VIDEO When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

Dec 20, 2012

Music video by Bill & Gloria Gaither performing When I Survey the Wondrous Cross featuring Janet Paschal, Sonya Isaacs, Guy Penrod, Becky Isaacs Bowman and David Phelps

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Eulogize the Living God – The Submission of the Believer

praise God
Eulogize the Living God

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. —Ephesians 1:3

In 2005, when American civil rights hero Rosa Parks died, Oprah Winfrey counted it a privilege to eulogize her. Oprah said of the woman who refused to give up her bus seat to a white man in 1955, “I often thought about what that took—knowing the climate of the times and what could have happened to you—what it took to stay seated. You acted without concern for yourself and made life better for us all.”

We often use the word eulogy to refer to the words spoken at a funeral. But it can also refer to other situations where we give high praise to someone. In the opening lines of Ephesians, the apostle Paul eulogized the living God. When he said, “Blessed be the God and Father,” he used a word for “blessed” that means “eulogy.” Paul invited the Ephesians to join him in praising God for all kinds of spiritual blessings: God had chosen and adopted them; Jesus had redeemed, forgiven, and made known to them the mystery of the gospel; and the Spirit had guaranteed and sealed them. This great salvation was purely an act of God and His grace.

Let us continue to center our thoughts on God’s blessings in Christ. When we do, like Paul, we will find our hearts overflowing with a eulogy that declares: “To the praise of His glory.”

Blessed Father, I am overwhelmed by Your grace. My only adequate response is ceaseless praise. Thank You for choosing me, adopting me, redeeming me, forgiving me, and making known to me the mystery of the gospel.

Praise is the song of a soul set free.

By Marvin Williams

The Submission of the Believer

You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. —John 13:13

Our Lord never insists on having authority over us. He never says, “You will submit to me.” No, He leaves us perfectly free to choose— so free, in fact, that we can spit in His face or we can put Him to death, as others have done; and yet He will never say a word. But once His life has been created in me through His redemption, I instantly recognize His right to absolute authority over me. It is a complete and effective domination, in which I acknowledge that “You are worthy, O Lord…” (Revelation 4:11). It is simply the unworthiness within me that refuses to bow down or to submit to one who is worthy. When I meet someone who is more holy than myself, and I don’t recognize his worthiness, nor obey his instructions for me, it is a sign of my own unworthiness being revealed. God teaches us by using these people who are a little better than we are; not better intellectually, but more holy. And He continues to do so until we willingly submit. Then the whole attitude of our life is one of obedience to Him.

If our Lord insisted on our obedience, He would simply become a taskmaster and cease to have any real authority. He never insists on obedience, but when we truly see Him we will instantly obey Him. Then He is easily Lord of our life, and we live in adoration of Him from morning till night. The level of my growth in grace is revealed by the way I look at obedience. We should have a much higher view of the word obedience, rescuing it from the mire of the world. Obedience is only possible between people who are equals in their relationship to each other; like the relationship between father and son, not that between master and servant. Jesus showed this relationship by saying, “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30). “…though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). The Son was obedient as our Redeemer, because He was the Son, not in order to become God’s Son.

by Oswald Chambers

The Grace of God

Romans 5:1-2

Grace is far more than a mealtime prayer. The word communicates the idea of blessing. As children of God, we are the recipients of grace, which is poured out on us by our heavenly Father. Let’s look at how we experience this amazing benefit of His love.

God’s favor is seen in our salvation, as Ephesians 2:8 tells us: “For by grace you have been saved.” The blessing is undeserved and unearned—nothing about us prompted God to save us. He acted purely out of His goodness, sacrificing His precious Son Jesus Christ in our place. In that way, we could be reconciled to the Father and adopted into His family.

Grace is also the sphere in which we live the Christian life. At salvation, we were transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light (Colossians 1:12-13). Here, we live out our new identity as God’s children and carry out His purpose of glorifying Him—both of which result in manifold blessings.

The beauty of grace becomes especially clear when we consider who we once were—a people hostile to the Lord and alienated from Him. We were spiritually dead, living according to our own selfish interests (Ephesians 2:1). But now, through faith in Jesus as our Savior, God has justified us and given us new life. He has declared that we have right standing before Him (Romans 8:1). All of our sins were placed upon Jesus, and His righteousness has been credited to our account permanently.

