The Evening Mouthful

reasoned splutterings & hasty wisdom

Archive for the ‘journal’ Category

The Yellow Balloon: A Personal Parable

with one comment

I wrote this almost a year ago, when I was undergoing a major period of spiritual discovery and renewal. It was original published as part of the Great Expectorations update series, both as an article and in the audio podcast series. Here it is in its original form. I plan on publishing a poem version sometime soon. I’m curious if the parallels to Christian surrender are as clear to others as they are to me.

***

There was once a Yellow Balloon.

There was nothing about it worth noting before it was inflated. It was just a flat, sticky piece of rubber.

One day the balloon was inflated, with helium. It was filled with that heavenly element which caused it to swell and rise – it became instantly an item to be admired, enjoyed: it was pleasing and even valuable. It began rising to the heavens, and got some little way… until it was stopped, tethered to a grubby, ill-mannered boy who would not let go of the string. If the balloon tried floating higher, it was jerked quickly back down, and the boy would insist it was “his balloon.”

The balloon reluctantly decided it was satisfied: it had already been freed once from the astounding worthlessness it once knew, what more could it want? The truth that his beauty was best meant for higher heights faded from his mind all too quickly, and he contented himself with being towed about by the filthy little boy. The boy was his world: it was a small and dirty world, but he told himself he could make the best of it: he must make the best of it.

But gradually the boy’s sweaty, slimy fingers began to dirty the rope: he sometimes handled the rubber of the balloon as well, and got brown fingerprints all over it. The balloon never rose any higher than the string would let it, and he gradually became dirtier and dirtier. His essence as a beautiful yellow balloon never disappeared, but it did become frightfully less apparent. His connection to his tiny, spoiled world, and his dull coating of the earth that covered from his world, masked his inherent qualities, value and purpose.

And then one day the boy grew a little bit older. The beauty of the balloon was well known to him: perhaps better than to anyone else, for the boy still knew what the balloon had looked like when it was new. But now it was wearing old on his fancy, and he decided that the balloon might be a better, more worthwhile balloon if it was seen by other people. He brushed it off, shined it up as best he could, and took it outside to show it off, to see if anyone would notice it.

But no one would: they too had owned balloons, but now none of them held one except the boy. They would glance at him as he walked by, and then go back to their business. The boy waved the balloon about, shouting loudly about its size and colour and magnificence. But it was still tied to a grubby, selfish boy, and people could not notice the balloon without also noticing the repulsive child to which it was tied.

And then the boy looked up and saw the deep blue sky, and billowing white clouds: he saw the golden Sunlight beaming down, and he saw the balloon straining to reach higher. He saw the sky and the Sun and the balloon all of a sudden as one beautiful picture, and the sight caused his grip on the string to loosen.

The balloon shot up into the sky.

The boy was upset for a moment, but then he looked again and saw that the balloon, higher now in the lofts of the sky, made the stunning picture he had just seen even better. He watched the balloon float towards the sun, and realized that as it went higher it became more beautiful, more amazing, more worthy of his attention.

And then he saw something even more magnificent: as the balloon drew even higher towards the fiery orb of the Sun, as it became lost in the glory of the celestial beams, it joined something that the boy had failed to notice when he had been trying to boast about his balloon a few minutes before.

He saw a huge and resplendent cloud, a shimmering swarm, made of many more balloons, hundreds of balloons, of all different colours and sizes and shapes: and they all rose to the sunlight in one giant balloon-shaped cluster, infinitely more awesome and gorgeous and stunning and valuable than any one individual balloon.

Then the boy looked about him, and remembered that all the people he had just tried to impress with his one balloon had all had balloons, and had all likewise let them go.

And, high up in the air, the balloon looked around him. He noticed that some balloons were higher, and some were yet beneath him as they rose to joined the cloud: but they all rose as one towards the glory of Heaven, and as he looked about he realized he could see not only the boy who had been his world, but also the neighborhood where the boy lived, and the river near the town, and the mountains which the river flowed down, and the oceans that the river met at its end. And his world was suddenly so much bigger and cleaner and more beautiful than he had ever imagined it being that he began to grow yet again.

