On Christian “Personalities”

There are many in the church today like those the Lord mentioned who love the best seats, etc., etc.  Many years ago, there was apparently an complaint in a religious paper that “Christian workers” weren’t receiving enough honor.  Amy Carmichael wrote a poem responding to all such fleshly pride.

MEDALS AND HONORS?

Medals and lighted titles?  Who but is ashamed
That such, for such as we, should ever be claimed
As our just due?  Perish the paltry plea,
The sordid thought.  Oh how little, how little have we
Done for our kind; that little, how faultily.
And yet what joy to do it!  Has the day
When “The Offscouring of All Things” could be
An apostle’s title wholly passed away?

Ah, but if one among us covets famed
Great Orders – recognitions – let him lay
Close to his heart two ancient words, and say
Them over and over till he be
Somewhat attuned to them:  Gethsemane
The first:  the second, Calvary.

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March Memories: The True God.

The Maker of the Universe
As Man for man was made a curse.
The claims of laws which He had made
Unto the uttermost He paid.

His holy fingers made the bough
Which grew the thorns which crowned His brow;
The nails that pierced His hands were mined
In secret places He designed.

He made the forests whence there sprung
The tree on which His body hung.
He died upon a cross of wood,
Yet made the hill on which it stood.

The sky that darkened o’er His head
By Him, above the earth, was spread.
The sun that hid from Him its face
By His decree was poised in space.

The spear which spilled His precious blood
Was tempered in the fires of God.
The grave in which His form was laid
Was hewn in rocks His hands had made.

The throne on which He now appears
Was His from everlasting years,
But a new glory crowns His brow,
And every knee to Him shall bow.

– F. W. Pitt
_______________

(Originally published March 20, 2013.)

March Memories: “The God of My Salvation.”

(another of our “March Memories.”)

Habakkuk 3:17, 18 (NKJV).

A lot of people have the idea that the Old Testament is all stern and forbidding, but it’s interesting that three of the greatest confessions of faith are found there. It’s true that there is a lot that is strange and even contradictory to our way of thinking, but there are also rays of light which are scarcely matched in the New Testament.

One of these confessions of faith is found in Job 13:15, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”   Another one is found in the actions of Abraham as he went to “sacrifice” his son:  “The lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you,” Genesis 22:5 (emphasis added).  We did a post on this.  The third confession is found in the text at the beginning of this post.

Please remember that not a single one of these confessions was made when the Sun was shining and all was well with the one making the confession.  It’s easy to praise God then.  But Job was  sitting in the shambles of what’s left of his life – children, possessions and health all gone.  All he had left was a wife with no sympathy for his outlook and integrity.  Abraham had to weigh what he was being told to do against the promise of God concerning that very son.  Habakkuk was looking at the coming destruction and dissolution of his beloved nation.  I wonder how many of us could echo their sentiments in similar circumstances.

I was reading and thinking about the verses in Habakkuk one morning, and they almost arranged themselves into verse form.  Here they are –

Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vine.
Though the harvest of the olive fail,
And food be hard to find.
Though the flock may come to nothing,
And no oxen in the stall –
Yet I’ll rejoice in Yahweh:
My joy, my God, my All.

May God bless these thoughts as He has to me.

(Originally published March 5, 2013.)

March Memories: “The Touch of the Master’s Hand.”

(I’m calling March, “March Memories,” in which I plan, Lord willing, to publish posts from the past.  I could simply “reblog” them – a lot less work, but I don’t like the fact that you can only read part of the post, then have to go somewhere else to finish it.  There will probably also be a little editing as I go along.)

