My Study       
Benno Zuiddam

 

 

 Find out below, why the farmer thought it slow!

 

  Hello everyone!

 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 them. 

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 God. 

 

Please don't smoke here!

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 not complain.   

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 knife. 

“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 persecute you.” 

Learning obedience 

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 lost. 

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 smile~ 

Why are farmers cruel?  Because they pull their corn by the ears. 

 

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 sheep. 

 

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 better. 

 

How do you describe a caterpillar?   A worm with a coat on. 

 

What lies on the ground with a hundred feet in the air?  A centipede lying on its back. 

 

What do you produce if you cross a kangaroo with a sheep?  A woolly jumper. 

 

Why are tight shoes like a hot summers' day?  They make the corns grow. 

 

Why did the farmer put bells on his cows?  Because their horns wouldn't work. 

 

 

Too good to be true 

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 people. 

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 insane. 

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 helped. 

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 too.” 

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 office. 

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 Raven 

 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 of need. 

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 50:15. 

 

  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 area. 

 

 

Ralph Gemmell - a persecuted boy 

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 should. 

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 true. 

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 Lord. 

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 release. 

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 false.   

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 Christ. 

After his fathers' death, Ralph received his father's inheritance, and lived his life trusting in the Lord and walking in His commandments.   

 

 

Prof. Dr. Benno A. Zuiddam