The Pastor's Pen

Hope of the Cross

Back in 1994, Gary Thomas of Christianity Today wrote an article about the death of former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev.  In it, he explained that when Brezhnev died, Vice President George Bush was sent to represent our nation at the funeral.  Later, Vice President Bush shared that as the civil ceremony came to an end, Brezhnev’s widow stood motionless before his coffin for some time. Then, just as the soldiers were about to close the lid, she performed one of the greatest acts of courage and hope ever committed:  there, in the world’s great citadel of secularism, surrounded by the highest ranking officials of their atheistic government, she quietly reached down and slowly made the sign of the cross on her husband’s chest. 

In that moment, as she looked upon the lifeless body of the man who had been the leader of the world’s greatest communist nation, she desperately hoped that he had been all wrong; that there was another life beyond this one made possible by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, and that this same Jesus might yet have mercy on her husband.  

As Jesus was going to the funeral of a dear friend, he spoke to his friend’s sister saying, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die” (John 11: 25,26).   

“Oh, Loving Father, we thank you for the blessed hope you have given us in Jesus.  Grant us the grace to turn to Him in faith, trusting in His death on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, so that we may live forevermore. In Jesus’ name, Amen.” 

In Him, 

Bro Jeff

 

 

Posted by Jeff English with

God's Plowman

“No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). 

Charles Thomas Studd was born into a very wealthy family in England in 1860.  His father, Edward, was known as a gambler and sportsman; but at a meeting held by evangelist, D.L. Moody, Edward gave his heart to Christ and was dramatically changed.  In the years that followed, Edward saw all his six sons give their hearts to Christ. But his son, C.T.’s, life did not immediately change as his father’s had. 

C.T. excelled in sports, and during his time at Cambridge University he became one of the most famous cricket players of his day.  After graduating, C.T. went on to a tremendously successful professional career. He seemed to have everything that life could offer.  He was rich, famous, and popular.  But when his brother grew very ill, C.T was forced to take stock of his life, and he realized that although he had all the world could offer him, he was not truly satisfied.  It was then that he dedicated himself completely to the Lord, Jesus Christ.  He later said, “If Jesus gave His life for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.” After hearing the missionary, Hudson Taylor, speak of the needs in China, C.T. sold everything that he owned and went to China as a missionary.  Having set his hand to the plow of the Lord, he never looked back.  

C.T. once said, “Some wish to live within the sound of a church or chapel bell. I wish to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.”  And that is exactly what he and his wife, Priscilla, did.  They ran a Christian rescue mission for opium addicts in the slums of China amid the curses and threats of the people.  While he was in China, C.T. inherited an immense fortune from his father’s estate; but rather than keep it and return to England, he gave it all away to help spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and remained in China. C.T. never looked back. 

Eventually, the Lord called he and his wife to India where they continued to serve the Lord until ill health forced them back to England.  When C.T was 50 years old he heard of the great need in Africa, and although his wife was far too ill to make the journey, and he, himself was ill, he went to share the Good News in central Africa.  C.T. spent the last 18 years of his life in Africa.  In all those years, he saw his beloved wife for only two months. 

Once C.T. Studd put his hand to the Lord’s plow, he never looked back.  He once said, “We will dare to trust our God. We will venture our all for Him. We will live and we will die for Him, and we will do it with His joy unspeakable singing in our hearts.”   C.T. Studd and his wife founded a missionary agency that is still spreading the good news of Jesus today.  May we learn from the devotion of this great plowman of the Lord who said, “Only one life, twill soon by passed. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”  

In Him, 

Bro Jeff

Posted by Jeff English with

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