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Posts Tagged ‘John 15:13’

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying; 

Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save. (1)

Fanny Crosby wrote this hymn, Rescue The Perishing, following a personal experience at the New York City Bowery Mission.  Even though she was a famous Gospel songwriter, she went to the mission regularly to care for the men living there.

She was blind before she was 6 weeks old.  Her father died when she was 3.  She overcame tremendous difficulty, but never forgot that others lived in hardship.  She dedicated the last 25 years of her life to working in Gospel Rescue Missions.  When she died in 1915, she left money in her will to establish a home for homeless men.

Her music was about Jesus’ love for the poor and mercy for the sinner.  Her life reflected her faith in who Jesus was and how Jesus called us to live.

In contrast to her life …. many churches, pastors, and Christians …. seek to live a victorious life, which they believe can only be found in worldly success and excess.

Joel O’Steen’s book, Your Best Life Now, which unfortunately remains a best seller, preaches a prosperity gospel, which claims that God promises prosperity to Christians. The gospel he preaches is in sharp contrast to the one Fanny Crosby lived and Jesus taught.

Oswald Chambers wrote:

It is in the valley that we have to live for the glory of God. It is in the sphere of humiliation that our faithfulness is revealed.  God wants us at the drab commonplace pitch. (2)

While the Majesty of God is revealed in the marvels of creation, the Glory of God is revealed at the cross.

Where are you living out your faith?

Jesus said, “There is no greater love than to give up your life!” (3)

Jesus practiced what He preached.

He wishes the same for you and me.

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  1. Refrain of the hymn Rescue The Perishing, by Fanny J. Crosby, 1820–1915. Music by William Doane.
  2. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year (Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986).
  3. John 15:13
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Set us afire, Lord, stir us, we pray.  

While the world perishes, we go our way, 

purposeless, passionless, day after day.  

Set us afire, Lord, stir us, we pray! (1)

How far do you live beyond yourself?

I am a huge fan of Apple products, but there are two things about the company that bug me.

First , is the initial moniker “i” which identifies their smart phone, tablet computer, music library, and podcast player.

Second, is the “@me.com” network identifier for their email service.

The egocentric nature of these identifying names and titles reminds me that for most of us, our world’s are quite small.  For many the outer limits of our universe is the reach of our arms, or perhaps, the reach of our personal digital imprint.

The Civil Rights Movement has evolved into a Personal Rights Movement.

Community and Team have become secondary to the me, myself, and I.

We have become an entitlement society.

All the while, the world perishes.

When I was a child heroes were those men and women who risked their lives to save others in need.  Today, you are a hero if you have a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame or if you win a Reality TV Show contest.

Instead of loving others and dying for them, we expect others to love us and to die for us.

Jesus said, “There is no greater love than to lay down your life for another!” (2)

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  1. The author of this prayer is unknown, from Kenneth W. Osbeck, Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1996), 267.
  2. John 15:13

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Everywhere love turns, it finds burdens to carry. (1)

I use to have a friend who I loved, as friends love each other, but I dropped the friendship because he became too difficult to love.  Carrying his burdens became more than I could bear.

We have all had this experience, whether with a friend, a spouse, a parent, a child, or a sibling.  It became too much of a burden to love them, so we dropped them.  While we did so with regret, we did so convinced that we had to.

Love brings burdens.  

We all sin and fall short of God’s glory.  None of us are perfect.  

When my wife said, “I do” at our wedding nearly 32 years ago, she knew I was incomplete and imperfect.  Together we agreed to share each other’s burdens in the exchange of these vows:

I will you love you, comfort you, cherish, honor and keep you in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and health, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in whatever our life may bring, as long as we both shall live.

Yes, love brings burdens.  Yet, love also finds ways to carry those burdens either through a season of difficulty or until the burden has been relieved.  

This is where most love fails.  There is a weight limit to the load we are willing to carry.  When we reach the limits of the weight we can or are willing to carry, we cry out, “Loving you is killing me!”

I have wept with others who stand at this crossroads.  I understand the heaviness of the load and the pain and suffering it brings.  

Love is a heavy load.  

Love is a rose set in a bed of thorns, in this setting love is a many-splendored thing. (2)

Jesus said it best, 

“There is no greater love, than to lay down your life for your friends!” (3)

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  1. Luther, Martin; Galvin, James C. (2009-05-19). Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional (p. 171). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. 
  2. This phrase is from the 1955 movie, Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing, which is based on Han Suyin’s 1952 autobiographical novel A Many-Splendored Thing.
  3. John 15:13.

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The jewels of a Christian are his afflictions (1)

We tend to believe that the most Christ-like people are those who love others graciously and generously.  A Christian’s love for others, always receives the praise of the world.

However, the most Christ-like people are those who suffer unjustly because of the sins of others.  In the eyes of the world, we call these people fools, if they suffer quietly and do not seek revenge.

Jesus suffered unjustly because of our sins.  He died on the cross, not to get revenge, but to secure the forgiveness of our sins.  This is suffering love.

Most Christians refuse to suffer.  If suffering comes to us unjustly, we seek to throw it off and we whine to God about the injustice of it all.

Jesus suffered quietly because of our sins.

Jesus considered suffering unjustly and quietly for love’s sake to be the best:

Blessed are those who suffer for righteousness sake.  

Blessed are those who suffer when falsely persecuted.

There is no greater love than to lay down your life for others.

The glory of Jesus is revealed not in His resurrection, but in His crucifixion.

God proves Himself, not by flexing His muscles and revealing His death-defying powers, but in His willingness to suffer, to die, as an innocent man.

In his great hymn about Jesus, Paul writes:

Jesus humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him. (2)

As you move into Holy Week, remember that the most holy day is not Palm Sunday’s Parade, Passover’s Feast, or Easter’s Resurrection.

The crowning jewel, the most holy moment of Holy Week is on Good Friday when Jesus cries out, “It is finished!”

There is no greater … anything ….  than a crown of thorns.

The crown of thorns is a Christian’s halo.

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  1. Charles H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening : Daily Readings, Complete and unabridged; New modern edition. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2006).
  2. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Philippians 2:8–9.

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