Annie Johnson Flint is a poet I respect. If you want more information on her you can find it on another post on this site by using The Red Sea Place in Your Life in the search bar
A few days ago I spied a touching piece of poetry written by her that I cannot find published anywhere. You can find other surprising pieces on the Facebook page titled, Annie Johnson Flint.
For your convenience, here is the poem. It was handed to the administrator of the Facebook page by the person who was daughter of Flint’s caretaker. The occasion was at the funeral of the administrator’s mother. How touching. Sweet. Appropriate.
by Annie Johnson Flint
Where has she gone since yesterday,
And left us lonely here?
Tonight she seems so far away
Who yester-eve was here,
No map of ours on sea or land,
In journeying may trace
We only know she’s reached her Home
And seen her Father’s face.
And, oh, she knows since Yesterday,
And she is learning fast;
The mists of earth have passed away,
The mysteries are past,
The sun of truth in radiance glows
All shadowless and bright;
Undimmed by any cloud of earth,
Undarkened by the night.
And she has grown since Yesterday,
And she’ll be growing still;
The bonds of time and sense and space
That irked the eager will
Were dropped like shackles for the soul
In that first upward flight
The weary body frets no more
The spirit free and light.
O dear familiar Yesterday
O sad and strange today!
Yet who would call the glad soul back
To rouse the resting clay?
Or who would wish that she might share
Our Morrow’s toil and strife,
Who loosed from Death and all its pain,
Has entered into life?
Hank, as those of you who have read my blogs from the beginning, is my first hamster. Hank succumbed to something or another and left me for another place. In a few weeks, Honey Hamster took up residence. Hank and Honey were very different in personality. Just about three weeks ago Honey died of old age that was complicated by a tumor on his hind leg.
Enter Mister Tipster. He, like Hank, is black. The pet shop told me he is a breed called “Black Bear.” While he acts a great deal like Hank acted, he is another unique guy. All four feet are white, much like a panda hamster. His body has a different shape and his appetite is voracious! The appetite is probably due to his long hours of running on the hamster wheel.
There is one element that all three hamsters have in common: trust. Rather, I should say, mistrust! It takes time and patience to build trust in a relationship. Mister Tipster is not unlike his counterparts in not trusting me yet. In time, he will be able to sit in the chair with me and adventure on my desk but that will be awhile.
Do you remember when you first heard the name Jesus? I was nine years old before I heard of Jesus other than at Christmas in the Nativity scenes in church yards and window displays in town. When my Vacation Bible School teacher invited me to trust Jesus as my Saviour, I backed away. When I was almost 13 my mother decided it was time for me to know about Jesus and took me to classes at a church where I learned the answers to catechism questions. Now I knew more and my curiosity was piqued. My grandfather read in his Bible every day so I asked him some questions and he encouraged Bible memory verses. By the time I was 16 and a school friend invited me to a youth rally I was ready. Soon after that on a quiet Sunday afternoon, I opened my heart to Jesus and trusted Him, and Him alone for everything and anything in the future. That day I was born again.
It was a gradual process for me to trust Jesus. Maybe that is why I understand the gradual process of having my little four-ounce pets trust me to pick them up once they start to depend on me. Mister Tipster will eventually even climb into my cupped hand and know he is safe.
Hamster or human, trust comes quietly with confidence. Only when we know the Lord will be “trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him [the Lord] and He will bring it [life’s decisions] to pass.” Proverbs 3:5-6
If you have never trusted Jesus for your eternal future, please contact me by email, and I will be happy to answer your questions. Trusting is a sweet thing. Now my heart is singing, “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus. . .”
In April, 1573, a fairly young woman, a mother of a 15-year old son and a three-year old son, was arrested for studying the Bible. Maeyken Wens, along with a few others, were imprisoned at Antwerp (Belgium). The eclectics of the day hoped to persuade her to renounce her faith in Christ. She did not.
On October 5, she along with the others, was pronounced to execution by burning at the stake the following day. She wrote a last letter that day to her sons, in which she gives them these words, in part: “. . . hence cease not to fear God because of this temporal death. . .”
One of the cruel things that accompanied her death at the stake was a procedure that disabled her tongue. The executioners ordered a tongue screw disable the tongue. After the execution, her son, Adriaen, sifted through the ashes at her stake and found the tongue iron and kept it.
