Terry Wells - Malcolm, Nebraska Convention - 2008

I was over looking at the field of corn and noticed there were not many weeds in the crop. I come from a farming background and I appreciate the effort put in by the farmer. Then I went closer to the corn, had a look at each plant, and there is a blemish there, part of the stock where a bug may have eaten it, or maybe a little discolour may be a little mould. As I looked at each stock, there was something different not perfect, as you look at the field, it looks just beautiful but as you look at each plant, you see that it is not perfect. There is something affecting it, maybe it is a lady bug or something but there were lots of plants that were affected. I was just thinking of you all that are sitting here, it is beautiful to see you all, it is wonderful. But you know and I know as we examine our lives, usually there is much that could be better, could be changed, could be different, and we do not feel perfect by any means. We are part of a very perfect way and we love this way - it is perfect but, we are not perfect ourselves and we would seem to realize this. The way Satan uses this - he tells us that we do not belong here you're so bad, but we do belong here - we must recognize Satan's voice. This is what God has planned His way is perfect and the doctrine is perfect but, it is made up of imperfect people and this is a marvellous thing and it is only the Lord that can do that in you.

Thinking of man seeking to create something that is perfect, he could not use imperfect materials to do it, but the Lord has been able to do it as He can do the impossible with that which is imperfect. He said we have this treasure in earthen vessels here, we are just earthen vessels with a priceless treasure in them, but the reason is because God may be glorified. So we are just so glad to be part of this, even though we are not perfect by any means, we have a desire to be more like Jesus. That is what the Lord wants to see. He wants to see that desire strengthened these days to be more like His Son and to put in us the purpose to bear more marks of His Son in our lives and to act and react in each situation we face in the future, more like Jesus would and that would be very well pleasing to God

I had a little experience with weeding; never do much gardening, but more weeding, you folk would have experienced in pulling weeds - it is so much easier to pull the weeds when the ground is soft, so much easier. That is why we are at convention, the gentle rain on our hearts and that is the time to remove the weeds and that which is not wanted when the heart is soft. A verse in Psalm 68, "Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain." I like that verse; we come here weary and the sent rain, it softened our heart. Now, this is the time to get rid of the weeds when our heart are soft and another thing I learned, that weeds are a lot easier to deal with when they're small. We know we have issues in our lives and they may just creep up and we have not noticed them before, well, the time to deal with them is when they're small. Don't let it grow and grow till it crowds out what you want; it is so much easier to remove when they are small. It is not part of our nature to deal with them when they are small but it is a lot better to deal with them when they are small.

I also noticed that later on in the summer that there were was a part of the garden that did not get any water - the weeds grew just fine without water. So I went out there to pull those weeds when the ground was hard. I grabbed those weeds close to the ground and I gave them a pull and I just broke it off at ground level. What I did not want go to the work of digging up the root just left it behind. Some I got out by the roots but left a lot behind. I could go and look at that garden patch and say it is weeded but a lot left under the surface that was going to be a problem, be a problem in time as those weeds did not die and they kept on living. So things in our lives that can be like that; even though we have worked hard to take care of the weeds there is a problem, a root of bitterness springing up maybe like a weed broken off at one time and the roots were not taken care of and those roots spring up again.

I want to be defiled again. I was thinking about the Esau in that respect and that kept his roots all of his life you go and read in Genesis 32-33 and there seems to be a reconciliation with Esau and Jacob but never really got to the roots of the problem the roots are still there, the roots it grew and grew and even in into his offspring they were enemies of God's people. I was noticing what Jesus said, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, because of whatever is in them will be revealed, whatever is in the closet will be proclaimed." I thought of Esau when he separated from Jacob going down there to Seir where he resided and dropped little things to his children about him and Jacob and how he had not been dwelt with fairly, even though there was that apparent reconciliation the root was still there. He did not take care of the root and that roots kept growing up and many, many people were affected by that root and caused much destruction.

Another thought I had of the root - it was revealed in a very dramatic way you might remember and that was David Counsellor Ahithophel - you remember him David's Counsellor. One time, they had sweet Fellowship together. They had been in the house of God together and there was something in his heart even though on the surface everything seemed to be so nice. No visible plant showing when the condition was right but that roots sprung up, it destroyed his testimony. It is a very sad thing it can happen to us. I was thinking about myself struggling to forgive another I have not taken care of the root and to find out it is still there. I cannot help but feel the reason, it is there is the ground is hard and when I have tried to forgive a person and could not there was a hard heart there. Although I went through the motions and said the words, the heart was hard, the root remained and there was not total forgiveness. We are in this place where we can have our ground softened and we can get rid of that root.

