VIDEO There is a Fountain

Aug 24, 2008

Ancient hymn of the faith. “There is a Fountain” is performed by Selah. Video clips are from The Passion of the Christ.

[Lyrics]

There is a fountain filled with blood
drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
lose all their guilty stains,
lose all their guilty stains,
lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see
that fountain in his day;
And there may I, though vile as he,
wash all my sins away,
wash all my sins away,
wash all my sins away;
And there may I, though vile as he,
wash all my sins away.

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
and shall be till I die,
and shall be till I die,
and shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme,
and shall be till I die.

Power In Praise

praise God
Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever. —2 Chronicles 20:21

Willie Myrick was kidnapped from his driveway when he was 9 years old. For hours, he traveled in a car with his kidnapper, not knowing what would happen to him. During that time, Willie decided to sing a song called “Every Praise.” As he repeatedly sang the words, his abductor spewed profanity and told him to shut up. Finally, the man stopped the car and let Willie out—unharmed.

As Willie demonstrated, truly praising the Lord requires us to concentrate on God’s character while forsaking what we fear, what is wrong in our lives, and the self-sufficiency in our hearts.

The Israelites reached this place of surrender when they faced attackers. As they prepared for battle, King Jehoshaphat organized a choir to march out in advance of their enemy’s army. The choir sang, “Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever” (2 Chron. 20:21). When the music started, Israel’s enemies became confused and destroyed each other. As the prophet Jahaziel had predicted, Israel didn’t need to fight at all (v.17).

Whether we’re facing a battle or feeling trapped, we can glorify God in our hearts. Truly, “The Lord is great and greatly to be praised” (Ps. 96:4).

Dear God, You are holy and good. I worship You today despite the problems that cloud my vision of You. Let my soul tell of Your glory forever.

Worship is a heart overflowing with praise to God.

By Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Yes You May, Armed Forces Day

I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” Psalm 91:2

This is Armed Forces Day, a time to offer prayer for those who risk their lives to keep us safe. It’s also a good time to recall the radio address Franklin Roosevelt read as he announced the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944. His entire speech was a prayer:

Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity. Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith. They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph….

Oh, that we had national leaders who would lead us in prayer in times like these! Let’s take up the cause and pray earnestly for our Armed Forces today.

And for us at home—fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas—whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them—help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt

Recommended Reading: Psalm 91

The Witness of Creation

“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.” (Revelation 3:14)

This salutation in the last of the seven church epistles in Revelation contains the last of four occurrences of the distinctive phrase “the beginning of the creation.” The glorified Christ here assumes this as one of His divine names. Even God’s work of creation, long since completed (Genesis 2:1-3), had a beginning, and that beginning was Christ. “In the beginning was the Word . . . and . . . all things were made by him” (John 1:1-3).

The first two occurrences of this phrase also come from the lips of Christ. “From the beginning of the creation God made them male and female” (Mark 10:6). This assertion by the Creator, Jesus Christ, quoting Genesis 1:27, makes it unambiguously certain that Adam and Eve were created at the beginning of creation, not after the earth had already existed for 4.6 billion years. God also wrote this plainly on the tables of the law (Exodus 20:8-11). Those evangelicals who accept the geological ages evidently reject this clear statement of the creation’s Creator!

Then Christ also referred to the end-times in the context of the beginning-times. “In those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be” (Mark 13:19).

The phrase is also used in Peter’s very important prophecy concerning the scoffers of the end-times, who will argue (in willful ignorance) that “all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Peter 3:3-4), thereby denying that there ever was a real creation or real Creator and thus rejecting Christ Himself. But He is also the “true witness” and the “Amen,” and such denials will only be “unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16). HMM

The Strength to Finish

God’s purposes are never limited by the expectations of others.
Strength to Finish

Every April in Massachusetts, the third Monday is marked off as a special day on the calendar. Schools are closed, and many businesses as well, in celebration of Patriots’ Day—a New England tradition commemorating the battles of Lexington and Concord, where “the shot heard round the world” was fired.

Last year on Patriots’ Day, there was another shot heard round the world. Footage of an explosion at the Boston Marathon overtook television and computer screens after Chechen brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev detonated two pressure-cooker bombs near the finish line. They killed three people and injured more than 250 others.

