February 2008


One of the blogs that I read is by “Brother Maynard.” He has a weekly feature that I like. He calls it “Hymns of my Youth,” where he gives a short statement about why a hymn is important to him and then gives the words of the hymn. I am not sure if this will also be a weekly feature for me but would at least like to share one that meant a lot to me.

Shortly after our family left the Older Order Amish, I was introduced to “Open the wells of Salvation.” It is one of more than 2000 hymns written by Elisha Hoffman; it is an earnest prayer of dedication and commitment, and is number 339 in my Church and Sunday School Hymnal that we used in the Mennonite Church in Hannibal, Missouri.

As an early adolescent, I memorized all the words and sang them lustily as I walked from place to place on our 66 acres in in Pike County Missouri. The words moved me deeply then; they still do today.

Open The Wells Of Salvation

Lord, I am fondly, earnestly longing
Into Thy holy likeness to grow;
Thirsting for more and deeper communion,
Yearning Thy love more fully to know.

Refrain

Open the wells of grace and salvation,
Pour the rich streams deep into my heart;
Cleanse and refine my thought and affection,
Seal me and make me pure as Thou art.

Dead to the world would I be, O Father!
Dead unto sin, alive unto Thee;
Crucify all the earthly within me,
Emptied of sin and self may I be.

Refrain

I would be Thine, and serve Thee forever,
Filled with Thy Spirit, lost in Thy love;
Come to my heart, Lord, come with anointing,
Showers of grace send down from above.

Refrain

Elisha Albright Hoffman 1839-1929

Dear Heavenly Father: You know the hearts of all who come by this blog today. I ask that people who stumble here looking for something would find the thing that they are ultimately seeking. Let the people who hurt, find healing; who mourn, find comfort; and those who are troubled find a peace that transcends their understanding. Let those who come here thinking they are not good enough to receive your blessing be encouraged and reach out to your fantastic love. I ask these blessings in the name of Jesus Christ who is Lord of Heaven and earth. Amen

The following is by a niece and is used with her permission. JJB

 

STOP THAT FLAPPING
By Amy Fulfer

The safety presentation was finished and the captain had turned on the “fasten seatbelts” sign. The plane sat ready on the runway.

As the rush of acceleration was felt, a man jumped to his feet and began flapping his arms wildly. People stared and the flight attendant hurried to ask him to sit down. His face was red and beads of perspiration had popped out on his forehead.

No matter how the attendant tried to reason with him, he kept insisting, his words coming out in great gasps and puffs, “I’ve got to help get this plane get off the ground! I’ve got to do my part!”

A lot of things have been going on in our home recently: things that give me plenty to worry about. Financial, health and communication issues in our family, coupled with feelings of being spread too thin can really pump up anxiety levels. I feel like I have to DO SOMETHING to help make things better, but most of the time, that’s not even possible.

I used to brush it off and say, “I’m a woman. Women worry. It’s what we do.” It may very well be a genetic tendency, but it’s also unhealthy and unproductive. It’s a habit that I will have to break if I expect to ever have any peace in life.

I know that God has everything under control, and none of the things that blow my mind even take Him by surprise. He is the Pilot. He is in charge of what goes on in my life’s “flight.”

All of my worry accomplishes nothing, but rather steals my peace. I know that these things that make me feel panicky are not in my power to fix, yet I seem almost addicted to the worry. It gives me a thin, superficial sense of contributing to the solution.

As ridiculous as the scenario above sounds, I am in the habit of doing exactly what that man did. I keep flapping my arms, getting emotionally sweaty and exhausted, trying to “help” with something completely out of my control.

I am slowly learning, however, to hear that still, small voice in my heart that tells me, “Amy, stop flapping. You can trust this to me.”

 

From Marlene’s Journal

Jan. 28, 2008

 

John 13  – Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet

 

After he had finished washing their feet, Jesus said to them-

 

(V. 13) “You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.  (V. 14) If I then your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you also aught to wash one another’s feet. I have given you an example…”

 

As always: Jesus’ words always have a deeper, a ‘not so obvious’ message, for them (for us). A message that extends to an inner attitude; effects our mind, our heart, our spirit. “If you know these things, happy are you if you do them.”

 

In what ways do we act out this example of Jesus to, and for, one another? What would compare to washing one another’s feet?

 

For most of us today, washing the feet of another as something we seldom do. The practice of washing someone’s feet when they were guests at your house was a common and courteous service provided, as people’s feet were usually always dusty from walking everywhere they went. It was also a symbol of honoring and welcoming you. For myself, I can’t help but believe that it was quite refreshing. Today, each of us wash our feet when we bathe or shower just as we wash any other part of our bodies. So, Jesus’ example in our case, needs to have a different area of focus – a different translation.

 

The Holy Spirit was directing my thoughts toward ‘an attitude of being a servant.’

 

Being willing to do ‘the most humble and menial of tasks.’ To meet one another’s need – and show the love of Jesus by doing so: The example – the obvious – the outward.

 

Note: But we must guard against a subtle spirit of “pride.” We can easily be ensnared with “Oh how much I’m giving by this act of humble service to you.” We must always make sure it’s under the unction of the Holy Spirit – not done to our praise, or for man’s acknowledgement – but simply for Jesus and showing his love.