Gentle Mary – A Timeless Carol

This beautiful song was written by Joseph Cook in 1919.  Mr. Cook was born in England in 1859 but immigrated to Canada where he attended Wesleyan College and McGill University in Montreal.

The lyrics show a progression from wondering if this baby, born to peasants in humble surroundings could really be the Savior of mankind. The answer – just ask those transformed by Him.  Surely the people of Jesus’ day asked this question too. How could a baby in a manger have more power than King Herod, who ruled from nearby palaces and fortresses?

Yet in his humility, Jesus did have more power than Herod. In today’s culture, where the rich are admired and superstars are praised, Jesus is still the humble King who really deserves our adoration. No longer a stranger to the world, people from every nation and ethnic group on earth rejoice at Christmas, singing – “Praise His Name in all the earth, hail the King of glory!”

 Gentle Mary laid her Child
Lowly in a manger;
There He lay, the undefiled,
To the world a stranger:
Such a Babe in such a place,
Can He be the Savior?
Ask the saved of all the race
Who have found His favor.

Angels sang about His birth;
Wise men sought and found Him;
Heaven’s star shone brightly forth,
Glory all around Him:
Shepherds saw the wondrous sight,
Heard the angels singing;
All the plains were lit that night,
All the hills were ringing.

 Gentle Mary laid her Child
Lowly in a manger;
He is still the undefiled,
But no more a stranger:
Son of God, of humble birth,
Beautiful the story;
Praise His name in all the earth,
Hail the King of glory!

 

What the Story of Lazarus Teaches us About Salvation

One of Ta Ethne’s most popular articles was  “What the Virgin Birth Teaches Us About Salvation”, from the introduction of our book, Dominoes: A Dynamic Commentary on Jude.  Today we will supplement that by focusing on Lazarus. You know the story – Lazarus, friend of Jesus, has died and been in the tomb for some days. Jesus appears on the scene and commands him to come out of the grave, which he does, alive and well (John chapter 11). This story, as powerful and compelling as it is, also teaches us something about salvation.

Lazarus is dead. Stone cold dead. Four days dead. He was as dead physically as we are spiritually. Ephesians 2:1 tells us that everyone is dead spiritually and in need of a spiritual resurrection. Dead people cannot do anything. I have pastored over 20 years, worked for 3 years at a funeral home and have been a chaplain for 3 different hospice organizations. I know dead people. I have been around hundreds of them. Dead people don’t do anything except decompose. They cannot heap themselves. Spiritually dead people cannot help themselves either. Just as Lazarus was unaware of life, those spiritually dead are unaware of spiritual life.

Lazarus was commanded to come alive by Jesus. The Spirit of God drew him back to life. Those who are spiritually dead need God’s Spirit to draw them back to life. They need the Spirit to breathe on them and impart new life. Lazarus was bound in grave clothes. They weighed him down. He needed to be freed by someone else. So do we. We need the command of Jesus to have everything that weighs us down removed. Only God’s Spirit can grant life and freedom. It was for this Jesus came – to set the captives free, to heal the broken-hearted and give sight to the blind. Not just physically, but spiritually as well.

Lazarus teaches us that we are totally dependent on Jesus saving us. We cannot save ourselves – we are spiritually dead. We cannot see the blessed Savior to go to Him. We are as blind and bound as Lazarus in a dark tomb wrapped up like a mummy. We have to have Jesus call our name. His sheep, those He calls, will hear His voice. The Spirit will grant them new life, replace their heart of stone with a new heart. The Spirit grants them faith to believe on Jesus, the ability to repent of their sins and the power to live as a Christian from then on.

Just as people were amazed and astounded at Lazarus, transformed from a corpse to a walking, talking, laughing, living man again, they will be just as astounded and amazed to see a sinner, a reprobate changed into a son of God.

That’s a lesson from Lazarus. May we learn from it and share it with those who have never heard of our amazing Lord.

Hymn Devotions Day 37 – Almost Persuaded

 DAY 37 – ALMOST PERSUADED

            Based on the KJV’s translation of Acts 26:28 and a sermon by the Reverend Brundage, Philip Bliss gives us this hymn with a sobering theme. It seems that as he was listening to a sermon, a line was uttered that went, “He who is almost persuaded is almost saved, and to be almost saved is to be entirely lost.” As he reflected on this, he was moved to pen the words to this hymn.

