owned and confessed my sinfulness and accepted Christ as my Saviour. Then I could sing with a happy heart for my sins were all forgiven. Do you know the Saviour?”
“THESE THINGS HAVE I WRITTEN UNTO YOU
WHO BELIEVE ON THE NAME OF THE SON OF GOD;
THAT YE MAY KNOW THAT YE HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.”
1 John 5:13.
They Shall Be Mine
“Just because you have to make a school report on something ancient, why do you have to wait for the hottest day yet to visit this old graveyard” grumbled Randy, hopping around on one foot while he pulled some stickers out of his sock and emptied dirt out of his shoe. The rest of the children plodded on up the hill to the little old cemetery. Sam and Herb ran the last stretch to see who could win. It was a tie—they waved their arms and called, “We won!” We won!” The stragglers panted up to the gravestone where they were resting.
“You can see all around from up here, it’s nice. There are a lot more graves than it looks like from down there. The weeds are so tall, you can’t see all the markers and headstones.”
The biggest monument had a wrought iron fence around it, and the boys carefully examined it to see why it was so important. The inscription said,
“Father and Mother.
Oliver G. Gallaher
and on the opposite side,
“Mary E. Maley
Wife of O. G. Gallaher”
“Eighteen forty,” whistled Sam, “That was way over a hundred years ago.” “Yeah, but look at this one” said Herb, scuffing weeds and dirt from a smaller marker. “This one is older yet, it says
“That must have been Oliver’s father” Beth called over, “and you know something? He lived about the same time Marcus Whitman did!”
“Here is a little wooden railing around this unmarked grave.” Beth was trying to figure out the writing on the gravestone:
“Let us forbear to complain
That they have now gone from our sight
We soon shall behold them again
In new and redoubled delight.”
“That sounds like they were saved, and went to be with the Lord Jesus, doesn’t it” Herb spoke up. “Well, if they really did believe that the Lord Jesus died on the cross and shed His blood to cleanse them from all sin, they are with Him in heaven, and we will meet them too when we get there, and can ask them all kinds of things.”
“Look, this one says,
I have fought a good fight.”
Beth called over to the others. “That’s what the apostle Paul said before he died, didn’t he?” “He said more than that” Sam added. “I have kept the faith.”
“What’s the faith?” asked Herb. “Believing the Bible,” Sam answered. “Believing that the Lord Jesus loves us just the same right now as when He died for us on the cross. He is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
“Look at this one” Randy called, “Ida May Gallaher Buroker.” “She must have been some relation to Mrs. McInroe, because she was a Buroker before she married Mr. McInroe. Let’s go down to her house and ask her some questions, shall we?”
At the foot of the hill a creek sparkled its way along and under a bridge. On the other side of the bridge was a big farm house where an old widow lady and her two daughters lived. Out in front by the road was a row of mailboxes. It was toward this house that the children worked their way.
“Just think, when William Gallaher came here, there must have been nothing but Indians, huh?” Sam was thinking how it must have been a long time ago. “And buffalo?”
Suddenly Beth and her brothers were at Mrs. Mclnroe’s house and everyone was nervous about knocking on the door. “You go first” Beth whispered. “No, you go” Randy said, “it was your idea.” “You’re the oldest Sam” Beth was answering when the conversation was stopped by the opening of the front door, and a friendly voice asked “Hello, were you looking for someone?”
“Well, no—I mean, yes” Beth stumbled. “We wanted to ask some questions about that graveyard up on the hillside.”
“My mother could probably tell you more about it than I can” answered the kind lady. “Won’t you come in?” The children walked in, feeling embarrassed because of their dusty, everyday clothes. They weren’t prepared to go visiting.
Mrs. Mclnroe smiled at them from her wheelchair, making them feel quite welcome and invited them to sit down in the cool living room.
“I have to make a report for school, and we wondered if you knew any of the people buried up in that cemetery?” began Beth. “My grandfather and grandmother are there, and also my father and mother whose grave has the large tombstone and fence around it, Mr. Oliver Gallaher” the lady began. “My Aunt Nancy Osborn, whose husband was a missionary and traveled around with Marcus Whitman, was also buried up there.”
“Really?” said Sam. “Were they at the mission at the time of the Indian massacre?” “Yes, they were” she answered. “Her husband opened up a little trap door in the kitchen floor to a cellar dug under the house and quickly hid them out of sight when he saw the Indians start a fight. Their little boy cried out, “Oh Pa, they’ll find us.” But he shut the door over them, and they were safe. After everything had quieted down and it got dark, they slipped out, only stopping long enough to pick up a tin cup from the table which they took with them to a cave down by the river where they stayed for three days while their father rode hard to Ft. Walla Walla to get help from the soldiers.”
