Motherhood

By: Billy Sunday

Billy Sunday Dash

Billy Sunday (1862-1935), was a professional baseball player from 1883 to 1891 for Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia teams. He was converted through the street preaching of Harry Monroe of the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago. From 1893 to 1895 was associated with J. Wilbur Chapman. He was an evangelist from 1893 to 1935. It is estimated that over 300,000 people walked the “sawdust trail” to receive Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. (Adapted from “The Wycliffe Biographical Dictionary of the Church,” page 387, Elgin S. Moyer, 1982, ©Moody Press, Chicago, IL)


THE STORY OF MOSES is one of the most beautiful and fascinating in all the world.  It takes a hold on us and never for an instant does it lose its interest, for it is so graphically told that once heard it is never forgotten.

I have often imagined the anxiety with which that child was born, for he came into the world with the sentence of death lagging over him, for Pharaoh had decreed that the male children should die, and the mother defied even the command of the king, and determined that the child should live, and right from the beginning the battle of right against might was fought at the cradle.

Moses’ mother was a slave.  She had to work in the brick yards or labor in the field, but God was on her side and she won, as the mother always wins with God on her side.  Before going to work she had to choose some hiding place for her child, and she put his little sister, Miriam, on guard while she kept herself from being seen by the soldiers of Pharaoh, who were seeking everywhere to murder the Jewish male children.

For three months she kept him hidden, possibly finding a new hiding place every few days.  It is hard to imagine anything more difficult than to hide a healthy, growing baby, and he was hidden for three months.

Now he was grown larger and more full of life and a more secure hiding place had to be found, and I can imagine this mother giving up her rest and sleep to prepare an ark for the saving of her child.

Billy Sunday pitchingI believe the plan must have been formulated in Heaven.  I have often thought God must have been as much interested in that work as was the mother of Moses, for you can’t make me believe that an event so important as that and so far-reaching in its results ever happened by luck or by chance.

Possibly God whispered the plan to the mother when she went to Him in prayer and in her grief because she was afraid the sword of Pharaoh would murder her child.  And how carefully the material out of which the ark was made had to be selected!

I think every twig was carefully scrutinized in order that nothing poor might get into its composition, and in the weaving of that ark, the mother’s heart, her soul, her prayers, her tears, were interwoven. Oh, if you mothers would exercise as much care over the company your children keep, over the books they read and the places they go, there would not be so many girls feeding the red light district, nor so many boys growing up to bad, criminal lives.

And with what thanksgiving she must have poured out her heart when at last the work was done and the ark was ready to carry its precious cargo, more precious than if it was to hold the crown jewels of Egypt.  And I can imagine the last night that baby was in the home.

Probably some of you can remember when the last night came when baby was alive; you can remember the last night the coffin stayed, and the next day the pallbearers and the hearse came.  The others may have slept soundly, but there was no sleep for you, and I can imagine there was no sleep for Moses’ mother.

There are whips and tops and pieces of string
And shoes that no little feet ever wear –
There are bits of ribbon and broken wings
And tresses of golden hair,

There are dainty jackets that never are worn,
There are toys and models of ships;
There are books and pictures all faded and torn,
And marked by finger tips
Of dimpled hands that have fallen to dust –
Yet we strive to think that the Lord is just.

Yet a feeling of bitterness fills our souls;
Sometimes we try to pray,
That the reaper has spared so many flowers
And taken ours away.
And we sometimes doubt if the Lord can know
How our riven hearts did love them so.

But we think of our dear ones dead,
Our children who never grow old,
And how they are waiting and watching for us
In the city with streets of gold.
And how they are safe through all the years
From sickness and want and war.
We thank the great God, with falling tears,
For the things in the cabinet drawer.
 

Others in the house might have slept, but not a moment could she spare of the precious time allotted her with her little one, and all through the night she must have prayed that God would shield and protect her baby and bless the work she had done and the step she was about to take.