What a sad situation it is, when a person receives a witness of the gospel truth, accepts it as the truth, and still refuses to submit to Christ’s Lordship. How sad to hear from people, “some more convenient day”, not right now, later, perhaps. It is so frustrating to hear people acknowledge the truth but refuse to let it change their lives.

Some are afraid they will have to give up a lifestyle they enjoy, some are afraid of the demands God may make of them. This fear keeps many from following, making the mistake that they can repent right before death and find peace. They forget that death can come unexpectedly and it is too late once they appear before the judgment seat.

It is for this reason the Bible tells us that today is the day of salvation. We are not to harden our hearts to the gospel, not to delay in repenting of our sins and asking God for mercy. Now the invitation is given, we are not guaranteed tomorrow. Whether tomorrow brings death to us or the return of Christ, either way it spells doom for the unbeliever. To delay may be eternally fateful. Sad, sad, their bitter wails as they realize, too late, they missed the invitation. Let us bear down in prayers for those we love before it is too late for them.

 

Lord, there are those I love who are foolishly waiting. They know the truth but have yet to bend their knee to You. Let Your Spirit strive with them still, melt their hard heart and lead them to You I pray.

 

ALMOST PERSUADED by Philip Bliss

 

Almost persuaded now to believe;

Almost persuaded Christ to receive;

Seems now some soul to say,

Go, Spirit, go Thy way

Some more convenient day

On Thee I’ll call

 

Almost persuaded, come, come today;

Almost persuaded, turn not away;

Jesus invites you here

Angels are lingering near,

Prayers rise from hearts so dear;

O wanderer, come!

 

Almost persuaded, harvest is past!

Almost persuaded, doom comes at last!

Almost cannot avail;

Almost is but to fail!

Sad, sad, that bitter wail

Almost, but lost!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hymn Devotions Day 28 – Victory in Jesus

 DAY 28 – VICTORY IN JESUS

               This song has jokingly been referred to as the “Baptist Anthem” as it is a perennial favorite with this denomination. Its appeal is far broader than any one segment of Christianity, however. The author was one of the founding fathers of Southern gospel music, and wrote over 800 songs. This one, composed in 1939, was his last.

Whenever I sing this hymn, I am reminded of the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:56-57:

“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Jesus is our victory! When He saves us He grants us eternal life with God forever. Victory over death. He gives us a new heart, with His Spirit always with us. Victory over loneliness, sin, ungodly desires. Victory over our enemies, victory over our adversary, victory over everything that would or could stand in the way of a deep abiding relationship with our heavenly Father.

It is no wonder this hymn is so popular. It reminds us that we owe everything to Jesus. It is His salvation He gives us, it is His healing power, His cleansing power, His home He is sharing. The focus is solely on Jesus and the provision He has made for those who believe upon Him. What better way to start a day is there, than to focus on Jesus? What greater legacy could a man like Eugene Bartlett give, than to write His greatest song last – for what could possibly top a song that focuses so exclusively on our Savior?

I cannot wait to sing this with him in front of our Lord. This song is our song, the song of redemption.

 

Thank You, Lord, for giving us victory of sin and death. Thank You for purchasing our salvation. Thank You for providing a home with You, so we can enjoy You forever.

VICTORY IN JESUS – Eugene Bartlett, Sr.

 

I heard an old, old story

How a Savior came from glory

How He gave His life on Calvary

To save a wretch like me

I heard about His groaning

Of His precious blood’s atoning

Then I repented of my sins

And won the victory

 

I heard about His healing

Of His cleansing power revealing

How He made the lame to walk again

And caused the blind to see

And then I cried, “Dear Jesus

Come and heal my broken spirit.”

And somehow Jesus came and brought

To me the victory

 

I heard about a mansion

He has built for me in glory

And I heard about the streets of gold

Beyond the crystal sea

About the angels singing

And the old redemption story

And some sweet day I’ll sing up there

The song of victory

 

REFRAIN:

 

O victory, in Jesus, my Savior, forever

He sought me and He bought me

With His redeeming blood

He loved me ere I knew Him

And all my love is due Him

He plunged me, to victory

Beneath the cleansing flood

 

DAY 28

 

Great Quotes From Ages Past #11

The nature of Christ’s salvation is woefully misrepresented by the present-day evangelist. He announces a Savior from Hell rather than a Savior from sin. And that is why so many are fatally deceived, for there are multitudes who wish to escape the Lake of fire who have no desire to be delivered from their carnality and worldliness.