“Have you lived here very long?” asked Sam. “Yes,” was the answer, “In fact this is where I was born. When I was a little girl, each spring I’d see the Nez Perce Indians coming along this trail on their way to visit the Umatilla Indians, and in the fall, we’d see the Umatilla Indians coming up the trail on their way to see the Nez Perce Indians. Later on, it became a road for the stage coach to go between Pendleton and Clarkston. My father kept stables out here, because this was the middle of the journey and they always stopped here to change horses on the stagecoach. Sometimes the passengers would be tired and stay overnight in our rooms upstairs. Lewiston and Clarkston were about the main towns then.”
“Was this kind of an Inn?” Beth asked. “My father was a very kind man, and never turned anyone away.” “Whose grave has this wooden marker?” Sam continued. “Well, one time when the Indians camped down by the creek there, the Chief’s son was very ill and died in the night. We think he had pneumonia. My father said they could bury him up in our burial place, so they did. For many years after that, every time they came through this way, they would hold a pow-wow up there. You could hear them chanting and dancing, mourning over the little grave. Maybe they were trying to frighten away evil spirits, I don’t know.”
On the way home, after the interview, everyone talked at once. “She must be awfully old to remember all that.” “I wonder if Indians ever come by that graveyard anymore.” “I don’t think anyone has been buried there for a long long time.” “Just think, when the Lord Jesus comes, those graves will be opened.” “If they were believers, you mean. The dead in Christ will rise first.” “The others will too won’t they?” “After the Millenium, to appear before the Great White Throne for judgment.”
“The Lord knows who is there, even if we can’t read the names anymore” Beth added. “I’m glad my name is written in the Lamb’s book of Life. That’s what matters most of all, because God never forgets any of His children who are born again into His family,” Sam continued. “If we know that we are saved, then we know that we will be in heaven one day, whether we die first or the Lord Jesus comes back for us while we are still alive.”
“FOR THE LORD HIMSELF SHALL DESCEND FROM HEAVEN WITH A SHOUT,
WITH THE VOICE OF THE ARCHANGEL,
AND WITH THE TRUMP OF GOD:
AND THE DEAD IN CHRIST SHALL RISE FIRST:
THEN WE WHICH ARE ALIVE AND REMAIN SHALL BE CAUGHT UP TOGETHER WITH THEM IN THE CLOUDS,
TO MEET THE LORD IN THE AIR: AND SO SHALL WE EVER BE WITH THE LORD.”
I Thessalonians 4:16, 17
The Lord Jesus said,
“REJOICE BECAUSE YOUR NAMES
ARE WRITTEN IN HEAVEN.”
“WHOSOEVER WAS NOT FOUND WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF LIFE
WAS CAST INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE.”
A Mountain Lion Story
Two heads were together talking excitedly: “He’s a real cowboy!”
“He broke his first wild pony when he was just nine years old.” “His dad caught it off the range for his ninth birthday.”
Wide eyes followed the swinging gait of Gramp Blann coming round to the steps and up to the door. He walked tall and his black hair had a nice crimp. He never wore a hat, rain or shine.
The boys both shyly answered, “Hi” to his soft spoken greeting and their hands were almost lost in the huge grip of their favorite visitor. It wouldn’t be polite to ask him for a story right off, but it was hard to think of anything else to say, so it was a good thing Daddy’s voice spoke up right behind them to welcome him in. Mother had baked a surprise birthday cake for him and put eighty-five candles on it. They could hardly stay calm and wait until the moment she would light all those candles and carry the cake into the dining room, with everybody singing “Happy birthday to you.”
Gramp Blann, better known as Cowboy Bill in his younger years, knew this country when great herds of horses ran wild and free over the John Day desert land. He had caught hundreds of them, and had trained many of them for Uncle Sam’s Cavalry during World War I. He knew more about horses than anybody . . . they were both sure of that.
But he wasn’t talking horses at the table tonight. The grown-ups were discussing things about the Bible. How Satan transforms himself “into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14) bringing in all kinds of false religions. Rather than read the Word of God and learn for themselves what God says, people accept these doctrines. They are being bound in bundles of tares to be burned (Matthew 13:30), willingly deceived into believing that they are on the right road to heaven.
But it also speaks of Satan as a roaring lion walking “about, seeking whom he may devour.” (I Peter 5:8). Many of the careless ones, not paying any attention to the warnings of parents or other Christians are walking straight into his strongholds of self destruction.
“Which reminds me,” said Cowboy Bill, clearing his throat, “of a warm summer day when I was about fourteen years old, and Mother said there was a good milk cow about to freshen out on the range, and asked me if I’d go out and try to find it and round her up before she had a calf. Then we’d have milk after it came.”
“Well, I saddled up a pony I had been breaking in, and rode out about four miles or so from home to where there were cattle grazing. I noticed big clouds rolling up and getting darker and darker and darker with mutters of thunder and flashes of lightning. Before long a few drops of rain, pelted down, and then a real thunder storm let loose. I was getting drenched to the skin and decided I’d better head for home. I turned the pony around and headed down a narrow canyon that was the shortest way back.”
