Home-Made Clouds

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James 1:19

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Home-Made Clouds

Louise stood looking out of the window with unseeing eyes. There was
a troubled expression upon her face. There were tears in her eyes, and
a lump in her throat. What was the trouble? An hour before she had been
singing as blithely as a songbird. Her morning devotion had been sweet.
The presence of God had been with her. The day had started out full of
sunshine, but alas! Now her sky was clouded.

It had all happened in a moment. Her younger brother had been playing
with his dog and had carelessly run against the stand upon which her
flower-pots were sitting and had upset one of the choice plants,
breaking the pot and ruining the flower. Louise saw the happening. How
careless it was of the boy! Quickly a feeling of impatience arose, and
before she realized what she was doing, she had spoken sharply to her
brother and had said hasty words that she immediately regretted. Her
conscience quickly reproved her. She felt bad over the loss of the
flower, but she felt much worse over her hasty words. A dark, heavy
cloud settled upon her. The sunshine was all gone, there was no longer
any song in her heart, but heaviness instead.

Standing there by the window she now meditated over it. Oh, if she had
been more tender! If she had only exercised more self-control! If she
had kept back those hasty words! It was quite true that Tom had been
very careless. Still, she knew that he too loved the flowers. He did
not mean to destroy one. Louise loved Tom, and because of this she felt
all the more deeply what she had done. He was gone now, she knew not
where. She would be glad to apologize to him and beg his pardon if he
were there. She decided that she would tell him as soon as he returned,
and that gave her some satisfaction, but did not take away the cloud.
She thought of how bright the morning and how light and care free her
heart had been! But now her day was clouded, and worst of all, she had
made the cloud herself, by her own haste.

That is often the way it is with us. We make so many of our own clouds
in life. Clouds often come over our lives from the actions of others;
sometimes they come through circumstances that can not be helped;
sometimes they come from Satan himself. Such clouds as these do not
have the effect upon us that our home-made clouds do. The things that
are hardest to bear are the things that we feel we have brought upon
ourselves. These get closer to us than anything else. They have a
sting to them that nothing else has. Many times people do things that
try us; but if we also do or say something hastily at that time, it
will increase our trial and make it more difficult to bear. It will
make the clouds that come all the darker. If we have not been as kind
as we ought to have been, if there has been a sharpness in our words,
or if we have manifested our displeasure at something in a way that
showed our feelings too much, it is sure to bring a cloud over our day.

The more tender our conscience, the more we shall feel these things,
and the more tendency will be to cloud our days. It is true that we
shall feel displeased over things, and it is very natural to manifest
our displeasure in some way. Some people are very impulsive and speak
before they stop to think what they are saying or what result will be,
and thus they are continually making clouds for themselves. There are
times when we must resolutely take hold of ourselves when the feeling
of displeasure comes, as it is sure to do. The will must grapple with
these emotions quickly and not let them get into action. Our wills
were given us to rule ourselves with. When tempted to be unkind or to
be hasty in our words and actions, we should say within ourselves: "I
will not speak hasty words. I will control myself and keep sweet. I
will be patient; I will be kind. I will do as the Lord would have me to
do." Then we should put these resolutions quickly into actions. Instead
of the trial bringing a cloud over us, the fact that we have conquered
ourselves and kept ourselves in the attitude that we should hold toward
God and toward others will make the sunshine all the brighter.

Conquer yourself: set a watch before your lips. If you are of an
impulsive disposition, you may fail again and again, but do not be
discouraged, keep up the fight. You will win in the end. You will
reach at last the place where self-control acts automatically, where
you will think in time. If you fail and the clouds come, endure them
patiently, resolving to do better the next time. Do not let yourself
be crushed under circumstances. Do not let yourself be so discouraged
that you think that there is no use in trying, that you never will
overcome. Keep up the fight: you will yet come out conqueror.

Sometimes people feel that God is leading them to do a certain thing;
they feel strongly impressed to do it. They see an opportunity; then
perhaps through timidity or indecision, they let the opportunity pass by;
and when it is gone they feel bad because they failed to improve it.
How they regret not having done it! If they had another opportunity, they
would not let it slip. But it has gone. In vain do they wish for it
again. They have failed, and that failure brings a dark cloud over them.
It is another home-made cloud. They cannot blame any one else for
it - not even Satan. But they do blame themselves, and sometimes to such
an extent that it takes the joy and sweetness out of the day, and possibly
out of several days. If we have done such things, it does no good to
heap reproaches upon ourselves. That only makes our clouds darker. The
way out is to open our hearts to God and tell Him all about it, asking
Him to help us to be more courageous, more diligent, to take advantage
of our opportunities, and more faithful to follow His leadings. Let us
resolve in our hearts that we will do this, then go cheerfully about it.

Frivolous or foolish conversation or actions sometimes brings clouds
over our sky. The spirit reproves us and we see our faults. To chide and
condemn ourselves does no good. The only profitable thing for us to do
at such times is to be open-hearted and frank toward the Lord and tell
Him about it, to ask His help that we may do better the next time, and to
determine in our hearts that we will do better. I do not mean that we
should get into bondage. God wants us to be free, to live naturally, and
not to live under a strain, but to exercise a proper degree of caution.

I suppose we all have regrets and come more or less short of our ideals
at times. But if we are as careful and as true as we ought to be, we
shall not have so many of these home-made clouds; but if we do have
them, let us bear patiently. It will do no good to chastise ourselves.
The only thing we can do that will be profitable is to trust in the Lord,
and go ahead until the darkness passes away and the sun shines again. Let
us be true to God and hold fast our confidence and our decision to serve
Him and be ready to confess our faults before Him. He will treat our
faults as faults, not as sins. He will not cut us of for such things. He
will have mercy upon us and will show His loving kindness toward us. Let
us therefore trust in Him and make few of those home-made clouds.

