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Archive for September, 2012

What a Friend we Have in Jesus: The Song & The Story

Irish born Joseph M. Scriven (1819-1896) was 25 years old, in love and to be married. The day before his wedding his fiance died in a tragic drowning accident. Heartbroken, Joseph sailed from his homeland to start a new life in Canada. While in Canada working as a teacher, he fell in love again and became engaged to Eliza Roche, a relative of one of his students. Once again, Joseph’s hopes and dreams were shattered when Eliza became ill and died before the wedding could take place.

Although one can only imagine the turmoil within this young man, history tells us that his faith in God sustained him. Soon after Eliza’s death Joseph joined the Plymouth Brethren and began preaching for a Baptist church. He never married, but spent the remainder of his life giving all his time, money and even the clothes off his own back to help the less fortunate and to spread the love and compassion of Jesus wherever he went.

Around the same time that Eliza died, Joseph received word from Ireland that his mother was ill. He could not go to be with her, so he wrote a letter of comfort and enclosed one of his poems entitled What a Friend We Have in Jesus.

Many years later a friend was sitting with Joseph, as he was very ill. During this visit, the friend was very impressed when he ran across his poems, including What a Friend We Have in Jesus. As a result of this visit, almost 30 years after his letter of comfort to his mother, Joseph’s poems were published in a book called Hymns and Other Verses. Soon thereafter, noted musician Charles C. Converse (1834-1918) put music to one of those poems: What a Friend We Have in Jesus.

Well-known musician and revivalist Ira D. Sankey (1840-1908) was a great admirer of Joseph Scriven. In 1875, Sankey came upon the music and words for What a Friend We Have in Jesus. He included it as the last entry into his well-known publication Sankey’s Gospel Hymns Number 1.

After Joseph Scriven’s death, the citizens of Port Hope, Ontario, Canada, where he gave so much of himself, erected a monument to his life. The seemingly sad and obscure life of one man resulted in so many lives being uplifted, both in his own time, and for many years after whenever the beautiful and comforting words of What a Friend We Have in Jesus are sung.

What a Friend We Have in Jesus

1) What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

2) Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.

3) Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care? Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer. Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer! In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.

4) Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to Thee in earnest prayer. Soon in glory bright unclouded there will be no need for prayer. Rapture, praise and endless worship will be our sweet portion there.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

Written by: Connie Ruth Christiansen

http://www.sharefaith.com/guide/Christian-Music/hymns-the-songs-and-the-stories/what-a-friend-we-have-in-jesus-the-song-and-the-story.html

 

Posted 9 September 2012

One Size Does NOT Fit All!

If we really want to help someone grow, we will have to help them in a way that fits their wiring. Our great model for this is God himself, for he always knows just what each person needs.

He had Abraham take a walk, Elijah take a nap, Joshua take a lap, and Adam take the rap. He gave Moses a forty-year time out, he gave David a harp and a dance, and he gave Paul a pen and a scroll. He wrestled with Jacob, argued with Job, whispered to Elijah, warned Cain, and comforted Hagar. He gave Aaron an altar, Miriam a song, Gideon a fleece, Peter a name, and Elisha a mantle. Jesus was stern with the rich young ruler, tender with the woman caught in adultery, patient with the disciples, blistering with the scribes, gentle with the children, and gracious with the thief on the cross.

God never grows two people the same way. God is a hand-crafter, not a mass-producer. And now it is your turn.

God has existed from eternity but he wants to do a new thing with you. The problem many people face when it comes to spiritual growth is that they listen to someone they think of as the expert—maybe even the pastor of their church—talk about what he does, and think that is what they are supposed to do. When it doesn’t work for them—because they are a different person!—they feel guilty and inadequate. They often give up. But spiritual growth is handcrafted, not mass-produced. God does not do “one-size-fits-all.

(The above comment was penned by Pastor John Ortberg and copied as quoted in the book You Lost Me, by David Kinnaman, p216-217.)

P.S. from Yvonne:

Yes, contrary to the popular clothing label, God does not do “one-size-fits-all. For some it may fit, but for others it will surely be too snug or too loose. In Proverbs 22:6, we are exhorted to Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it. A study of the Hebrew word picture here indicates that each child is born with different gifts and talents and it is the responsibility of parents to discern such and provide opportunities for their development. Some children have a natural flair for art, or music, or science, or math, or dancing, or athletics—or maybe a combination of gifts and talents. Parents are equally responsible to equip their children with scriptural wisdom (Deut. 6).

