VIDEO The Old Rugged Cross, Craig Wayne Boyd

Mar 6, 2015

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

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The Rugged Road – The Key of the Greater Work

The Rugged Road
rugged road

Ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16

A fishing buddy of mine told me about an alpine lake located high on the north flank of Jughandle Mountain here in Idaho. Rumor had it that large cutthroat trout lurked up there. My friend got a pencil and scrap of napkin and drew a map for me. Several weeks later I gassed up my truck and set out to follow his directions.

His map put me on one of the worst roads I’ve ever driven! It was an old logging road that had been bulldozed through the forest and never regraded. Washouts, fallen timber, deep ruts, and large rocks battered my spine and bent the undercarriage of my truck. It took half a morning to reach my destination, and when I finally arrived I asked myself, “Why would a friend send me up a road like this?”

But the lake was magnificent and the fish were indeed large and scrappy! My friend had put me on the right road—one I would have chosen myself and patiently endured had I known what I knew at the end.

There is a faithful saying: “All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant” (Ps. 25:10). Some of God’s paths for us are rough and rugged, others tedious and boring, but all are filled with His love and faithfulness. When we come to the end of our journey and know what we then will know, we will say, “God’s path was best for me.”

Father, we don’t see the end of the road, but You do. We trust You for what we can’t see. We know that You are bringing us through it.

Our path may have obstacles, but God will lead us.

By David Roper
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The Key of the Greater Work
wheet stalk

…I say to you, he who believes in Me,…greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. —John 14:12

Prayer does not equip us for greater works— prayer is the greater work. Yet we think of prayer as some commonsense exercise of our higher powers that simply prepares us for God’s work. In the teachings of Jesus Christ, prayer is the working of the miracle of redemption in me, which produces the miracle of redemption in others, through the power of God. The way fruit remains firm is through prayer, but remember that it is prayer based on the agony of Christ in redemption, not on my own agony. We must go to God as His child, because only a child gets his prayers answered; a “wise” man does not (see Matthew 11:25).

Prayer is the battle, and it makes no difference where you are. However God may engineer your circumstances, your duty is to pray. Never allow yourself this thought, “I am of no use where I am,” because you certainly cannot be used where you have not yet been placed. Wherever God has placed you and whatever your circumstances, you should pray, continually offering up prayers to Him. And He promises, “Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do…” (John 14:13). Yet we refuse to pray unless it thrills or excites us, which is the most intense form of spiritual selfishness. We must learn to work according to God’s direction, and He says to pray. “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:38).

There is nothing thrilling about a laboring person’s work, but it is the laboring person who makes the ideas of the genius possible. And it is the laboring saint who makes the ideas of his Master possible. When you labor at prayer, from God’s perspective there are always results. What an astonishment it will be to see, once the veil is finally lifted, all the souls that have been reaped by you, simply because you have been in the habit of taking your orders from Jesus Christ.

It is perilously possible to make our conceptions of God like molten lead poured into a specially designed mould, and when it is cold and hard we fling it at the heads of the religious people who don’t agree with us.Disciples Indeed

OSWALD CHAMBERS

The Best Friend You Will Ever Have

Song of Solomon 5:16

Many of us are familiar with the popular hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” We all agree that the Savior is a great friend, but few of us have an exhaustive knowledge of the heights and depths of His friendship. Let’s consider some of the elements of His relationship with us.

He is committed to us as a friend for life. In fact, this commitment is for more than a lifetime. It’s eternal. He will never leave you or me, no matter what we do. And though life is bound to hold some disappointments, the Lord Himself will never let us down.

He is open and transparent to us at all times. Jesus will show us as much about Himself as we desire to learn and are able to appreciate. He isn’t going to keep from us anything that we need to know about Him.

He is renewing His loving overtures on a daily basis. He knows how to meet our deepest longings, and He’s sensitive to our wants as well as our needs.

He is an inspiring, comforting listener who will never interrupt or be quick to criticize. He attends wholeheartedly to our requests. His eyes are so lovingly fixed on us that His heart hears exactly what we are saying.

What kind of friend is Jesus? John 15:13 answers that question: “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” Because He gave Himself for all people, we as His followers can give ourselves for a few. Who in your circle of influence needs the sacrifice of your time or care? Take time to minister to them and provide for their needs, because there is no greater privilege than being the hands and feet of Jesus.