You can read a full account of this at the site http://www.homecomers.org/mirror/martyrs143.htm
I read it from a book someone recently gave me titled The One Year Christian History: A daily glimpse into God’s Powerful Work by E. Michael and Sharon
I ask myself, as you may also, would I have been as steadfast? Would I have positively been able to write a letter to my children telling them that it is always best to stay loyal and true to my Savior? Yes. Last week in Oregon, those who answered, “I am a Christian” were executed. They did not have the opportunity to leave a letter of affirmation behind. The English who fled to other nearby countries for their safety in the late 1500’s still faced persecution and death. As a result, they left behind their earthly holdings and fled to a new world, and America later became an established nation with rights to freedom of religion. Will Christians be steadfast enough to hold on to that right?
Let it be said of us as Paul said of Timothy: “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother, Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in three also” that our faith is lived out into next generations by faithful example in word and in deed.
We forget. Students forget. Politicians forget. Pastors forget. God never forgets. In recent months we are learning more and more that computers don’t seem to forget either. (Just ask Mrs. Clinton.) Do you write things on a slip of paper to take shopping? Do you put a telephone number in the phones memory? Sure we do. At least, I do.
Malachi has in interesting verse in chapter 3, verse 16: “Then they that feared the LORD, spoke often one to another and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him, for them that feared the LORD and that thought upon His name.” Our faithful God has a book of remembrance. Maybe 30 years ago that would have been mind boggling, but with today’s technology, it is far more feasible to know that God is aware of what we are doing and remembers it. Someday we will see the deeds recorded by God’s own hand.
Often time evangelists and preachers, and even parents, try to instill the fear of the Lord by reminding us that God sees everything; He knows when we cheat on test papers, income taxes, and read something less than honorable. Let’s not forget that God also sees the good things we do. God sees us when we give up our place in line to a young mother with a fussy baby. He sees the time spent in heart-wrenching prayer; God sees the multiple loving things we do for our families even when it goes unnoticed by the family itself, God makes note of it. His eyes, II Chronicles 16:9 tells us, move to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are toward Him. The Lord is standing by, waiting to help us do the next right thing so He can write it in the book of remembrance!
Be encouraged. Next time you let someone in front of you in traffic, or buy the guy behind you a Coke, or leave a tract with your tip—it is remembered. Those little things make a long list and on the Day of Judgment when our works do matter for our rewards, you might be pleasantly surprised.
When we walk in the Shepherd’s presence, it is easier to do the right thing and turn the credit to our Shepherd’s guidance. The rewards we gather at the Judgment Seat of Christ are because of the Shepherd’s ever guiding eye.
Random House Publishers, 2001, 464 pages by John Newton.
Audio version(15 discs): Produced by Books on Tape and read by John Mayer
Who am I to top a one sentence critique written by journalist Bob Woodard? He wrote: “A truly great book, spirited, balanced and not just the story of a President but of an era.” That just about says it all.
Let me tell you why I chose this book on audio for listening. I wanted to think instead of dully listen. This book accomplished that and so much more.
Eisenhower was the first president for which I ever cast a ballot. I was nine years old when Eisenhower took office in 1953. We had a school house election in November and my dad coached me to vote for “Ike” which I did. Our teacher, Mrs. Jenks, kept all of our eight grades involved in current events in our one-room schoolhouse. I was a senior in high school when Eisenhower left office in 1961. It was far past time for me to read a biography of the President who shaped much of my youth. Since I found the book in the audio section of the library, I happily borrowed it.
Newton, as Woodward said, wrote a balanced book of victories and defeats. Newton also found access to information that had been once classified and because Newton just previously to this book had researched diligently to write a biography of Earl Warren, Supreme Court Justice during the Eisenhower administration, writes with authority on his subject.
This audio book is 19 hours long. It took me awhile to get through it, but amazingly, it is so well written that I never seemed to lose my train of thought along the way.
My next big reading project is taking on the reading a biography on each of our Presidents to date. Last year I read about both Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt, Lincoln is done, as is Washington. Perhaps I wanted to write this review more to challenge you, my readers, to do the same. Regardless of the President you choose, I do recommend that you read about the President who served during your youth. You may be surprised at how the events of that time shaped your life and you were unaware of it. You’ll find yourself saying “I remember that. . .” You will also leave the book knowing that being President is certainly not an easy job.
I learned that I have two things in common with Eisenhower: baseball and Western books. He liked Zane Grey. His favorite movie was “Angels in the Outfield,” a movie that I recently watched – not the new version, the original black and white version. My dad taught me that every person has something good about them. I believe it.
Honey is my second hamster. He was so tiny when I purchased him on May 15, 2013; he was just a little baby guy and so sweet from the very beginning. I named him Honey because he was the color of honey. When he reached maturity, I also discovered he was of the teddy bear variety with the gorgeous longer coat that flowed out in irresistible, cuddly fur. Sometimes I clipped it back although he was handsome either way.