Another little thought - my dad, he'd like to spray and that is how he takes care of weeds and he will just spray around the lawn. Where the lawn comes up for the road, there seems to be a line of hard, the weeds that seems to grow right up to the edge of the grass. Dad seemed to spray all along the road and sprays all the weeds but he also got some of the grass. The weeds are gone. It is not long before there is another batch of weeds. He sprays again and a few weeks later, they're back again. I thought we should grow some grass where the weeds were, that may help. So we planted some little seeds, sowing good seeds. When we get the good seed growing, it will take care of the weeds nothing but good grass there.

In our last convention in Washington, we heard a lot about thinking. Our thoughts, they are a plague to us when we go to pray, we find our thoughts in an ungodly places. One of the helpful thoughts to me was when one of those thoughts come, we really cannot control our thoughts very well; it is not very easy to control. Just shoot it, just imagine you have a shotgun and that the thought is that clay pigeon hit it and it will break into 100 little pieces; it will work. Until the next one comes, what you should do is replace it with a good thought, a Bible thought and see if that does not help. You know, I have been trying to do that and it is working. It takes less effort and is easier to shoot the thought then to be thinking of that positive thought, when I think of a Bible thought helps us by thinking good thoughts. There is another verse in II Corinthians 2:10, "Casting down imaginations and every high thing being that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." At the last convention, it was mentioned when we cast down the imaginable thoughts, we are not giving them any respect at all. Again, it is one thing to cast down. It is so much humbler to sow little seeds and replace the thought that would be cast down. That is what is going to help our little garden, help to be part of this wonderful kingdom made up of wonderful people.

Well, I was thinking about the phrases that say, "Looking back the long years over varied path yet." As we look back, we can see God was in many experiences we face, many of the storms we went through at the time we could not see, but from the vantage point of looking back that God has blessed us hither to, up until now. Psalm 66 speaks about some tests and trials that the children of Israel went through. Now God had proved that. Psalm 66:10, "For Thou, God, have proved us that Thou tried us as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into the net. Thou laidest affliction upon their loins. Thou has caused men to ride over our heads. We went through fire and threw water but Thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place." I was thinking about the writer of the Psalm, writing from the vantage point of the world, the place looking back at the experience may be personal experiences or maybe the experiences of people as a whole, testing trying experiences, experiences of helplessness, experiences they could not understand. They were persecuted so many times that God brought them through it all, from the vantage point of the world the people looking back with great gratitude for what they had gone through. The Lord had helped them and been with them in all of that. When I think of proving, I think of it as something of carrying something with the standard. We know that our standard is pretty standard, it is Jesus. The Lord, His people, He had His standard, just in taking them and comparing them and proving them again His standard. His law, His Commandments, it is a perfect Law, for the time that was then. He helps them, He did not change for them.

I do not know if you have this problem out here but I am not an expert in this, it is just what I pick up here and there, what I pick up in the paper, they are struggling with standardized testing, to determine how low-level of attitude our school children have, and they are always changing the standard. They set one standard and the results are not quite what they were hoping for, so they lower the standard so the results will please them and everyone will be able to fit in. That is the way that man does things. We are glad God has never changed the standard and He is not going to change the standard so we can fit in. None of us would be very happy, the thing that gives us joy in the Lord is the fact we love the standard that we have in the kingdom. A thought we heard at a convention was God loves His standard and He loves his doctrine, more than He loves you and me. If He did not, He would change His standard and His doctrine for us, but He was wants us to change. He loves us and He wants us to love Him. If we are to have the joy He has planned for us to have, we will be the ones who will want to change, not the standard change.

I have been thinking about Naaman and we know this story and how he was be cleansed, but it did not happen the way he had planned. When he was told to dip seven times, he went away in a rage, he had thought there were other rivers just as good to dip in and so forth. Could you imagine if Elisha had said, "Okay, okay, you go down five or even three times," what would've happened? Nothing and no happiness, just the same old Naaman. Because he had servants that loved him, they loved him enough to say, "Just do as you're asked." If you were asked to do a pretty thing, you would have done it. They again said, "Just do it," and then he humbled himself and he did what the prophets said. You know what happened? He came up with flesh as a little baby. Then he did something the world would see very strange. He asked, "Can I take two mule burdens of earth back to Syria? Can I do that?" The world would not understand that, "Why are you carrying that dirt? What is wrong with the dirt in Syria?" But we understand, don't we? Naaman did not want to lose any of the feeling of that experience, the memory of this experience. He wanted to hold it as long as possible. We understand, don't we? We do a lot of things the world scratches their heads at, what God has done for us. We are so grateful, we want to be able repay all the help He has given us. We do not want to lose that. I was thinking about listening. I heard something at a convention a few weeks ago that really brought me up short because it was a real fault of mine. He was saying, "We can be lazy listeners. We want to hear something inspiring, something new, something exciting. We are all wanting to hear that and in the process of hearing that, we are letting a lot of good help go by." That hit me, as I often miss the simple things that I like, the practical help I needed, the nuts and bolts I let it go right by.