“A big tree had been uprooted by heavy wind, and lay high across that canyon but there was plenty of room to go underneath it. So, I started down the trail at a good clip . . . and though the pony was nervous she seemed to sense we were going home and didn’t need much urging . . . until we got almost to that log. Suddenly she wheeled right around and started back up the hill. I knew she was skittery from the lightning and crash of thunder, so I pulled up hard on the reins and got her turned around again and headed back down that canyon.”
“We didn’t get quite as far as the first time, when she reared back and we wheeled again. I couldn’t stop her for a bit and when I did, I took a firm grip on the reins and was determined to put her under the log this time. I paddled her on both sides and spurred her to a gallop. Just as we were almost there again, I glanced up and there, laying on top of that log, was a great big cougar. He was crouching right over the trail, watching us like a cat watching a mouse, swinging his tail, ready to spring.”
Randy’s eyes were enormous. He gulped a dry gulp, and felt almost paralyzed with dread. He forgot the birthday cake. He forgot the food on his plate. Gramp Blann added softly, “I helped the horse turn around that time.”
Satan walking about as a roaring lion “seeking whom he may devour.” I Peter 5:8. Can we see him? No, we can’t see him, but God gives us warnings to heed. He tells us not to walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor to stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of the scornful. (Psalm 1:1). “For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous; but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” Psalm 1:6.
David, in the Old Testament said,
“O LORD MY GOD, IN THEE DO I PUT MY TRUST:
SAVE ME FROM ALL THEM THAT PERSECUTE ME, AND DELIVER ME:
LEST HE TEAR MY SOUL LIKE A LION, RENDING IT IN PIECES . . .”
Psalm 7:1 and 2.
Seek Ye First
The fire crackled and snapped in the big fireplace, reflecting in the eyes of the youngsters clustered about the feet of Cowboy Bill as he dipped into the colorful past of bygone years and drew out true adventures from his life.
One of the boys asked, “Did you ever catch the leader of a herd of wild horses?”
“Well, yes, there was one. . . “His eyes twinkled in remembrance and he mused a bit. “This might not end up like you think, but I’ll tell you about a beautiful black stallion I spotted at the head of a herd of wild horses that roamed on the other side of the river from where our homestead was.”
“I’d catch a glimpse of him once in awhile, on the crest of the desert ledge or down in the lower reaches of the canyon where there was lots of bunch grass for forage for his mares.”
“If we ever came very near, he’d run his herd off to a place of shelter and hiding, and then come back toward us, with his neck bowed, and teeth bared. But we never could get near enough to throw a rope at him. He was too smart and too fast. Oh, how I wished I had him!”
“I just dreamed of what a wonderful saddle horse I’d have. I’d call him “Lightening.” I’d train him so carefully, so he would become as attached to me as I was of him already.”
“Did you ever want something so bad you just dreamed about it at night? Well, that’s the way I was about him. But I didn’t even get to see him, but just once in a great while. When his colts would get about a year old, he’d run them off to another place where they could start a herd of their own.”
“When he would see me afar off, he would whistle a warning and arch his tail and gallop off in a different direction. He knew that country better than I did, because he had grown up there and was familiar with it. Every slope and boulder in that desert was like a road map to him. He knew where he was going.”
“Late one fall my brother and I corralled about a hundred head of horses and were going to take them across this desert to ship them out at the nearest railroad stop.”
“The night before we started out, it snowed. But we decided to go ahead with it anyway, as it wasn’t very cold, and even began to thaw a bit, and then rained. We made camp up on that ridge, and that night it froze hard and formed a thick crust of ice on top of the snow. We tied gunny sacks around each leg of our saddle horses, so they wouldn’t get cut and sore from breaking trail across the desert before starting out.”
“As we looked down into the canyon that morning, there we saw a herd of wild horses grazing, and this black stallion I was telling you about that I wanted so bad. He was kind of trapped down in there by the deep snow with only one trail out. We hollered and whistled and fanned our hats a couple times to scare them up, and sure enough, right up that trail he came, with eyes ablaze and teeth showing.”
“He tried to break out of the trail a couple times to go off another direction, but the ice crust was too hard. It would almost hold the weight of a horse, but not quite. He would flounder down and then get back up into the trail. It led them right into the big corral! I had him . . . not because of my smartness or work, but just because of the weather conditions. I was so elated, I could hardly believe it was true.”
“I halter broke him that fall, and kept him right there in that corral till the next spring. Then I took him home to train him. But you know something . . . When he realized his freedom was gone, he just “give up!” There was just nothing to him. All the spirit and fight was gone. He was just an old dead head. Two or three of my brothers and sisters would ride him to school every day.”
“But that’s life, I guess. We think we want something so bad, we won’t listen to anything or anyone. We work to one end . .. and when we finally get it we wonder . . . why? Nothing in this world really satisfies our hearts for long.”
“SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD, AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS;
AND ALL THESE THINGS SHALL BE ADDED UNTO YOU.”
