Henry Feyerabend

No Compromise. Man of Integrity

Joseph Stowell tells of a conversation he had with a pastor in the former Soviet Union. "Stalin's reign was the worst time," said the pastor. "I had two KGB agents come to me and say, 'We'll take care of you. You stay the pastor of that church, but once a week give us a report on every one of these Christians. Work for us.'"

"I can't do that to God, and I can't do that to this flock," he replied. So they sent him to a prison camp in Siberia. He endured the forced labor and the cold for ten years. But he did find other Christians in the camp, and God used these believers to fulfill his purposes.

"I was a carpenter building towns for Stalin," said the pastor. "We'd go out in sixty-mile radiuses, and there we would fellowship together. Today there are hundreds of churches in Siberia as a result of these small prisoner fellowship groups."

When men refuse to compromise, they may lose much, but through them God will fulfill His higher eternal purpose. Joseph Stowell, Men of Integrity, 1:1.

More than Seasoning

As every Scot knows, salt must be put into the oatmeal from the start, before cooking, not afterward. In a similar way, Christ can never be added as an afterthought to an already full and committed life. It's possible to attempt to use the Master and His power to fulfill our desires and plans for the people we love and still give Him the one position He will not accept: second place. Lloyd John Ogilvie, "The Heart of God," Christianity Today, 39:8.

Submitting to the Divine Will

O Lord, grant that I may do thy will as if it were my will; so that thou mayest do my will as if it were thy will. Augustine, Leadership, 9:1.

God's Sovereignty and Man's Will

In Knowledge of the Holy, A. W. Tozer attempts to reconcile the seemingly contradictory beliefs of God's sovereignty and man's free will:

"An ocean liner leaves New York bound for Liverpool. Its destination has been determined by proper authorities. Nothing can change it. This is at least a faint picture of sovereignty. On board the liner are scores of passengers. These are not in chains, neither are their activities determined for them by decree. They are completely free to move about as they will. They eat, sleep, play, lounge about on the deck, read, talk, altogether as they please; but all the while the great liner is carrying them steadily onward toward a predetermined port. Both freedom and sovereignty are present here, and they do not contradict. So it is, I believe, with man's freedom and the sovereignty of God. The mighty liner of God's sovereign design keeps its steady course over the sea of history." Douglas G. Gerrard, Leadership, Vol. 6:4.

A God of Variety

Someone has imagined the carpenter's tools holding a conference. Brother Hammer presided. Several suggested he leave the meeting because he was too noisy. Replied the Hammer, "If I have to leave this shop, Brother Screw must go also. You have to turn him around again and again to get him to accomplish anything."

Brother Screw then spoke up. "If you wish, I will leave. But Brother Plane must leave too. All his work is on the surface. His efforts have no depth."

To this Brother Plane responded, "Brother Rule will also have to withdraw, for he is always measuring folks as though he were the only one who is right."

Brother Rule then complained against Brother Sandpaper, "You ought to leave too because you're so rough and always rubbing people the wrong way."

In the midst of all this discussion, in walked the Carpenter of Nazareth. He had arrived to start His day's work. Putting on His apron, He went to the bench to make a pulpit from which to proclaim the gospel. He employed the hammer, screw, plane, rule, sandpaper, and all the other tools. After the day's work when the pulpit was finished, Brother Saw arose and remarked, "Brethren, I observe that all of us are workers together with the Lord."

God is a God of variety. In nature, what a diversity of animals! Every snowflake is different, every fingerprint, every face. Likewise, God is a God of variety in His church. What a diversity of gifts He has bestowed on believers to equip them for service! James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited, pp. 231-232.

I Know Who Holds Tomorrow

A few days before I left home to prepare for the ministry my gray-haired pastor, Rev. Temple, told me this story. I have told it many, many times since, especially in connection with the song, "I Know Who Holds Tomorrow."

"When my son was small, we often walked together out through the fields and neighboring pasture behind the parsonage. At first the little fellow would hold onto my little finger, but he found that when he stepped into a hoof-print or stumbled over something, his grip would fail and down he'd go in the dust or snow. Not giving it much thought, my mind on other matters, I'd stop and he'd get up, brush himself off, and grab my little finger again, gripping a little harder this time.

"Needless to say, this occurred frequently until one day as he was brushing himself off, he looked at me and said, 'Daddy?' I replied, 'Yes, Son, what is it?' He said, T think if you would hold my hand, I wouldn't fall.'"