Some people often say to me: “I wonder what the angels do: how they employ their time?”. I think I know what some of them did that night. You bet they were not out to some bridge whist party.  They guarded that house so carefully that not a soldier of old Pharaoh ever crossed the threshold.  They saw to it that not one of them harmed that baby.

At dawn the mother must have kissed him goodbye, placed him in the ark and hid him among the reeds and rushes, and with an itching heart and tear dimmed eyes she turned back again to the field and back to the brick yards to labor, and wait to see what God will do.Billy Sunday Card

She had done her prayerful best, and when you have done that you can bank on it that God will not fail you.  How easy it is for God to give the needed help, no matter how hopeless it might seem, if we only believe that with God all things are possible, no matter how improbable.

What unexpected answers the Lord would give to our prayers!  She knew God would help her some way, but I don’t think she ever dreamed that God would help her by sending Pharaoh’s daughter to care for the child; but it was no harder for God to send the princess than it was to get the mother to prepare the ark.  What was impossible from her standpoint was easy for God. Pharaoh’s daughter came down to the water to bathe, and the ark was discovered, just as God wanted it to be, and one of her maids was sent to fetch it.  You often wonder what the angels are doing.  I think some of the angels herded the crocodiles on the other side of the Nile to keep them from finding Moses and eating him up.

You can bank on it all Heaven was interested to see that not one hair of that baby’s head was injured. There weren’t devils enough in Hell to pull one hair out of its head.  You may he sure the angels were not out to some bridge whist party then.  God had something for them to do.

The ark was brought, and with feminine curiosity the daughter of Pharaoh had to look into it to see what was there, and when they removed the cover there was lying a strong, healthy baby boy, kicking up its heels and sucking its thumbs, as probably most of us did when we were boys, and probably as you did when you were a girl.

The baby looks up and weeps, and those tears blotted out all that was against it and gave it a chance for its life.  I don’t know, but I think an angel stood there and pinched it to make it cry, for it cried at the right time. Just as God plans, God always does things at the right time.  Give God a chance – I he may be a little slow at times, but He will always get around in time.

The tears of that baby were the jewels with which Israel was ransomed from Egyptian bondage.  The princess had a woman’s heart, and when a woman’s heart and a baby’s tears meet, something happens that gives the devil cold feet.  Perhaps the princess had a baby that had died, and the sight of Moses may have torn the wound open and made it bleed afresh. But she had a woman’s heart, and that made her forget she was the daughter of Pharaoh and she was determined to give protection to that baby.

Billy Sunday ConversionFaithful Miriam (the Lord be praised for Miriam) saw the heart of the princess reflected in her face. Miriam had studied faces so much that she could read the princess’ heart as plainly as if written in an open book, and she said to her: “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” and the princess said, “Go.”

I see her little feet and legs fly as she runs down the hot, dusty road, and her mother must have seen her coming a mile away, and she ran to meet her own baby put back into her arms and she was being paid Egyptian gold to take care of her own baby.

See how the Lord does things.  “Now, you take this child and nurse it for me and I will pay you your wages.” It was a joke on Pharaoh’s daughter, paying Moses’ mother for doing what she wanted to do more than anything else – nurse her own baby.

How quickly the mother was paid for these long hours of anxiety and alarm and grief, and if the angels know what is going on what a hilarious time there must have been in Heaven when they saw Moses and Miriam back at home under the protection of the daughter of Pharaoh.  I imagine she dropped on her knees and poured out her heart to God, who had helped her so gloriously. She must have said: “Well, Lord, I knew you would help me.  I knew you would take care of my baby when I made the ark and put him in it and put it in the water, but I never dreamed that You would put him back into my arms to take care of, so I would not have to work and slave in the field and make back and be tortured almost to death by fear that the soldiers of Pharaoh would find my baby and kill him.