“THE THINGS WHICH ARE SEEN ARE TEMPORAL;
BUT THE THINGS WHICH ARE NOT SEEN ARE ETERNAL.”
2 Corinthians 4:18.
We are truly wise, if we set our “affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:2.
The Pride Of His Life
Wherever Cowboy Bill was, there was usually a group of children at either side, full of eagerness and questions. He liked children, and his good humour and quiet wit never seemed to disappoint them.
“Did you used to wear cowboy boots and hat all the time?” Sam asked. “Well, yes, I guess that’s what just about everybody wore when I was your size. I had a pair of angora goat chaps too, that I thought were pretty great. They were made over from my dad’s when he got a new pair. So I felt real growed up when I got them and so proud of ’em, I hardly wanted to take them off at night when I went to bed.”
“One time when I was eleven years old, I was helping a neighbor of ours take a herd of about one hundred head of cattle to Hepner to ship out. It was about sixty miles away and we had to swim those cows across the John Day River. There weren’t many bridges those days, you see, though there was a ferry crossing down by Arlington across the Columbia.”
“I was riding my little pony that I had first broke on my ninth birthday. He was a good little cow pony too, and knew just how to keep cattle together in a bunch. Anyway, when we came to the river, he followed the herd right into the river, and we crossed over on a riffle. It was in the fall and the water was quite low, except toward the middle where it was always deep.”
“It was late afternoon and school in that little town of Spray had just let out. The kids were on their way home, and somehow word travelled fast that there was a herd of cattle swimming the river. They collected along the far shore to watch. It kind of scared the cattle and they were afraid to keep a’going across.”
“They bawled and milled around in the deep water, and my pony was swimming along on the far side of them. The boss came out on the other side of the shore and kept hollering at me, “Hold them up, Billie, Hold them up!” I was doing my best to get them to go on out, but they kept crowding me down, and all of a sudden my pony went right down under me, and I fell off. I couldn’t swim, and even if I could have, I wouldn’t have been able to with my heavy coat and those angora chaps all water soaked. I don’t know how it happened, but somehow when I came up, I had a hold of that pony’s tail, and I hung on with a life and death grip while it swam to shore. I could have never gotten out of there alive if it hadn’t been for the mercy of God.”
The Bible tells us that “PRIDE GOETH BEFORE DESTRUCTION.” Proverbs 16:18. “Those beautiful angora chaps I was so proud of, pulled me down and almost spelled doom for me,” Cowboy Bill finished.
Whatever lifts us up may bring us low . . . for
“GOD RESISTETH THE PROUD,
BUT GIVETH GRACE UNTO THE HUMBLE.”
CHILDREN, OBEY YOUR PARENTS IN THE LORD:
FOR THIS IS RIGHT.
HONOUR THY FATHER AND MOTHER;
WHICH IS THE FIRST COMMANDMENT WITH PROMISE.
As We Sow
By the time the last curler was in, Beth’s arms dropped to her sides, and she more groaned than sighed. Saturday was always a strenuous day for the family but tonight several of the girls were staying for the night, sharing the big bedroom in the old farmhouse that looked out over the road below and the barn.
Some of the girls were sitting cross legged on their beds with bobby pins in their mouths, while one or two had fallen off to sleep to the drone of the voices.
Beds had been freshly changed and it would feel so good to crawl between the smooth cool sheets. She plopped her comb into her drawer which she noticed needed straightening up a bit. This she wearily tended to, moving small bottles to one side and her purse neatly to the other side and took out the little pile of birthday cards to straighten them—when suddenly she stared in unbelief at a five dollar bill she had uncovered.
“Hey, guess what girls,” she called out. “Here’s my harvest money that I lost!” She waved the green paper jubilantly over her head, and hopped about for joy.
“But how did it get here in my drawer? I know I looked in every inch of it a dozen times before?” She was so baffled at the sudden appearance of her long lost money.
She had worked hard helping mother in the kitchen during those hot days of harvest and this was the first money she had ever earned. It really meant something to her. Perhaps too much, and she had had to learn to weigh the difference between laying up treasure in heaven and setting her heart on riches down here. At least her willingness to help her mother and her efforts to serve others had not been in vain. That was something the Lord would Himself reward. This thought had comforted her in her loss, though she was still troubled over the matter. Now she just felt so relieved and relaxed. It hadn’t been stolen after all . . . she had just misplaced it.
She folded the bill a couple of times and tucked it carefully inside a card in the drawer where she’d never lose it again. This time it was safe! After she had knelt in prayer to thank the Lord from the bottom of her grateful heart, she climbed into bed and wiggled happily under the covers.
One by one all the girls settled down, and before the last one had turned out the lights, Beth had drifted off to sleep. Stars twinkled in the night sky and velvety darkness settled down over the farm house among the rolling hills.
Judas once asked, “Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.” John 12:5 and 6. He did not judge this sin in his heart. He thought no one knew. Small sins grow big if not confessed and forsaken. Judas later betrayed the Lord for thirty pieces of silver.