I came across this about 65 years ago in a copy of my Grandmother’s “Our Daily Bread.” I was enchanted by it and read it so much that I actually memorized it without meaning to.  It was printed simply as a paragraph and it took me some time to realize that it was actually a poem.  It’s been some time since I’ve seen or heard it, and what follows is largely from memory.  I’ve “updated” it a little and I’m sure it’s not exactly as Myra Brooks Welch wrote it.  My apologies to her.  Anyway, here it is –

Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer scarcely thought it worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin, but he held it up with a smile.
“What am I bidden, good people?” he cried.  “Who’ll start the bidding for me?
“A dollar.  A dollar.  Now two.  Only two?  Two dollars, and who’ll make it three?
“Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three…” – but, no!

From the room far back, a gray-haired man came forward and picked up up the bow.
Then wiping the dust from the old violin and tightening the loose strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet, as sweet as an angel sings.
The music ceased and the auctioneer, with a voice that was quiet and low,
Said, “What am I bid for the old violin?” and he held it up with the bow.

“A thousand!  A thousand!  Do I hear two?  Two thousand, who’ll make it three?
“Three thousand once, three thousand twice, and going and gone,” said he.
The people cheered, but some of them said, “We don’t quite understand.
“What changed it’s worth?”  Swift came the reply, “The touch of a master’s hand.”

And many a man, and woman, too, with a life that’s been battered by sin,
Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd, much like that old violin.
A night of revel, a glass of wine, a game – as they “party on”.
They are “going once,” and “going twice.”  “Going” and almost “gone.”
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd can never quite understand
The worth of a soul, and the change that’s wrought by the touch of the Master’s hand.
__________

I’m so thankful for that touch!

(Originally published February 25, 2013.  edited)

A Death Bed

As I lay sick upon my bed
I heard them say, “In danger.”
The word seemed very strange to me;
Could any word seem stranger?

“In danger” of escape from sin,
Forever and forever?
Of entering that most holy place
Where evil enterest never?

“In danger” of beholding Him,
Who is my soul’s salvation,
Whose promises sustain my soul
In blest anticipation?

“In danger” of soon shaking off
Earth’s last remaining fetter,
And of departing hence to be
With Christ, which is far better?

It is a solemn thing to die,
To face the King Immortal;
And each forgiven sinner should
Tread softly o’er the portal.

But when we have confessed our sins
To Him who can discern them,
And God has given pardon, peace,
Tho’ we could ne’er deserve them,

Then dying is no dangerous thing;
Safe in the Saviour’s keeping,
The ransomed one is gently led
Beyond the reach of weeping.

–  Martha Snell Nicholson

The True God

The Maker of the universe

As man for man was made a curse.

The claims of laws which He had made

Unto the uttermost He paid.

His holy fingers made the bough

Which grew the thorns that crowned His brow;

The nails that pierced His hands were mined

In secret places He designed.

He made the forests whence there sprung

The tree on which His body hung.

He died upon a cross of wood,

Yet made the hill on which it stoood.

The sky that darkened o’er His head

By Him, above the earth, was spread.

The sun that hid from Him its face

By His decree was poised in space.

The spear which spilled His precious blood

Was tempered in the fires of God.

The grave in which His form was laid

Was hewn in rocks His hands had made.

The throne on which He now appears

Was His from everlasting years,

But a new glory crowns His brow,

And every knee to Him shall bow!

– F. W. Pitt

He Will Work It Out

I printed this originally in a church paper in 1971. I don’t know how “old” the poem was then, but the author, Linda Mork of Glide Baptist Church, Glide, Oregon, was 16 years old when she wrote it.  I haven’t googled her or the church, but I would love to know how He has worked it out since then for her.  Anyway, here’s her poem:

In an age of great confusion
When men’s hearts are full of doubt,
My heart hath found the answer,
“The Lord will work it out!”

Though with tears of sorrow and anguish
We must often come to bout,
A trusting heart doth echo,
“The Lord will work it out!”

Men seek, and in their seeking
An answer they may flout;
I know but one true answer,
“The Lord will work it out!”

Though in some great trials and small ones
My faith shall often doubt,
My heart still holds His promise
That He will work it out!
_________

To which I say, “Amen”!