“Increasing our devotion as we remember their last full measure of devotion!”

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Sep 202020
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE; “Increasing our devotion as we remember their last full measure of devotion!”

     Most historians agree that the 272 word speech given by President Abraham Lincoln, on November 19, 1863, to dedicate the Battlefield of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, is one of the greatest speeches of all time. Lincoln said, “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but they can never forge what they did here.  It is for us to be dedicated to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.  It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us-that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion-that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain…that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from  the earth”.  He called the nation never to forget the price that these brave soldiers paid to keep freedom alive.  But that was not the end of the story.  His speech challenged them to increase their devotion to the cause that they gave their last full measure of devotion!  What a worthy challenge.  As we go through the Book of Acts we too will be challenged to never forget the price some early Christians paid to further the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The first martyr was Stephen.  His sacrifice was soon followed by the sacrifice of James, the brother of our Lord.  As the Book of Acts ends we are anticipating the two primary Apostles, Peter and Paul, also “giving their full measure of devotion”.  Both of them do make that sacrifice under the ghastly reign of the maniacal Nero!  Their dedication reminds us of what missionary Jim Eliott said, not long before giving his life in the cause of our dear Lord.  He said, quoting Peter Marshall, “It is not the duration of our life that matters, but the donation!” 

      The giving of the full measure of devotion of Stephen, James, Peter and Paul, encouraged the early Church to follow in their train.  Many were so emboldened that they too would stand for the Lord, come what may, whatever the price, to extend the Gospel of their Blessed Lord.  In the Church of Antioch, where believers where first called Christians, in the year 70 A.D. They had a marvelous pastor by the name of Ignatius,  He was a dynamic, Spirit-filled and godly powerful preacher.  His preaching was turning the entire population of the city to Christ.  So Trajan, the Emperor of Rome, came to visit Antioch to see what was happening there concerning emperor worship-idolatry and heathenism.  He listened to that preacher Ignatius preach.  He saw the throngs turning to the Lord, and forsaking Roman gods and paganism.  He commanded that Ignatius be brought before him.  He sentenced him to be brought to Rome and to be exposed to the wild animals in the Coliseum.  The Coliseum was built about 5 years after the death of the Apostle Paul.  That means it was likely built in 72 A.D. Now the historians tell us that the first Christian to be martyred in the Coliseum was Ignatius, the pastor of the Church of Antioch. In the long journey to Rome he wrote beautiful and inspired letters. They are the treasures of Christendom to this day.  Finally coming to Rome, he was placed , sent out, stood on the sand in the center of that great arena, with tiers with thousands of spectators watching all around.  The cages were opened, and the lions were let loose.  When the leading lion ran omniverously, carnivorously, vicisously, fiercely toward God’s preacher, Ignatius held out his hand, and arm, to the leading lion, and above the crunching sound of bone and tendon, he was heard to declare, “Now I begin to be a Christian!”  That is how we honor those who gave their full measure of devotion.  That is how we increase our devotion.  That is how we honor them, and never forget them!  Willing to join them in bold courage to be faithful unto our Lord at all cost!  Another Christian martyr of the 20th century reminded us that such a commitment is not in vain.  Jim Eliot, who lost his life taking his Lord’s gospel to the Auca Indians of Ecaudor, said, “He is no fool, who gives what he cannot keep, (his life), to gain what he cannot lose, (eternal reward)”.  To honor them we must never forget!  In the words of Rudyard Kipling- ” Lord God of Hosts be with us yet-  Lest we forget, Lest we forget!” (The Recessional).

 Posted by at 2:20 pm

“Be Pedestaled in Triumph”-Robert Browning

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Sep 122020
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “Be Pedestaled in Triumph”-Robert Browning.      Paschal, in his masterpiece Penses, tried to explain why the world in his day, like ours, seems lost in their insatiable pursuit of pleasure at any cost.  He said, “What else does this craving, and this helplessness proclaim but that there was once in man true happiness, […]

 Posted by at 2:19 pm

Radical or Ludicrous Twaddle?

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Sep 062020
 

Pastor’s Perspective: Radical or Ludicrous Twaddle?      John Henry Jowett said, “ministry that costs nothing, accomplishes nothing!”  That statement may be one of the most pertinent comments on the modern evangelical church today.  We have heard our Lord’s commission.  We have committed ourselves to carrying it out, in obedience to His command.  It seems that all […]

 Posted by at 2:18 pm

“Catacombs Conquering the Coliseum”

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Aug 302020
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE:  “Catacombs Conquering the Coliseum”.      Things aren’t always as they appear.  A recent magazine carried an article on the Coliseum in Rome.  It spoke of it as the place where “Christians died for a faith, that is now taken too lightly”.  i.e. “taken for granted”.  We look back to that famous historic amphitheater […]

 Posted by at 2:17 pm

“We have not seen the last of the best!”

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Aug 232020
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “We have not seen the last of the best!” Revivals have been a big part of my life for over six decades.  I was saved in September of 1968.  My parents were saved the next fall, November 1969, during a revival with Gerald Thompson as the Evangelist at the Salem Baptist Church of […]

 Posted by at 2:16 pm

“JESUS SAVES: GET THE MESSAGE OUT ANYWAY YOU CAN…IT STILL HAS POWER TO MEET OUR DEEPEST NEED”

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Aug 162020
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “JESUS SAVES: GET THE MESSAGE OUT ANYWAY YOU CAN…IT STILL HAS POWER TO MEET OUR DEEPEST NEED”.      One of my favorite hymns is the hymn-“JESUS SAVES”.  I’m sure you recall the lyrics. We have heard the joyful sound Jesus Saves! Jesus Saves! Spread the tidings all around Jesus Saves! Jesus Saves! Bear […]

 Posted by at 2:15 pm

“AFTER-CHRISTS…IN TEN THOUSAND PLACES!”

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Aug 092020
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE:  “AFTER-CHRISTS…IN TEN THOUSAND PLACES!”      When Jesus breathed His last breath, and Joseph of Arimathea and Nichodemus claimed His body and buried it in that borrowed tomb everyone-followers and enemies thought that was the tragic end. The Jewish leaders thought they had squashed the crisis that was the greatest threat to Judaism, as […]

 Posted by at 12:56 pm

“DISAPPEARING ACT FOR THE MAGNIFICIENT MAGNET!”

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Aug 022020
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “DISAPPEARING ACT FOR THE MAGNIFICIENT MAGNET!”      Somebody stole the cross. Go figure!  Well that was a news story that got my attention a few years ago.  The missing cross was a six-foot-tall metal structure that was embedded in rock and concrete, and it was perched high upon a Sunrise Rock in the […]

 Posted by at 12:55 pm

THE PRAYER OF CAUSALITY CAN CHANGE OUR VEXING BURDEN INTO BLESSED VICTORY!

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Jul 262020
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE:  THE PRAYER OF CAUSALITY CAN CHANGE OUR VEXING BURDEN INTO BLESSED VICTORY!      Several years ago the New York Herald Tribune told the story of a tragedy involving a Long Island man who began digging his own well, of all days on his birthday!  He had rigged up quite an operation with his […]

 Posted by at 7:34 pm

“Lost Passion-Lost Persuasion”

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Jul 192020
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “Lost Passion-Lost Persuasion”.      One of the great agnostics of all time was Bertrand Russell.  He was a very outspoken enemy of Christ and the Church.  He wrote many books refuting the arguments for Christianity.  Yet, in one of his books he spoke very pointedly to the key to our ministry and mission.  His […]

 Posted by at 8:07 pm