Remember them that are in bonds. Hebrews 13:3.
Yesterday, by invitation, I spoke to the prisoners [near Salem, Oregon]. Sister Jordan, a very amiable woman in the faith, took me in her carriage…. I was surprised to see so fine a company of intelligent men. Oh, so sad! So many young men, younger than our own dear boys, so bright, and looking as though they might fill any position in society. You would not dream that they were prisoners, only as you looked upon their strange dress. And this was so neat and clean. There was nothing repulsive in their appearance.
The superintendent first ushered us in and then, at the sound of the bell, the heavy iron bolts were drawn back with a loud noise, and there swarmed from their cells one hundred and fifty prisoners. Then we were locked in with them—the warden, superintendent’s wife (a Southern lady), Brother and Sister Carter, Sister Jordan, and myself. The prisoners sang, led by Brother Carter. There was an organ. The performer was a young man, an excellent musician, a man of promise—yet oh, how sad, a convict! I engaged in prayer and every brow bowed. They sang again and then I addressed them.
They listened with the most profound attention as I spoke from these words: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1). I then presented before them Adam’s sin, his fall, and the gift of God to redeem Adam’s failure; the love here manifested to save man from sin and ruin. I dwelt upon the temptation of Christ in the wilderness, the victory gained in behalf of the race, and how man may overcome the seductive snares of Satan by making Christ his trust.
I dwelt a few moments upon the nature of sin; that sin was the transgression of the law, and how through repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ the sinner might be saved with a full and free salvation. But he is not saved by the merits of the blood of Christ while he continues to transgress the Father’s law…. Christ died to evidence to the sinner that there was no hope for him while he continued in sin. Obedience to all God’s requirements is his only hope for pardon through the blood of Christ. I dwelt largely upon the great reward to be given the final overcomer—the crown of life that fadeth not away to be placed upon his brow.
The people listened with the most solemn mien, and the tearful eye and quivering lip showed that their hearts, although calloused with sin, felt the words spoken.—Letter 32, June 24, 1878, to James White, who was traveling in the Eastern United States.
The Upward Look p. 189
—- I request for prayer for my Sis-in-law, Linda who has some blood pressure & edema & anxiety problem. With the current Corona Virus situation, she is trying to avoid going to the doctor’s clinic as much as possible and doing Alternative Treatments instead. Please pray for Divine Intervention. Becky
—-my wife has an interview tomorrow for a better position within the county that she works for. We sure could use the extra income. Also, my cousin Bridgette is ill and we’re hoping it isn’t cancer.. And my friend Buffie who is a funeral director went to New York to help out and just returned home and has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Please send a prayer up, thanks ! David
When we lived in Washington state, our nearest neighbors to the north of us (about one-fourth mile down the road) were two families who were members of our church. The one family had children about the age of our two youngest, so that made it really nice. The other family was Mr. and Mrs. Lowry, an elderly man and his wife who, sadly, had Alzheimers.
One day, Mr. Lowry saw us walking by his place one day and asked us if we would like to have garden space in his large garden. Of course, we said that we would. Mr. Lowry had even roto-tilled our half as well as his. We hurried to the store and bought the seeds that we would need. Then we planted it anticipating an abundant crop.
After the little plants appeared, we began working to keep our garden free of weeds. At least we tried to keep the garden weed free. We soon learned that Mr. Lowry had one big problem which had now become ours. Morning glories! Up until this time, I had always thought those big purple flowers of the cultivated kind were beautiful; and before they appeared in our garden, I even thought the little white blooms of the wild kind were pretty. My opinion soon changed.
If we wanted to rid our garden of the offensive blooms, Mr. Lowry explained, we had to pull up not only the visible part of the plant, but also the vine that ran underneath the soil. This was no easy task! We pulled and pulled and worked and worked to rid that garden of those pesky morning glories. Often we would think we had them completely gone, only to find the next day more leaves appearing above the soil. All summer we battled those tough plants. In fact, in all the years that Mr. Lowry let us use that space, we never succeeded in conquering them. We had an acceptable harvest, but not like it would have been had we been able to rid the soil of those impossible weeds.
As we worked that garden, a parable of Jesus made more sense as we had to be careful not to uproot the good plants. “The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” Matt 13:24-30
Sometimes church members look about them with a critical eye at those they consider “weeds” in the church. What trouble it causes when they begin to work hard to uproot these “weeds.” Jesus reminds us, “why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.” Luke 6:41, 42
How careful we must be, then, to “judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” John 7:24 Samuel learned this lesson. When God told him that He had chosen one of the sons of Jesse to be the next king, he went to Bethlehem to meet them. “And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD’S anointed is before him. But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” 1 Sam 16:6, 7 The One Who reads the thoughts and intents of the heart is the only One Who can know what is in our heart.
Yet there are times, when we must pull up the “weeds” in the garden of the Lord lest the whole church suffer. How careful we must be in such times, for there is great danger that “precious wheat” will be uprooted as well. “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” Gal 6:1, 2 May we ask for wisdom from Above that we may proceed with love and care in those rare circumstances where a “weed” must be pulled up is my prayer.