Sunshine streamed through the window next morning when Beth awoke. One of the first thoughts that popped into her mind was of the money she had found. She hopped out of bed and went to the dresser to reassure herself she hadn’t just dreamed that she had found her money.
Opening her drawer, she took out the card into which she had slipped her money. But when she opened it, nothing was there. Surely it had dropped out! She felt all around, lifting everything, taking everything out of the drawer. But it was gone. No money was there.
Even in her sudden disappointment, Beth would not accuse the other girls of taking her money. She just committed the whole matter to Him, knowing that the Lord knew the answer. King David had told Nathan the prophet that the man who had taken what did not belong to him, “shall restore . . . fourfold.” 2 Samuel 12:6. The man was David himself, and it was painful and sad reaping for the rest of his life, because of the government of God. We too, can learn that we cause ourselves much grief in our own lives by what we sow. We may take something which does not belong to us, and hide it safely away from the rightful owner, but
“THE EYES OF THE LORD RUN TO AND FRO THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH”
2 Chronicles 16:9,
and we cannot hide from Him . . . ever!
“HE THAT COVERETH HIS SINS SHALL NOT PROSPER:
BUT WHOSO CONFESSETH AND FORSAKETH THEM SHALL HAVE MERCY.”
Boys and girls usually think it would be great fun to ride horses and herd cattle, but there were three young brothers who found it wasn’t such fun to take care of cows out in the Idaho desert day after day all summer long. Their names were Sam, Randy and Herb. Every morning they drove their father’s cattle down the road, and at several neighboring places more cattle were added to the herd, which they headed out into the desert to hunt for food. In the evening they were driven back home again. Sometimes the neighbor boy John went along, too.
A hot wind was usually blowing out on the desert, and before long the water in their canteen would get warm. The business of keeping the cattle from straying was not very difficult and did not occupy their entire attention. One morning they let the horses they had ridden out on graze while they played around some dirt banks. They had an idea. Why not make themselves a shelter, a real cave, that would be big enough for them all to get inside? It seemed like a great idea. And John had come along that day too, making four of them! They started at once using anything they could find to dig with.
They almost forgot about the cattle, only giving them a look now and then. With an old can for a scoop and a bucket to carry away the loose dirt, they soon had a good sized hole in the bank. The dirt was loose and sandy and easy to dig out and it was not long before the cave was deep enough for Sam to squeeze inside. He shoved the loosened dirt forward for the others to carry away. After much more digging, Herb could get inside too. They were so excited over their cave they hardly noticed the hours slipping away.
Sam, Randy and Herb were boys who had Christian parents. Early in life they had been taught the Holy Scriptures which were able to make them “wise unto salvation” (2 Timothy 3:15) but like many young boys, they were careless about speaking to their companions, to warn them of an eternity ahead—and that everyone must have to do with God about their sins.
It is a wonderful thing to have this matter settled and to know for sure that our sins are all washed away “with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:19) and that once saved, we “shall not come into judgment.” (John 5:24).
But let us not stop there. We have been “born again” (John 3:3) into the family of God, and are left here to “shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15).
The cave was now large enough for Sam, Herb and John to work in, while Randy stood outside the entrance. Sam scooped up a last bucketful of sand and handed it out for Randy to empty. Without warning, without time for thought of escape . . . heavy sand and sudden darkness closed in upon them. They were trapped! A sudden thought of concern flashed through Sam’s mind, and he called, “John, are you saved?” There was no answer, no time to speak of salvation. Total darkness closed in upon the three young boys buried in the sand out in the desert.
Outside the cave stood Randy, the bucket still in his hand. He stared at the spot where the hole had been a minute before.
It wasn’t there now. There was no place to hand the bucket back in to the boys. What were they doing? Hiding from him, probably.
He called their names but no answer came back. Young as he was, he knew it was time to be getting the cattle home and the boys wouldn’t even help him. He began to cry. Somehow he felt frightened when he looked at the sand bank, as peaceful as if it had never been touched. Well, it was no use standing there. He pulled himself up on Beauty, his horse, and rounded up the cattle all by himself. With many a backward look for some sign of the boys, he started the herd toward the little town.
The first house he passed was Mr. Westfall’s place. Mrs. Westfall saw Randy crying and went out to see what the trouble was. Though his story didn’t seem to fit together, she sensed something was wrong and called her husband. Without losing time for more words, Mr. Westfall roughly pulled Randy off the horse, mounted and rode hard for the scene of the trouble.
In a little house further down the road, where a row of tall poplar trees lined the driveway, dinner was almost ready. Mother glanced out the kitchen window every few minutes for signs of the hungry boys who would be driving home the cattle. She lifted the lid on the steaming kettle of beans which she had prepared. “I wonder what’s keeping them so long?”
