MY HOPE IS BUILT ON NOTHING LESS—-

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Hope —if you listen to the news very often– you will find a constant search for hope.

Hope for a solution to the devastating explosion of radical Islam.

Hope for a stop to the deadly plague of Ebola that is ravaging parts of Africa.

Hope for an ailing economy.

Hope for the job market to improve and prosperity to return to certain segments of the population.

All of this hope is very fragile indeed.

The dictionary defines “Hope” as “to cherish a desire with expectation.”

Often we say “I hope so—” because contemplating the outcome any other way is too difficult to imagine.

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Proverbs 13:12 states—“Hope deferred(withheld)  maketh the heart sick” —–We’ve all been there at one time or another and can attest to what a miserable state this is–the verse goes on to say-

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-“but when the desire cometh it is a tree of life.”  It is good and nourishing.

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I like this verse—“Turn ye to the stronghold (God) ye prisoners of HOPE—” I am a prisoner of hope:)

Here is our most solid and sure hope. We may never experience in this life the realization of our hopes and desires. In fact it may be the opposite. But those that have invited Jesus Christ into their heart and life have an ETERNAL hope.

This life with it’s cares and woes will soon pass but eternity will be forever.

“The pioneering radio preacher Donald Grey Barnhouse used to ask, “When you get to the pearly gates and God asks, ‘Why should I let you into heaven?’ What will you say?”

The song I want to share with you today is an answer to that question—:)

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My faith has found a resting place–

Not in device or creed:

I trust the Ever-Living One—

His wound for me shall plead.

 

Enough for me that Jesus saves—

This ends my fear an doubt;

A sinful soul I come to Him–

He’ll never cast me out.

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My heart is leaning on the Word—

The written Word of God:

Salvation by my Savior’s name–

Salvation through His blood.

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My great Physician heals the sick—

The lost He came to save;

For me His precious blood He shed–

For me His life He gave.

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I need no other argument,

I need no other plea; (in the court room of heaven)

It is enough that Jesus died,

And that He died for me. (and you:) )

Lidie H. Edmunds  (nineteen century)

 

“God does not run heaven like a country club or a successful corporation. We cannot get in on our own qualifications. The door is barred to all who try to earn their entry.

But it swings wide for the simple saint who affirms in faith,” I need no other argument. I need no other plea; it is enough that Jesus died and that He died for me.” Great Songs of the Faith.

A paraphrase of Hebrews 3:12-14 says it this way–

“Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God.

You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.

For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.”

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September 11, 2001–A Day that Will Live in Infamy

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The word infamy is defined as—having a evil reputation brought about by something grossly criminal, shocking, brutal.

I think all of these words accurately define what occurred 13 years ago when our nation came under attack by radical Islamists.

Americans were generally ignorant, until that date, of this strong and evil enemy that was rising up to strike our nation. We had experienced peace on our continent for such a long time that the idea of such an event happening to us seemed –impossible. We couched ourselves in our comforts and moved about our days with our burden of earthly cares unaware that waiting in the wings was an army sent by the “evil one” to destroy all that is true and good.

Christians were comfortable in their place in their church pews and in their home. Complacent about their duty to witness to others about Christ. Perhaps it is this complacency over the last thirty or more years that have allowed this evil to rise up and get a foot hold in the Middle East.

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I wonder –where were the Christian Soldiers trained in our Christian Schools–when Sadam fell in Iraq–ready to go forth and reach the Muslim world with the gospel of Christ? I’m sure that God had called some to go and they failed to heed His calling on their lives and chose the “safe” way instead.

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None the less, on this day we remember that we have a real enemy. A enemy of America, and Israel, and of Believers in Christ world wide. An enemy that desires to raise the Muslim flag over all nations that have espoused a belief in the Judeo Christian God of the Bible.

With the acknowledgement of this threat comes the realization that we are in danger as a nation, as a people, as a Christian, of an assault on, not only ourselves, but all that we hold dear. Our families and our friends. Our religious freedom hangs in the balance as it never has before. It is under assault from without and from within. The battle rages for the souls and hearts of men. The enemy–Satan-is on the march working evil wherever he is able. Again he wages battle from within our nations borders and from without. He is on the attack against all that is Holy.

Do we then cower in fear? Do we hear the horrible plight of brothers and sisters in Christ over in the Middle East and cringe in our ‘safe places” and hope that this horror never comes to our shores?

The horrible truth of Sept. 11, 2001 is that it has already arrived. It walks among us. It bides its time until it will strike again.

