Quotes to Ponder
Why You Ungrateful ...
It seems only right to address being thankful this week as we celebrate Thanksgiving. On October 3, 1863, President Lincoln issued a "Proclamation of Thanksgiving" which set the precedent for the United States' national day of Thanksgiving.
"I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens."
Have you ever not been thanked or appreciated when you had given of yourself freely? It is not an easy thing to endure. If you have ever been in this situation, you may know the temptation to become bitter, to feel lonely and hurt and forgotten, to harden yourself against ever giving freely of yourself again. Elisabeth Elliot reminds us in her book, Keep A Quiet Heart, to be joyful when this happens. Mrs. Elliot shares bits and pieces from a sermon by Ugo Bassi who lived in the 1800s in Rome and was teaching on John 15 ...
Bassi chose the Vineyard chapter, John 15, as his text, showing that the life of the Vine is "not of pleasure nor of ease." Almost before the flower fades the fruit begins to grow, but instead of being allowed to grow where it will, it is tied immediately to a stake, forced to draw out of the hard hillside its nourishment. When "the fair shoots begin to wind and wave in the blue air, and feel how sweet it is," along comes the gardener with pruning hooks and shears, "and strips it bare of all its innocent pride...and cuts deep and sure,unsparing for its tenderness and joy."
Bassi goes on to describe the vintage, when the vine bends low with the weight of the grapes, "wrought out of the long striving of its heart." But ah! the hands are ready to tear down the treasures of the grapes, the feet are there to tread them in the wine-press "until the blood-red rivers of the wine run over, and the land is full of joy. But the vine standeth stripped and desolate, having given all, and now its own dark time is come, and no man payeth back to it the comfort and the glory of its gift." Winter comes, and the vine is cut back to the very stem. (I had not known, as John and Jesus and Bassi knew, how terribly drastic is the pruning process), "despoiled, disfigured, left a leafless stock, alone through all the dark days that shall come."
While the vine undergoes this death, the wine it has produced is gladdening the heart of man. Have you, perhaps, like the vine, given happiness to others, yet found yourself seemingly forsaken? Has it made you bitter? We need the paradigm of the vine, which is "not bitter for the torment undergone, not barren for the fullness yielded up ... The Vine from every living limb bleeds wine, is it the poorer for that spirit shed?" (and in this context come the lines I keep on my wall):
Measure thy life by loss instead of gain;
Not by the wine drunk but by the wine poured forth;
For love's strength standeth in love's sacrifice,
And whoso suffers most hath most to give.
May you be joyfully thankful in all that you do, both during those times when you are appreciated and thanked and during those times when you are not. Have a blessed Thanksgiving! And may we always be thankful and give praise to God, "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." - John 3:16
1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.
18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.
22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.
23 He that hateth me hateth my Father also.
24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.
25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.
26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
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Keep a Quiet Heart
by Elisabeth Elliot
Once again, Mrs. Elliot writes with wisdom and experience, convicting and teaching at the same time. She is not out to make you "feel good" about yourself, but, instead, she urges you to grow, to mature, in your walk with the Lord. I recommend using this wonderful book as a daily devotional. - Kathy Ridpath
"And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord;
and great shall be the peace of thy children."