“I never thought you would soften the stony heart of Pharaoh and make him pay me for what I would rather do than anything else in this world.” I expect to meet Moses’ mother in Heaven, and I am going to ask her how much old Pharaoh had to pay her for the job.  I think that’s one of the best jokes, that old sinner having to pay the mother to take care of her own baby.  But, I tell you, if you give God a chance, He will fill your heart to overflowing.  Just give him a chance.

This mother had remarkable pluck.  Everything was against her, but she would not give up.  Her heart never failed.  She made as brave a fight as any man ever made at the sound of cannon or the roar of musketry. Mothers are always brave when the safety of their children is concerned.

This incident happened out west last summer. A mother was working in a garden and the little one was playing.  The mother heard the child       sitting under a tree in the yard scream; she ran, and a huge snake was wrapping its coils about the baby, and as its head swung around, she leaped and grabbed it by the neck and tore it from her baby and hurled it against a tree.  She is always brave when the safety of her children is concerned.

Fathers often give up.  The old man often goes to boozing, becomes dissipated, takes a dose of poison and commits suicide; but the mother will stand by the home and keep the little band together if she has to manicure her fingernails over a washboard to do it.

If men had half as much grit as the women there would be different stories written about a good many homes.  Look at her work!  It is the greatest in the world; in its far reaching importance it is transcendently above everything in the universe – her task in molding hearts and lives and shaping character.  If you want to find greatness, don’t go toward the throne; go to the cradle, and the nearer you get to the cradle, the nearer to greatness.Billy Sunday by chair

Now, when Jesus wanted to give His disciples an impressive object lesson, He called in a college professor, did he?  Not much.  He brought in a little child and said: “Except ye become as one of these, ye shall in no wise enter the kingdom of God.”

The work is so important that God will not trust anybody with it but a mother.  The launching of a boy or girl to live for Christ is greater work than to launch a battleship.

Moses was a chosen vessel of the Lord and God wanted him to get the right kind of a start, so He gave him a good mother.  There wasn’t a college professor in all Egypt that God would trust with that baby, so He put the child back in its mother’s arms.  He knew the best one on earth to trust with that baby was its own mother.

When God sends us great men He wants to have them get the right kind of a start.  So He sees to it that they have a good mother.  Most any old stick will do for a daddy.  God is particular about the mothers.

And so the great need of this country or any other country is good mothers, and I believe we have more good mothers in America than any other nation on earth.  If Washington’s mother had been like Happy Hooligan’s mother, Washington would have been a Happy Hooligan.

Somebody has said, “God could not be everywhere, so He gave us mothers.” Now there may be no poetry in it, but it’s true that “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world,” and if every cradle was rocked by a good mother, the world would be full of good men as sure as you breathe.  If every boy and every girl today had a good mother, the saloons and disreputable houses would go out of business tomorrow.

A young man one time joined a church and the preacher asked him: “What was it I said that induced you to be a Christian?” Said the young man: “Nothing that I have ever heard you say, but it is the way my mother lived.” I tell you an ounce of example outweighs forty million tons of theory and speculation.

If the mothers would live as they should, we preachers would have little to do.  Keep the devil out of the boys and girls and he will get out of the world.  The old sinners will die off if we keep the young ones clean. The biggest place in the world is that which is being filled by the people who are closely in touch with youth.  Being a king, an emperor or a president is mighty small potatoes compared to being a mother or the teacher of children, whether in a public school or in a Sunday school, and they fill places so great that there isn’t an angel in Heaven that wouldn’t be glad to give a bushel of diamonds to boot to come down here and take their places.

Commanding an army is little more than sweeping a street or pounding an anvil compared with the training of a boy or girl.  The mother of Moses did more for the world than all the kings that Egypt ever had.  To teach a child to love truth and hate a lie, to love purity and hate vice, is greater than inventing a flying machine that will take you to the moon before breakfast.  Unconsciously you set in motion influences that will damn or bless the old universe and bring new worlds out of chaos and transform them to God.