Picture yourself living in the favor of God. Internalize this truth, and then give Him thanks.

The Prince of Glory

“Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Hebrews 1:3)

One of the most precious hymns of the Christian faith is the work “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” written by Isaac Watts. Let us use its rich rehearsal of truth in poetry to guide our Bible study these next four days.

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

The great King of all creation laid aside aspects of His immortal attributes and became a mortal man so He could die for us. Simultaneously man and God, He endured death for condemned sinners, then He re-entered His lifeless body. The hymn writer called Him the “Prince of glory,” a fitting affirmation on the eternal Son of the Father.

Having once again retaken His created life, the Creator offered us eternal life—a free gift to undeserving sinners. Having paid the sufficient price for all our sin, thereby removing all penalties levied against sinful man, He offered us eternal life also. “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 6:14).

Nothing we do in this life gains us eternity; works are worthless. “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Philippians 3:8). Working for rewards can avail nothing, but rather we look to the cross of our wondrous Christ. JDM

The Major Decision

Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us. —2 Timothy 1:13-14

There is a great decision that every denomination has to make sometime in the development of its history. Every church also has to make it either at its beginning or a little later—usually a little later. Eventually every board is faced with the decision…. Every pastor has to face it and keep renewing his decision on his knees before God. Finally, every church member, every evangelist, every Christian has to make this decision….

The question is this: Shall we modify the truth in doctrine or practice to gain more adherents? Or shall we preserve the truth in doctrine and practice and take the consequences?…

A commitment to preserving the truth and practice of the church is what separates me from a great many people who are perhaps far greater than I am in ability. This is my conviction, long held and deeply confirmed by a knowledge of the fact that modern gospel churches, almost without exception, have decided to modify the truth and practice a little in order to have more adherents and get along better.

We’re under constant pressure to have more adherents, more members, more numbers, Lord. God help me never to modify or compromise to achieve that, but to tenaciously holdfast to my core beliefs and priorities. Amen.

God’s True Prophets Never Applied for the Job

And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? Exodus 3:11

The true minister of the Gospel is one not by his own choice but by the
sovereign commission of God!

From a study of the Scriptures one might conclude that the man God calls seldom or never surrenders to the call without considerable reluctance. The young man who rushes too eagerly into the pulpit at first glance seems to be unusually spiritual, but he may in fact only be revealing his lack of understanding of the sacred nature of the ministry.

The call of God comes with an insistence that will not be denied and can scarcely be resisted. Moses fought his call strenuously and lost to the compulsion of the Spirit within him; and the same may be said of many others in the Bible and since Bible times. Christian biography shows that many who later became great Christian leaders at first tried earnestly to avoid the burden of the ministry; but I cannot offhand recall one single instance of a prophet’s having applied for the job!

The call to witness and serve God comes to every Christian; the call to be a Voice to mankind comes only to the man who has the Spirit’s gift and special enabling. We need not fewer men to show mercy, but we need more men who can hear the words of God and translate them into human speech!

Obedience Is Better

Leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection. HEBREWS 6:1

The writer to the Hebrews long ago pointed out that some professed Christians were marking time and getting nowhere! They had had opportunity to grow—but they had not grown. They had had sufficient time to mature, yet they were still babes.

So, he plainly exhorted them to leave their meaningless religious round and press on to perfection.

It is possible to have motion without progress, and this describes much of the activity among Christians today. It is simply lost motion! It boils down to this—it is possible that we may attend church for a lifetime and be none the better for it. I think we can say that most Christians have no clear end toward which they are striving. On the endless religious merry-go-round they continue to waste time and energy.

A Christian cannot hope for the true manifestation of God while he lives in a state of disobedience. Let a man refuse to obey God on some clear point, and the rest of his religious activity will be wasted. The instructed and obedient Christian will yield to God as the clay yields to the potter and will relish every moment in church!

Lord, help me to clearly understand Your calling and purpose for my life. I don’t want to spin my wheels; I want to serve You effectively.