Listening to Stories

Since working with hospice as a chaplain, my children have asked me what it is that I actually do. When I was the pastor of a church, my role was easy for them to see. As I speak at conferences and seminars, they often travel with me. Even on mission trips around the globe they have sometimes accompanied me and know what it is that I do while I am gone. As a chaplain, though, they weren’t sure what it was that I do all day.

My answer? I listen to stories. I listen to the stories of people. I listen to the stories of those who are actively, imminently dying. I listen to the stories of their spouses, children and grandchildren. I listen to the stories of those who know them best. And I pray with them. Every person has a story. Everyone’s life tells of who they are, what they dream of, what they value and whether they are ready to stand before God and have their life story read back from His books. People are fascinating. No two are alike. Everyone has a unique story, yet the end of the story is the same for everyone. It is appointed for man once to die, and then the judgement. The beginning may change, the characters may be different, the adventures unique — but the end is the same. We all must stand before God and give an account to Him of our lives and whether we have included His Son Jesus as the central character in our story.

How about you? Are you ready for your story to be read before the Almighty?

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