As I watched the developing story on TV, my phone buzzed. It was a text from my then-fiancée Laurin: “Are you watching this? Juli’s there . . . somewhere.” Juli Windsor is a friend of ours, but she’s no ordinary marathon runner. She stands just three feet nine inches tall and was poised to become the first little person in history to complete the Boston Marathon. But now, with the dust and debris reaching to the sky and the race shut down to make room for ambulances and police cruisers, Juli would not be able to finish. Not that it mattered now—we just wanted to hear our friend was out of harm’s way. The minutes seemed like hours as we waited for a word, but finally, at just past four in the afternoon, we received a message from her sister-in-law: Juli is safe.

While the world was watching the scene unfold in smoke and tragedy at the finish line, Juli was at the 25.7-mile mark, her legs and back pulsating with pain from the stress of the race on her small frame. When she had just half a mile to go, all runners were stopped and told the race had been canceled— with no further explanation. “Everyone around me started asking ‘Why?’” Juli recalls. “I remember seeing helicopters overhead, and that’s when I knew something serious had happened.”

A Dream Interrupted

Juli began running in the eighth grade, joining the track team to be with friends and not at all because she loved the sport. “I never expected to win,” Juli says. “I always expected to come in last just because I’m small.” Running is particularly difficult on people with dwarfism, since the condition often comes with spinal problems. Dwarfs are especially susceptible to tremendous joint pain after long-distance running.

“I remember the first time I beat someone. My competitive side kicked in, and I was hooked.” Soon after, long-distance running became Juli’s discipline of choice. “I found that with short distances, I couldn’t keep up with the speed, but with longer races, I could combine speed with endurance and compete.”

While she was growing up in the suburbs of Atlanta, the race in New England seemed far away, but Juli has wanted to run the Boston since she first discovered her love for running. “Once you enter the runner’s world, you start caring about the Boston Marathon. It’s a dream and a goal for every runner.”

A couple of years ago, Juli found a list of life goals she’d written during her sophomore year of high school. At the top of the list was “Run the Boston Marathon.” On April 15, 2013, she set out to make her dream a reality, but a ferocious act of terrorism prevented her from crossing the finish line and crossing that goal off her list.

The Perfect Spot

Shortly after Juli and thousands of other runners were stopped, they were evacuated from the marathon route and sent to the Boston Commons—about a mile away—without water to rehydrate or answers to their questions. People offered their mobile phones to runners, but the cellular networks were overloaded. Juli couldn’t reach her husband Blake or anyone else. And when she finally heard the news that there were explosions at the finish line, Juli’s first thoughts were of Blake, who was waiting there with her mother and her mother-in-law.

A few weeks prior to race day, Juli got an overwhelming feeling that something could go terribly wrong at the marathon. She couldn’t shake the thought and began to wonder if perhaps God was speaking to her. “I didn’t want to tell anyone because I didn’t want to freak them out,” Juli says. “The morning of the marathon, I still had this feeling. I thought, If this is the time God has chosen to take me home, that’s okay—I’m ready.” With news of the bombing, she realized her dread had come to life. As she made another unsuccessful attempt to reach her husband, she feared the worst—not for herself, but for Blake.

That morning, amid her preparations for the marathon, Juli talked with Blake on the phone. He had found the perfect spot to watch his bride finish the biggest race of her life—to the left of the finish line. But Juli always runs on the right side of the road, so after some protest, Blake agreed to cross the street. Thankfully, he did. His original location was precisely where the bombs exploded later that day and where two people lost their lives.

Eventually, Juli was able to get in touch with Blake. He was safe, but in the commotion following the bombing, Juli’s mother was pushed to the ground. She was taken to a nearby hospital after suffering a broken shoulder and a black eye. But they were thankful; it could have been far worse.

Discovering God’s Purposes

“The emotions came in waves. There was confusion in the beginning, then panic, and then sorrow and grief for all the people affected,” Juli remembers. “It wasn’t until later that I was able to deal with my personal frustration. I worked so hard to get to that point—16 weeks of training in the snow.” Preparing for a marathon is difficult at any size, but for Juli it’s an amazing feat. She takes one and a half strides for every one taken by a person of average height. Over the course of four months’ training for a 26.2 mile-long racecourse, that’s a lot of extra steps.