What can we do? How then do we prepare for this eventuality? We walk in closer fellowship with our God. We confess our sins and allow nothing between “our soul and our Savior.” We get on the firing line to witness to all that we can knowing that the only hope for real change in direction for our nation is a heart change. We fix our eyes and  our hope on Him who will win the final battle between good and evil.

We hear the sad news of young people from America signing up to join ISISL. With all the comforts afforded them in our great land their hearts are empty and seeking. Where will they turn? Who will tell them of a “cause” worth living for and dying for. That cause is “Christ.” and He alone can fill the hungry heart to overflowing and change the course of human events.

The hymn I have chosen today is–A Mighty Fortress is Our God—

It was written by Martin Luther in the 1500’s when anyone that dared to join the Protestant Reformation risked all to stand up for their beliefs. Something we may find ourselves doing in the near future.

 

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A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;

Our helper He amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing.

For still our ancient foe(devil)  doth seek to work us woe–

His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,

On earth is not his equal.

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Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing,

Were not the right man on our side, the man of God’s own choosing.

Don’t ask who that might be, Christ Jesus, it is He–

Lord Sabaoth His name, from age to age the same,

And He must win the battle.

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And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,

We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us.

The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him——–

His rage we can endure, for lo!  his doom is sure:

One little word shall fell him.

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That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;

The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him who with us sideth.

Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also—

The body they may kill; God’s truth abideth still:

His kingdom is forever.”

Martin Luther 1483-1546—translated by Fredrick H. Hedge 1805-1890

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“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble–Psalm 46:1

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IS MY SIN TOO GREAT?

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Speaking of Jesus the apostle John wrote–

“BUT AS MANY AS RECEIVED HIM, TO THEM GAVE HE THE POWER TO BEOME THE SONS OF GOD, EVEN TO THEM THAT BELIEVE ON HIS NAME,”  JOHN 1:12

I want to share an excerpt from the Baptist Bread written my Dr. Tim Green—–

“Sir James Simpson was a famous Edinburgh chemist. In the course of his distinguished career he had discovered chloroform, among other notable accomplishments.

Near the end of his life he was asked what he felt was his greatest discovery. His prompt reply was, “My greatest discovery was when I discovered what Jesus would be unto me.”

Simpson had accepted Christ as his Savior, Lord and Master, and now resides with Him in Glory.

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There is a two-fold discovery I’d like to consider today, one is in our text, “–AS MANY AS RECEIVED HIM—” The other is the fact that not only do we receive Him, but HE RECEIVES US!

In Romans 15:7 we read this ” CHRIST HAS ALSO RECEIVED US–“

Surely one can see that we got the best of this transaction:)

WE GOT HIM AND HE GOT US!

However the “shouting ground” with the realization that he received us–you and me—

 

To think that a holy God would stoop to receive us from the trash heaps and garbage dumps of our earthly existence is WONDERFUL!!!!

His life added to our lives, make life livable. Our lives added to His life, make us fit for Glory, as He,  “—RECEIVED US, TO THE GLORY OF GOD.”

I always thought it smacked a little of pride to way, “I accepted Christ.”

The grand thing was that He accepted me!

What a day of discovery when Jesus and you received one another!”

 

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This thought amazes me. HE RECEIVED ME!   and each of you that is reading this–if you have put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior can echo the same thing:) How wonderful!

 

The hymn I’d like to share today was written by James McGranahan  who lived in the 19th century America, He was a musician and composer composing over 250 hymns.

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CHRIST RECEIVETH SINFUL MEN

Sinners Jesus will receive;

Sound this word of grace to all 

Who the heavenly pathway leave,

All who linger, all who fall.

 

Come and He will give you rest;

Trust Him, for His word is plain;

He will take the sinfulest;

Christ receiveth sinful men.

 

 

Now my heart condemns me not,

Pure before the law I stand;

He who cleansed me from all spot,

Satisfied its last demand.

 

 

Christ receiveth sinful men,

Even me with all my sin;

Purged from every spot and stain,

                          Heaven with Him I enter in.

 

 

Sing it o’er and o’er again;

Christ receiveth sinful men;

Make the message clear and plain:

Christ receiveth sinful men.

 

James McGranahan  July 4, 1840-July 9, 1907

SO NEVER THINK YOUR SIN IS TOO GREAT FOR JESUS’ PRECIOUS BLOOD TO CLEANSE. NEVER FEEL THAT IF YOU CAME TO HIM ASKING FORGIVENESS THAT HE IS NOT BIG ENOUGH AND POWERFUL ENOUGH TO FORGIVE. FORGIVE YOU–OF ANY AND ALL SIN—-YES HE CAN!!

