…and having done all, to stand. Ephesians 6:13
Dudley Tyng preached at a Philadelphia rally on March 30, 1858. Looking over the crowd, he declared, “I would rather this right arm were amputated than that I should come short of my duty to you in delivering God’s message.” Over a thousand men were converted that day. Two weeks later Dudley was visiting the countryside, watching a corn-thrasher. His sleeve got caught, and his arm was torn from his shoulder. When it appeared he was dying, Dudley told his father: “Stand up for Jesus, father; and tell my brethren of the ministry to stand up for Jesus.”
George Duffield, a fellow pastor, was deeply stirred at Dudley’s funeral. The following Sunday he preached from Ephesians 6 about standing firm for Christ. He read a hymn he had written, inspired by Dudley’s words. It said: “Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross.”
God needs people in every era who will stand up for Him. The times are never easy, and sometimes we pay a price when we take a stand. But we are soldiers of the cross. Now is the time for the Church to stand up for its faith.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, stand in His strength alone. George Duffield, in the hymn, “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus”
I have been crucified with Christ… —Galatians 2:20
To become one with Jesus Christ, a person must be willing not only to give up sin, but also to surrender his whole way of looking at things. Being born again by the Spirit of God means that we must first be willing to let go before we can grasp something else. The first thing we must surrender is all of our pretense or deceit. What our Lord wants us to present to Him is not our goodness, honesty, or our efforts to do better, but real solid sin. Actually, that is all He can take from us. And what He gives us in exchange for our sin is real solid righteousness. But we must surrender all pretense that we are anything, and give up all our claims of even being worthy of God’s consideration.
Once we have done that, the Spirit of God will show us what we need to surrender next. Along each step of this process, we will have to give up our claims to our rights to ourselves. Are we willing to surrender our grasp on all that we possess, our desires, and everything else in our lives? Are we ready to be identified with the death of Jesus Christ?
We will suffer a sharp painful disillusionment before we fully surrender. When people really see themselves as the Lord sees them, it is not the terribly offensive sins of the flesh that shock them, but the awful nature of the pride of their own hearts opposing Jesus Christ. When they see themselves in the light of the Lord, the shame, horror, and desperate conviction hit home for them.
If you are faced with the question of whether or not to surrender, make a determination to go on through the crisis, surrendering all that you have and all that you are to Him. And God will then equip you to do all that He requires of you.
The great thing about faith in God is that it keeps a man undisturbed in the midst of disturbance. Notes on Isaiah, 1376 R
Imagine going to a nice restaurant for dinner. The table is set with linens, fine china, and crystal glasses. The waiter delivers your plate with a flourish. In the middle of that exquisite plate is a single marshmallow. What a letdown! Instead of receiving a nutritious, meaty meal, we are left with a puff of sugar and no satisfaction.
If we become lax, our lives can resemble that disappointing meal. Instead of being believers with a weighty message full of hope, we can find ourselves with nothing to offer but a bit of fluffy sweetness. God’s message is meant to nourish and sustain; our family, our friends, and even we ourselves cannot be satisfied by meager provisions. Our Father wants us to have such impact that people will never be the same after we arrive.
If the Lord is building a valuable message into our lives, we must receive everything that comes our way as from Him. When a bad event passes through God’s permissive will to affect us, He will bring good from it. (See Rom. 8:28.) Truthfully, a person can share a message of hope more effectively if he or she has first suffered. When we are hurting, we seek comfort from people who have faced similar hurt. Likewise, others will trust our comfort if we have known pain.
Whatever the circumstances, we should be evaluating what God is doing in us. Like a gem polisher, He will work off our rough edges by running us up against tough experiences and people. When we look for His purposes and lessons, we hasten the time when our life message reflects the hope that is available in Christ Jesus.
“And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:42-43)
One of the most remarkable scriptural passages is that of the “deathbed” conversion of the sinful thief crucified with Jesus. Christ recognized his repentance, forgave his sin, and offered him eternal life as he died. As reflected in the hymn “There Is a Fountain,” salvation comes to sinners who repent, turn from their sin, and believe on Him, without any works involved or strings attached.
The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away.
The “fountain” of blood flowing from the cross produces great rejoicing in those who have acknowledged His lasting work. “With the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19), we can be forgiven and born into His family. We receive the ability for and privilege of living victorious, holy lives. “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Peter 2:24).
All have chosen sin; all deserve judgment. “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). But because of Him, we can be “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33). JDM
Behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth. —Isaiah 40:26
If you will really give yourself to study, you will discover that the Old Testament is a marvelous rhapsody on the natural creation. Start with Moses, and when you get beyond the Levitical order you will find him soaring in his acute consciousness of the presence of God in all of creation.
Go on to the book of Job and in the closing sections you will be amazed at the sublimity of the language describing the world around us.
Then go on to the Psalms and you will find David literally dancing with ecstatic delight as he gazes out upon the wonders of God’s world.
Begin reading in Isaiah and you will find the loftiest imagery. It is neither fanciful nor flighty but a presentation of the wonders of creation as the prophet observed them.
These men, who were some of the holiest and godliest men of that ancient time, revealed in their writings that they were intensely in love with every natural beauty around them. But always they saw nature as the handiwork of an all-powerful, all-wise, glorious Creator.
Lord, I desire to glory in Your creation, not for nature’s sake but because it is the work of a majestic Creator. I bow in wonder before Your mighty hand. Amen.
If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled… not moved away from the hope of the gospel. (Colossians 1:23)
The hope of the Christian church still lies in the purity of her theology, that is, her beliefs about God and man and their relation to each other.
It is a fact that positive beliefs are not popular these days. I sense that the modern efforts to popularize the Christian faith have been extremely damaging to that faith. The purpose has been to simplify truth for the masses by using the language of the masses instead of the language of the church. It has not succeeded, but has added to rather than diminished religious confusion.
A mistaken desire to maintain a spirit of tolerance among all races and religions has produced a breed of Janus-like Christians with built-in swivels, remarkable only for their ability to turn in any direction gracefully!
Our Christian beliefs have been revealed by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the sacred Scriptures. Everything there is clear-cut and accurate. We dare not be less than accurate in our treatment of anything so precious!
Oh! who shall measure the heights of the Saviour’s all-sufficiency? First, tell how high is sin, and, then, remember that as Noah’s flood prevailed over the tops of earth’s mountains, so the flood of Christ’s redemption prevails over the tops of the mountains of our sins. In heaven’s courts there are today men that once were sinners, but they have been washed— they have been sanctified. Ask them whence the brightness of their robes hath come, and where their purity hath been achieved, and they, with united breath, tell you that they have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.