“Look to that precious standard of life…never to be wrested from our hands”.

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Mar 032019
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “Look to that precious standard of life…never to be wrested from our hands”.       By:  Ron Woodrum

One of the greatest preachers of all human history was Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Each Sunday his sermons were telegraphed and printed to most of the major cities of the world. They were printed and passed out like gospel tracts, which indeed they were. Unnumbered millions came to faith through his preaching and through the printing of those sermons. His sermons always seemed to center on the Cross of Jesus Christ. No matter from what passage of Scripture he took as his text he always managed to travel from it to the place of the cross. When someone asked him why God honored his preaching he said, “I simply announce my text and make a bee-line for the cross!” He clearly understood the words of Jesus who had said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all the world to myself” (John 12:32). Why did he understand that message so much? Because he had indeed experienced the truth of it. His conversion experience happened one Sunday morning when he was only 14 years old. He was walking to his father’s Church for services when a snowstorm hindered him from getting there. He turned in to a little Primitive Methodist Church for worship. The pastor was snowed in and could not make it. A layman led the service that was attended by only 14 people. Young Spurgeon made it 15! Listen to his testimony of that morning in his own words:

“I sometimes think I might have been in darkness and despair until now had it not been for the goodness of God in sending a snowstorm, one Sunday morning, while I was going to a certain place of worship. When I could go no further, I turned down a side street, and I came to a little Primitive Methodist Chapel. In that chapel there may have been a dozen or fifteen people. I had heard of Primitive Methodists, how they sang so loudly they made people’s heads ache; But that did not matter to me. I wanted to know how I might be saved, and if they could tell me that, I did not care how much they made my head ache. The minister did not come that morning; he was snowed up, I suppose. At last, a very thin looking man-a shoemaker, or tailor, or something of that sort, went up to the pulpit to preach. Now it is well that preachers should be instructed, but this man was really stupid. He was obliged to stick to the text, for the simple reason that he had little else that he had to say. The text was-LOOK UNTO ME, AND BE YE SAVED, ALL THE ENDS OF THE EARTH. He did not even pronounce the words rightly, but that did not matter. There was, I thought, a glimpse of hope for me in that text. The preacher began thus-‘My dear friends, this is a very simple text indeed. It says-LOOK. Now looking don’t take a great deal of pains. It ain’t liftin your foot or your finger; it is just LOOK! Well a man needn’t go to college to LOOK. You may be the biggest fool, yet you can LOOK. A man needn’t be worth a thousand a year to LOOK. Anyone can LOOK. Even a child can LOOK. The text says LOOK UNTO ME.- (he said in broad ESSEX accent) many of ye are looking to yourselves, but it’s no use looking there! You will never find comfort for your souls there! Some look to God the Father. No, look to Him by and by. Jesus says, LOOK UNTO ME! Some say we must wait for the Spirit’s workin’. You have no business with that just now. LOOK TO CHRIST! The text says LOOK UNTO ME.’ Then the good man followed up his text in this way-‘Look unto me I am sweatin’ great drops of blood. Look unto me I am hanging on the Cross. Look unto me I am dead and buried. Look unto me I rise again. Look unto me I ascend into heaven. Look unto me I am sittin’ at the Father’s right hand. O poor sinner look unto me. Look unto me.’

When he had gone to about that length, and had managed to spin out ten minutes or so, he was at the end of his tether. Then he looked at me under the gallery, and I dare say, with so few present, he knew me to be a stranger. Just fixing his eyes on me, as if he knew all my heart, he said, ‘young man you look miserable’. Well I did. But I had not been accustomed to have remarks made about it from the pulpit on my personal appearance ever before. However, it was a good blow that struck right home. He continued, ‘and you will always be miserable-miserable in life-miserable in death-if you don’t obey my text; but if you obey now, this moment, you will be saved!’ Then, lifting his hands, he shouted, as only a Primitive Methodist could do, ‘Young man, look to Jesus Christ! LOOK…LOOK…LOOK! YOU HAVE NOTHING TO DO BUT TO LOOK AND LIVE!’ I saw at once the way of salvation. I know not what else he said-I did not take much notice of it. I was so possessed with that one thought. Like the brazen serpent that was lifted up in the wilderness, the people only looked and they were healed. So, it was with me. I had been waiting to do fifty things. But when I heard that word LOOK—what a charming word it seemed to me! Oh, I looked until I could have almost looked my eyes away. There and then the cloud was gone, the darkness rolled away, at that moment I saw the sun; and I could have risen in an instant, and sung with the most enthusiastic of them, (enough to make a man’s head ache!) of the precious blood of Christ and the simple faith which looks alone to Him. Oh, that somebody had told me this before…Trust Christ and you shall be saved! Yet it was, no doubt, all wisely ordered and now I can say–

Ever since by faith I saw the stream

       Thy flowing wounds supply

    Redeeming love has been my theme

        And shall be til I die”