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Battlefields

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Turn on any news channel today and you will see scenes from battlefields. You will see innocent people caught in the sway of an evil influence that is bringing war and destruction to their homes and their land.

War has been a part of the human condition for centuries because there will always be those who hunger for the power to rule over others.

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In the 21st century we have watched the rise of religious zealots willing, not only to take the lives of others for their “cause,” but to give up their own lives. These enemies of Christianity and Israel are the most dangerous of all because they feel justified to massacre innocents in the name of their god. They feel justified in their cause to bring about the rule of the Mahdi or 12 th  Iman. Which would put all the world under Muslim control.

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I was listening to Shawn Hannity the other day and he was speaking to a woman from the Middle East who understood the language of the terrorists. He played a clip of a song, that terrorist were singing, and then of the words they said after for her to interpret. Because I was driving in my car I didn’t get everything she said but this phrase stuck out in my mind.  She repeated the words the terrorists were shouting translated into English and in it they referred, probably to the  American military, as “Armies of the Cross.” They went on to say that they were in a battle with the “Armies of the Cross” and intended to win.

The phrase “Armies of the Cross” really resonated with me.

When you look at the map of the Middle East today with ISIS on the march one can’t help but think of the tail of that old serpent Satan slashing across the land bringing death and destruction. Many of those affected by this brutal enemy are Christians.

We see this in the conflict between Hamas and Israel. Hamas has little regard for the lives of their own people and are willing to sacrifice women and children upon the altar of their hatred for Israel.

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In America we are not experiencing this horror yet but that is not to say that that old serpent Satan doesn’t have his claws into us.

With America, so far, his tactics are much more subtle. America’s wealth and decadence are doing a good job without his help. Our nation slips further and further into moral decay. Our Christians institutions are maligned by the rising Pop Culture in our country that are echoing the 60’s phrase–“Anything goes.”

Believers are lulled to sleep by a spiritual complacency. Busy on the “playground” of this world they have no time to be “serious” about their faith. We are not under an immediate attack so it is easy to go through our days busy with our occupations and problems hoping that things will magically get better. Or that we’ll be raptured out before the “really bad stuff” happens.

 

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Here are a few statements I read in the Baptist Bread. “Lost humanity is blind to the truth that—if they give the devil a ride he will soon be driving.” And in our country-“Sin has become a “culture” while “human rights'” strangle the process of justice and punishment for America’s heinous crimes.” Randy Pike

 

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Our nation is on a downward spiral into moral insanity. The next generation arriving into adulthood have no moral compass to guide them. As they flounder around trying to live their lives with out any Christian influence the mistakes they make only cause them pain. What they think will bring them pleasure only brings them despair.

Lest I get any further off topic here I want to include a hymn today that has challenged my heart and I hope will challenge yours. The battle is not lost yet. We can still be “soldiers of the Cross” by daily dying to self and seeking to serve Him. Because we know the only thing that can turn our nation is personal salvation.

 

 

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In the 1700’s anyone who became a follower of John or Charles Wesley and became a Methodist was taunted and persecuted.  Methodists were stoned, mauled, set upon by bulldogs, homes looted, business ruined. In 1749 Charles Wesley wrote this song to encouraged these embattled believers.

Soldiers of Christ, arise,

And put your armor on,

Strong in the strength which God supplies

Through His eternal Son;

Strong in the Lord of Hosts,

And in His mighty power,

Who in the strength of Jesus trusts

Is more than conqueror.

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Stand, then, in His great might,

With all His strength endued;

But take to arm you for the flight,

The panoply  (tools and weapons,suit of armor) of God:

That, having all things done,

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Till Christ the Lord descends from high,

And takes the conquerors home.

                           Charles Wesley  1707-1788

 Ephesians 6:13 

America–Something to Sing About:)

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“MY COUNTRY , TIS OF THEE,

SWEET LAND OF LIBERTY,

OF THEE I SING:

LAND WHERE MY FATHERS DIED,

LAND OF THE PILGRIM’S PRIDE,

FROM EVERY MOUNTAINSIDE

LET FREEDOM RING!

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MY NATIVE COUNTRY THEE,

LAND OF THE NOBLE FREE,

THY NAME I LOVE:

I LOVE THY ROCKS AND RILLS,

THY WOODS AND TEMPLED HILLS;

MY HEART WITH RAPTURE THRILLS

LIKE THAT ABOVE.

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LET MUSIC SWELL THE BREEZE,

AND RING FROM ALL THE TREES SWEET FREEDOM’S SONG:

LET MORTAL TONGUES AWAKE, LET ALL THAT BREATH PARTAKES;

LET ROCKS THEIR SILENCE BREAK, THE SOUND PROLONG.

