from the editor
Scripture says, Christians are to be
'rooted and built up in Christ'. Colossians 2:7. This means that spiritually, they are to have their hope and
trust in Christ as deep roots are to a tree. If they are filled
with doubts and fears, they will be like a tree without firm roots in the ground.
A farmer bought a number of fruit
trees which he intended to plant, but as he waited for an
opportunity to plant them, a stranger came and asked for some work. The farmer gave him the job of planting the
trees. After a time the farmer came to see how he was progressing,
and found that he had only planted three of the trees. The farmer
was angry and told him to leave.
The stranger sought to explain that
he knew what he was doing and had planted the trees carefully in the best soil with their roots deep in the
earth; but the farmer told him that he was too slow for his liking.
After the man had left, the farmer
quickly planted all the remaining trees. But in a short time, each
one of these trees withered and died. Only the three trees which
the stranger had planted were healthy with green leaves and soon began to bear fruit.
These three trees became the most
admired in all the farmer's land. They were healthy and large, with
abundance of fruit. People often stopped and admired
Christians often remind us of the
trees which the farmer had planted himself; they are shallow in their knowledge and understanding of God's word,
and easily moved in their faith in Christ.
Isaiah 37:31 describes what
Christians should be like; “take root downward and bear fruit upward.” Roots downward in faith and confidence in
God's word and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ; and fruit upward, before others, and for the honour and praise of
A thief discovered
A Christian widow owned a small
house in a village. She worked hard in her garden and grew most of
her own vegetables, as well as working for other people to provide for her needs.
In her garden was a fine peach
tree Every year it was loaded with fruit. One year it was the only tree in the village which had a good crop on
it. A number of boys watched the fruit ripen and plotted to creep
into the garden late at night and take the fruit.
But to their disappointment, when
they searched the tree, all the fruit had been removed. The lady
suspected that the fruit might be taken, so she gathered all the fruit herself.
The boys were very angry at their failure and sought
for revenge. They gathered some pigs together and opened her garden
gate and let them in. The next morning the lady discovered the ruin
that the pigs had made in her neat garden. While she was driving the pigs out, she found a knife with the
initials 'H.F' on the handle. She now knew who owned
the knife. The lady suffered because of the loss of her garden through the autumn and winter time, but she did
Late in the winter time, God was
pleased to bless the village. Many were deeply convicted of their
sin, and prayed to the Lord for salvation. People were very
surprised with this work of God, but the widow had prayed earnestly for God's blessing, so she believed that He
would pour out His Spirit.
One of the lads who were deeply
convicted was 'H.F'. He was ashamed at what he had done and for a
long time he was too afraid to go to her. But he knew that he would
never fully enjoy salvation until he did so. At last he confessed
what he had done. “I knew it was you the very next morning.” said the lady. “How did you know?” he
asked. “By this.” she said; showing him the
“But why didn't you send for me and
make me pay for the damage I caused?” he enquired. “Because, there is a more excellent way.” “What was that?” he queried. “To
pray for you, as the Lord Jesus said in Matthew 5:44. “Pray for them which despitefully (hatefully) use you and
In former years the points which
changed the railway lines for trains to go in different directions were controlled by a man who pulled a lever
to change the lines.
One man stood ready to turn a fast
moving train to a different line, when he saw his little son playing between the train lines. What could he do? If he tried to rescue the child he would be too late to
divert the train to another line, and so a collision would occur and many lives would be
All the man could do was to shout as
loudly as he could to his son, “Lie down”. He then pulled the
lever and the train thundered along the safe line. No one on the
train knew what had happened or what was taking place in the poor man's heart.
As soon as the train had passed, the
man rushed to where the boy had been, not knowing what he would see when he arrived. To his great delight and relief his little son was unhurt, he was lying close
to the ground and crying. The father, with tears in his eyes,
embraced his son.
This father had taught his child to
obey him from an early age and not to argue about what he had been told to do. His prompt obedience to his father had saved him from injury and almost
certain death. God's word says, “Children obey your parents, which
is good and right”. Ephesians 6:1.
~Have a country
Why are farmers
cruel? Because they pull their corn by the
What do you call a cow eating grass?
A lawn moower.
What is the difference between an
angry audience and a cow with a sore throat? One boos
madly and the other moos badly.
What is a bull asleep on the ground
called? A bulldozer.
What are a farmer's assetts?
His young donkeys.
Why do white sheep eat more than
black sheep? Because there are many more white
What did the impatient stag say to
his children? 'Hurry up, deers'.