A car drove in. It was Mrs. Westfall. Then they knew. With shovels and blankets, they rushed to the rescue—every heart prayerful. The word had spread quickly, and quite a crowd had gathered. Men were digging desperately with shovels and the women sought to comfort the mothers of the boys.
The lifeless body of little Herb was removed first. His brown curly hair was matted with sand, but the little face was peaceful. Knowing that his spirit had gone to be with His Saviour comforted and calmed his dear parents and helped them in their sorrow. John’s mother was quite upset by the time her son’s limp body was uncovered. Anxiously they examined him for some signs of life. The town druggist felt his pulse. He bent over and listened to his heart. A faint throb—then another. Yes, there was still life. There was hope. There was mercy yet extended. They worked hard to revive the unconscious boy, and what tears of relief were shed when at last his eyes opened and they knew he was going to live.
By this time Sam was rescued, and though his nose and mouth were filled with dirt, he was still alive. Sam grew up to raise a family of his own, and to teach them of the love of God and the way of salvation. But little Herb was in heaven with the Lord Jesus, safe for all eternity because he had put his trust in the Lord Jesus and knew Him as his own Saviour. If Herb had not already been saved, there would have been no time for him to change his mind. Are you ready?
“BEHOLD, NOW IS THE ACCEPTED TIME;
BEHOLD, NOW IS THE DAY OF SALVATION.”
2 Corinthians 6:2
“BOAST NOT THYSELF OF TOMORROW;
FOR THOU KNOWEST NOT WHAT A DAY MAY BRING FORTH.”
YE ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.
LET YOUR LIGHT SO SHINE BEFORE MEN,
THAT THEY MAY SEE YOUR GOOD WORKS,
AND GLORIFY YOUR FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN.
Matthew 5:14, 16
As soon as they had finished eating, Sam and Randy were excused from the dinner table. When having company it seemed that the grown folks were always very interested in conversation, but the boys were anxious to do some horseback riding.
It was late summer, but they scarcely noticed the heat as they tramped through dry dusty weeds to the corral where the horses were.
Quite suddenly Sam’s attention was caught by something beyond. “Look!” His arm pointed to a single column of smoke rising from behind the hill to the right.
The boys stood stock still absorbing the import of that dark rising pillar of smoke, and then with a burst of speed both rushed back to the house.
“There’s a fire!” Their breathless message startled everyone. The dishes were deserted as everyone rushed outside to see how close it was. It was spreading quickly and seemed to come from behind the hill where a stand of oats was just ripe for the harvest.
If one had not lived in prairie country, they may be unable to visualize such peril. Sam, Randy and several of the men jumped into a car and started in the direction of the smoke they had seen. It was farther away than it looked, but was serious enough. It had started in a neighbor’s stubble field and was heading toward their buildings. The men took wet sacks and began beating it, and others tried to smother it with shovels full of dirt. Soon other neighbors arrived, and some with their tractors and ploughs got busy trying to stop the fire. In one of the sheds was the seed wheat for fall planting. Closer and closer crept the fire, in spite of the panting, desperate, fighting men. Finally the flames licked up one side of the building; embers burned through shingles on the roof, and very shortly great billows of black smoke told everyone that the barn was going.
Fire fighting equipment arrived at last, and after much effort, the fire was brought under control. How thankful everyone was to the Lord for His mercy that no one was burned, and the houses were all kept from the fire.
Not long ago a fire broke out on the nearby Eureka flats. Some men riding a handcar down the tracks near the field saw it, and quickly stopped to try and put it out. But in spite of their efforts, it was soon a raging inferno. Neighboring farmers saw the smoke from a distance and immediately started ploughing a wide strip that would likely be in the path of the flame, thinking to turn up enough dirt that the fire couldn’t fan across and go further. As they worked hard to save their crops, they watched the flames racing closer and closer toward them. At the end of a long strip they turned their tractor and ploughed back along the row toward the flames that were quickly coming toward them. Back they turned again, across the oncoming roar and smoke and flying embers, and geared their engine to its top speed to get out of the way. Fire is like judgment; it does not stop for fences and has no respect of persons or property in its wild pathway.
On it came and leaped over the strip of ploughed ground. The men found themselves in a race for life. “It’s gaining on us—we’ll have to turn around and try to make a run through!” shouted the driver. “Man, you can’t do that!” yelled the other one. “It’s our only chance!”
He wheeled the tractor around and faced the advancing wall of fire. The heat was so hot and terrible, but he crouched low and turned the controls wide open. The other man jumped off and started running away as fast as he could.
Burned and blistered though he was, the man on the tractor came through and lived to tell the story, but, sad to say, the other man was overtaken and perished in the fire. Judgment is going to fall on this sinful world, as surely as God’s Word is true. Judgment, like fire, is no respecter of persons. There is only one way of escape—and there is no chance about it! It is sure and certain, for God has spoken. Do not try to run away from the facts, but own and confess all your sin and guilt before God and acknowledge Him, the Lord Jesus Christ, as your Sinbearer. God says,
“TURN YE, TURN YE FROM YOUR EVIL WAYS;
FOR WHY WILL YE DIE . . .?”
