Willie Donaldson - Picton Convention - Sunday Morning, June 25, 1950

Isaiah 26:2, Moses brought forth the people to meet with God.

 

A convention is like a time when ships come into a harbour.  A harbour means a lot to ships that are tossed out on a sea.  Sometimes God’s people are battered around by the winds of temptation, persecution, and misunderstanding.  It would be good if we could be repaired as we meet here.  We are glad for these that come into convention with food.  Are we food ships bringing food from afar (Heaven)?  If we went to meeting every time we felt we had food we wouldn’t always be there, but sometimes we get food there to carry forth to help us in days to come.  Moss and barnacles slow a ship’s speed.  Moss is soft and barnacles are hard things.  We sometimes come to convention with moss and barnacles that keep us from enjoying the love of God and hinder our progress.  The boats are turned up to have the hard barnacles scraped off.  Sometimes the Lord turns up the things that are wrong in our lives.  God cannot comfort a person until He cleans them.  We feel comfortable if we are clean.  When the Lord can cleanse us, then we can have a real part with Him.

 

It is a good thing when we come to convention and are able to take stock of our lives and take out the things that don’t pay.  If we keep certain things in our lives, they will only lead to poverty and bankruptcy.  Love, fear, grace, patience, long suffering, and gentleness and peace are things that will pay to keep in our lives.

 

We can go certain places to learn how to improve our houses, gardens etc., but we come here to convention to learn how to improve our lives.  This is more important than land or houses.  It would be sad if we came back year after year and God saw no improvement in us.

 

We can go forth and do better next year as a father told his little boy when he showed no improvement in his report card.  With a little encouragement, his next showed improvement.  Hosea – growing like the vine and growing as the lily.  If a vine is not pruned, it will only go to wood.  Vines – Ezekiel 15 and John 15 – one vine was pruned and one was let go to wood.  God is very gentle as He prunes us.  He knows just how far to go.  If God left us to ourselves, we would do just as human nature would dictate, just as the vine goes to wood.  God wants to cut off the things that will hinder our fruitfulness in His sight.  You and I cannot keep out of another’s life what we are not keeping out of our own.  The greatest lesson we have to learn is to keep our own vineyard.  It is easy to keep out the weeds when the ground is well softened.  The Lord would like to soften our hearts with the  rain from heaven so that he can pull out the weeds.  If the ground is hard, the weeds will break off at the ground and the roots will remain.  Where the water is the foulest, the lily grows the fairest.  As we mix with the people of the world, it is necessary to keep in touch with God.

 

“The righteous will grow like the palm tree.”  One kind of palm tree blooms once in 100 years and then it dies.  It is at its best when the end comes.  The palm tree overcomes its surroundings.  It is not what we are surrounded by, but what we surrender to that counts.  The palm tree grows from within to the outside.  Do we grow like this and do we draw from the secret place or do we draw from our surroundings?

 

Joseph was like a sheaf because He stood upright.  He stood upright when He was tempted and when He was in prison.  He was one who drew from the unseen source.

 

The little maid in the land of Israel was like the palm tree.  She drew from the unseen source and was one who stood upright.  Because of this, her testimony had a great effect.

 

John on the isle of Patmos was another who drew from an unseen source and stood upright.

 

The sweetest dates of all came from the palm tree when it is getting older.  It doesn’t always have such a quantity, but the quality is improved.

 

Anna served God day and night with fastings and prayer.  She served in the dark times and in the bright ones.  Psalms 150, "I will love Thee, O Lord, therefore I will sing praises to Thy name."  As people get older in God’s way, they can love God more.

 

We should be fasting from the wrong things that can so easily come into our lives.

 

“Growing like a cedar in Lebanon.”  The best cedars grow on high ground.  It is a hard, a durable one.  How nice it would be to keep on the high land and grow like the cedar.

 

“Fear not the mountain’s rocky slopes or e’en the valleys dark below.”

 

The cedar doesn’t often blow down because it grows in proportion.  The roots below the ground are as big as the branches above the ground.  Are we growing in proportion so that the winds won’t blow us down, but just help us to take better roots?

 

If a wardrobe is made of cedar, we don’t need to put moth balls in it because it has something in it that keeps insects away.  It is nice to have the qualities in our lives that will keep out insects that will eat in and destroy our lives.

 

Is our faith growing?  Have we more confidence in God than we ever had before?  Does our love toward one another abound?

 

Jesus grew up as a tender plant that needed care and protection.  The life of Christ that is given to us needs care and protection.  If we do this, the Lord will find us with a little improvement in our lives during another year.