A little over one hundred years later, another famous British journalist saw the same Cross. Famed journalist Malcom Muggeridge told how he had resisted the message of the cross all his life, until one day it drew him to surrender to the Christ of the Cross and it became a treasure to wear over his heart, and a standard of salvation never to be wrested out of his hands. He wrote: “From time to time I would catch a glimpse of a cross. Not necessarily a crucifix. Maybe two pieces of wood accidently nailed together…or a telegraph pole for instance—and suddenly my heart would stand still. In an instinctive and intuitive way, I understood that it represented something more important, more tumultuous, more passionate, than all other good causes, however admirable they might be. It was, I know, an obsessive interest…I might fasten bits of wood together myself, or doodle it when I was writing. This symbol, which was considered derisory in my home, yet also the focus of inconceivable hopes and desires…as I remember this, a sense of my own failure lies leadenly upon me. Long before I did…I should have worn it over my heart; carried it, a precious standard never to be wrested from my hands…it should have been my cult, my uniform, my language, my life. I shall have no excuse. I cannot say I didn’t know earlier. I knew from the beginning and turned away all those years”

But like Spurgeon, after embracing the Christ of that Cross. After looking only to Him and that finished work on the cross for salvation. It did, as it should all of us, become our cult, our uniform, our language, our life, never to be wrest from our hands or hearts. Calvary calls…..LOOK AND BE SAVED TO THE UTTERMOST!

 Posted by at 1:27 pm

“Rough Winds of Persecution Transformed into Winds of Propagation!”

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Feb 242019
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “Rough Winds of Persecution Transformed into Winds of Propagation!” By:  Ron Woodrum   Thomas Carlyle used to say that the easy, chatty optimism of Ralph Waldo Emerson maddened him. In his opinion “no really dark shadow had ever fallen across Emerson’s sheltered life”. He said that Emerson “seemed like a man who, standing […]

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“THE DISMAL COMPANY…ONLY TO SELF TRUE!”

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Feb 172019
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “THE DISMAL COMPANY…ONLY TO SELF TRUE!”  By:  Ron Woodrum       There is an unusual quote, from a very unusual source, that God recently brought to my attention that describes our world today, both those inside and outside the Church, quite accurately. It describes our most destructive attitude that perpetrates and perpetuates our dilemma. It […]

 Posted by at 1:49 pm

“LAST DAY BATTLEFIELD-THE HEART OF MAN”

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Feb 102019
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “LAST DAY BATTLEFIELD-THE HEART OF MAN”  —  By Ron Woodrum In his book, The Brother’s Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky poignantly states, “The awful thing is that beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and the devil are fighting there and the battlefield is the heart of man“. That battle involves recognizing truth-God’s truth. […]

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“Practicing what the years and centuries are saying against the hours.”

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Feb 032019
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “Practicing what the years and centuries are saying against the hours.”  By:  Ron Woodrum Someone, hoping to catch the witty cowboy entertainer Will Rogers off guard, asked him, “If you knew you only had 48 hours to live how would you spend them?” He responded, “One at a time!” Days, like hours, (and […]

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Remain a “Child of Pure Unclouded Brow and Dreaming Eyes of Wonder”.

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Jan 272019
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: Remain a “Child of Pure Unclouded Brow and Dreaming Eyes of Wonder”.      By:  Ron Woodrum Fyodor Dostoevsky, the Russian writer was one of the greatest writers of all time. His books, such as Crime and Punishment; the Brothers Karamazov; the Idiot; Notes from Underground; Poor Folk; The House of the Dead; and others are […]

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“More Star-like Than a Star”

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Jan 062019
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “More Star-like Than a Star” (By:  Ron Woodrum) This past week Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature, citing the reason being his masterful talent of writing lyrical poetry like no one else in history. Most who are familiar with Dylan’s music, would admit that his vocal abilities are sometimes […]

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“Avoid the reefs of the New Year!”

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Dec 302018
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “Avoid the reefs of the New Year!”  (By:  Ron Woodrum)         Let’s say that your phone rings tomorrow morning, and it’s a call from the manager of your bank. He tells you, “I received a very unusual call the other day. Someone who loves you very much and is quite wealthy, has given […]

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“The unedited Christmas and the Perfect Tree”

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Dec 232018
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “The unedited Christmas and the Perfect Tree”  (By:  Ron Woodrum) It’s the king of all classic TV Christmas specials: “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. It first aired in 1965. We know the familiar scenes of Charlie Brown looking for the real meaning of Christmas; receiving no cards from anyone; Snoopy decorates his doghouse; Lucy […]

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“Saved by the faithful effort of the One who Loves Us!”

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Dec 162018
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “Saved by the faithful effort of the One who Loves Us!”   (By:  Ron Woodrum) The USS Astoria was a heavy cruiser that saw duty during World War II’s Battle of the Coral Sea and at Midway, then was sunk in August of 1942 at the Battle of Savo Island. On board in […]

 Posted by at 6:17 pm