What are high-rise flats for pigs
called? Sty scrapers.
Why is a pig in a kitchen treated
like a house on fire? The sooner you put it out the
How do you describe a
caterpillar? A worm with a coat
What lies on the ground with a
hundred feet in the air? A centipede lying on its
What do you produce if you cross a
kangaroo with a sheep? A woolly
Why are tight shoes like a hot
summers' day? They make the corns
Why did the farmer put bells on his
cows? Because their horns wouldn't
Too good to be
An Irish landlord had a number of
very poor tenants on his large property. By the Lord's grace, this
man was saved; now he wanted to show kindness and to explain the way of salvation to these
He announced that he would be in his
office between 10&12 o'clock and whoever brought their unpaid bills, he would pay them. Some people thought this was just a hoax, others that there must be some
catch. A few thought that the landlord was a little
On the day, a number of people
gathered at the man's office. At the set time the landlord arrived
with his secretary. Without saying a word, he entered the office.
The people stood outside chatting
about the offer; Did he mean what he said? Was there anything in it? Would
the landlord make a fool of himself? The set time gradually passed
but no one entered the office. Each one was waiting for others to
go in first. Some felt they did not really have great debts, others thought they were too much in debt to be
Just before the end of the time, two
aged people came carrying a number of large debts which they owed.
“Is it true that the landlord is paying the debts of everyone who comes today?” they asked. “He hasn't paid any
yet”, said one. “We think it is a cruel joke.” said another. The
old couple began to weep, “Is it all a mistake? We hoped that it
was true.” They began to turn away when someone said, “Well, no one
has gone in yet. If he pays the debts, tells us and we will go in
The elderly couple timidly opened
the door. They were welcomed in. They presented their bills and
were given a cheque to cover them all. They began to leave the
office, but the secretary said, “Please be seated. You must remain
until the office is closed at noon.” They explained that those
outside were waiting to hear what happened. But the landlord said,
“No, you must not tell them. You took me at my word and your debts are paid. If they had believed me, their debts would have been paid too.” The people waited outside, watching the closed door, but no one entered the
At 12 o'clock, the office door
opened and the old couple came out. “Did the landlord keep his word?” they all asked. “Yes, here is the cheque,
all our debts are fully paid.” “Why didn't you come out and
tell us?” they growled. “He said that you must come as we did,
taking him at his word.” they replied.
A few moments later, the
landlord and his secretary appeared. The people crowded around him, each holding their bills and crying, “Won't you
do for us as you did for the aged couple?” The landlord replied. “It is too late now. I invited you to come, but you did not believe me. If you had come, I would have paid all your debts.” The landlord told them that God has told us to seek Him for salvation while He
may be found, and that many will cry to the Lord, 'Open unto us', when it is too late. Luke
13:25, just as the door of Noah's ark was closed by God and no
one outside was able to enter into it.
History changed by the stroke of a pen
At the battle of Waterloo in 1815,
the French General, Napoleon was defeated by British General Wellington. This victory probably resulted from the late arrival of Napoleon's Lieutenant
Grouchy who led 34,000 men.
It appears that Napoleon was a very
poor writer. He had sent a message to Grouchy, who could not make
out the scrawl. Napoleon had written in French “Bataille engage'e”
The battle is on”. However, Grouchy thought that it read, “Bataille gagne'e” “The battle is won” So,
Grouchy leisurely made his way towards Waterloo with his army, but when he arrived it was too
late. Napoleon had been defeated.
Napoleon was a master with the
sword, but not with the pen. Often in history men who were skilled
in big things have failed in smallest matters.
Let us be thankful that God never
fails, nor makes mistakes. There are no errors in His word because of poor writing or other human failings, nor
is He ever late in coming to the aid of those who trust in Him.
Helped by a
In Warsaw, the capital of Poland, there lived many years ago, a godly peasant
named Dobry. He was very honest and hard working, but was very
poor. Dobry became ill for some weeks and was unable to pay his
rent for a time. His landlord, who was a very hard
man, called several times for the money but could not get it;
which made him very angry.
Finally, he told Dobry that if the
rent was not paid by that evening, he would be put out of the house. Dobry was very distressed – it was the
middle of winter and bitterly cold, also he had several young children to care for. Dobry was a true Christian man.
He was sure that, “the eternal God is the refuge” of God's people.
He had often turned to God as his refuge in the time of trouble and had never known God to fail him in the time
After his days work, he gathered his
family together to worship and pray to God. He read Psalm 50 which
contains a lovely promise, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver thee.” The family then knelt in prayer asking for God not to let them be turned out
of the house in the middle of winter. They then joined in singing praise to the Lord.