Watchful Sobriety

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

Several words are used in Scripture to imply spiritual watchfulness, and each has a slightly different meaning. Only as we compare and combine these words do we get the full force of the Scripture exhortations to watchfulness.

One such word is the Greek word agrupneo, translated “watch.” In Mark 13:33 we read, “Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.” The word literally means to be sleepless and comes from two Greek words meaning “to chase” and “sleep.” It implies a purposeful and active state of awareness.

More commonly used is gregoreo. It is a stronger word, meaning to arouse oneself and shake off lethargy, implying activity as on the part of one who is fully awake. “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith” (1 Corinthians 16:13), and “continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2). “Watch ye, therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh” (Mark 13:35).

A third word is nepho, which literally means to abstain from drink which would produce stupor, as well as sleep, and therefore conveys the additional idea of sobriety. By combining the teaching of these three words, we are instructed not only to keep awake but to keep active and to avoid the intoxication of this world’s seductive pleasures.

In our text, we see that we are not only to be sober (nepho) and vigilant (gregoreo), but we also see the reason why. Our “adversary the devil” is a vicious opponent. He stalks us both day and night with brutal cunning. We dare not underestimate him by figuratively closing our eyes in sleep or dulling our senses with intoxicants. “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober” (1 Peter 1:13). JDM

Our Dowry of Everlastingness

As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children. —Psalm 103:15-17

We who follow Christ are men and women of eternity. We must put no confidence in the passing scenes of the disappearing world. We must resist every attempt of Satan to palm off upon us the values that belong to mortality. Nothing less than forever is long enough for us. We view with amused sadness the frenetic scramble of the world to gain a brief moment in the sun….

The church must claim again her ancient dowry of everlastingness. She must begin again to deal with ages and millenniums rather than with days and years. She must not count numbers but test foundations. She must work for permanence rather than for appearance. Her children must seek those enduring things that have been touched with immortality. The shallow brook of popular religion chatters on its nervous way and thinks the ocean too quiet and dull because it lies deep in its mighty bed and is unaffected by the latest shower.

Oh Lord, remind me constantly of this eternal perspective. Amen.

By God’s Call the Minister Is a Man Apart

Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 1 Corinthians 4:1

The Christian Church is God’s witness to each generation, and her ministers are her voice. Through them she becomes vocal. By them she has spoken always to the world, and by them God has spoken to the Church herself.

The testimony of her godly laymen has ever been a mighty aid in the work she seeks to accomplish. But her laymen can never do, and assuredly are not called to do, the work of her ministers. By gift and calling the minister is a man apart.

To be effective the preacher’s message must be alive; it must alarm, arouse, challenge; it must be God’s present voice to a particular people. Then, and not till then, is it the prophetic word and the man himself a prophet.

To fulfill his calling the prophet must be under the constant sway of the Holy Ghost; and further, he must be alert to moral and spiritual conditions. All spiritual teaching should be related to life. It should intrude into the daily and private living of the hearers.

Without being personal, the true prophet will yet pierce the conscience of each listener as if the message had been directed to him alone. Really to preach the truth it is often necessary that the man of God know the people’s hearts better than they
themselves do!

Thus a minister is driven to God for wisdom. He must speak the mind of Christ and throw himself on the Holy Spirit for spiritual power and mental acumen equal to the task.

A Sacred Gift of Seeing

Your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. ACTS 2:17

As God created us, we all have to some degree the power to imagine. That imagination is of great value in the service of God may be denied by some persons who have erroneously confused the word imagination with the word imaginary.

The gospel of Jesus Christ has no truck with things imaginary. The most realistic book in the world is the Bible. God is real. Men are real and so is sin and so are death and hell!

The presence of God is not imaginary; neither is prayer the indulgence of a delightful fancy.

The value of the cleansed imagination in the sphere of religion lies in its power to perceive in natural things shadows of things spiritual. A purified and Spirit-controlled imagination is the sacred gift of seeing—the ability to peer beyond the veil and gaze with astonished wonder upon the beauties and mysteries of things holy and eternal.

The stodgy pedestrian mind does no credit to Christianity!

Lord, thank You for the vision You gave to John, which is recorded in the book of Revelation. What a beautiful picture of heaven he describes! Such a view makes this earthly pilgrimage tolerable.