Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Quilt


“… O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.  … they will all wear out like a garment.  You will roll them up like a robe; ….”  (Hebrews 1:10‑12 NIV)

God formed you, Earth. Out of scraps of nothing, God stitched together your terrain, then lapped you, as a quilt, across eternity’s line.  Now, after millenniums of use, you hang there preserved in a few places, but in many parts threadbare and patched with machined designs.

Your first owners cherished and cared for you until the day a shadow crawled over their existence.  Chilled, they seized you, and utilized you for their survival.  In time, they passed you on to their children, and they in turn to their begotten with the story of your Maker.  Then somewhere, someone just shoved you into waiting hands without the preliminary history lesson.  Soon, no one knew exactly who had designed you and no one really cared as long as you provided comfort.  Occasionally people paused to admire your intricate design; a few tried to analyze your fabric; others theorized about your origin and age; but most accepted you simply as “necessary for survival.”

Eventually, a careless generation seized you for their play.  At first the games seemed harmless. The punctures made by staked-out claims were invisible in your plush terrain.  Neglected spills, soaked through your fabric, with scarce a trace of stain.

The children, though, grew bored with simple games.  They built a fire.  They gouged your seams, chopped out pieces, then fed strips and wads of your material to the fire.  From the flames, undreamed of toys emerged.  Pleased by their accomplishments, and soothed by the fire, they stretched out amidst the litter and fell asleep.  While they slept, though, the fire reached for more fuel.

Finally, someone stirred, and shouted, “Danger!”  The fire had singed your borders.  Everyone leaped to assess the damage.

“Why that corner is ruined,” said one.

“And the center looks thin,” said another.

An older one said, “We must get busy.  Someone else might need this in the future.  How will our children survive if it falls apart?”

For a while they mended and scrubbed and tried to restore you, and it helped a little.  But still, there was the fire to feed.  Everyone realized the fire was devouring you, but they couldn’t agree about how to handle the fire.  A few ranted, “Extinguish the fire!  Extinguish it!  We don’t need it!”

The voice of the multitude, however, prevailed.  “Let’s keep the fire going,” they said.  “We like the fire.  We love the toys it molds.  After all, we deserve the fire.”

Now, a greedy  generation sits, surrounded by discarded toys.  At fingertip, they snip and clip and toss motifs into the flames.  They stretch, and grasp, and bold-cut swaths through distant squares.

The Maker watches as we, a generation born and nurtured in the flame-glow, rise to look beyond the dazzle.

We see.

We know.

We realize the radiating danger.

We also hear the cheerful crackle of the fire

“Tomorrow, perhaps tomorrow,” we tell ourselves, “we’ll conserve you for the children of tomorrow.  But today –  well, we’ve just noticed that today our toys look out-of-date.  Before we preserve you for the future, we’ll need a few more chunks to feed our fire.”

The Maker watches on as we, the children of today, mark off the measure of your days.  Time does not move God’s end-time clock; our exploitations do.  God waits. As long as you have resources to sustain the children, God will wait.  But when your usefulness has ended, your Maker will reach down, pull you from grubby hands, fold you, and put you away.


Martha VanCise© 2013 Published Alive Now (2000);  Photo: Mukwonago Community Library

Care of Our Time


Many consider lack of time for prayer and Bible study as the greatest obstacle to their spiritual growth.  Christians of all generations have struggled with time management. In 1650 Jeremy Taylor left simple, common-sense advice on time management that is worth considering in the 21st century.

Care Of Our Time


Jeremy Taylor


  1. God has given every person enough work to do, so that we do not have too much free time on our hands.  Yet, He has so ordered the world that there will be time for devotion. 
  1. Never complain that your work keeps you from devotion to God.  God provides for our needs and gives us the good things of life through commerce and labor.  Regard your employment as a means of serving God.  If you work sensible hours and use good judgment in your business affairs, there will be adequate time for prayers and devotion. 
  1. Don’t let your recreations eat up your time.  Choose recreations that are healthful, transient, and apt to refresh you.  Do not make your recreations the focal point of your life.  It is good to relax and unbend our bow, but we should not allow it to be unstrung. 
  1. Make sure you are employed in such a manner as is fitting for a sensible person.  Don’t spend your life in work that is fitting for children or distracted people.  Choose employment that is fitting for your age and understanding.  A person can be frivolously busy and spend a lifetime working for no purpose.

“Care of Our Time,” from Jeremy Taylor’s work titled The  Rule and Exercises of Holy Living, 1650.  Adapted and revised by Martha VanCise, 2010.

The Chalice

When I pass your truth on to the next generation,

there must be no “me” to contaminate the message.

There can only be the faint print

of my unique perspective on the chalice as I hand it on.

My prints must be so faint,

  that only those who study the chalice will notice.

The masses must see only the life-truths within the vessel.

Help me hold these truths tightly enough to keep them from slipping from my grasp,

but loosely enough that desperate truth-seekers

can ease them from my hand.

                                                                                                                        Martha VanCise ©2013


Watchman Nee said, “Our great danger may be to hold dogmatically to some “thing” associated with the divine plan for us. Every cup, however divinely appointed, should be held to very loosely. It is not that which claims us supremely, but the present will of our Father.                                                          (A Table in the Wilderness:  October 26; Watchman Nee)

Image Credit: