SO CHRIST MUST SUFFER gospel poems and thoughts by Doug Blair
he shall see of the travail of his soul, and he shall be satisfied
Doug was born at London Ontario in 1951, son of Jack and Bev Blair, and brother of Scott who came along eight years later. A graduate of the Faculty of Law, University of Western Ontario, 1974. Married to Hilary Hourd in 1974 and enjoying the arrival of children Lauren, 1980, and Jordan, 1987. Working tenures included a self-employed legal practice in Chatham for 11 years and a placement for more than 28 years in heavy metal manufacture in Kitchener as shipper-receiver and occupational health and safety specialist. Since 2009 there has been a proliferation of poems, blogs, websites and ebooks. All God-given and very exciting in the discovery and re-telling. Poetry can be arresting in its unusual economy of words and images. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is compelling as absolute life-liberating truth hope and peace. If the samplings contained in this brief volume have whetted your appetite, then browse on-line through more than 80 booklets at issuu.com/dewane (title page photo courtesy of my son Jordan Blair)
That Spot, That One Spot Vantage Points Around His Cross Doug Blair, Waterloo, Ontario, 2014
So Christ Must Suffer
Be it far from thee, Lord To consider That the City holds nothing but pain; That the welcome this time Will be bitter As you enter their streets once again. Be it far from thee, Lord, This is foolish; All such talk of rejection and rage. Thou art Christ and our hope For the future. Usher in your foretold Kingdom age! (ISAIAH 11) Be it far from thee, Lord To provoke them,
Though religion is made cheap display; Though the temple is filled With their barter, Please, discreetly keep out of their way. Be it far from thee, Lord, Look for better. Set your mind on the sceptre and throne. Quite enough talk of mockings And scourgings And of us leaving you all alone. But the Christ turned a deaf Ear to pity; Willing still to endure sinâ€™s full load. For the hates and the hurts Of that city, He was bound to the Calvary Road. (* painting of Calvary by James Tissot)
Out of Pilate's Hands
It escapes me, How when given choice between the two, They took the lesser chap. Quite escapes me, For Barabbus walks, but Jesus takes the rap! It escapes me, How when given chance to speak his case, He had few words to say. Quite escapes me, Truthful teacher, king; he will not rule today! It astounds me, How the mob could cheer him into town Their Galilean friend. Quite astounds me, Now in spite of kindness shown, they seek his end. It astounds me, How the privileged ones who guide their faith Incite the murderous cry.
Quite astounds me, Not a stitch of evidence to fairly try! It eludes me, Charges cannot change from black to white, If he must answer make. Quite eludes me, Must I risk my place with Rome for mercy’s sake? It disgusts me, But perhaps they would accept some blood To quench their frenzied lust. Quite disgusts me, Must I flog this gentle man in shame and dust? It escapes me, I am called to task, for Caesar’s sake, To stop this curious coup. Quite escapes me, When their leaders threaten so, what can I do? It escapes me, So, a crucifixion they will have. Farewell to this poor fool. But it haunts me, How in fear I’ve acquiesced to those I rule! JOHN 19:10, 11, 12 Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.
Lifted Up Better to See It has come to this. In a way, I'm glad. The dank, dark days In the cell. My partner's constant Rehearsal of our Foul-ups. The robbery gone bad Midst the uprising. So quickly To the street. Wooden beams thrust On our backs. Rome's disgust shown, Block by block, Curses and floggings. Onlookers puzzled. Faces without mercy. Out of town, The hill beneath Glowering skies. The "skull place" Where justice leers. The drop, the stretch, The pounded nails, The screaming shock. Crucified! ...Passing time Stupefies. Another is with us, Quiet wretch. With a following, No less. (No women wept for us. No rabbis scurrying.) Who can he be? He shares the pain, The taunts, the shame. His face is peace, His battered frame Puts up no fight.
What's that? His name Is Jesus. Princely sort. I'm drawn to Him!
Woman, Behold Thy Son
My Jesus tortured! Why? Oh that a sword should pierce my heart And rip it from my breast! My son brought here to die! A Roman gibbet follows hard The trial and false arrest. So few would mourn and cry, That mercy, boundless reaching love Should meet such boundless hate. Will no one answer why My gentle Jesus’ coming here Deserves a robber’s fate? Forgiveness is his plea For every mortal gathered now To mock him at his end. Suspended on this tree, With only one repentant thief, Apparently his friend. Could I but rescue thee! Sweet infant, searching, sturdy child Who took a joiner’s trade. Am I here forced to see The final handiwork that you So selflessly have made? It’s Mother! In this crowd! But do your eyes discern the one Who comes to share your grief? And John, beloved, allowed Henceforth to render me instead A loving son’s relief. Cruel barbs come from the proud, Who jeer at one who ever dared To call himself a king. “How low this king is bowed!
Or does he yet expect his God To show, escape to bring?” Noon sky turns black as night! And does the God who blessed my womb Now curse the Light of day? Oh, deep and dreadful sight, That dearest Father now forsakes The Son, though hard he pray! Come now, Celestial Might, And help the One who spread your name Through this poor hurting land. Show Him both just and right. Descend somehow! Deliver this, Our Child, with outstretched hand!
My God, My God!
The cry comes from the darkness of an execution. The accused has called himself a King. He has said that he is truth incarnate. He has said that he could easily summon a host of angels to the scene if that would further his peculiar plan. But instead he hangs there listening to the groans of his two colleagues and the jeers of a mob out of control. His mother is front and centre, trying to restrain the tears and deliver a gaze of courage and compassion to the jewel of her heart. His dear friend wraps arms of protection around her, shielding her from the jostling and the raised arms. The friend thinks to himself, "Master why cry, My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me? Better to cry, Peace be still. Or give the people to eat. Or take up your bed and walk. Or come out of him you foul spirit. Or fools, hypocrites you make a mockery of religion. Or come unto me and I will give you rest. Or look for me from the clouds of heaven with the angels." (Note: But "My God, my God!" That is the cry of vulnerability and trapped desperation, of human doubt and wincing pain, of bewilderment in a man beside himself with anguish. Yes, a man who had come this low from the majestic corridors of heaven. Now each breath gets harder and harder. The shoulders and the extremities scream. See Philippians 2: 5-8Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.
9-11Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father. - The Message by Eugene Peterson He "gets" our pain.)
Blood and Water Aye, there was a death alright. Sent me back to finish off The three of them. Clubbed, smashed legs For the two rogues. Breathing becomes impossible. Third one looked already gone. They told me He’d been different; Calm, connecting with some Spirit. Eyes closed, serene Like a worker in a well-earned sleep. Seemed out of place. Nasty business for One Who had taught peacefully in town. So I’m told. Feeling the ugliness of my job I thrust with spear, Bringing on a queer eruption
Of blood and water. Happens sometimes. Convulsive internal rupture Confirming death. We spared His legs. The ones who remained Around the cross Were all in tears. As if something Great had broken Inside them too.
(1 John 5: 6-8)
There Came a Rich Man
Take him down, And please be gentle: He has suffered much today. Spare those hands From further tearing, As we pull the spikes away. Lift the crown From his cold forehead; Never was a King so slain. Oh, to think Our laws, our people, Could have caused him so much pain! Curse the thought
Of twilight justice In that court of hate declared. Oh, that one Had better argued, Better fought, to have him spared. Not a rule Of our procedure, But was broken in the sham. Jesus held By ruthless slayers, Silent, sacrificial lamb! Brother, grief Is now our portion; Counsellors to crime are we. Rue the day Of our proud calling To Sanhedrin’s vanity. Carry him As best we’re able, Not a jostle, nor a jar. He has borne Our griefs and sorrows; Friend, his tomb is not too far. Thanks to God For Pilate’s ruling, For the right to take him there. Hasty work In cloths and spices, Winding death ‘round one so fair. All is done, And none too early, As the sabbath rest draws nigh. Gentle Lord, So long awaited, Was it planned that you should die?
He has prayed for me,
And how I know his nights Were given much to prayer. On struggling priestly heights, He sought my blessing there. He has prayed for me, And often while with us, Upheld me by his power; Though I would storm and fuss And rush and fret and glower. He has prayed for me, While I refused to think That any wicked plan Would cause my heart to sink In fear of any man. He has prayed for me, Yet I too quickly slept, When asked to pray with him In darkness while he wept, Awaiting capture grim. He has prayed for me, And all I did to help Was lash out once with sword, A useless little whelp, While troops removed my Lord. He has prayed for me, Who sought the High Priestâ€™s home, His fate to better view; But fearing Jews and Rome, Denied him, ere cock crew. He has prayed for me, â€˜Though I fled in the night To luxury of tears, Not knowing how to fight My frailty, flesh or fears. He has prayed for me, And all has come to be. The tomb now holds my friend. Has Satan sifted me? Is infamy my end? But Jesus prayed for me,
His eager little rock. Did any prayer get through? Will I yet tend his flock? Oh, if I only knew! LUKE 22: 31, 32, 33, 34 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.
Thief So glad that I could do it In fleeting gasps of pain With arms outstretched On Roman beams And clouds begun to rain. The One beside me Shows no hate His Mother down below And eye meets eye As oft before They held each other so. But this is not a common crowd The holy men preside And urge the rabble's Thirst for blood Most likely they had lied. "A King", they mock, "And is your Court A bloodied perch and crown?" Oh Saviour, time to save yourself Display your power Come down! But death is part And parcel yet You have your Father's word And you beseeched the darkening sky And He most surely heard. And I with scarce the breath to spare And justly here for crime Turn to you King And gladly sing
Your pardon, Kingdom mine.
(Luke 23: 43)
I Was There Had I seen the torment And ridicule you suffered Had I seen the demons Behind the cast of men. Had I seen the lashings And piercings rake your body Could I ever lightly Regard your Cross again? Could I go on living As if the sin were trivial? Could I enter worship With casual thoughts in mind? Would I rather fall down And plead the Father's mercy Knowing in that foul crowd My leering face I'd find. Yet you uttered 'Father Forgive them in your kindness. They do not yet fathom The awesome thing now done.' Scarce could I believe that God heeded your petition Washed my record clean In the bleeding of His Son. Morbid, some will say at My point of view now altered 'He's one of us And we try to live aright.' Jesus, there's yet time For the breaking and the blessing Visit these dear loved ones And give them Gospel sight.
Two Kinds of Lost Imagine a sinking ship in the darkness. Life-boats have been dispatched onto the cruel waves. Survivors huddle together in the cold, and the noise of the ship's creaking death-descent drowns out all voices. A man has been tardy in the evacuation response and he remains on deck alone. His
cries cannot be heard. He has missed the opportunity of rescue. He is lost to his associates and he is lost to any hope. A most tragic wrap-up to life's journey. This seems a fitting metaphor for the one who dies without hope in Christ. Over the years I have often come across an arresting piece of scripture in the first chapter of Ephesians: 6. To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace. It would appear here that the individual has been “lost” in the collective. A process of grace worked out entirely by God has caused the believer to be accepted in the beloved. All sin-debt has been paid. The holiest of blood-lettings has accomplished the transaction. And that word “beloved” is a tender reference to Christ, who took obedience to the will of His Father all the way to a self-offered death by crucifixion. We have been incorporated into the beloved, osmosed if you will. God never looks upon the believers without seeing the finished work of His delightful Son. The favour that He extends toward Jesus, He now extends toward us. We call upon His name, His authority, His mercy, help, wisdom and guidance. We are told in Romans 8 that we are joint heirs with Jesus. The challenge in the whole picture is to eradicate, to “lose” self and the desire to have one's own way. Think of all the unfortunate references to self: self-righteousness, self-vindication, selfabsorption, self-seeking, self-serving, self-important, self-indulgent, self-opinionated, selfreliant, self-satisfied. Jesus in His earth-walk for us showed the path to victory and contentment: For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. (John 6: 38) A wonderful book has been written by Roy Hession entitled The Calvary Road (1950). In it he explores this process of self-emptying as the threshold to revival, both personal and corporate. He explores Paul's words “Not I but Christ”. He gives the image of the proud, erect, stubborn “I”. This is contrasted to a submitted, stooped, attentive “I” turned into a “C”. Indeed our glorious Saviour condescended, stooped and submitted all the way to His Cross. And how glorious were the results. And how amazing the out-flow of resurrection power.
Psalm 72 Like gentle rain He comes to govern Fresh upon mown sod Son of Man in royal lineage Also Son of God Champion for the suffering Always Haven for the lost Banquet for the starving Liberal Sparing not the cost Nations line to Pay Him tribute His the Golden Realm Offering peace A mighty river Justice at the helm Fearsome still The awesome prospect Of His righteous wrath Feeling men With half a conscience Dare not cross His path Gifts pour in And that right gladly Always in His debt Throne Eternal Shows our vision But a fraction yet.
HIGH PLATEAU Messages from the Upper Room copyright Doug Blair, Waterloo ON 2016
John's Gospel is much unlike the other three, the Synoptics. It does not follow suit in giving a chronological account of Jesus' earth walk. It emphasizes His deity and oneness with the Heavenly Father. It prescribes power for prayer and introduces the Holy Spirit, the One who will enable believers to appropriate the life of Jesus, to comprehend His message and to walk in His steps. Many people who call themselves Christian have difficulty with this fourth Evangel. In the others they hear of birth, growth, baptism, service by Galilee, His Sermon on the Mount, growing opposition from religious hypocrites, a special communion meal, arrest, struggle in Gethsemane, crucifixion, burial, resurrection and ascension. They are content with that. Gives them a history and a Hero and someone to imitate with good intentions. But lessons on how to imitate will always miss the mark. We need Life to be imparted unto us. Jesus' Life. We need the adventure of abiding in the True Vine. John explains that and more. Consider that Jesus yearns to leave a message of power and hope with His dear friends, right before He is about to be taken from them. They have gathered for a Passover Meal in that Upper Room specially prepared for the crowning event...his discourse in chapters 13 through 17 of John's account.
John Thirteen Know what I have done? Meant for sharing with each soul In the washing of the feet In the lowly servant's role I have left the master's chair And removed the robe replete And have wrapped in simplest towel And with basin washed your feet. Getting low at this rich feast Ere I face the scorn of men For the raising of your souls In a death the prophet penned. Not a one yet knows the cost As I sing our people's psalm (118) And we move on to the grove Word and Spirit keep me calm. Do you get this rite of love? Will you share it when I'm gone? It's the lowest who must lead Simple comfort passed along.
Not To Be Troubled
He's going away Though so much seems unfinished Is this a defeat Or a new brighter phase? The Council works hard To embroil Him in charges Oh just to be back In those bright lakeside days. This room got in secret And tasty the Paschal fare Thoughts of deliverance From Egypt's cruel reign. He says He is leaving Preparing a place for us And where He is going We'll see Him again.
Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14: 1-3 NKJV)
If They Have Hated Me... (John 15: 20)
Imagine that He should be hated! A brother so thoughtful and kind A teacher with offers of Heaven A fruitful and life-giving Vine. He says we are grafted within Him And all that He is, we shall be. Though sometimes the Father must prune us From false growth and error set free. He speaks of a world self-indulging And hostile to love undefiled And maddened to bury His message Oppressive and scheming and wild. They're bound to reject Him completely And ones set apart to His cause With weapons they've crafted for ages Their money, religion and laws. He warns that the same is our portion For leaving that bunch at His call But we will be armed with His Spirit Who gladdens and overcomes all.
Departure time my friends And it is all in the plan You have walked the miles me And begun to understand But the teaching will go on As the Spirit takes the plow And rehearses all I said Comfort, courage coming now. This a better course you see
Indwelt every trusting heart Though my death will crush your hopes For a while at the start. But I said I will come back And those birthing pains will pass I bequeath to you my mission Plead my name each time you ask Of the Father fresh anointing For this family-building chore We continue still as partners In a way not known before.
I Lay Them Upon Your Altar (John 17)
Father, I have watched Over these men. Have taken them your images Of community free From retaliation. Of joy in the Rendering of mercy. Of good report On those who struggle, With only the half known. Of fulness of days Free from fear of supply, From fear of man. I have set them To wandering. Ambassadors of a realm Not yet seen. Sporadically meeting the test. Boiling often in self-hurt. Turning, of times, To look back from the plough. Vying for place. Vying for glory. Missing often the real gems Delivered with No special fanfare.
And now I leave, So much so seemingly Ill-prepared. But You have given them me. Persevering to their Appointed destiny. All but the one with the purse. I trust You For their well-being. I trust You for the prophecies Which speak of me. Quickly now… To my offering. Amen.
Musings of Messiah
You have no idea. But try anyway, would you? I took myself to that garden, that familiar prayer garden, ‘neath the olives. Brought my buddies along. Asked three of them to come, sit closer in the cold and darkness. They tried, bless ‘em, but soon fell asleep. How often when people are overwhelmed by circumstances and the fast pace of events. How often do they cloud up and doze off out of sheer self-defense. But I had stupendous business at hand. Placed into their bodies and circumstances and pullings and whisperings…I had to obey. The Father’s Plan depended upon it. And I was His to do and to demand as He saw fit. I wasn’t so much afraid of a Cross or of ridicule. I was terrified of losing the sense of His touch and listening ear. Had never happened before as I had grown up from stage to stage here on this little blue-and-green place full of the ones we loved. I vented, I pleaded, I reminded. I looked down several times to see blood issuing from places where it ought not. The Evangelist would later say that I began to be “troubled and sore amazed”. Don’t forget, the omniscient thing I had left behind in the Heavenlies for a season. I hurt, and I heard the swan-song of the Accuser. Not so much to frighten me, but to insinuate that all the beloved ones could never be rescued; could never be removed from his clutches. Finally, over and above all the sweats and bleeding, and taunting, tension and tears, I heard again the promises of my Father through the words of Psalmist David. I heard and believed. I would come through death. I would not suffer corruption. I would walk again in glorious fellowship. (Psalm 16) A comforting presence drew near with a soothing wind through the branches; probably an angel.
He was my most tangible companion at that moment. I got up off the ground; watched my buddies sleeping for a couple more minutes; remembered some of the good times; noticed the torches of Judas and henchmen moving toward us up the slope…
The Cup, And All of It (Matthew 20:22)
“Can you drink the cup?” The challenge from the Master Given Sons of Thunder His Passion close at hand. Quickly they said “yes” With no real sense of wonder At the mix of living To later understand. They had known real joy While seated at His table His were words of hope And brotherhood so rare. Still some worldly folk Ignored their every pleading Hinting at the bitter dregs Each life would come to share. His a night alone Then cruelly to a dying. Theirs long years abroad And facing tiresome doubt. Martyrs' ends they braved Still Heaven's ethic crying Mixing woe and joy (The things this life's about.) Could they take the cup And lift it all for viewing Chalice of their years Laid, trusting, out for friends? Could they drink it all The God-sent blend renewing Christ still in their midst And thankful til their ends.
Grace and Supplications
Need Hurt Perplexity The mothers of new life Blessings strangely wrapped When all the time We want to hold the key To open a new path. We will think it through Earn it through Sweat it through Not so Says the Lord of Zion. Those in David's train Messiah's train Have a threshold Inglorious. A breaking to self To see God the giver The rescuer The reconciler As sufficient indeed And oh so yearning For His children of promise To graduate. He shows His wounds The product of their blind thrashings. He marks them With Spirit of initiation And Spirit of urgent requests. And they are never after the same. Adopted. Growing in family likeness. Ever fond of Tokens of deliverance Visions of Glory In the bud.
Come and Hear some camp-meeting flavour copyright Doug Blair, Waterloo, ON, 2016
Summer Meeting Remembered Our friends were new to this experience, but it had not taken much courteous coaxing. A poor second crop. A dear neighbour found dead in a hot summer field. A part-time job disappearing with the closing of the lumber yard in town. A teenage son in rebellion and mixing with some undesirables, despite warnings. The music began, complete with fiddles, banjo, drums, accordian and trombone. The old favourites brought a comfort and an encouragement. “Got Any Rivers? You think are uncrossable. Got any Mountains? You can’t tunnel through. God specializes in things thought impossible. He’ll do for you what none other can do.” An old saint was called up from the crowd to give a testimony. Ravaged early life. Drugs, dealing, break and enter, jail, divorce, unemployment. But then in a lonely dilapidated boarding house, a visit with Glory for the asking, and a new beginning at age 48. He spoke of the particular power of a portion from the Psalms: If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared. (Psalm 130: 3,4) And then the message from Brother Fuller. Parts of it remain still now, clear in the memory, filled with promise, and filled with the thrill of our young friends stepping forward in response to the call of Jesus: “Enough, friends, to be in His family; To relish in the engagement of real, caring prayer; To know that His Testament bequeathes us Life, unburdened conscience and new spiritual power. To sense foretastes of Heaven. Enough, to see His artistry at break of day; To hear His serenade in the turtledove; His optimism in a youngster’s laugh. To thrill at His power in the thunderbolt, In the stinging wind over dry fields,
In the deluge that fills the watercourses In mere minutes. Enough, to hear his words of rebuke To the Enemy, the Slanderer, And his underlings who whisper, threaten or foreclose; To understand His assurance that no man, no devil Shall take a child out of His hand. This is our Father, As represented by our Elder Brother. This is salvation, and This is forever.” The gathering and the ushering away of new converts. The singing of “Just a Closer Walk with Thee”. The dismissal of the assembly from the tent to the clarity of a sparkling late-summer night sky. The scenes remain vivid and awe-inspiring to us, some thirty-five years later.
Brother Fuller Overflowing
His voice almost an auctioneer’s His tone assured, authoritative His words convicting Pure scripture many times And with joy unspeakable: “We are beholders, containers Of the supernatural, my friends. Time and again Pentecost comes Perhaps not with the grandeur
Of that First Church But warmly, honestly And with the fragrance of Christ. We know of our roots, our journey Our cleansing Unavoidable trials Certain destination. We have been called We remember the Spirit’s wooing We know not why We only rejoice Circumstances notwithstanding. That oppressive world says We are tied up in knots By rules and by fear. In so saying they are part wrong and part right No not rules but constraining love Not dread of the Almighty But holy compunction never to disappoint. Love’s captives we are. And thankful for it. We take the abuse Forgive at all costs Share what little we have Speak the good report Stop at the gutter To uplift the tear-streaked ones. It’s the life force of Jesus
Nothing of our manufacture And isn’t it wonderful? Unlike any other known joy? There are some here Who need the transaction They know it You know it…Brother…Sister…Child. The invitation will be given shortly.” _________________________
Just then the choir Off to the side in that summer’s tent Began singing: Tell me the old old story Of unseen things above Of Jesus and His glory Of Jesus and His love.
Your very life is in this flock You cannot come and go No turning for another path You need this Shepherd so. And green may seem some other field You wonder if to break Would open grazing glorious Hold fast, for goodness sake.
The wolf is there and waiting The hot sun burns the ground And wretchedness you never knew Repent and turn around! And run into His fond embrace And walk beneath His staff And treasure, Sheep, His every word And thrive and grow and laugh.
John 6: 66-69
T.L. Osborne, missionary-evangelist tells the wonderful story of his wife Daisy after a tent meeting in the Far East. The crowds had been dismissed after a long session of praise, preaching and personal ministry, but Daisy could not leave the tabernacle because the presence of the Lord had been so rich. She walked the rows meditating until she noticed a young mother seated with blanketed baby in arms and sobbing quietly. When approached, the young woman could only blurt out, “She has died.” Daisy saw the limp form of the little girl and asked to take it from the woman. She began to walk around gently hugging and rocking the child, praying softly for the Father’s mercy and citing reasons why she believed that this innocent little one should be given back life. When prayer with the understanding seemed finished, she launched into quiet prayer in the Spirit, sensing an inner leading to continue. After several minutes the baby stirred and cuddled closer for warmth. Daisy returned the child to her mother, whereupon the woman let out an exhausted, breathy scream. “What was wrong?” “Oh, woman of God, assuredly my baby lives! But my baby was blind. This one sees!” Here we have it! An example of the Lord doing “exceedingly abundantly above all that we might ask or think.” This marvelous grace had been preceded by compassion, submission, courtesy, some uncertainty and the absolute acknowledgment that only God could work.
By comparison, how brazen, insensitive and man-honouring some of our so-called revival or renewal meetings appear.
Faith Under a Big Tent: 1972
It's tonight folks And you have been well primed. The praise of the saints Fills this tent. The man of God has been Deep in prayer all afternoon With some of your pastors. The needs out there Are imposing, The expectation...electric. And Jesus knows, He knows your deepest need, And as many as touch Him Get their answer. Have you touched Him? Have you felt The pull of His Spirit In the songs? Have you smiled At gleeful looks Of excitement On faces of your neighbours? Have you waited long In faith's craning pause? Well get ready: Some are gonna walk Outa here on new legs. Some are gonna see That loved one for the first time. Some are gonna sense Tumours shift and dissolve. Some are gonna kick The needle or the flask. Or the back-alley's business.
But don't look unto This speaker, Heavens NO. Look unto the Master. Touch Him. See what a prayer of faith can do. And your life has been Such a prayer...for years. Now's the time. And if you have committed Any sins, They may be forgiven you. (James 5:15) In the name of the Crucified One. Who is alive now. And for evermore. Come Lord Jesus. Work your work For these dear people. It is all of your mercy. We come like the leper Wanting to be made clean And whole. And all the people said: AMEN.
Move of God
I remember seeing a painting of George Whitefield (1714 - 1770) preaching to a crowd in an English village. The faces of those in attendance registered every possible reaction – mild interest, polite boredom, awkward smirks, heckling, distraction toward the activity of others and some in heavy conviction and mourning for sin. The face of the preacher showed only severe focus on the Word being preached. He was not scanning the crowd for their reaction or trying to tailor his presentation for sake of persuasiveness. He modeled the dedicated, humble messenger of the simple seed of the Word. I saw nothing of debater, salesman or distinguished celebrity. How often do we hear of the ministries of “great men or women of God” wielding some “mighty anointing”. It is as if the sweet ministry of the Holy Spirit and His fruit have been reduced to a commodity like baking powder available for better effect. I am convinced that we are seeing the eclipse of “great personalities” in ministry. God is jealous for His glory. One
of a messengerâ€™s greatest fears in service or testimony should be the fear of the praise of men and its debilitating effect. The sower simply, obediently and faithfully scatters the seed. God gives the increase. I am expecting a groundswell of grass-roots love and sharing to be in the next outbreak of revival. We must all be prepared to give the glad report and to offer hands of help.