Wide, Wide as the Ocean . . .
Wide, wide as the ocean, high as the heaven above;
Deep, deep as the deepest sea is my Savior’s love.
I, though so unworthy, still am a child of His care;
For His Word teaches me that His love reaches me everywhere.
Charles A. Miles (1914)
I woke up a few days ago with this 100-year old Sunday School favorite rattling around in my mind and spirit. I hadn’t even thought about this old classic, let alone sung it, since I was a kid. Yet the tune and the words were all there, sharp as if I’d belted them out last Sunday (that’s how we used to sing it, lusty and loud, with all the actions).
So I lay there for a while, thinking about the song and its words. And I said to myself, “Self, that’s a beautiful worship song; maybe it was meant to be sung at a different tempo. Maybe it could be revived.”
And then I started thinking about all those old Sunday School songs that are still rolling around in the grey cells of my memory—they’re probably in your brain’s storeroom of songs too.
And then I remembered a special night 40 years ago in our first YWAM school (which was an SOE in those days, a lot like a DTS, only more so). After evening classes, five of us families, plus all the single guys, would climb into a decrepit yellow school bus and head up the mountain to what was laughingly called a farm, where our tents were pitched.
‘Farm’ was a mighty pretentious word for the scrubby tract of land on which we lived for three months; but the tents—musty, olive green, US Army surplus—were the real thing.
Once our kids were asleep, our custom was to gather outside the old farmhouse shack, and have a slice of bread and peanut butter while discussing that evening’s lecture and other very spiritual matters. But one evening, jolly old Oren Paris (Loren’s cousin and one of our classmates), started us off singing Sunday School songs. Well, we went on warbling inharmoniously for an hour. And amazingly, we all knew all the songs. It was a fun time!
It became clear to us that regardless of denomination, affiliation, differentiation or any other “Christian” type of separation . . . that from our childhoods, a special brand of unity had bonded us together. We hadn’t yet been exposed to the jots and tittles that were to come along soon enough.
Now we need to figure out a way to maintain that unity throughout all of life . . .
[Ephesians 4:3] After all, we are one body.
Which all goes to show that you never know what’ll happen if you wake up with a song in your heart tomorrow morning.
Till next time,
Bitter Pills Some of Us May Need to Swallow
From Leonard Ravenhill
“Why do we expect to be better treated in this world than Jesus was?”
“Today’s church wants to be raptured from responsibility.”
“Our seminaries today are turning out dead men.”
“How can you pull down strongholds of Satan
if you don’t even have the strength to turn off your TV?”
“If a Christian is not having tribulation in the world, there’s something wrong!”
“What good does it do to speak in tongues on Sunday
if you have been using your tongue during the week to curse and gossip?”
“Many pastors criticize me for taking the Gospel so seriously. But
do they really think that on Judgment Day, Christ will chastise me,
saying, ‘Leonard, you took Me too seriously’?”
After that dose of medicine, here’s a sweet pill from Charles Spurgeon
God is too good to be unkind, too wise to be mistaken;
and when you cannot trace His hand, you can trust His heart.
The Family of God
Following ministry in Singapore and Malaysia, I’m now concluding two weeks of teaching in Cambodia. I’ve been hearing by the Spirit what He is doing and now I’m beginning to see. It’s just the beginning.
He’s looking for sons and daughters who have pure hearts and clean hands. [Psalm 24:1-6] Those who aren’t competing and comparing but walking humbly with God and in unity, recognizing each other’s gifting and listening to our Father who is in heaven. [John 16:12-15]
What amazing days we’re living in. No more playing church—we are the church and He is revealing His secrets to those He trusts. He confides in those who fear Him. [Psalm 25:14] I’ve wept with my brothers and sisters who are Bible-believing Muslims, true followers of Jesus. The Cambodian leading the DTS, heard the gospel when he was a young boy in a refugee camp. Are you reaching out to the refugees that are coming to your nation?
My friends, no matter what nation we live in, we need to wake up—the bridegroom is coming for a pure bride. [Matt 25:1-13; Rev 19:7-8]
Many are in transition; listen to what the Spirit is saying, have faith to believe and walk in obedience. No matter what age you are, there’s room at the table. The last couple of weeks I’ve had this ‘vision’ of our heavenly Father sitting at the head of the table with all His sons and daughters seated around Him. He is so pleased when we aren’t grumbling and complaining; but instead, being grateful, not wanting someone else’s place, and knowing our own place. [Matt 18:1-5; Mark 9:33-37; Luke 9:46-48; Mark 10:35-45] Sometimes even mothers get involved, wanting a position for their sons. [Matt 20:20-28] He wants us to rejoice and encourage one another.
There is a convergence of ministries, denominations, generations and nations, each person knowing their place and function in the family; and knowing their true identity as sons and daughters. We need each other, no one is better than another; we’re all different, created in His image.
Get prepared for the days ahead—know who you are in the family of God. It’s not what you do that’s important—it’s knowing who you are.
Please read the scriptures. It’s the Word with the Spirit.
Love and Blessings,
. . . and Finally
OMG! A Bit of a Rant
Will you permit me to sound off this month?—kind of a “Peter’s Pet Peeve #357.” For years I’ve wanted to open up about a phrase that really bugs me. And here’s what got me going . . .
Last week I watched a YouTube documentary on the horrific mass murder of the 3000 people who happened to be in or near the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in New York City on September 11th, 2001. Mesmerized, I relived the awfulness of those events that I had so unbelievingly witnessed on real-time TV. The once-in-a-lifetime and unthinkable was happening right before my eyes; it was just 15 years ago.
It was as though CNN was filming live from Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941; or showing us the release—direct from the bomb bay of the Enola Gay, the B-29 charged with dropping the first-ever-angry nuclear weapon on August 6th, 1945; followed by its subsequent mushroom cloud over Hiroshima, Japan followed by Nagasaki three days later.
But I’m getting off-track; let’s go back to the documentary about the crashes, the carnage and the collapses of the Twin Towers. Different camera angles, from many different camera-toting filmers, gave 360-degree views of the sequence of events that followed the barbarities of that bright, clear and sunny morning. Many of those who filmed, had their sound on, recording their reactions.
I lost count of the heartfelt shrieks and cries of, “Oh my God!” I started wondering if any of these exclamations came from followers of Jesus; mostly I think, from unbelievers, atheists and agnostics—or from people who simply dismiss God as though He is irrelevant in this life. Or perhaps from people who just didn’t know what they were saying.
There were also a lot of “Holy this and holy that’s” too. And I wondered if the recorded voices belonged to people who knew anything about holiness. And one woman screamed, “Oh my goodness!” What was good about that massacre?
The frequent use of the abbreviation, “OMG” in cell-phone texts, on Facebook and on Twitter, troubles me. It troubles me too when it so often comes out in everyday speech, as in, “Oh my gosh!” People I know, use it often. But there’s a problem with gosh—and gee too. “Gosh” is a derivative of God’s name; Golly too. “Gee” from the name Jesus. Look it up.
Maybe I’m an old fuddy-duddy about words, and maybe it’s not my place to change the English language. But I love words and their meanings, and I get upset especially, when people say things that they wouldn’t say if they knew where the words came from, and what they really mean.
OMG! is just one of many expressions that have dark backgrounds, yet are carelessy flipped off the tips of our tongues.
No rant next month, OK?
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