When Honey was about a year old, I noticed he did not seem to feel well, and a trip to the veterinarian now made my $12.99 pet increase in value! It was worth it to see him active and happy once again as I followed the advice of the vet to change his diet. From then on Honey had four peas daily, and a pinch of oatmeal along with his regular rodent food. Unlike Hank (my first Hamster), Honey did not have a sense of adventure. Honey liked to ride around in a pocket and didn’t try to escape. He was content to play on my lap for awhile then was happy back in the familiar surroundings of his habitat. I loved each of my hamsters equally.
Yesterday Honey breathed his last. About a month ago I noticed something on his hind leg and we made yet another trip to the vet. It was a tumor. It was a rapid-growth variety. Honey did not run on his wheel the last two weeks he lived. The tumor was in his way. To keep him comfortable, I administered a daily dose of pain medication that the vet recommended. The last two days Honey made it from one end of the habitat to the other to use his bathroom place he choose for himself when just a wee baby. He did not hurry back to the sleeping place but he made it back with a rest in between. He ate until just a few hours before he took his last little breath.
So, just a few minutes ago I dug a hole in the ground and laid him to rest. My heart is heavy. Until the last two days I didn’t really realize how much company Honey was for me. Books on hamster care say that hamsters don’t receive or give love. They never met my Hank, or my Honey. Only once did Honey bite me and it was because I surprised him.
I am just a softie for almost any animal, but I really like my hamsters. Will I get another one? Probably. The average life span of a hamster, I am told, is 2-3 years. Will I become attached again? Probably.
I am not ashamed to tell you, I have tears.
If I can love and care for a hamster like my Hank, and my Honey, surely I can understand the expanse of God’s love for me. This evening I am comforted by the everlasting arms of God. He understands my sorrow at having to bury my little furry and funny pets. Deuteronomy 33:27 is a precious promise.
For stories about Hank, just type “Hank” in the search box. Maybe I’ll try a female hamster next time–Hannah, or Harriet? If another guy hamster allures me, he might be Herman. I like euphony.
Several months ago I finally gave in to downloading Google Chrome on my desktop computer. At first I used it mainly for Facebook and WordPress. The blog site, WordPress had all but dumped me because I still use Vista on my windows and it no longer supports the numerous upgrades of Internet Explorer. Now, I use both either search tool but am finding I use Chrome exclusively for Facebook.
You see, Chrome has this unique feature that MS word does not have. It is the wonderful expansion of spell check. Amazingly, Chrome’s spell check can unjumble the most mixed up and inverted letters imaginable and usually select the word I meant. While it does not auto correct, that is fine with me. Auto correct, unfortunately does not read my mind very well! On the very few times I post something on Facebook using a mobile device that thinks it knows what I am saying, usually gets it wrong. The auto correct gizmo can even say embarrassing things! Whoa!
In my day-to-day living, I face some jumbled times. For someone, like me, who either writes or speaks several times a week, some horrid mistakes can emit disastrous results! Only by the direction and empowerment of the Holy Spirit can I escape disaster. Many are the time when I am closing the car door and walking through a parking lot to a speaking assignment my heart cries out, “Lord, I cannot possibly do this without you.” Quietly the response is usually a verse of Scripture comes back with promise and courage.
I recall the chorus of submission that I once sang as part of my church youth group. When we gathered in a rally or large group, usually gathered around a large fireplace, we would sing, “Without Him I can do nothing, without Him I’d surely fail, without Him I would be drifting, like a ship without a sail. But with Him I can do all things, with Him victory is mine! Without Him life would be hopeless, I’m the branch and He’s the Vine.”
Without Him, my life would be jumbled. Next time you close the door to your vehicle and head for a destination, please remember, “Without Him, you can do nothing. . .” Nothing.
When we own one of something, perhaps a family heirloom, it is precious. It is one of a kind to the owner. There may be many more found in an antique shop, but this one belongs to you. It is personal. It has unique value. “My mother made that. . .” I say with a sort of pride. The value goes up in possession because someone I loved and valued handmade that quilt, that pillow slip, that doily.
It is significant that the phrase, “thine only son” appears only in the account of Abraham and Isaac. There is not one shred of evidence that Isaac was not important to Abraham. He was the promised heir to the Abrahamic Covenant. Only Isaac would inherit this new group of people called Hebrews. Only Isaac would possess the physical land of Canaan. Yet, God appointed to Abraham the task of offering “thine only son.” Too often we fail to see the words of Abraham to his servants in verse five: “. . . and come again to you.” Abraham did not know how, but he knew that he and Isaac would walk back down that mountain trail with him.