~ Author Unknown ~

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Putting Clouds Over The Sun

A little boy was walking down the street rejoicing in the possession
of a bright new penny. He was going to buy some candy with it. He
could almost taste it already, but just then he dropped his penny
upon the sidewalk. An older boy seized it and started off. The
little boy began to cry and demanded his penny, but the other boy
only laughed derisively. It was a mean trick. It spoiled the whole
day for the boy, and ever after when he thinks of the incident, he
will have an unpleasant feeling. The older boy put a dark cloud over
the little fellow's sun that day, and the shadow will be cast upon
him through other days.

A number of persons were sitting in a room talking over a matter.
During the conversation one man made a charge against another,
comparing him half contemptuously with a man whose conduct had been
quite unbecoming.The charge was like a dagger in the man's heart.
He knew it was both untrue and unjust. He was conscious of the
uprightness of his conduct. He had always held the other man in
high esteem, and to be thus publicly wounded by him was almost
unbearable. He made no defense, but he went out of that room with
an aching heart, humiliated and wronged. His friend had put a great
cloud over his sun. Years have passed but the darkness of that
cloud has not yet all passed away. When he thinks of the injustice,
there is still a pang in his heart. He does not feel bitter toward
the other; he has forgiven; but the close tie has been broken. He has
never since been able to confide in the one who did such an injury.

A faithful minister labored for years for souls. He had been succesful;
he had been a blessing to many. One day a certain person spoke of
him half jestingly in a manner that aroused the suspicion of some
others who were present. These suspicion grew till they became open
charges. The minister could not prove them to be false. They hindered
his labors. They bowed down his head with sorrow. Someone had put a
cloud over his sun and over his name, and for years the dark shadow of
it rested upon his life.

How easy it is to put a cloud over some one's sun, to make some life
dark that might have been bright! It may seem only a little thing,
but sometimes a little cloud can make a dark shadow, We may not see
either the cloud or the shadow, but the heart that is darkened both
sees and feels. How many times parents, by unkind words of action,
becloud their children's sky! One way in which parents do this is by
telling the faults of their children to visitors, in the presence of
the children. There is scarcely anything more disheartening to a child
than this. He feels humiliated and hurt. He feels and justly feels,
that he has been mistreated. It sinks down into his souls and rankles
there. It discourages him, and if it is often repeated he comes not
to care if he is at fault. Constant reproof and faultfinding make a
child's life gloomy and sad. That is not the way to cure faults; it
is the way to make then worse.

I once knew a young saint who had a rich experience of salvation.
A certain relative who opposed her religion began finding fault with
her and kept doing so at every opportunity. The result was that that
young life was beclouded and a deep melancholy settled down over her.
Her cheerfulness gave way to sadness and moroseness. The song of joy,
once so often upon her lips, was stilled. Someone had put a cloud
over her sun, and her life was never what it otherwise might have been.

Children may darken the hearts and lives of their parents. How many
times is the mother-heart or father grieved by the conduct of the
children.! It maybe that they are only thoughtless, or they may be
disobedient and wilful. Young people, cherish your parents, try to
make their lives as bright as you can. They have many cares. These
are enough for them to bear without your adding a single one. When
you have grown older and they have gone out of your life, you may look
back with a pang of regret at the times when you caused their hearts
to ache. Brighten their lives while you may; then when you look into
the open grave where Father or Mother is being laid to rest, your
conscience will not smite you.

We are told that "no man liveth unto himself." There is a circle
of influence about our lives that affects every other life that we
touch. We brighten or darken the lives about us. We lighten or make
heavier the burden of others. Every unkind word or look makes a
shadow on some life. Every slighting remark, every sarcastic fling,
every contemptuous smile, puts a cloud over somebody's sun. Lack of
appreciation has darkened many a life. How much better it would be to
take away the clouds to banish the gloom! You can do this just as
easily as you can bring clouds. It is just as easy to speak kind words
as to speak unkind ones, and you will feel much better over it yourself.
You can encourage and help, you can speak words of appreciation.

When people please you, let them know it. When people do well, or
even when they try to do well and fail, you can be cheerful and
courteous and kind. That will make sunshine for others. There are
not enough clouds in life at best in this world of sorrow. Be a
sunshine-bearer. Drop a little good cheer into every life you touch.
No matter what you are by nature, you can form the habit of being
cheerful and encouraging. Even when you have heavy burdens, you can
be encouraging and helpful to others.

Do not let your troubles be mirrored on your face. One's face can
smile and his words can be cheery if his own heart does ache. I am
not writing a mere theory. I know what pain and gloom and heaviness
are. I know what burdens are. During the first few months of my
illness everyone knew how I felt. My face told the story without
words. I finally saw that that would not do, and deliberately set to
work to get the gloom out of my face and out of my words, You who
read what I write know something of my success. You can do the same.

~ C. W. Naylor ~

You can find this and other great articles at:
Heart Talks, a wonderful site owned by Jerry Boyer.

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Broken Dreams

As children bring their broken toys
With tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God
Because He was my friend.

But then instead of leaving Him
In peace to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help
With ways that were my own.

At last I snatched them back and cried,
"How could you be so slow?"
"My child," He said, "What could I do?
You never did let go."

~ Author Unknown ~

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