As he flew higher, he began to grow bigger and more wonderful: and the higher he went, the brighter the light of the Sun was through him. The balloons were all swelling and growing brighter and more colourful.

And suddenly, as the entire cloud of balloons reached an amazing, breathtaking height, they all burst.

They had grown so full of light and grown so large and so beautiful that they could no longer remain balloons. Their thin, fragile skin disappeared and was pierced for good and all by the intense and blinding glory of the Sun, and their beauty was absorbed forever in it.

The people down below watched it happen. And the boy did not even remember having the balloon with him before. He would never recollect how the balloon looked in his bedroom, or how it felt to hold the string and look up and see it straining above him. His attention was completely absorbed in the ecstasy and majesty of what he had just seen. After some moments he declared that it was the most amazing and beautiful thing he had ever seen, and ever would see.

And everyone around him nodded in agreement.

The End.

Written by Dave Dueck

January 21, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Posted in fiction, journal

Mindful of the Covenant

leave a comment »

Currently Listening: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (Score)

by Mychael & Jeff Danna

So Psalm 111 is loaded with good promises too. Jeez, this little search could fill volumes. Anyways:

He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion. He hath given meat unto them that fear him: He will ever be mindful of his covenant. He hath shewed his people the power of his works, that he may give them the heritage of the heathen. The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness. He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverent is his name. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.

Hebrews 8 continues the subject of God’s covenant with His people, detailing the promises of His mercy and the coming of the Holy Spirit to believers:

But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises… For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

And lastly, Psalm 141, for someone working 60 hours a week and not really seeing anyone or doing anything outside of his job, is a good reminder for what God is not only capable of doing, but what He really does for us every day!

Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practise wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties. Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities. Our bones are scattered at the grave’s mouth, as when one cutteth and cleaveth wood upon the earth. But mine eyes are unto thee, O GOD the Lord: in thee is my trust; leave not my soul destitute.

Nor shall my soul be destitute when it is filled with Him. Amen.


Written by Dave Dueck

January 21, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Posted in journal, quote

A few promises which have been fulfilled!

with one comment

Read through my daily arsenal of Psalms and Hebrews, these verses jumped out at me in particular. They are full of assurances of God’s work in and towards us, but in the sense that these things have been accomplished already, rather than something to which we look forward. For example, in Psalm 21:

The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah. For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head. He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever. His glory is great in thy salvation: honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him. For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance. For the king trusteth in the LORD, and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be moved.

Now granted, “the king” is in context King David, who is considered to be the true “man after God’s own heart,” but really, are we not all kings and priests through the work of Christ and the coming of the Holy Spirit? As well as sons and daughters of God Himself? But there’s more, Psalm 81:

Thou calledst in trouble, and I delivered thee; I answered thee in the secret place of thunder: I proved thee at the waters of Meribah.

…which He follows up with some good promises for the future:

I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries. The haters of the LORD should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever. He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.

I pray God I hearken to Him when He calls, and submit to His will. Only if I draw unto Him can He satisfy me with the fruits of His promises. Amen.

Written by Dave Dueck

January 21, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Posted in journal, quote

The Promises of Faith

leave a comment »

Continuing the theme of trusting in God’s promises (see previous post), here are a few verses from my devotions the other day which further encouraged me in holding God to His Word. It is going to be my goal in the coming weeks to seek out specific promises of God in His word, both to me and to the children of God in general, and post those promises here. For now, though, here’s what Hebrews has to say.

For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:

That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,
Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.

And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.