But Juli is no stranger to extra steps. She’s taken many over the course of her life. “When I was about five or six years old, I really struggled with being different.” As she tells me this, her voice softens and her words seem more deliberate. “I remember being angry and upset that God made me different.” It’s hard to imagine Juli this way; her smile is the first thing people notice when they meet her. “I remember my sister telling me, ‘If you’re so angry, why don’t you just talk to God about it?’” So Juli did just that.

“My first prayers were not pretty ones, but God answered them,” Juli says. “I felt an overwhelming sense of peace, and I sensed Him speaking to my heart: I love you, and I have a purpose for this.” With these words, the inhibition leaves her voice, and she continues: “God spoke into my life at a very early age. I felt loved, and I knew He had a purpose for my condition. He has a purpose for the way He’s created each of us.”

Juli’s purpose extends far beyond race day. Though she was told her size would render her incapable of working with some patients, Juli proved her critics wrong. She now works as a physician assistant at East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, where she treats boys and girls and leverages her story to tap into their lives. When it comes to young children, Juli has an advantage. “Kids warm up to me easily. I’m not intimidating, so they tell me things they normally wouldn’t tell other people. I wonder if it’s the assumption I’ve had my own challenges and struggles—so they feel more comfortable.” And with older patients, she has an advantage of a different kind: “A lot of adolescents are dealing with issues of self-esteem. They struggle with depression and eating disorders. When they see me being confident in who I am, it helps them to be confident in themselves.”

Juli Windsor does not give up easily. This past winter, she took up training once again, facing the cruel elements of an especially cold season, often racing around snowdrifts that rose above her head—all in preparation for the Boston Marathon. The race was run on April 21, 2014. As it began, the air was somber with the remembrance of those who lost their lives and those who lost limbs. But this year’s marathon was also a celebration of life continuing on—of goodness triumphing over evil. And Juli became the first little person in history to complete the Boston Marathon, finishing with a time of four hours, 43 minutes, and 26 seconds, her accomplishment a testament to God’s goodness.

“When people tell you that you can’t do things, you start to believe them,” Juli admits. “But Christ speaks back into our lives and tells us we can, because He is with us.”

by John Greco

Photography by Webb Chappell

His Ascension and Our Access

door
It came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. —Luke 24:51

We have no experiences in our lives that correspond to the events in our Lord’s life after the transfiguration. From that moment forward His life was altogether substitutionary. Up to the time of the transfiguration, He had exhibited the normal, perfect life of a man. But from the transfiguration forward— Gethsemane, the Cross, the resurrection— everything is unfamiliar to us. His Cross is the door by which every member of the human race can enter into the life of God; by His resurrection He has the right to give eternal life to anyone, and by His ascension our Lord entered heaven, keeping the door open for humanity.

The transfiguration was completed on the Mount of Ascension. If Jesus had gone to heaven directly from the Mount of Transfiguration, He would have gone alone. He would have been nothing more to us than a glorious Figure. But He turned His back on the glory, and came down from the mountain to identify Himself with fallen humanity.

The ascension is the complete fulfillment of the transfiguration. Our Lord returned to His original glory, but not simply as the Son of God— He returned to His father as the Son of Man as well. There is now freedom of access for anyone straight to the very throne of God because of the ascension of the Son of Man. As the Son of Man, Jesus Christ deliberately limited His omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience. But now they are His in absolute, full power. As the Son of Man, Jesus Christ now has all the power at the throne of God. From His ascension forward He is the King of kings and Lord of lords.

by Oswald Chambers

Honor God’s Spirit

Grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. EPHESIANS 4:30

I think there are great numbers of Christian believers who ought to go home and go into their places of prayer and apologize to God for their demeaning attitudes toward the Holy Spirit of God.

Included in their numbers are Bible teachers who are guilty of leading us astray. They have dared to teach Christians that the Holy Spirit will never speak of His own person or position, as though the third Person of the Godhead may be ignored and His ministry downgraded!

Jesus said, “[When He comes] he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak” (John 16:13).

Jesus was actually telling His disciples: The Comforter will not come to stand on His own, to speak on His own authority. He will guide you into all truth—He will speak and act on the authority of the divine Godhead: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

If you do not yield and honor the Holy Spirit, your lives will not show forth the blessed fruits of the Spirit!

Lord, I pray that my life will produce the fruit of Your Spirit today (see Galatians 5:22-23).