Well, I was thinking about the apostles and the experiences with Jesus and how they would look back to some of the times they had with Him and maybe blush at the things they said. For instance, they were in the storm. It was the first time, I believe, they were with Jesus in the ship when there was a storm. We read about that in three of the gospels. He was asleep, remember? The storm came, the boat was tossed, and the water was inside. They woke Jesus and they said, "Careth Thou not that we perish?" We can understand them saying that at this time, but after they had gotten to know Jesus more and after they had become acquitted with the heart of Jesus and after what He had accomplished for them to look back, how could we ever say that He never cared? He cared more than we can ever think, they would blush about that. In the heat of that storm, I just loved the way Jesus, He just calmed them, then the wind ceased and the sea was calm. They wondered, "What manner of Man are You?" Later, they would not say, "What manner of Man are You?" but how can we be loved so greatly by Jesus? Jesus loved them so much.

I was thinking about the storms they were in when Jesus went up to the mountains to pray and He sent them across the sea by themselves. The storms came and He saw them toiling in the rowing. He never came to them till the fourth watch of the night. When He came, they never saw Him as Jesus and they were afraid, they saw Him as a spirit but Jesus said to them, "Be not afraid, it is I." Peter said, "If it be Thou, Lord, let me come to Thee on the water." Peter went down on the water and walked on a very solid faith. I also thought about Peter walking on the water and I often missed the whole reason Peter was in the water. Jesus beckoned Peter, Jesus said, "Come." Sometimes, we hear it used as a light way Peter walking on the water, you know if Jesus beckoned you and called you and there was water between you and Jesus, would you go? If He called you, would you walk like Peter walked on the water? You cannot just go and walk on the water by saying, "I believe," and I believe in the way of God, it will not work, because Jesus has to beckon you, must be called have to be called by Jesus to come. Peter was called to come and we know what happened, when he saw waves and the wind and he got worried about that, he got worried about the storm and he began to sink. He called out to Jesus and Jesus stretched forth His arm and saved him. Jesus always hears our cry. Jesus said to Peter, "Wherefore didst thou doubt, ye of little faith?"

We heard a testimony at convention. A young man said, "I have questions, but I do not have any doubts." I like that. We can have questions at is not wrong; it's about not having any doubts. That is how we want to be, no doubt about it at all. As I was thinking about that, I thought about the beginning of Luke. We read about Zacharias and Elizabeth and their cousin Mary. The Angel came to Zacharias. He told him his wife would conceive and they would have a child and he would call him John. Zacharias said, "How will I know this? I am an old man. How will I know this?" The Angel treated that as if it were a doubt that God would not make this happen as he was too old. The Angel came to Mary and said, "Thou art highly favoured amongst the women. The Lord is with you. Thou shalt conceive." Mary said, "How will I know this will happen? I have no man." The Angel treated that as a question. He just said, "The Holy Ghost will come upon and the power of the highest shall overshadow you." That was just a question. Zacharias had a doubt, he did not think the Lord was able. So we do not want to have any doubts, that is one of the wonderful things about Fellowship this perfect way; it has removed many doubts. Even questions, we get answers and this is wonderful. We do not have to worry about doubt or questions, all we need to worry about is how we get closer to Jesus and how to be more like Jesus, that is our main desire

Now in Psalm 66, "Thou hast tried us as silver is tried." Thought about that - there was a portion in Malachi 3:3, "He shall all sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver and he shall purify the sons of Levi." As we consider the refiner of silver, I was thinking of a refiner working with this lump of potential, you and me. There is some silver here and unwanted dross, so we just need a little more fire and we sit here and we need a little more fire, maybe to polish us. He puts us in and out of the fire to polish us a little more, until He begins to see the image of His Son in the silver. That is what the Lord wants to see in our lives. Are we going to be willing to go through tests that are like the fire, like the polishing good if we could keep that in mind the Lord is looking for the image of His Son in each experience? May God help us in the tests in the year to come.

I liked reading in Psalm 110:7, "He shall drink of the Brook in the way, therefore shall he lift up his head." Remember David went to the Brook and he picked up five smooth stones on his way to meet Goliath. I never thought about that much, the Brook, a little stream that is flowing. It's not a still stream, it is moving fresh clean water. There is a lot in a brook that goes on, you do not see underneath the Brook. Those stones are being moved along, the stones are being rubbed against each other, they are being polished, they are being made smaller that are being made smooth. A little like what is happening to you and me as we walk with God in the service of refreshing, the Brook of the way and the rubbing and polishing, that is in the brook, making us smooth stones. Something that can be used to glorify the Kingdom. I have valued these things and I do not take storms and unexpected experiences very well, but as I look back, I realize God was with me and maybe I have not faced the biggest storm yet. I want to be ready for the storms of life that may cross my way.