~Hebrews 6:10-15

Written by Dave Dueck

January 20, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Posted in journal, quote, regular

God’s Promises – NOT Void!!

leave a comment »

Currently
Lionheart: The Epic Symphonic Score (1987 Film)
Mathilda

I don’t know about anyone else, but I have had the blessing and joyous hope of several promises from God. And it is waaaaaay too easy to second-guess these promises, or to forget about them altogether. I read this passage from Charles Spurgeon’s “Morning & Evening” and was incredibly encouraged by it. I hope you are too. 🙂

“Do as you have said.”
–2 Samuel 7:25

God’s promises were never meant to be thrown aside as waste paper; He intended that they should be used. God’s gold is not miser’s money, but is minted and made to be traded . Nothing pleases our Lord more than to see His promises put into circulation. He loves to see His children bring them up to Him, and say, “Lord, do as You have said.” We glorify God when we plead His promises.

Faith lays hold upon God’s promise and does not delay, saying, “This is a precious promise, but I wonder if it’s true?” Instead, it goes straight to God’s throne and pleads, “Lord, here is what You have promised, ‘Do as You have said.” Our Lord replies, “May it be unto you according to your will.”

In fact, when a Christian grasps a promise, if he doesn’t take it to God, he dishonours Him; but when he hurries to the throne of grace and cries, “Lord, there is no reason to listen to me-except for this, ‘You Yourself have said it;'” It is then that our desires will be granted. Our heavenly Banker delights to cash His own checks. Never let the promise rust. Draw the word of promise out of its casing, and use it with holy violence.

And don’t think that God will be troubled by your persistently reminding Him of His promises. He is more ready to hear than you are to ask. The sun does not weary of shining nor the fountain of flowing. It is God’s nature to keep His promises, so go at once to God’s throne and say, “Lord, do as You have said.”

-Charles Spurgeon, Morning & Evening

Written by Dave Dueck

January 15, 2010 at 6:30 am

Posted in journal, quote

Food for Thought

leave a comment »

Visions of the future and regrets about the past have VERY little to do with reality of the present. They may provide some simple guidance in a mental and even spiritual way, but we have next to no control over our immediate circumstances, which, realistically, are what actually guide our actions, or reactions.

Written by Dave Dueck

November 12, 2009 at 5:09 pm

Posted in journal, regular

Thoughts on Righteousness – Waitsel Smith

leave a comment »

I’ve been reading Mr. Waitsel Smith’s Christian Knighthood articles for some time now, and they are powerful reminders of what it means to be both a servant of Christ and a confident, genuinely masculine man. Today’s article hit particularly close to home because he uses my favourite superhero as an example of the virtue in question, Righteousness. (Those of you who know me well will remember that Superman has been for me a powerful reminder of the righteousness and strength we have within us through the power and grace of Christ.)

I have included here a small portion of Mr. Smith’s article and provided a link for you to read the rest if you so desire.

Cheers!


Righteousness means “doing what’s right” – plain and simple. To be a righteous man or woman should be the goal of every spiritually-minded person. Righteousness is the other virtue talked about in the book of Proverbs, besides wisdom. It is the most god-like of qualities, besides holiness. It is what God imputed to Abraham, “the Father of all believers,” because of his faith. It is the quality the Pharisees envied in Jesus, but never attained themselves. It is what separates “God’s people” from everyone else. It is what we as humans subconsciously crave more than anything else.

The opposite of righteousness is sin, and the opposite of a righteous person is a wicked person. Righteousness can also be called “justice,” which is what the knights of old called it. “Righteousness” and “justice” are used almost interchangeably in scripture. A just man does what’s right, a righteous judge is always just in his judgement. Justice is one of the things God says we should fight for. (Isaiah 1:17; Deuteronomy 10:18, 16:20; etc.)

Like Superman – he fights for truth, justice and the American way (or, freedom). He fights for exactly the same things all the best men and women who have ever lived fought for. Truth is what a free man thinks, justice is what a truthful man does, freedom is what a just man enjoys. The three go hand-in-hand. You lose one of these, you lose all three. If Americans ever lose their love of truth, they’ll lose their justice and their freedom. If they ever lose their love for justice, they’ll lose freedom and truth. If they lose their love of freedom, they’ll lose truth and justice. These are the three things every great civilization, and every great life, is built on.

-Waitsel Smith

Read the rest…

Written by Dave Dueck

July 31, 2009 at 11:42 am

Posted in journal, link, photo, quote