What do you and I have that is a one of kind? Are we willing in faith to hand it over to God’s work? Today is a one-of-a-kind day. When it is over, it will never come back to use again. Is it a child who speaks about going to a far away country where the Gospel is not readily heard? How can you let him go? You must. Is it a simple keepsake that would look great on a banquet table but you fear it could get chipped, or broken? Take it; it does not have eternal value.
That’s what I took away from Genesis 22 this morning. Just those two words, “. . .thine only. . .”
This week I am using Proverbs 22:6 in my devotional groups. “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Although the people attending have already finished the work of rearing children, they remain exposed, delightfully so in most cases, to grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. I tried to find information about the writer of this poem, “Two Temples” but all I found was her grave marker! From that I learned that she was born in 1868 and lived until 1942. She was the only daughter of Oliver Gray Hall, and his wife, Frances White Hall. She is buried in Augusta, Maine. Her works include a short, 62-page work, titled Songs of the Coast of Maine. Her best-known poem is the one printed for you here. I found it in my well-word volume cited at the end. The message of the poem speaks for itself.
by Hattie Vose Hall
A Builder builded a temple,
He wrought it will grace and skill;
Pillars and groins and arches,
All fashioned to work his will.
Men said, as they saw its beauty,
“It shall never know decay;
Great is thy skill, O Builder!
Thy fame shall endure for aye.”
A mother builded a temple,
With loving and infinite care,
Planning each arch with patience,
Laying each stone with prayer.
None praised her unceasing efforts,
None knew of her wondrous plan,
For the temple the Mother builded,
Was unseen by the eyes of man.
Gone is the Builder’s temple,
Crumpled into the dust;
Low lies each stately pillar,
Food for consuming dust.
But the temple the Mother builded,
Will last while the ages roll,
For the beautiful unseen temple,
Was a child’s immortal soul.
page 392, The Best Love Poems of the American People Garden City Books, Garden City, NY 1936
In my youth my favorite person outside of the immediate family was Mrs. Jenks. She was my first teacher in that one-room school, Chain O’ Lakes school. Mrs. Jenks was about 30 years old, and she wore the prettiest shoes. She had hair that always looked the same day after day. She commanded a controlled but loving classroom and taught all eight grades. She taught me how to read.
When Chain O’ Lakes closed after my sixth year in school, Mrs. Jenks was not without a job. She went into town and taught second grade for many years after that. It was she whom I consulted about teaching and her advice to me was, “Karyl, don’t ever teach for money. Teach because you have a passion to improve the lives you teach.” I’ve never forgotten her advice. When I entered my own classrooms, I remembered Mrs. Jenks, her pretty shoes, and her winning ways, and most of all, her passion to improve others.
All of my teaching years were spent in Christian Education in church-sponsored schools. When I see the school bus pass by my house at 7:30 each morning, and again at 3:30 in the afternoon, I wonder what those children have learned. Did they have a Mrs. Jenks teaching them; did they have a teacher who did not teach for money but just for the sheer love of imparting knowledge and character?
We all had such love and respect for Mrs. Jenks. She stopped teaching in my fourth grade year because she had a baby and I had Miss Kolka. She was very tall, blond, and I remember that I liked and respected her too. Then in the fifth grade, we had a grumpy teacher, Mrs. Hires. I remember doing pages and pages of long division problems and Mrs. Hires was not energetic like Mrs. Jenks and Miss Kolka. Now when I look back on it, she was near retirement age. She lacked patience and had no passion. She did her job methodically and we learned. In sixth grade, Mrs. Jenks returned. Her feet were still clad in pretty colored wedged shoes and her perfect penmanship filled the chalkboards that surrounded the front of the room.
School bells, busses, lunch boxes, crayons—I miss it. God meant for me to teach. It comes out of me naturally. This morning I will teach one of my three devotional groups. I’ll teach God’s Word as God has taught me. If it does not touch me first, it cannot touch others. We will sing and we will pray. Like Mrs. Jenks advised me, I will teach with passion to impart truth. For many years I have depended on II Timothy 2:2 “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men who shall be able to teach others also.” I am happy to say that students I have taught are now teacher others, in fact, they have students they taught who are now teaching. It started with Mrs. Jenks.
Addendum: Parents, press upon your students the need for respect for your teachers, whether that teacher is in the classroom, Sunday school classroom, or on a video in live streaming on a computer screen, if they do not respect the teacher, that teacher cannot do all for the students that she could do otherwise. A teachable spirit is so important. Parents have a vital role to work alongside every teacher whether they wear pretty shoes or not.