Aug 2, 2014
The Old Rugged Cross
by Rev. George Bennard
“I was praying for a full understanding for the cross and its plan in Christianity. I read and studied and prayed. I saw Christ and the Cross inseparably. The Christ of the Cross became more than a symbol . . it was like seeing John 3:16 (For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”) leave the printed page, take form and act out on the meaning of redemption. While watching this scene with my mind’s eye, the theme of the song came to me, and with it the melody.” —Rev. George Bennard
“My late husband began writing this song in 1912, and he wrote it over a period of a year. During that year he went through a very severe ‘life test’ which inspired him to write it. He told the story in every state of the Union, except two, Utah and Louisiana.” —Mrs. Hannah Bennard
Rise, let us be going. —Matthew 26:46
In the Garden of Gethsemane, the disciples went to sleep when they should have stayed awake, and once they realized what they had done it produced despair. The sense of having done something irreversible tends to make us despair. We say, “Well, it’s all over and ruined now; what’s the point in trying anymore.” If we think this kind of despair is an exception, we are mistaken. It is a very ordinary human experience. Whenever we realize we have not taken advantage of a magnificent opportunity, we are apt to sink into despair. But Jesus comes and lovingly says to us, in essence, “Sleep on now. That opportunity is lost forever and you can’t change that. But get up, and let’s go on to the next thing.” In other words, let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him.
There will be experiences like this in each of our lives. We will have times of despair caused by real events in our lives, and we will be unable to lift ourselves out of them. The disciples, in this instance, had done a downright unthinkable thing— they had gone to sleep instead of watching with Jesus. But our Lord came to them taking the spiritual initiative against their despair and said, in effect, “Get up, and do the next thing.” If we are inspired by God, what is the next thing? It is to trust Him absolutely and to pray on the basis of His redemption.
Never let the sense of past failure defeat your next step
by Oswald Chambers
Paul was a confident man. During his earlier years, the apostle’s positive attitude came from trusting in his credentials—namely, his background, education, and position. However, his encounter with the Lord (Acts 9:1-6) caused him to realize those things were worth little. So what was the source of his new boldness?
Paul’s relationship with Jesus became the new foundation for his life. Viewing his former ways as a chapter that had ended, he embraced his new life in Christ. Not only did Paul recognize the inadequacy of everything he had previously relied upon—his knowledge, achievement, and authority—but he also relinquished any notion of living independently of God. The apostle became a man of action, who lived his life through total reliance upon the Lord (Gal. 2:20).
Paul’s unwavering trust in God’s faithfulness also played a key role. He believed God’s promise to strengthen and equip him; to guide him in every situation; to meet all his needs; and never to leave him. In facing trials, Paul experienced the power of the Holy Spirit flowing in and through him. Because he took God at His word, he could meet adversity with boldness. His confidence was not in himself but in the Lord’s presence, provision, and power; that’s why it remained strong.
Do you see why we can be confident followers of Christ? What matters isn’t who we are, what we believe about ourselves, or what strengths and abilities we have. Developing a wholehearted trust and reliance on Jesus is what brings about confidence. How much do you trust Him?
“Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.” (Psalm 76:10)
One of the most amazing anomalies in human life is the oft-repeated testimony to God’s grace and power unwittingly rendered by men who would dethrone Him if they could. Biblical examples are numerous.
Joseph’s brothers hated him and sold him into slavery, but “God meant it unto good . . . to save much people alive” (Genesis 50:20). Haman tried to destroy the Jews in the days of Queen Esther; but instead their leader, Mordecai, was elevated to prime minister, and Haman was hanged upon his own gallows. Daniel’s enemies maneuvered him into the lions’ den, but these enemies themselves were later devoured by the animals, and King Darius decreed “that in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever” (Daniel 6:26).
In the awful hour of Satan and the powers of darkness, Jesus died on the cross, but “having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:15). “Why did the heathen rage? . . . the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.” Their plans turned to frustration and rage because all they could do was “whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done” (Acts 4:25-26, 28).
Let men be ever so bitter against God and hateful to His people. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church, and the more His enemies rage, the more will God be glorified. The wrath of man can never prevail against the Lord. It will either be restrained in due season or will be turned into praise, for “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). HMM
But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. —1 Corinthians 12:18
Let us review something here that we probably know: the doctrine of the life and operation of Christian believers on earth—starting with the fact that the Christian church is the body of Christ, Jesus Himself being the Headship of that body. Every true Christian, no matter where he or she lives, is a part of that body, and the Holy Spirit is to the church what our own souls are to our physical bodies. Through the operation of the Holy Spirit, Christ becomes the life, the unity and the consciousness of the body, which is the church. Let the soul leave the physical body and all the parts of the body cease to function. Let the Spirit be denied His place in the spiritual body, and the church ceases to function as God intended….
According to the Bible, the whole body exists for its members and the members exist for the whole body. And that, of course, is the reason God gives gifts, so that the body may profit spiritually and maintain spiritual health and prosperity in its service for Jesus Christ in an unfriendly world.
Lord, I pray today that we in our church might be aware of Your presence, that we might be faithfully exercising the gifts You have
given and that we might be a healthy Body that pleases You. Amen.
For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even her living. Mark 12:44
Before the judgment seat of Christ my service will be judged not by how much I have done but by how much I could have done!
In God’s sight, my giving is measured not by how much I have given but by how much I had left after I made my gift.
Not by its size is my gift judged, but by how much of me there is in it. No man gives at all until he has given all! No man gives anything acceptable to God until he has first given himself in love and sacrifice.
While Christ was the perfect example of the healthy, normal man, He yet did not live a normal life. He sacrificed many pure enjoyments to give Himself to the holy work of moral rescue. His conduct was determined not by what was legitimate or innocent, but by our human need.
He pleased not Himself but lived for the emergency; and as He was, so are we in this world!
It is in view of this that all our Christian service must be evaluated. My old friend Tom Haire, the praying plumber, told me one day that he was going back home for a rest.
“I am preached out,” he said, “and I must wait on the Lord. There are some spiritual matters that I want to get straightened out. I want to appear before the judgment seat now while I can do something about it!”
Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. HEBREWS 10:9
Let us consider three simple things reinforced in the Word of God for those who would discern God’s highest will.
First, be willing to put away known sin!
Second, separate yourself from all of the attractions of the world, the flesh and the devil!
Finally, offer yourself to your God and Savior in believing faith!
God has never yet turned away an honest, sincere person who has come to know the eternal value of the atonement and the peace that is promised through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The only person who will never be cleansed and made whole is the one who insists he or she needs no remedy. The person who comes in faith to God and confesses, “I am unclean; I am sin sick; I am blind,” will find mercy and righteousness and life.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Savior, the Cleanser. He is the Purifier, the Healer. He is the Sight Giver and the Life Giver. He alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life!
Dear Lord, truth seems to be in short supply in our postmodern world today. Help me to be bold but loving in my presentation of Your truth.