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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Rescue the Perishing

Dwight L. Moody recalled seeing a painting at a Chicago art gallery that he felt was the most beautiful painting he had ever seen. Entitled “Rock of Ages,” it depicted a person clinging with both hands to a cross on a rock in a stormy sea. Later, he saw a similar painting, but this one featured a person clinging to the cross with one hand and reaching down with the other to rescue someone from the churning sea. Moody commented that the second painting surpassed the beauty and significance of the first. Nothing in all of life surpasses the beauty, significance, and joy of rescuing someone who is perishing.

“He who wins souls is wise” (Prov. 11:30).

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Solid Rock

If you haven’t sung “The Solid Rock” recently, why not visit it again? I think its words will strengthen your appreciation of the security you have in Christ. Security is elusive everywhere else. The stock market is shaky, the cost of living is climbing, global terror is unsettling, and humanistic philosophy is empty. Nevertheless, Christ, the Rock, is stable. He is indeed our solid Rock, whereas all other rocks are sham-rocks.

Even when our faith falters, our “Solid Rock” remains stable and secure. We may tremble on the Rock, but the Rock never trembles under us. Jesus gives us meaning in what so often appears to be a meaningless world. He gives direction in an aimless world, indestructible hope in hopeless times, steadfastness in shaky times, and perseverance in perplexing times.

“On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand—
All other ground is sinking sand.”

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day

Today is Earth Day. I don’t plan to bake a cake or send a congratulations card to Planet Earth, but I am thankful for the beauty and bounty of the good land God has given to us. I also realize we live in a fallen world and nature lies under a curse brought on by sin. Observing nature’s beauty and partaking of its enormous bounty, I wonder what Earth would be like if it were not for the curse imposed on it.

Someday I will see firsthand what Earth will be like when Jesus rules the planet. He will restore it to Edenic conditions. The desert will blossom like a rose. Daylight will extend long into the evening. Agricultural productivity will abound. Even the Dead Sea will become a fisherman’s paradise. Animals will abandon their carnivorous savagery. Wars and crime will cease. Peace will prevail. Prosperity will rest in everyone’s grasp. Righteousness will flourish. Health and longevity will exist. Children will play safely in the streets. Submission to the Lord and worship of the Him will be universal. Joy will flow freely.

For a more detailed look at conditions on Planet Earth when Jesus rules as King of kings and Lord of lords, read the following Scriptures and be careful to worship the Creator and not the creation: Isaiah 2:4; 11:1-10; 33:17, 22; 35:5-7; 42:7; 51:11; 60:18; 65:21-25; Ezekiel 47:7-10; Joel 2:23-26; Micah 4:4; Zechariah 6:12, 13; 8:5; 14:7, 16-20; Romans 8:19-22; Revelation 11:15; 20:15; 22:2

Monday, April 21, 2008


The wildfire that had closed the highway I take to Penrose for church is open again. Yesterday morning, on our way to church, Gloria and I witnessed the devastation. Trees, shrubs, and grass have been reduced to a blackened, scorched landscape. We could see the fire had advanced to the east side of the highway. But a prevailing wind from the west had spared the trees, shrubs, fields, and houses on the west side of the highway.

This stark contrast brought to mind the difference the cross makes. All who reject Christ, who died on the cross for our sins, will experience the fire of God’s judgment, but all who receive Him will escape the judgment. The first group will spend eternity separated from God in dreadful darkness. The second group will enjoy God’s presence forever and the indescribable beauty of Heaven.

My comments about grammar brought a request from a member of my ’57 graduating class of Moody Bible Institute. She asked me to cite the difference between healthy and healthful because of the common reference to healthy food. So here is the difference. If we eat healthful food, we are likely to be healthy. Food can’t be healthy, even if it pumps iron!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Hymn for Weary Pilgrims

“Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah” is still one of my favorite hymns, although I haven’t heard a congregation sing it recently. Like most hymns, it is resting in a seldom-used hymnbook in a pew rack or on a shelf in a supplies closet. Choruses have relegated hymns to dusty antiquity.

If anyone knows how to restore grand old hymns to new-generation churches, please let me know. Please do not misunderstand me. I am not opposed to doctrinally sound choruses that lift our hearts to heaven; I simply believe the grand old hymns of the faith belong in our worship services because they echo Biblical teaching and fortify us for life’s challenges.

In the first stanza of “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah,” the writer described himself as a pilgrim through a barren land and weak. But knowing God is mighty, he requested, “Hold me with thy pow’rful hand.” The older I get the better I understand I am a pilgrim on a journey through this spiritually and morally barren world. How much I need God’s strength to complete the journey!

I think I will spend some quality time with an open hymnbook this week.