 

Posted 24 September 2012

Failure doesn’t have to be Final

Satan’s Strategy
 Luke 22:31-34, 54-62

All of us make tracks through the valley of failure. The question is, How are you going to respond? Plenty of people give up and exchange a vibrant kingdom-serving life for a defeated existence. But failure need not be an end. It’s a chance for a new beginning living in Christ’s strength.

Peter had a life-altering failure. Jesus warned that Satan had asked permission to “sift” the disciple like wheat (Luke 22:31)—vigorous shaking is required to separate wheat kernels from debris. The Enemy wanted to shake Peter’s faith hard in hopes that he’d fall away from Jesus like chaff.

Peter fervently believed the promise he’d made to Jesus: “Even though all may fall away, yet I will not” (Mark 14:29). But Satan knows a few things about the power of fear. What’s more, he realized that the disciple would be wounded by his own disloyalty. A man with tattered pride can’t help but question his usefulness.

When Satan sifts believers, his goal is to damage our faith so much that we’re useless to God. He wants us shelved far from the action of the Lord’s kingdom. Therefore, he goes for our strengths—the areas where we believe ourselves to be invincible, or at least very well protected. And when the Devil succeeds, we are disappointed and demoralized. But we don’t have to stay that way.

If we are willing, God can use failure to do spiritual housecleaning. Peter laid down his pride and instead put on the Holy Spirit’s courage. Thereafter, he risked humiliation, persecution, and death to proclaim the gospel. Failure was the catalyst that brought forth greater faith and true servanthood.

Extra Quotes

On the Enemy

“The Devil often transforms himself into an angel to tempt men, some for their instruction, some for their ruin.” 
—Augustine of Hippo

“The deceit, the lie of the Devil consists of this, that he wishes to make man believe that he can live without God’s Word.” 
—Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“The existence of the Devil is so clearly taught in the Bible that to doubt it is to doubt the Bible itself.” 
—Archibald G. Brown

“The Devil can counterfeit all the saving operations and graces of the Spirit of God.” 
—Jonathan Edwards

“The Enemy will not see you vanish into God’s company without an effort to reclaim you.” 
—C. S. Lewis

“For where God built a church, there the Devil would also build a chapel.” 
—Martin Luther

“That there is a Devil is a thing doubted by none but such as are under the influences of the Devil.” 
—Cotton Mather

“The more God uses us, the more Satan will attempt to harass us.” 
—Dr. Charles F. Stanley

“The Devil is a better theologian than any of us and is a devil still.” 
—A. W. Tozer

“The Devil does not tempt unbelievers and sinners who are already his own.” 
—Thomas à Kempis

In-touch Ministries Daily Devotional by Charles Stanley. 24 September 2012. For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org

Remembering the Santrocks

Remembering John and Ruth Santrock

At 2PM tomorrow, September 2, 2012, at the First Baptist Church in Nitro, friends and family will be celebrating Ruth’s life and saying good-bye. When I was in high school, John was my principal and Ruth was the office secretary. She continually looked past my insecurities and encouraged and affirmed me.

Out of thousands of students under John Santrock’s leadership as Principal, I am one of those who can trace the joy of my professional life back to him. It was his recommendation that secured for me the WV Legislature’s Teacher Training Scholarship that paid my college expenses. Without it, I would not have been able to complete college when I did, if at all. (See photo below.)

When I graduated from college early three years later, he gave me my first teaching job at my alma mater, Nitro High School. After three years of teaching, with his recommendation and encouragement, I left the comfort and familiarity of that job, my family, my friends, my town, and my church and moved to Michigan to complete graduate school. That was the beginning of the rest of my life story. I am deeply grateful for my dear principal, Mr. Santrock, who expressed an unwavering faith in my abilities and aspirations.

He died in September four years ago at age 89, and his dear wife Ruth’s funeral is tomorrow, September 2, 2012. Theirs was a love story—raising a son and a daughter, and influencing thousands with their compassion and unabashed devotion to each other and to Christ. His was a story of bravery in war: shot, imprisoned, escaped, and awarded a Purple Heart.

For those—especially from my hometown Nitro and home county Kanawha—who might be interested in reading more about the Santrocks, check out this article written by their granddaughter after his death:  http://activerain.com/blogsview/688984/john-f-santrock-jr-a-tribute-to-my-grandfather-d-john  You can also find a list of their son’s published books on amazon.com (John W. Santrock).

Read more about their life here:

John – http://www.cookefuneralhome.com/obitsingle.asp?id=400

Ruth – http://www.cookefuneralhome.com/obitsingle.asp?id=952

Photo: Mr. Santrock presenting me (Yvonne) the Board of Legislature scholarship at our awards ceremony, May 1958.