A man sent a friend of mine some crystals from the Scientific American and said: “One of these crystals as large as a pin point will give a distinguishable green hue to 116 hogsheads of water.” Think of it!  Power enough in an atom to tincture 116 hogsheads of water. There is power in a word or act to blight a boy, and through him, curse a community.  There is power enough in a word to tincture the life of that child so it will become a power to lift the world to Jesus Christ.  The mother will put in motion influence that will either touch Heaven or Hell. Talk about greatness!

Oh, you wait until you reach the mountains of eternity, then read the mothers’ names in God’s hall of fame, and see what they have been in the world.  Wait until you see God’s hall of fame; you won’t see any Ralph Waldo Emersons, but you will see women bent over the washtub. I want to tell you women, fooling away your time, hugging and kissing a poodle dog, caressing a “Spitz,” drinking society brandy mash and a cocktail, and playing cards, is mighty small business compared to molding the life of a child.

 

Billy Sunday Family Photo

Tell me, where did Moses get his faith?  From his mother. Where did Moses get his backbone to say “I won’t be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter”? He got it from his mother. Where did Moses get the nerve to say, “Excuse me, please”, to the pleasure of Egypt? He got it from his mother.

You can bank on it that he didn’t inhale it from his dad. Many a boy would have turned out better if his old dad had died before the kid was born. You tell your boy to keep out of bad company. Sometimes when he walks down the street with his father, he’s in the worst company in town.

His dad smokes, drinks and chews.  I would not clean his old spittoon.  Let the hog clean his own trough. Moses got it from his ma.  He was learned in all the wisdom of Egypt, but that didn’t give him the swelled head.

When God wants to throw a world out into space, He is not concerned about it.  The first mile that world takes settles its course for eternity.  When God throws a child out into the world He is mighty anxious that it gets a right start.

The Catholics are right when they say: “Give us the children until they are 10 years old and we don’t care who has them after that.” The Catholics are not losing any sleep about losing men and women from their church membership.  It is the only church that has ever shown us the only sensible way to reach the masses – that is, by getting hold of the children.

That’s the only way on God’s earth that you will ever solve the problem of reaching the masses.  You get the boys and girls started right and the devil will hang a crepe on his door, bank his fires and Hell will be for rent before the Fourth of July.

A friend of mine has a little girl that she was compelled to take to the hospital for an operation.  They thought she would be frightened, but she said: “I don’t care if mamma will he there and hold my hand.”

They prepared her for the operation, led her into the room, put her on the table, put the cone over her face and saturated it with ether, and she said, “Now, mamma, take me by the hand and hold it and I’ll not be afraid”.

And the mother stood there and held her hand.  The operation was performed, and when she regained consciousness they said: “Bessie, weren’t you afraid when they put you on the table?” She said: “No, mamma stood there and held my hand.  I wasn’t afraid.”

There is a mighty power in a mother’s hand.  There’s more power in a woman’s hand than there is in a king’s scepter. And there is a mighty power in a mother’s kiss – inspiration, courage, hope, ambition, in a mother’s kiss.  One kiss made Benjamin West a painter, and the memory of it clung to him through life.  One kiss will drive away the fear in the dark and make the little one brave.  It will give strength where there is weakness.

I was in a town one day and saw a mother out with her boy, and he had great steel braces on both legs, to his hips, and when I got near enough to them I learned by their conversation that wasn’t the first time the mother had had him out for a walk.

She had him out exercising him so he would get use of his limbs.  He was struggling and she smiled and said: “You are doing fine today; better than you did yesterday,” and she stooped and kissed him, and the kiss of encouragement made him work all the harder, and she said: “You are doing great, son,” and he said, “Mamma, I’m going to run: look at me.” And one of his toes caught on the steel brace on the other leg and he stumbled, but she caught him and kissed him, and said: “That was fine, son; how well you did it!”