A.W. Pink

Hymn Devotions Day 10 – I Know That My Redeemer Liveth

DAY 10 – I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVETH 

Taken from the words of Job the Wise, the title of this hymn says it all. Because Jesus lives, we have assurance of eternal life. What sets Jesus apart from all other religious teachers is that He rose from the dead, proving Himself to be God.

One day, he is coming back to judge the living and the dead. He will come back to earth to redeem His own and to destroy both our adversary and death itself.

Jesus has promised us that when we die we will go to be with Him in paradise. This gives great assurance and hope to all believers when they stand at death’s doorway. We face the grave with joy, not terror. For us, death has lost its sting and becomes a transition from one home to another. That is why, although we grieve in sorrow for a loved one who has died, we do not mourn as one without hope. We know that we will see our fellow believers again and fellowship with them forever.

Grace and power are definitely in His hand. Power to conquer death. Power to judge all men. Power to traverse the universe. Grace is His to bestow on His children, those who believe in Him for salvation. What a wonderful Savior is Jesus our Lord.

 

Thank you, Lord, for the testimony of Scripture, of the eyewitness accounts of the Resurrected Christ. By this we know and are assured of the conquering of death by Your hand. What a wonderful truth to cling to – You live and are coming back for us. 

 

I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVETH by Jesse Pounds

 

I know that my Redeemer liveth

And on the earth again shall stand

I know eternal life He giveth

That grace and power are in His hand

 

I know His promise never faileth

The Word He speaks, it cannot die

Though cruel death, my flesh assaileth

Yet I shall see Him by and by

 

I know my mansion, He prepareth

That where He is, there I may be

O wondrous thought, for me He careth

And He at last will come for me

 

REFRAIN:

 

I know, I know, that Jesus liveth

And on the earth, again shall stand

I know, I know, that life He giveth

That grace and power are in His hand

 

Hymn Devotions Day 7 – Standing on the Promises

DAY 7  – STANDING ON THE PROMISES

The second verse of this hymn strikes me profoundly. God’s promises cannot fail. The omnipotent, all-knowing Creator God is able to keep every promise He makes. He is trustworthy, He is true. Whenever the storms of doubt and fear howl at me, whenever I am assailed by the knowledge of my own inadequacy, I can stand on God’s promises because He never fails.

There are over 3,000 promises in the Bible. 2 Peter 1:3-4 says this about those precious promises:

“God’s divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises so that through them you may become partakers of His divine nature”

Oh, what a great passage. God gave us these promises of His so that we can partake of His divine nature. He gave them to us so we can live a godly life through our relationship with His perfect Son!

Truly, I am bound to Him eternally and can overcome each day the doubts and fears Satan throws at me by using the Spirit’s Sword, the Holy Word of God. I will resolve to know these promises and to stand on Him. Will you?

 

Lord, help me to study Your Word and find your promises. Help me to hide Your Word in my heart so I will live a godly life and not sin against you. Help me to stand on Your Word.   Amen.

 

STANDING ON THE PROMISES by R. Kelso Carter

 

Standing on the promises of Christ my king

Through eternal ages let His praises ring

Glory in the highest I will shout and sing

Standing on the promises of God

 

Standing on the promises that cannot fail

When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail

By the living Word of God I shall prevail

Standing on the promises of God

 

Standing on the promises I now can see

Perfect present cleansing in the blood for me

Standing in the liberty where Christ makes free

Standing on the promises of God

 

Standing on the promises of Christ, the Lord

Bound to Him eternally by love’s strong cord

Overcoming daily by the Spirit’s sword

Standing on the promises of God

 

Standing on the promises I cannot fall

Listening every moment to the Spirit’s call

Resting in my Savior as my all in all

Standing on the promises of God

 

REFRAIN

 

Standing, standing, standing on the promises of God my Savior

Standing, standing, I’m standing on the promises of God