While they were singing there was a
pecking at the door by a tame raven. This raven had been tamed when
it was young and often came to the house. The door was opened and
the raven came inside; Dobry noticed that it had something in its
beak. He reached out his hand to the bird, and it placed in his
hand a gold ring set with precious jewels.
Dobry immediately took the ring to
his pastor asking him what should be done with it? The pastor saw
that it belonged to Stanislaus, the King of Poland. He brought the
ring to the King, and told him the story. The King was greatly
interested, and sent for Dobry; he then richly rewarded
him. Later, he built Dobry a new house and gave him a farm which he
stocked with cattle from his own herd.
Over the door of new the house, a
stone tablet was placed with an engraving of a raven with a ring in its beak. Under this engraving were the words of the wonderful promise which was
fulfilled in Dobry's life, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble and I will deliver thee.” Psalm
A little African girl
An African family lived in a straw
hut. One night a lion crept into the hut and seized a little girl
about, 5-6 years old. The lion began to carry her
away; she screamed loudly and her parents hearing her screams
ran after the lion, making as much noise as they could to frighten it. When the lion had carried her for some distance, he dropped the child and
ran away. The parents picked her up and carried her home;
she was badly wounded by the sharp teeth of the lion.
The father was sure that the little
girl would die. He talked the matter over with his wife, and they
made up their minds that she would not live the next day. According
to their heathen custom, she could not live' therefore they gave the girl the choice - either be buried alive at
once, or take her out into the woods and leave her there alone.
The little girl chose to be left in
the woods. So the parents took her into the woods, and left her
there. She had the severe bites from the lion. They gave her a little rice and some water and left. The child knew that there was a missionary who lived not very far
off. So she began to slowly crawl to his house.
Just then the missionary was walking
in the area; he heard her cries, then picked her up and returned home. The missionary and his wife tenderly nursed the child and gradually she
returned to health. She then attended the mission school, and later
became a fine Christian. Eventually she became a teacher and was
used of God to spread the gospel among the people who had no knowledge of Christ in that
Ralph Gemmell - a persecuted
Ralph was born in Scotland, in 1669;
a time when the King and Rulers of the land tried to force people to worship God as the King had decided, and to
cruelly persecute those people who wished to read the Bible, and worship God as they believed they
Ralph's father sided with the rulers
who tried to force people to worship in a certain way. He often
joined with the soldiers who searched for and arrested those people who met to worship God in their own homes or
in some secret place. His older brother Edward, was of the same
mind as his father.
However, Ralph's mother believed the
Bible and that people should have the freedom to read it and to worship God how they believed they
should. She quietly submitted to her husband and did not oppose
him; but when Ralph's father was away, she would explain to Ralph the truths of the Bible and urge him to put
his faith in the Lord Jesus. While Ralph was still young, his
mother died, so Ralph was left with his father and brother, who often laughed at him because he did not join in
their wicked ways.
Each Sunday the family went to a
local church where the preacher never spoke about Christ, but condemned those who worshipped God as they
believed the Bible commanded, and said that these people should be punished and thrown into
prison. Ralph knew that this teaching was not
One Sunday morning Ralph went for a
walk through the woods; there he met a group of people who
were secretly worshipping the Lord. These people loved God and His
word and Ralph listened to the message of salvation through faith in Christ. The next Sunday he met with these people again, but suddenly twenty soldiers
came and arrested them, only the pastor and two others were able to hide.
The soldiers marched them all to the
local town prison. Just then his father met them and saw his son,
Ralph. He was very angry. Because the father had supported the
government he was permitted to take his son home, provided that
Ralph promised never to meet again with the people, called the Covenanters, and agree to support the laws of the
government. Ralph's courage and faith failed him, and he promised
to do so.
When he arrived home, his father
told him his action had disgraced the family and if he met with those people again, he would be disowned. In his
heart Ralph knew that he had agreed to do something wrong, so he was very unhappy.
Early one morning Ralph went for a
quiet walk; suddenly he saw a group of soldiers and magistrates leading a young girl, about eighteen years old,
to the edge of the ocean. She had trusted in Christ as her Saviour and loved the word of God. They told her that if she renounced Christ and accepted the worship approved
by the rulers, she could go free. She bravely told them that she
would not deny her Lord who had saved her, and would only worship Him as He commanded. In the ocean breakers there was a pole fixed - she was tied to this pole to
await the incoming tide. She remained true to the Lord, and the
waves gradually covered her head.