Now, he did it because his mother had encouraged him with a kiss.  He didn’t do it to show off.  There is nothing that will help and inspire like a mother’s kiss.

If we knew the baby fingers pressed
against the window pane,
Would be cold and still tomorrow, never
trouble us again,
Would the bright eyes of our darling catch
the frown upon our brow?
Let us gather up the sunbeams lying all
around our path.
Let us keep the wheat and roses, casting
out the thorns and chaff!
We shall find our sweetest comforts in the
blessing of today,
With a patient hand removing all the briers
from our way.
 

There is power in a mother’s song, too.  It’s the best music the world ever heard.  The best music in the world is like biscuits – it’s the kind mother makes.  There is no brass band or pipe organ that can hold a candle to mother’s song.  Calve, Melba, Nordica, Eames, SchumannHeink – they are cheap skates compared to mother.  They can’t sing at all.

They don’t know the rudiments of the kind of music mother sings.  The kind she sings gets tangled up in your heart strings.  There would be a disappointment in the music of Heaven to me if there were no mothers there to sing.  The song of an angel or a seraph would not have much charm for me.  What would you care for an angel’s song if there is no mother’s song? The song of a mother is sweeter than that ever sung by minstrel or written by poet.  Talk about sonnets!  You ought to hear the mother sing when her babe is on her breast, when her heart is filled with emotions. Her voice may not please an artist, but it will please anyone who has a heart in him.  The songs that have moved the world are not the songs written by the great masters.  The best music, in my judgment, is not the faultless rendition of these high priced opera singers.

There is nothing in art that can put into melody the happiness which associations and memories bring.  I think when we reach heaven it will be found that some of the best songs we will sing there will be those we learned at mother’s knee.iu-17

There is power in a mother’s love.  A mother’s love must be like God’s love.  How God could ever tell the world that He loved it without a mother’s help has often puzzled me. If the devils in Hell ever turned pale it was the day mother’s love flamed up for the first time in a woman’s heart.  If the devil ever got “cold feet” it was that day, in my judgment. You know a mother has to love her babe before it is born.  Like God, she has to go into the shadows of the valley of death to bring it into the world, and she will love her child, suffer for it and it can grow up and become vile and yet she will love it.

Nothing will make her blame it, and I think, women, that one of the awful things in Hell will be that there will be no mother’s love there. Nothing but black, bottomless, endless, eternal hate in Hell – no mother’s love.

And though he creep through the vilest caves of sin,
And crouch perhaps, with bleared and bloodshot eyes,
Under the hangman’s rope – a mother’s lips
Will kiss him in his last bed of disgrace,
And love him e’en for what she hoped of him.
 

I thank God for what mother’s love has done for the world. Oh, there is power in a mother’s trust. Surely as Moses was put in his mother’s arms by the princess, so God put the babes in your arms, as a charge by him to raise and care for. Every child is put in a mother’s arms as a trust from God, and she has to answer to God for the way she deals with that child.  No mother on God’s earth has any right to raise her children for pleasure.  She has no right to send them to dancing school and haunts of sin. You have no right to do those things that will curse your children.  That babe is put in your arms to train for the Lord. No mother has any more right to raise her children for pleasure than I have to pick your pockets or throw red pepper in your eyes.  She has no more right to do that than a bank cashier has to rifle the vaults and take the savings of the people.  One of the worst sins you can commit is to be unfaithful to your trust. “Take this child and nurse it for me”. That is all the business you have with it.  That is a jewel that belongs to God and He gives it to you to polish for Him so He can set it in a crown. Who knows but Judas became the godless, good-for-nothing wretch he was because he had a godless, good-for-nothing mother?  Do you know?  I don’t.

Who is more to blame for the crowded prisons than mothers?  Who is more to blame for the crowded, disreputable houses than you are, to let your children gad the streets with every Tom, Dick and Harry, or keep company with some little jack rabbit whose character would make a black mark on a piece of tar paper.  I have talked with men in prisons who have damned their mothers to their face.  Why?  They blame their mothers for their being where they are.