Great loss it is when fire destroys our crops or our homes! Such a loss, that one is filled with dread at the thought. But what a far greater disaster it is to lose one’s own soul and be doomed to spend eternity in the lake of fire.
“IT IS A FEARFUL THING TO FALL
INTO THE HANDS OF THE LIVING GOD.”
AND WHOSOEVER SHALL GIVE TO DRINK
UNTO ONE OF THESE LITTLE ONES
A CUP OF COLD WATER ONLY IN THE NAME OF A DISCIPLE,
VERILY I SAY UNTO YOU,
HE SHALL IN NO WISE LOSE HIS REWARD.
Sam had a calf that he had earned all by himself. It was a bit on the small side, which probably accounted for its name “Teeny.” But he was very fond of it and gave it such good care that it grew up to be a pretty fine cow.
One day Teeny had a new little calf. What a cute little creature it was! It was so lively and frisky that Sam’s eyes just twinkled when he looked at it. He would not give it a name until he thought up a real good one.
Yes, it was lively all right. Too lively for its own good. Before it even had a name, it scooted under a fence and ran right out onto the road before an oncoming car. Little calves, like little children, do not realize the danger of running off and this one got hit. Of course Sam was very sorry about it. So was Teeny! She ran frantically this way and that, bawling for her calf, not stopping long enough to eat or drink.
Daddy decided something should be done about it. He went to a sale where they auctioned off cattle, and there he looked around for a day old calf. At last he found one. It was a little coal black animal with a white face. He bought it and took it home to Teeny.
Teeny looked at it and took one sniff. Did she want it? Of course not. It wasn’t hers. She kicked it into the corner and kept right on bawling and mooing as loudly as ever.
The poor little calf huddled down shivering in such strange surroundings. It was frightened and was very hungry. When Daddy saw that Teeny would show no kindness whatever to the little orphan calf, he had an idea. He took the hide off the calf that had been run over and tied it around the live black one. This changed matters right away. Teeny sniffed a few times, and then allowed it to snuggle right up close and get its fill of nice warm milk.
We too know what hunger and fear and loneliness are, and we take courage when kindness and affection are shown to us. We do not expect animals to understand this—indeed many people do not—but God does. He created us, and He loves each one of us wherever we are. Right at this moment He sees your heart; He knows all your longings and whatever troubles make you downhearted or discouraged. He wants you to come to Him just as you are. He says. “I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” Jeremiah 31:3.
It really looked funny to see Blackie frisking around with the loose hide flopping this way and that. But what was more surprising was that it made such a difference in the way Teeny treated it. She licked its little white face nice and clean and claimed it as her own. Before long the extra hide worked loose and dropped off, but by that time Teeny didn’t seem to notice the difference.
If fine clothes do not make us fit for God’s presence or bring us into favor with Him, what will? Some children try good deeds like going to Sunday School and other ways to earn their way to heaven, but God says “ALL OUR RIGHTEOUSNESSES ARE AS FILTHY RAGS.” Isaiah 64:6. Adam and Eve tried fig leaf aprons, but that did not hide their sin from the all-seeing eye of God. How gracious of God then to clothe them with coats of skins, showing them that the only way they could stand before Him was through the death of another. Of course we all know that the death of a little animal could never put away sin, but it told, in a picture, of the Lord Jesus Christ, the true Lamb of God Who shed His precious blood upon the cross of Calvary to cleanse us from all our sins. All who believe in Him are brought into favor with God.
“TO THE PRAISE OF THE GLORY OF HIS GRACE,
WHEREIN HE HATH MADE US ACCEPTED
IN THE BELOVED.”
FEAR YE NOT THEREFORE,
YE ARE OF MORE VALUE THAN MANY SPARROWS.
THERE IS JOY IN THE PRESENCE OF THE ANGELS OF GOD
OVER ONE SINNER THAT REPENTETH.
JESUS SAID, SUFFER LITTLE CHILDREN,
AND FORBID THEM NOT, TO COME UNTO ME:
FOR OF SUCH IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.
Dudley—The Snow Goose
As soon as the big yellow school bus rumbled into the yard where it always stayed for the night, Sam hopped down the steps and rushed into the house to change his school clothes. No loitering this time. Pretty soon he was ready and back outdoors again, running in the direction of the road. On he ran, peering down into the ditches on either side. He was looking for something he had spotted on the way home.
Down in the culvert a big fine snow goose was painfully making its way through the dried tumbleweeds and loose rocks. Hunters had shot and wounded it in the wing. It had floundered awkwardly to the ground, calling in distress to its mate and friends who were on their way south for the winter. Frightened by the gunfire they flew on, leaving him helplessly alone.
A shadow, then a dark figure bore down on him as he waddled along dragging his injured wing. He struggled in vain as Sam’s strong hands pinned him down and then lifted him gently in his arms and carried him home.
