Category Archives: FADED SIGNPOSTS

The Roach, the Book, and the Wardrobe

Wardrobe Narnia

Following the departure of Baby Doc from Haiti in 1986, political instability rocked the country. Our work in Haiti stalled so we went to Jamaica to direct mission teams. After months of living with suitcase and passports beside the bed and not knowing when we might need to flee Haiti, we looked forward to sleeping without hearing gunfire or fearing the phone call that would order  evacuation. Our accommodations in Jamaica, however, fell short of our expectations. On the first night, when we turned out the lights, swarms of flying 2-inch palmetto bugs (cockroaches on steroids) bombarded us and rats raced through the attic over our heads. We dropped a mosquito net over the bed to shield us from the flying Palmettos, but could do nothing about the rat track above our heads.

One day I sat on the edge of the bed and asked the Lord, “Do you think this is funny? Are you laughing at me about wanting to leave Haiti and getting into this situation?”  While I was sitting there, trying to make sense of everything, I noticed movement in an open wardrobe across the room. A palmetto bug with twitching antenna was crawling across a stack of books. As a book lover, I couldn’t resist checking the titles. After wiping off the droppings, I began to peruse a book titled Quiet Talks on Prayer. Before long I recognized how God really does “work all things together for good.” (Romans 8:28) In spite of my abhorrence of roaches, I found in that bug-riddled, and I do mean riddled and chewed book, a resource on prayer that has been one of my most treasured possessions.

In this and a couple more blogs I am posting some Old Signposts from S.D. Gordon’s Quiet Talks on Prayer.  Written more than 100 years ago, contemporary readers will find some writing archaic and definitely politically incorrect in the usage of sexist language. I’ve taken liberty to revise a few sentences or change words for clarity but the content remains the same. I hope you’ll take time to pause on your journey, pull back the vines that have overgrown some of these truths, and read the signs this traveler posted about the One Inlet of Power and the Five Outlets of Power.

There is one inlet of power in the life—anybody’s life—any kind of power: just one inlet—the Holy Spirit. He is power. He is in every one who opens his door to God. He eagerly enters every open door. He comes in by our invitation and consent. His presence within is the vital thing.

But with many of us while He is in, He is not in control: in as guest; not as host. That is to say He is hindered in His natural movements; tied up, so that He cannot do what He would. And so we are not conscious or only partially conscious of His presence.

But to yield to His mastery, to cultivate His friendship, to give Him full control—that will result in what is called power. One inlet of power—the Holy Spirit in control.

Martha Hawn VanCise©2014



Tattered Sails

After the storm

Tattered Sails

The following poem is an Old Signpost that encouraged me during a time when I was preparing to return to Haiti. The previous months in Haiti had been filled with gunfire, tanks in the streets, fiery road blockades, and uncertainty about who was in control in the country.

 I’m Tired, Lord

 “I’m tired, Lord: let me furl my sail,
I hear through the mists how the sad waves wail,
My heart is quailing, and sick with fear,
Ask me no more on this course to steer.”

“Child, take this word again from Me;
As your days, so shall your strength be.”

“Lord, the storm is over – we have ridden it well,
Through all its tossings no harm befell,
It was your hand upon the wheel, I know
But the track is so lonely whereon we go!”

 “For the lonely hour, child, trust in Me;
As your days, so shall your strength be.”

“The canvas is torn, and the rigging rent,
While I see the white sails gleam content
‘Neath the golden light on a sheltered bay;
Let me drop my anchor there, Lord, I pray.”

“Child, you must leave the choice to Me;
As your days, so your strength shall be.”

“The billows are past and the harbor won –
And in the gleam of the setting sun,
The waters of peace my ship enfolds,
And my soul is anchored in joys untold.”

 “Now heart, be strong to ride life’s sea,
As thy days, so shall thy strength be.”

 Martha Hawn VanCise©2014

From Consolation, a compilation of writings  by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman (author of Streams in the Desert)  The Twilight Hour. No author given. Some archaic words edited. Photo:Unknown


Tips for Fruit Producers


Fig Tree

Fig Tree

Hannah Whitall Smith’s (1858-1911) writings have provided encouragement in my walk with God. Her insights on bearing fruit are still relevant a 100 years later. 

We need not trouble ourselves about our fruit-bearing. It is “ordained” that we will bring forth fruit just as it is ordained that a fig tree will bear figs. It is the law of our spiritual life. We can no more have real spiritual life within us without bearing fruit than the oak tree can have life without bearing acorns…  

…there is a vast amount of effort among Christians to hang fruit on their branches by some outside performances … fruit must be “brought forth,” not fastened on. …The law of fruit bearing is clearly this, that our fruit can only be the outcome of what we are.

One of the laws of life is that all plants must yield fruit after their own kind. I must be content, therefore to be the type of plant and bear the type of fruit the divine Husbandman pleases. We do not always like to be what God has made us to be. 

Be content to be what God has made you,
but do not be content
until you are the best of its kind.

 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—( John 15:16 NIV)

Martha Hawn VanCise ©2014