“Take the child and nurse it for me, and I will pay you your wages.” God pays in joy that is fireproof, famine proof and devil proof. He will pay you, don’t you worry.  So get your name on God’s payroll.  “Take this child and nurse it for Me, and I will pay you your wages.”

If you haven’t been doing that, then get your name on God’s payroll.  You have been drawing wages from the devil.  Why have you a bleary eyed, sickly, cigarette smoking boy?  Why have you a girl whose reputation is kicked around like a football?  Why?  You have been working for the devil, and see what you have.

“Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will pay you your wages”. Then your responsibility!  It is so great that I don’t see how any woman can fail to be a Christian and serve God.  What do you think God will do if the mother fails?  I stagger under it.  What if, through your unfaithfulness, your boy becomes a curse and your daughter a blight?  What, if through your neglect, that boy becomes a Judas, when he might have been a John or Paul?

Down in Cincinnati some years ago a mother went to the zoological garden and stood leaning over the bear pit, watching the bears and dropping crumbs and peanuts to them.  In her arms she held her babe, a year and three months old.  She was so interested in the bears that the baby wriggled itself out of her arms and she watched those huge monsters rip it to shreds. What a veritable Hell it will be all through her life to know that her little one was lost through her own carelessness and neglect!

“Take this child and raise it for me, and I will pay you your wages.” Will you promise and covenant with God, and with me, and with one another, that from now on you will try, with God’s help, to do better than you ever have done to raise your children for God?

 

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Super Cauliflower is Delicious

Written by: Yves Blouin
with you to the end of the ageAs we reflect on the resurrection, Jesus’ final words in the gospel of Matthew is verse 28:20 NKJV :  “and lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
“Lo” seems like such a blah, unremarkable one syllable, two character word to express the tone and meaning of what Jesus said.  I’m not a biblical scholar by any stretch of the imagination and maybe this word “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” wouldn’t be a good substitute.  A little hard to pronounce for someone like me that is challenged with enunciation.  However, it’s definition of “implying all that is grand, great, glorious, splendid, superb, wonderful” comes close to expressing the original meaning.  “Lo” is like “can you believe it” as in amazement and not a question.  It is a big exclamation mark. exclamation
Other translations use “behold”, “and be sure of this”, “never forget”,  “and remember”.  I like the latter but it would have to be in all uppercase letters – shouting “remember”.  We are now participating in the remembrance supper and it is called this for many reasons including Jesus saying  in Luke 22:19 “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”  We remember Jesus sacrificing his own life so that we could be forgiven our sins but also of his victory over death, his resurrection which gives us hope of our own resurrection and eternal life.  We are also to remember that those of us who have accepted him as our saviour have fellowship with him now and forever as Matthew 28:20 stated.  He has sent us the Holy Spirit, the comforter, to live within us and guide us.
The word “remember” is such a fascinating word to study, especially around his death and resurrection, beginning with the Lord’s supper.  The thief’s declaration “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” really resonates with me.  I’m a sinner in need of grace and I want Jesus to remember me – no matter who forgets us in this life, Jesus has promised us that he would be with us and not forsake us.
As we remember what Jesus has done for us, let’s also know in our hearts that he will never forget us. And thanks to his sacrifice our sins are never to be remembered.  Hebrews 10:16-17  “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
1 John 1:8-10 NKJV – If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
One of the few commandments directly from Jesus that we are given is to remember him and what he did for us.
We thank you Jesus for your willing sacrifice at the cross so that we would have eternal life and that our sins would be remembered no more.victory

Better With Time

Written by: Yves Blouin

Ray

This past January, preacher and teacher Ray Pritchard was cycling and fell when he rode over a patch of ice.  He ended up with a break that incapacitated him and required immobilization pins for an extended period of time. Ray had been trying to update his book “Keep Believing” for over a year but apparently could never find the time. Now it seemed he had all the time in the world and he just re-released it.