He locked the goose up in the vacant brooder house and put fresh water and mash and wheat before it. For weeks he cared for it, and turned it outside into an open pen for fresh air each day. Sometimes he sprayed it with fine mist from the hose. This was what Dudley, as he was nicknamed, specially liked.
By this time Sam was quite fond of his pet and he phoned the game warden to see if he could possibly locate a mate for it, so it wouldn’t be so lonely. But it was a snow goose that spent the summers in Canada and flew south for winter, so there were no others to be had.
One day Sam left the gate unhooked while he was putting down wheat for Dudley, and it swung open. When he turned the goose was gone. Dudley walked out the gate and down to the water trough. He fluttered his wings and found they could work pretty well, for the wound was healing nicely by now. After a little investigating he walked back to his pen and looked at Sam, who was delighted to see he wasn’t trying to escape.
Have you known what it is to be lost? Have you known what it is to be without strength? Well then, consider yourself for a moment like Dudley, traveling toward your destiny — but stricken by sin which will not allow you to enter into God’s holy presence. Yes, you too are stricken and just as unable to lift yourself out of your fallen condition as he was. And you will be left behind when the Lord comes, if mother and father and sisters and brothers are saved and you are not.
“When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:6. Here then is the Saviour, the only One who is able to help poor perishing sinners. And He is willing. He is loving. He proved His love by bearing all the punishment for all who will believe, from God’s own hand on the cross of Calvary. “With His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5.
Dudley walked back into his pen with a “Quack, quack, quack.” But after this the gate was not locked, so he could come and go as he pleased.
Dudley was well fed and cared for, and was such a friendly, social pet, yet he was unmistakably lonely. He seemed to be watching and waiting for something. All winter long he patiently waited, though it was evident he could fly if he wished.
Spring arrived early this year, and with the warmer weather came flocks of birds. Early one morning high overhead we heard “Honk, honk, honk.” Guess what it was! Dudley heard it too—he was last seen flying over the housetop, and away.
Are you watching and waiting for something too? Are you ready? A dear old white haired grandpa was waiting and listening for something, even though he was stone deaf. He did not worry that he might not hear it, for he knew it would wake even the dead in Christ, and he always said, “The first sound I’ll ever hear will be the shout in the air.” Yes, he waited to hear the voice of his precious Saviour Who is soon coming to call us who belong to Him to His bright home above. Are you one of His redeemed ones who will hear His voice saying,
“RISE UP, MY LOVE, MY FAIR ONE, AND COME AWAY.”
Song of Solomon 2:10.
Snowy white wings reflected the early streaks of dawn as a flock of Canadian Snow Geese continued their long flight north. Unerringly they flew the blue sky in just the right direction.
Snow was shining on the upper slopes of the mountains and the little town below was still asleep. A few miles farther, and one of the geese broke formation by circling low over a quiet farm yard and houses. It flew to the water trough and began to splash and quack loudly. Such a commotion. It woke some of the sleeping household. Drowsily they wondered what was going on. “Quack, Quack!” He waddled about honking as if to ask “Is anyone home?”
He had not forgotten Sam and wanted to say, “Thanks again.” He circled the farm several times calling, calling . . . and then with a farewell note he flew swiftly to catch up with the rest.
Later at the breakfast table mother asked, “Did you hear our visitor this morning so early? Could it be that Dudley still stops in to pay his respects?”
Father said, “Well they have been proven to live many years and they have a deep sense of love and loyalty so it could very well be.” Nearly every fall and spring someone has heard the call of Dudley sounding a note of thanks which warms the hearts of the little family in the farmhouse where the Snow Goose was once taken care of.
Let us never forget to thank the One Who came down right where we were, lost and helpless and rescued us in spite of our resistance to His love.
“HE WAS WOUNDED FOR OUR TRANSGRESSIONS,
HE WAS BRUISED FOR OUR INIQUITIES:
THE CHASTISEMENT OF OUR PEACE WAS UPON HIM;
AND WITH HIS STRIPES WE ARE HEALED.”
The Bible tells us that the Lord Jesus sees even a little sparrow that falls to the ground. If the Saviour looks down and sees each little sparrow, let us remember how much He loves each and every boy and girl.
“ARE NOT TWO SPARROWS SOLD FOR A FARTHING?
AND ONE OF THEM SHALL NOT FALL ON THE GROUND WITHOUT YOUR FATHER.
FEAR YE NOT THEREFORE, YE ARE OF MORE VALUE THAN MANY SPARROWS.”
Matthew 10:29, 31.
FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD,
THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON,
THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH,
BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE.
COME UNTO ME, ALL YE THAT LABOUR AND ARE HEAVY LADEN,
AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST.
TAKE MY YOKE UPON YOU, AND LEARN OF ME;
FOR I AM MEEK AND LOWLY IN HEART:
AND YE SHALL FIND REST UNTO YOUR SOULS.