Hour of Trial

Cindy provided some additional background information regarding James Mongomery in her comment this morning. I spent some time researching James Montgomery and came across some other poems of his. I especially enjoyed this one:

In the Hour of Trial

— James Montgomery

In the hour of trial, Jesus, plead for me,
Lest by base denial I depart from Thee.
When Thou seest me waver, with a look recall,
Nor for fear or favor suffer me to fall.

With forbidden pleasures would this vain world charm,
Or its sordid treasures spread to work me harm,
Bring to my remembrance sad Gethsemane,
Or, in darker semblance, cross-crowned Calvary.

Should Thy mercy send me sorrow, toil and woe,
Or should pain attend me on my path below,
Grant that I may never fail Thy hand to see;
Grant that I may ever cast my care on Thee.

When my last hour cometh, fraught with strife and pain,
When my dust returneth to the dust again,
On Thy truth relying, through that mortal strife,
Jesus, take me, dying, to eternal life.

And then there is this single line from his poem “At Home in Heaven” that I find simply powerful:

Yet nightly pitch my moving tent,
A day’s march nearer home.

With that, good night!

Servant, Well Done!

Cindy over at notes in the key of life shared her feeling and thoughts during her father’s last days here on Earth. He passed away Wednesday. The following is a poem that her mother chose for the funeral program that has really touched me this evening:

Servant of God, Well Done

— James Montgomery

Rest from thy loved employ;
The battle is fought, the vict’ry won,
Enter thy Master’s joy.

The voice at midnight came
He started up to hear
A mortal arrow pierced his frame,
He fell–but felt no fear.

The pains of death are past,
Labor and sorrow cease;
And life’s long warfare closed at last,
His soul is found in peace.

Soldier of Christ, well done!-
Begin thy new employ;
And while eternal ages run,
Rest in they Savior’s joy.”

Amen!

rut vs. grave

The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.

I find as I mature physically I appreciate consistency in ways I never did before. Not being surprised is very pleasant. However, as I ponder the above one-liner I am challenged to consider if my purpose is in fact to be comfortable. I am not talking physically here, but rather spiritually. Do I expect to see God’s moving daily as I expect the sun to rise? Do I assume God is in control and walk as led? Do I use spiritual muscles that I did not even know I had? Am I spiritually sore in the morning, but it’s “that good kind of sore”? Or am I where I was yesterday?

Lord, do not allow me to remain where I was… move me!

Beethoven?

With the kids in Alabama it sure is quiet around here. The kitchen is spotless and my bride and I are running out of things to talk about.

Tomorrow’s Sunday School lesson is on 2 Kings 13. Verses 18 and 19 beg the question, do we settle for limited success in Kingdom work? What would happen if we put our whole heart into our obedient service? Might we be used even beyond our death as Elisha was?

2Ki 13:21 (NIV) Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet.

Or are we more like Beethoven?

When Beethoven passed away, he was buried in a churchyard. A couple days later, a small boy was walking through the cemetery and heard some strange noise coming from the area where Beethoven was buried.

Terrified, the boy ran and got his father to come and listen to it.

His father bent close to the grave and heard some faint, unrecognizable music coming from the grave. Frightened, the father ran and got the town magistrate.

When the magistrate arrived, he bent his ear to the grave, listened for a moment, and said, “Ah, yes, that’s Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, being played backwards.”

He listened a while longer, and said, “There’s the Eighth Symphony, and it’s backwards, too. Most puzzling.”

So the magistrate kept listening; “There’s the Seventh… the Sixth… the Fifth…”

Suddenly the realization of what was happening dawned on the magistrate; he stood up and announced to the crowd that had gathered in the cemetery, “My fellow citizens, there’s nothing to worry about. It’s just Beethoven decomposing.”

Still He Walked

Well, I’m just getting this blog underway and I find myself again running out of time for all I wanted to accomplish today. I must get up for work in about six hours so I’ll take a short cut and fill this first entry with something I did not write but find very poignant.

But Still He Walked

— Author Unknown [Thanks to Dwayne at GodsWork]

He could hear the crowds screaming “crucify” “crucify”
He could hear the hatred in their voices,
These were His chosen people.
He loved them, And they were going to crucify Him.
He was beaten, bleeding and weakened…His heart was broken,
But still He walked.

He could see the crowd as He came from the palace.
He knew each of their faces so well.
He had created them.
He knew every smile, laugh, and shed tear,
But now they were contorted with rage and anger…His heart broke,
But still He walked.

Was he scared?
You and I would have been,
So His humanness would have mandated that He was. He felt alone.
His disciples had left, denied, and even betrayed Him.
He searched the crowd for a loving face and He saw very few.
Then He turned His eyes to the only one that mattered
And He knew that He would never be alone.
He looked back at the crowd, at the people who were spitting
At Him, throwing rocks at Him and mocking Him and He knew
That because of Him, they would never be alone.
So for them, He walked.

The sounds of the hammer striking the spikes echoed through
The crowd. The sounds of His cries echoed even louder,
The cheers of the crowd, as His hands and feet
Were nailed to the cross, intensified with each blow.
Loudest of all was the still small voice inside His
Heart that whispered “I am with you, my Son”,
And God’s heart broke.
He had let His Son walk.

Jesus could have asked God to end His suffering,
But instead He asked God to forgive.
Not to forgive Him, but to forgive the ones who were persecuting Him.
As He hung on that cross, dying an unimaginable death,
He looked out and saw, not only the faces in the crowd,
But also, the face of every person yet to be,
And His heart filled with love.
As His body was dying, His heart was alive.
Alive with the limitless, unconditional love He feels for each of us.
That is why He walked.

When I forget how much My God loves me,
I remember His walk.
When I wonder if I can be forgiven,
I remember His walk.
When I need reminding of how to live like Christ,
I think of His walk.
And to show Him how much I love Him,
I wake up each morning, turn my eyes to Jesus,
And I walk.