 

A friend of mine had been sensing God speaking to him to slow down but he didn’t have the time to do so. One day he was riding his snowmobile at a safe speed and the next thing you know and without warning, it tipped over sideways and he broke some ribs.  Now he had time to slow down.
There are so many stories where what seems like coincidence, could be attributed to God’s grace.  He steps in and intervenes in our lives and what appears as testing, trouble or misfortune is just a step in our spiritual development.
Grinder
To quote one of my friends:  God has stretched me beyond my comfort zone; as there were  some rough edges that I would rather keep, but they are abrasive to others…
I sure can relate, especially when a beloved one that will remain anonymous told me: “You read that many books and you still are a broken, sinful person that loses it!”  Guilty as charged!
Romans 8:31 (NIV) If God is for us, who can be against us?
Let’s look at that verse.
“God”, not just anybody but GOD.
“Is”, not maybe or perhaps but IS. There is certainty.
“For”, he is not against us or couldn’t care less.  He cares.
“Us”, that is everyone of us, including you and me. He is a personal God and cares about us. He orchestrates events for our good, whether we choose to see them as good or bad.
To quote Max Lucado: Had he (God) a calendar, your birthday would be circled. If he drove a car, your name would be on his bumper. If there’s a tree in heaven, he’s carved your name in the bark. We know He has a tattoo, and we know what it says.
Isaiah 49_16
“I have engraved you on the palms of my hands,” He declares. Isaiah 49:16 (NIV)
That’s a lot of tattoos.
Romans 8:31 reinforces what we are told in Romans 8:28 (NKJV) “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
Mark 15:21 (NKJV)  Then they compelled a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, as he was coming out of the country and passing by, to bear His cross.
security
We just read of Simon being pulled out of a crowd to carry Jesus’ cross.  How unfortunate he must have felt.  That reminds me of a time when I was going through airport security with a line up of over a hundred people in one of those lines that looped back a forth several times.  Then out of nowhere, a security agent that was 3 lines away picked me out of the crowd for a special search.  What are the odds?  Do I have a neon sign above my head that says “Pick me, Pick me”?  Did I feel special in a good way, definitely not.
Imagine how special Simon must have felt to be forced to bare part of someone else’s punishment.  This wasn’t just anyone, it was Jesus!  Simon in his misfortune got to share in Jesus’ suffering.  I have never felt as intimate with Christ as when I’m going through trials and sufferings.  The fact that we have such specific details about Simon would lead us to believe that he was in touch with Jesus’ disciples after the crucifixion and possibly became a Christian.  In his misfortune, Simon got to share a very intimate time with Jesus that he would have otherwise missed out on.
We’re told of Jesus in the gardens of Getsamene in Matthew 26:38-42 (NKJV)
Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.”
We may wonder why misfortunes happen to us but why did Christ have to suffer?   As we read even Jesus was hopeful for an alternative plan.   As we think of palm Sunday when Jesus had his triumphal entry into Jerusalem as the people were expecting their Messiah to save them from the Romans rule why couldn’t it have ended there?  Why could he have not avoided the sufferings to come at the cross and started his rule?  Because we needed to be saved from our sin.  God loves us so much that Jesus was sent for us, to die for us, to pay for our sins.
swirly clock
It is good that we take time out of our busy lives to tarry around the Lord’s table to remember what he did for us, the choice he made for our sake.
Thanks you Lord that you oversee our lives.  If we are willing to tarry along with you that spiritual growth will occur.  Thank you for your willing sacrifice that saved us from our sins.