Ralph was astounded and troubled at
this cruelty. So he wrote a letter to his father saying that he
could not take part with the enemies of Christ any more and he was leaving home for good. When his father read the letter, he was filled with rage and wrote a letter to
Ralph telling him that he was disowned as his son and could never enter his house again. He gave this letter to Edward who found him and gave him the
letter. Ralph was very upset, but his heart was set to obey the
Ralph now became a wanderer and a
wanted person by the authorities. He loved the other secret
believers and helped them whenever he could. He moved secretly at
night and met with them to hear God's word preached.
After some time he and a few others
were worshipping together. Suddenly they were surrounded by a group of soldiers and arrested. They were all sent
to Edinburgh for judgment. They were thrown into a gloomy prison
for two days, to await their judgment; some would be executed and others sent into slavery without any hope of
On the second morning Ralph
committed himself into God's hands in prayer; soon the gaoler brought his uncle to see him. The uncle told Ralph that he had rescued him from being executed, and he would
become a slave. But, if he took a solemn oath only to worship as
the authorities approved, he could go free. Ralph thanked his
uncle, but said he could never forsake Christ or the word of God and follow that which he knew was
After three weeks in prison Ralph
and a number of others were put on board a ship to be transported to Jamaica as slaves. They were shut in the hold of the ship, under an iron grating, where they
received only bread and water. They had a favourable trip, until
they came within sight of the Island of Jamaica. Then suddenly
there was a dead calm for several hours, and the sailing ship could not move to the Island. Then the sky became
dark and a storm struck the ship.
The ship was driven towards the
Island and ran aground. The ship then began to leak and the waves
broke over the deck. The prisoners pleaded with the Captain to set them free so that they might be able to save
their lives, but he refused. Expecting the ship to beak up, the
Captain ordered a boat to be lowered and he and the crew climbed aboard. This boat had not gone far from the
ship, when a huge wave capsized it and all who were in were drowned.
The mate and two crewmen had
remained on board. They immediately released the prisoners, and
they all worked hard to pump the water out of the ship. After a
time the storm eased, and every one on board safely reached the shore in a small boat. The mate took all the prisoners to the governor of the Island who then sold
them as slaves to work on the plantations.
Ralph was on the Island for three
years. They had to work hard in the boiling sun with very poor food
and clothing. Ralph was able to speak to the other slaves about the
Lord, and each Sunday they did not have to work. Ralph had managed
to bring his Bible from Scotland, and the slaves met under a large tree and heard the word of God and they would
pray and sing His praises.
One day, as they were working, their
master announced that there was a new king in England and all those who were slaves because of their Christian
beliefs, were to be immediately set free. There were shouts of joy
and dancing among the prisoners at this news.
A few days later, Ralph and many
others set sail for England. Their hearts were filled with joy when
they reached their home port. It was the Lord's day when Ralph
arrived at the Scottish town of Irvine; people were just going to hear the word of God. Ralph entered the
church, and found that the preacher was an old minister whom he had met years earlier. This man had been persecuted by the authorities for a long time, and had
undergone great hardships; he was now aged and had to remain seated while he preached.
Ralph met the minister after the
service, who told him that his father was very ill, but his attitude towards Ralph had changed. Both of them went to see his father immediately. It was almost six years since Ralph had left, however some servants recognised
him. They shouted, “Ralph is here!, Ralph is here!” and ran
inside to tell his father who was lying in bed very ill.
“I have wronged you, I have deeply
wronged you” cried the father “will you forgive me.” “I have
already forgiven you” replied Ralph. They both embraced each other
and wept freely. “You look very ill”, said Ralph. “I am fast dying,
I caught a cold last winter and it has never left me. I have been a
cruel father to you, I hated your religion and drove you from my house.” Just them his brother Edward entered the room, “Here is your brother,”
said the father, “you know how much I wronged him, and have taught
you to hate him.” “I am sure Ralph will forgive me,” said Edward. “You are indeed forgiven” Ralph said firmly
and the brothers embraced and wept.
The minister had visited Mr Gemmell,
Ralph's father on a number of occasions and had talked to him about salvation through Christ. Ralph was anxious to know that his father understood the way of salvation and
trusted in Christ. The old man could say, “Lord, I believe, help
Thou mine unbelief”, and expressed his hope and trust in Christ. The Lord had also graciously worked in his
brother Edward's heart, and later he studied for the ministry and became a faithful minister of
After his fathers' death, Ralph
received his father's inheritance, and lived his life trusting in the Lord and walking in His