The kitchen looked like a hospital for wounded soldiers of the garden.
Amputated iris rhizomes lie on neat little beds of paper towel squares as they dry off from their hydrogen peroxide disinfectant treatment.
The dreaded crown rot had attacked my favorite plants, due to the warm weather and ample rains last spring. A good half dozen of my iris varieties have succumbed to this often fatal disease.
The cure is drastic. Continue reading Rescue the perishing
by Tim Hall
The plight of 33 men in Chile illustrates our own dilemma.
Perhaps the fact that my father was a coal miner has sensitized me to the story out of Chile. Maybe my amateur explorations of undeveloped caves help me feel for those men.
From the moment I first heard the story about 33 men in Chile trapped in a mine since August 5, I’ve kept up with the reports.
Efforts to rescue the men are proceeding around the clock. For a time no one was sure they were even alive. Now we know that they all survived the entrapment, but we also know that it will take months to free them.
Keeping those men alive until the deliverance can happen is a monumental challenge.
Deliverance, as all will admit, is not a certainty. Yes, great effort is being expended and experts from around the world have offered their wisdom on how to proceed. But keeping those men fed, hydrated and sane for several more weeks will not be an easy task. Deliverance may happen, or it may not.
Those whose spiritual eyes have been opened know that we are looking for deliverance on a grander scale. The world in which we live is badly marred by sin and mankind has incurred the wrath of God by disobedience.
What will be the result of this spiritual rebellion? “… a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries” (Hebrews 10:26,27, NKJV). Sooner or later the roof will fall in, and guilty sinners will be swept into everlasting destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:9).
There is hope, however. God saw our dilemma and did not abandon us in our earthen tomb. The provision he made is “… his son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10).
That wrath will fall upon sinners. But Jesus can deliver souls from such misery. That deliverance is certain.
God’s ability has already been demonstrated on a smaller scale. He “delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked” (2 Peter 2:7). Living in a city doomed by its depraved inhabitants, Lot was nonetheless rescued before the fire and brimstone began falling.
Hear the testimony of Paul, if you still doubt God’s ability to rescue: “Who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that he will still deliver us” (2 Corinthians 1:10).
Pray for the miners trapped underground in Chile and for those trying to deliver them. But Jesus doesn’t need our prayers because “he is able to deliver thee!”
by Tim Hall
Many Christians don’t speak of Christ to their friends for fear of hurting their feelings.
“Now Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David; but Jonathan, Saul’s son, delighted greatly in David. So Jonathan told David, saying, ‘My father Saul seeks to kill you. Therefore please be on your guard until morning, and stay in a secret place and hide'” (1 Samuel 19:1,2, NKJV).
The relationship between David and Jonathan was close. The passage above tells us that Jonathan “delighted greatly in David.”.Another passage says that their souls were “knit” together (1 Samuel 18:1).
Therefore, it’s not hard to understand why Jonathan put himself at risk in order to warn David of impending danger. How could he not warn David, if they were such good friends?
Proverbs 27:6 states the principle from another perspective: “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.”
The point is clear: If you love someone, you should want the best for them. And sometimes getting them to see what is best may require wounding them.
Every member of the Lord’s church has a circle of friends and family. Some within that circle are not Christians. Others may consider themselves to be Christians, but are involved with groups that teach and practice things not in harmony with God’s revealed will.
How do we act toward these friends and family members? Do we remain silent, preferring not to hurt their feelings? Would we never inflict a wound even if doing so delivers them from danger?
People involved in car crashes sometimes receive further injuries while being rescued. Should rescue workers cease their efforts because there is a chance they might hurt the victim further?
Certainly, reasonable means must be used, but the bottom line is rescue. Break my arm if you must, but get me out of the car before it explodes! I will thank you later for what you did.
The challenge is alarmingly simple: Can a friend remain silent when the stakes are so high?
by Tim Hall
In times of need, God’s response time is impressive.
Fifty-two miles per hour doesn’t impress many people these days, unless that’s the speed of a large naval vessel.
And that’s what the Associated Press now reports: A new class of warships are posting speeds of about 44-45 knots (52 mph). The best speeds previously have been about 35 knots. Yes, that’s quite an improvement.
Is speed really so important for ships of this size? Faster ships might overtake the pirates we’ve been reading about off the coast of northern Africa.
A swifter Navy would also be able to respond to critical hot spots around the world more promptly. There are many reasons why the Navy is interested in greater speed.
The Army has also been investing in faster vehicles. One example is the Stryker armored combat vehicle. This eight-wheel-drive all-terrain vehicle can move a few troops to inaccessible areas at speeds of just over 60 mph.
Speed can make a huge difference in critical situations.
When discussing rapid rescue, however, you can’t top the Lord. Consider the case of Hezekiah, king of Judah. The prophet Isaiah had been dispatched to tell Hezekiah that his illness would be terminal. Make preparations for your death. Upon hearing the news, the king fell into fervent prayer.
Before Isaiah had left the palace courtyard, God sent him back to deliver a more encouraging message. In response to his prayer, God would extend Hezekiah’s life another fifteen years. Anyone would admit that was a rapid rescue. (You can read this incident in 2 Kings 20.)
Daniel also experienced the rapid response of the Lord. As he prayed for his people who were still in exile in Babylon, an angel was sent to him with God’s response.
“O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved …” (Daniel 9:22,23, NKJV).
How can God respond so rapidly? Jesus explained in Matthew 6:8 “… For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask him.”
One disclaimer must be made: Though God has the power to respond at blindingly fast speeds, he sometimes chooses to take longer than we expect.
Jesus’ parable about the persistent widow pointed to this fact. He taught that God hears His people, though sometimes “… he bears long with them” (Luke 18:7).
As we pour out our petitions to the Lord, let us be sure that God knows our needs and has the ability to provide rapid rescue.
Sometimes, though, that rescue may be prolonged. But in his time God “will avenge his own elect who cry out day and night to him, though he bears long with them” (Luke 18:7).