A Most Precious Commodity

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

– Psalm 90:12

Weathered Clock

Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

-James 4:14

Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.  See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

-Ephesians 5:14-17

Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.  Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.  Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

– Colossians 4:3-6

As I ponder over my years, I confess that in my youth, time was seen as a slow moving impediment to finally reach adulthood. And as an adult, time was bartered for the temporary pleasures of this world in the hope that joy would continue beyond the morrow. As the morrow approached and the abundance of time abated, time was finally seen for what it truly is. The most precious of commodities; Traded foolishly during our youth, and in the end, valued above a kings treasure.

~Marc Daguerre

Musing on Hebrews 13:10-16

By: Yves Blouin

Hebrews 13:10-16Hebrews“We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”

As stated; Jesus suffered and died for us outside of Jerusalem on mount Calvary. The location was a high spot so that it could be seen by many; increasing the shame and sending a message to all, that he had been defeated. Little did they know that this was God’s ordained plan. Jesus was to suffer and die in order to redeem us from our sins and give us a new nature.

The old testament required different types of sin offerings but the nation’s sin offering made by the high priest once a year, the one for all sins, was the only one burnt outside the camp on the yearly day of atonement, called Yom Kippur. Yom KippurJesus who is our high priest was crucified outside the camp as God’s sin offering for the entire world. Jesus was both our high priest and our sin offering. This is in contrast to the Jewish high priest who every year had to offer a sacrifice. Jesus offered himself, the perfect sinless lamb of God, as our sin offering once and forever. Only on the day of atonement some of the sacrifice’s blood would be sprinkled by the high priest in front of the curtain used to enter the Holy of Holies where God had a special presence. When Christ died and shed his blood the gospels tell us that the curtain was torn in two from top to bottom given everyone access to Him. The sprinkling of the blood of the sin sacrifice in front of the curtain was no longer required. As Christ said “It is finished”.

When the epistle to the Hebrews was written, the new Jewish believers were struggling with leaving Judaism. They had one foot in Judaism and one in Christianity. Foot in BoatThis passage, especially verse 13 calls for the Jewish believers to leave the comfort of Judaism and in doing so partake of Christ’s shame and disgrace. Jesus was despised and rejected of men – a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. We can find application today outside of Judaism in that before we became Christ’s followers we took comfort in material things, other religions, family, etc. and by going to Christ and following Him we bare His shame. Sometimes it is family or co-workers who ridicule us – I know that some of my family when I became a follower of Christ thought it was a mental phase that I would hopefully get over – 30 years later I still haven’t gotten over it.

This is especially clear in our current political context where all manners of religions and sins are tolerated, endorsed and even promoted except for Christianity which depending on what country you live in is violently attacked or at best ridiculed and politically suppressed. Take the case of the christian Trinity Western university’s attempt at getting it’s law school program accredited. Trinity Western UniversityThe supreme court of Canada ruled this week against it because the way in which the TWU Christian community chooses to live, work and study together, sharing traditional Christian values. Most of us will likely continue struggling to put the source of our comfort and security totally in Christ until we go to meet him, having one foot in the world and one foot in Christianity or maybe just being secret Christians. I know I’m definitely not there but it is a progression and as long as we’re going forth to Christ no matter the struggles, trials or shame then the Holy Spirit is working in us to make us more like Jesus. I love what Spurgeon said “It is but a flea-bite here — and then an eternity of bliss! A moment’s shame and then an eternal honor!”

How are we to respond to Jesus’ sacrifice? One way today’s text tells us is to give God the sacrifice or our lips, thanking him and giving him praise.Worship It is said that at a future time all sacrifices shall cease, but praises shall not cease.

I love that as we are told to thank God with our lips for what he did for us that he follows this with a mandate to do good especially to the needy. Our faith cannot be only declared by our lips but also by our actions to the less fortunate. With such sacrifices God is well pleased.

References:

Spurgeon No. 577: Let Us Go Forth

http://nationalpost.com/feature/the-covenant-and-the-courts-inside-a-christian-universitys-law-school-crusade

https://www.focusonthefamily.ca/content/twu-law-school-the-supreme-court-s-decision

http://nationalpost.com/tag/trinity-western-university