Pastor Temple turned to me and with a tear in his eye said, "You know, he still stumbled many times after that, but he never hit the ground. Now, as you walk with God, don't try to hold on to Him, let Him hold on to you. You may stumble but He'll never let you fall." James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited, 244.

Despite Blindness

George Matheson was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1842. Before he reached the age of two, it was discovered that his eyesight was defective. He, his parents, and the specialists fought a heroic fight, but before George had finished his course at Glasgow University he was completely blind. With courage and faith he graduated with honors in philosophy, studied for the ministry, and in a few years' time became the minister of one of the largest churches in Edinburgh, where he carried on a memorable ministry. In addition to his laborious preparation of his services he did a great deal of parish visitation, wrote numerous articles and twelve books, and continued his own studies throughout his life.

It must have been heartbreaking for George Matheson's parents to have a strange infection in their baby's eyes lead to his blindness. Yet, in that tragic situation George Matheson found God's resources available for him. God poured into his heart the courage, resourcefulness, and grim perseverance that gave him victory over his handicap. Through it all his faith grew stronger, and after twenty years of blindness he wrote:

O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in Thee!
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in Thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

-James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited, 273, 274.


A man confined to bed because of a lingering illness had on his sunlit windowsill a cocoon of a beautiful species of butterfly. As nature took its course, the butterfly began its struggle to emerge from the cocoon. But it was a long, hard battle. As the hours went by, the struggling insect seemed to make almost no progress. Finally, the human observer, thinking that "the powers that be" had erred, took a pair of scissors and snipped the opening larger. The butterfly crawled out, but that's all it ever did crawl. The pressure of the struggle was intended to push colorful, life-giving juices back into the wings, but the man in his supposed mercy prevented this. The insect never was anything but a stunted abortion, and instead of flying on rainbow wings above the beautiful gardens, it was condemned to spend its brief life crawling in the dust. That gives me the idea that God knows what He is doing. It's a fact that you can depend on Him even when it seems the struggle is hard and meaningless. James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited, p. 20.

The Skilled Blows of God

Many years ago, there was found in an African mine the most magnificent diamond in the world's history. It was presented to the king of England to blaze in his crown of state. The king sent it to Amsterdam to be cut. It was put into the hands of an expert lapidary. And what do you suppose he did with it? He took the gem of priceless value, and cut a notch in it. Then he struck a hard blow with his instrument and lo! the superb jewel lay in his hand cleft in two. Did he do this out of recklessness, wastefulness, and criminal carelessness? Indeed not! For days and weeks that blow had been studied and planned. Drawings and models had been made of the gem. Its quality, its defects, its lines of cleavage had all been studied with minutest care. The man to whom it was committed was one of the most skillful lapidaries in the world.

Was that blow a mistake? No! It was the climax of the lapidary's skill. When he struck that blow, he did the one thing which would bring that gem to its most perfect shapeliness, radiance, and jeweled splendor. That blow which seemed to ruin the superb precious stone was, in fact, its perfect redemption. From those two halves were wrought two magnificent gems which the skilled eye of the lapidary saw hidden in the rough, uncut stone as it came from the mine.

Sometimes, God lets a stinging blow fall upon your life. The blood spurts; the nerves wince. The soul cries out in agony. The blow seems to you an appalling mistake. But it is not, for you are the most priceless jewel in the world to God. And He is the most skilled lapidary in the universe.

Let us beware of questioning the methods and approaches of almighty God. We lie in His hands, and He knows just how to deal with us. James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited, p. 15.


William Barclay notes the following about shepherds: the life of the shepherd was very hard. No flock ever grazed without a shepherd, and he was never off duty. There being little grass, the sheep were bound to wander, and since there were no protecting walls, the sheep had constantly to be watched. On either side of the narrow plateau the ground dipped sharply down to the craggy deserts, and the sheep were always liable to stray away and get lost. The shepherd's task was not only constant but dangerous, for, in addition, he had to guard the flock against wild animals, especially against wolves, and there were always thieves and robbers ready to steal the sheep. Sir George Adam Smith, who traveled in Palestine, writes: "On some high moor, across which at night the hyaenas howl, when you meet him, sleepless, far-sighted, weather-beaten, leaning on his staff, and looking out over his scattered sheep, every one of them on his heart, you understand why the shepherd of Judea sprang to the front in his people's history; why they gave his name to their king, and made him the symbol of providence; why Christ took him as the type of self-sacrifice." Constant vigilance, fearless courage, patient love for his flock, were the necessary characteristics of the shepherd. -William Barclay, Gospel of John.