Saturday, March 25, 2017

Taps...Day Is Done...Safely Rest ... God Is Nigh

A visit to Frontier Forts of Texas ... With God

There are 24 Military Bugle Calls. A few are outdated to an earlier time before technology rendered them un- necessary. But, on any Army or Marine base, many of them are still in order and used regularly. A few of them are Reveille, Mess Call, Church Call, Sick Call, Fire Call and Taps. Bugle calls are a part of military service which still carry the ageless spell of the military atmosphere. I have visited many of the historic, old military Forts in Texas, dating back to the mid-1800s. There are few things I enjoy more than, in the spring, walking over those hallowed grounds, the old, often restored, barracks, stables, bakeries, and armories. These are not the stockade type forts with tree trunks standing upright encircling the fort, but wide open, usually on high ground with a Texas breeze blowing through them. Of the 50 or so forts that were in Texas, protecting the settlers from Indians, Mexican bandits, and the Stage Coach routes west, my favorites are Fort McKavett, Fort Davis, Fort Concho, Fort Stockton and Fort Phantom hill, in that order. All of these Frontier Forts were West of the early settlements, out in Indian country. I have often stood on the parade field of one of these old forts feeling the mystique of the Frontier fort, or near the barracks', rifle racks smelling the distinct aroma of cosmoline, or in the mess hall... the thirsty smell of well water and of lie soap, or at the bakery with the smell of fresh bread, or the stables where the smell of leather, hay, and horses wafts through the air. And, always, hearing, as clearly as it would have been 175 years ago, the company bugler blowing taps over a fresh grave in the post cemetery.... or at the last call of the day, as the post lamps and lanterns were blown out and sun-browned, raw-boned soldiers took their rest as Taps died out on the cool, dry air of a Texas evening.

Those experiences always leave me with a deep feeling and almost longing emotion to have lived in those early days of Texas. I sometimes feel I was born 150 years too late to have lived in my natural generation. But God had other plans for me... and He is always right.

The tune to Taps carries with it these fitting words....
Day is done, gone the sun, From the lake, from the hills, from the sky; All is well, safely rest, God is nigh. Fading light, dims the sight, And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright. From afar, drawing nigh, falls the night. Thanks and praise, for our days, 'Neath the sun, 'neath the stars, neath the sky; As we go, this we know, God is nigh. Sun has set, shadows come, Time has fled, Scouts must go to their beds Always true to the promise that they made. While the light fades from sight, And the stars gleaming rays softly send, To thy hands we our souls, Lord, commend.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Faith: Little Is Much When God Is In It

The open door of any particular, great opportunity usually closes the moment we pass it by. If the Spirit of God moves your heart to say a word or write a letter to a person in crisis, do it immediately. That same moment of need will never cross your path again. So often, opportunity requires a seeking soul whose desire was already in anticipation mode when the unseen eye triggered that sacred door. Each such individual opportunity is similar, in longevity, to  bodily exercise, which is fleeting. "For bodily exercise profiteth little.... (This word "little" is not in reference to the quality or value of exercise, but to the shortness of its life-span. The benefits of a strong, healthy body are many, but those benefits are temporal and begin to diminish within a few hours and must be repeated again and again. Whereas .... godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come". 1 Tim.4:8. Profitable in this life and for eternity. 

Even so, our faith must be continually fed with the Bread of Life (God's word) and prayer. Faith is born, is sustained and grows stronger by way of the word of God. ".... Faith cometh by hearing ... the word of God." Rom.10:17.

When Jesus said, to His disciples, "Oh ye of little faith", four times in the book of Matthew, he wasn't suggesting that they were capable of faith equal to His own, but to the general weakness of our human condition. All of us humans are weak in faith, in varying degrees, but even small faith is very powerful. Little is much when God is in it a single mustard seed ..."...A grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth." Mk.4:31. So it is with our faith. Though it be small...It has within it great power ..."And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." Matt.17:20.

 "It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew ... a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it." Luke 13:19.

An example of the power of "little faith" is found among the Apostles and disciples of Jesus in Acts 12:1-18. King Herod had murdered James and Jailed Simon Peter who was deep inside prison, locked up and in chains, being guarded by a quaternion of soldiers day and night, but was praying. The church, Apostles and disciples of Jesus, were also praying together that God would deliver Peter safely from prison. The faith of all of them, including Peter was mustard seed small because when God caused Peter's chains to fall off and the prison doors to open up, Peter couldn't believe it but thought he was dreaming. When he showed up at the door of the house where his friends were fervently praying for his deliverance, they couldn't believe it either. When Peter knocked on the door, the little girl watching the door ran and told the others that Peter was at the door. Those great Christians told her she must be crazy because Peter was locked behind three iron doors guarded by armed soldiers. When she insisted it was Peter, they said it must be an angel but couldn't possibly be Peter. Peter was still knocking on the door... out side. That certainly does not sound like they had great faith in their prayers or in God's power to deliver. And these were people who had seen Jesus Crucified, resurrected and ascending into heaven. So don't be too hard on yourself that neither are you a great spiritual giant full of faith. But strive to be faithful in Christ, do your best, stay prayed up and in God's word. Give witness to all Christ has done for you and in you .... and praise him for His perfection ... not yours. Little is much only when God is in it. RB

In the harvest field now ripened
  1. There’s a work for all to do;
    Hark! the voice of God is calling,
    To the harvest calling you.
    • Refrain:
      Little is much when God is in it!
      Labor not for wealth or fame;
      There’s a crown, and you can win it,
      If you go in Jesus’ name.
  2. In the mad rush of the broad way,
    In the hurry and the strife,
    Tell of Jesus’ love and mercy,
    Give to them the Word of Life.
  3. Does the place you’re called to labor
    Seem so small and little known?
    It is great if God is in it,
    And He’ll not forget His own.
  4. Are you laid aside from service,
    Body worn from toil and care?
    You can still be in the battle,
    In the sacred place of prayer.
  5. When the conflict here is ended
    And our race on earth is run,
    He will say, if we are faithful,
    “Welcome home, My child—well done!”