Pressed Roses

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33, ESV

This world is not our friend. And then we often face issues that create ugly things–  a fight with a spouse, poor choices, money problems– a lengthy list that seems that we’re always adding new entries. And as we each of us work through our tears, as we face sickness, loneliness, fear and misunderstanding.

In this world of woe and trouble, we discover that life is itself often brutal. Myself, I must deal with clinical depression, paranoia and physical pain. It is constant, a barrage of challenging things. Sometimes they swallow me up, and I lose my way.

I was thinking this morning, of a recent find in the pages of an old book– pressed rose petals! The book had been many years on the shelf. When I opened the book they I found them.  Typically, they are fairly well preserved. They still have color and shape. And most of all, they still have a fragrance.

I really don’t know what I’m supposed to do when this happens. Do I just “read” around them, or do I physically remove them? I almost feel that they are sacred or something. Do I find an old jar and store them? But no matter what I do, I always pause and think. Sometimes though, I can even remember the incident that they were given. An anniversary or a birthday maybe? Or sometimes they are given, “just because.”

Two distinct thoughts work in me. I look at the hard, hard things that I have had to process through my past, and present, and most likely, my future. I have to believe, from all that I have read and the preaching I have heard over the years that my pain gets turned into gold (or into roses!) This is exclusively a work of God. The second thought is a little bit harder to think through. But Jesus is the rose. He is the beauty and the fragrance of heaven come to earth.

There is an old fable kept by the believers of the first century; it was said that wherever Jesus stepped while on earth, roses would spring up in His footprints. This is only a legend of course, but that doesn’t mean that it is all false. Some of these stories have more truth in them than we think.

 

Coming to Him is such pleasant thing. It shouldn’t be an agonizing ordeal. It is not a painful or real sacrifice. After all, He is the rose. Roses are beautiful, they have a definite fragrance. There is a symmetry to them, and they are special, people will cultivate them for their beauty. Roses are never a hassle, for some reason we can never send or get too many.

“I am the rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.”

Songs 2:1, ESV

“A discipleship without flowers, probably isn’t worth having.”

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Are You Getting Enough Mercy in Your Daily Diet?

Graciously, He gives us what we need

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” Matt. 5:6

If you have been given mercy, you now should try hard to give it away!  And only those who show mercy will be those who continue to receive mercy, even a habitual, continual mercy focused right on you.   Being a merciful person doesn’t mean you’re getting sentimental or “teddy bear soft.”  But instead it looks a lot ike sympathy– that caring love that dresses up in a working servant’s clothing.

Jesus has no intention of just saving us from sin.  He saves us for something!  He has this trick, where He will start “a to live your life inside of  you, campaign.”  When you give Jesus your ‘green light” He takes it very seriously.  He involves Himself right inside of you.  And you will notice right away His presence and His activity right there in your heart, and out from your hands, and from out of your mouth.

We discover that He just isn’t a “forgiving God,”  but He is also an “empowering” or a changing kind of God! He intends to make you perfect, even as He is perfect.

Our church buildings can be beautiful places.  From Mexico, the UK, Canada and US, I’ve had the privilege of wandering into some beautiful places, that have been consecrated to the worship of the Lord God.  But I have come to this conclusion: our own lives are far more important in touching our communities, much more than our buildings and sanctuaries.  A fine liturgy can be wonderful, but it’s the laity that will touch our hearts.

People really do not care how much we know, until they know how much we care. 

They are being drawn by the Spirit’s presence in you.  They want the “real” Jesus Christ to ignite them.  They so desperately want to be touched by the living God.  They really want their lives turned upside down and inside out.  They want the real thing.

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To Sit and Wait, by JR Miller

“Sit ye here while I go and pray yonder.”   

The Biblical “Rose of Sharon”

Matthew 26:36, KJV

by J.R. Miller


You and I have often felt that experience, that disappointment. There has arisen, mayhap [‘perhaps’] a great opportunity for Christian service. Some are sent to the front; some are sent to the middle. But WE are made to lie down in the rear.

Perhaps sickness has come; perhaps poverty has come; perhaps obloquy [‘censure, blame’] has come; in any case we are hindered and we feel sore. We do not see why we should be excluded from a part in the Christian life. It seems like an unjust thing that, seeing we have been allowed to enter the garden, no path should be assigned to us there.

It is a hard thing to be kept in the background at a time of crisis. In the Garden of Gethsemane eight of the eleven disciples were left to do nothing. Jesus went to the front to pray; Peter, James and John went to the middle to watch; the rest sat down in the rear to wait.

Methinks that party in the rear must have murmured. They were IN the garden, but that was all; they had no share in the cultivation of its flowers. It was a time of crisis, a time of storm and stress; and yet they were not suffered to work.

Be still, my soul, it is not as thou deemest! Thou art NOT excluded from a part of the Christian life. Thinkest thou that the garden of the Lord has only a place for those who walk and for those who stand! Nay, it has a spot consecrated to those who are compelled to SIT…….

When that experience comes to thee, remember, thou art not shunted. Remember it is CHRIST that say ‘Sit ye here.’ THY spot in the garden has ALSO been consecrated. It has a special name. It is not ‘the spot of wrestling,’ not ‘the place of watching’, but ‘the place of waiting.’

There are lives that come into this world neither to do great work, nor to bear great burdens, but simply to be; …….they are the flowers of the garden which have had no active mission. They have wreathed no chaplet; they have graced no table; they have gladdened the sight of JESUS. By their mere perfume, by their mere beauty, they have brought Him joy; by the very preservation of their loveliness in the valley they have lifted the Master’s heart. Thou needst not murmur shouldst thou be one of these flowers!”

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J. R. Miller (1840 – 1912) James Russell Miller was born on March 20, 1840 at Frankfort Springs, Pennsylvania and died on July 2, 1912. Besides authoring over 80 books, booklets, and pamphlets, Dr. J.R. Miller was the Editorial Superintendent of the Presbyterian Board of Publication, and a very active pastor in a succession of churches. He had a strong popularity among that generation of believers.

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This was sent to me from a dear friend; she had taken it from a very old devotional, published in 1925.  However, the truths are not dated.  They speak to us, long after the writer has gone to heaven. 

These principles come to us, especially with our disabilities– mental, emotional and physical. Perhaps they meet us in a hard place, but they can lead us into hope and purpose. 

 

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