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OUR FATHER’S GOD , TO THEE,

AUTHOR OF LIBERTY,

TO THEE WE SING:

LONG MAY OUR LAND BE BRIGHT WITH FREEDOM’S HOLY LIGHT;

PROTECT US BY THY MIGHT,

GREAT GOD AND KING!

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AMEN AND AMEN

Written by Samuel Francis Smith———Music from Thesaurus Musicus

UNITY BETWEEN THE POLITICAL AND SPIRITUAL

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America today has reached a crisis point. Our nation is awash in uncontrolled spending and drowning in unpaid debt. Our military might is crumbling under poor leadership.

Most disturbing is the decline in personal and political morality.
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You need only turn on nightly programing on you local television stations to understand the crisis in personal morality. Even if you are watching a “good’ program you will be assaulted with unseemly commercials that no one would have dared to air twenty years ago. words like erectile dysfunction and sexual intercourse have become common place along with sexually suggestive advertising. All of this, by the way, because a company wants to sell more of its product, in other words bottom line make more money, at the expense of young ears and eyes that might be watching and listening.

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The national crisis in morality is evident in the government’s legalization of the murder of thousands and thousands of unborn BABIES. I Wanted to emphasize BABY because there is all this confusion about the that word since the proponents of abortion (murder of innocents) want to throw around the word FETUS(Greek for Infant) in order to justify their support for this heinous crime against the most helpless among us. They want to have people believe that this is only about a woman’s choice with her body and that abortion clinics are safe ways to obtain this help. When the fact is—-many woman suffer emotional scars the rest of their life for this decision, and many abortion clinics are unsafe places to have a medical procedure of any kind. In my own city this was true–the abortion clinic did not have qualified staff and the place was filthy. A veterinarian clinic is more sanitary.

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Why do politicians push agendas that fly in the face of a holy God? Why do they make decisions that seems so selfish? It’s all about pride and greed and getting re-elected to office. This goes for both parties. Too many of our “leaders in Congress and The House cave when it comes to morality versus the vote.

Now we have Monica Lewinsky in the news–again—-bringing up all this smut from the nineties. Isn’t it enough that her wicked relations with a wicked man have affected thousands of young people in their idea of what “sex” is and therefore by deceptive definition of that word have indulged in demeaning behaviors some as young as middle school age? Behavior that is demeaning to girls and will have an effect on their self esteem more than any episode of “bullying” that a child might encounter.

I could go on but you get my drift. I usually would post something like this on my America Unhinged blog but the hymn I found and want to share with you speaks so plainly of the need of nation to be right with God.
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Our country is the great country that it is–the shining light to the world–is because of our forefathers dependence upon a Judeo Christian God. Because our basic laws The Constitution and The Bill of Rights were founded on Christian principles. So many Muslim nations want what we have but, even when we set up new governments, achieving the type of freedoms we enjoy is impossible because of their Sharia laws which, unlike Christianity, do not teach tolerance of other religious beliefs besides their own.
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My Baby boomer generation has benefited greatly in the freedoms that other generation before us have sacrificed and died for. We are reaping the harvest of peace and “prosperity” that they could only dream of. Unfortunately we haven’t been such good stewards of our inheritance as evident by the leaders today which are of my generation.

I fear our legacy to the next generation may be tainted by liberal unbelief, greed, self satisfaction and moral decay. We stand on the precipice of a looming disaster orchestrated by unsound and immoral decisions that will throw our nation into a tornado of chaos.

The further our nation strays from it’s spiritual foundations the closer it moves toward total collapse. The longer it indulges itself in foolish pride and rejects humility; the closer we come to being driven to our knees in humiliation.

G.K. Chesterton was a journalist known for blending “earth and altar.” He wrote on a huge variety of themes. He had a great sense of humor as evident in his personal testimony. “The Elephantine Adventure in the Pursuit of the Obvious.”

In this hymn titled “O God of Earth and Altar” he calls for unity between the political and spiritual realm. A great reminder that political freedom can only be found when God is its source. “Only as the hearts of political leaders, religious leaders, and citizens are turned to Him can a nation become “aflame with faith and free.”
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“O GOD OF EARTH AND ALTAR,
Bow down and hear our cry,
OUR EARTHLY RULERS FALTER,
OUR PEOPLE DRIFT AND DIE.

The walls of gold entomb us,
The swords of scorn divide,
Take not Thy thunder from us,
BUT TAKE AWAY OUR PRIDE. Thank-you-god-quotes-wallpaper-photo-galleries-and-wallpapers

From all that terror teaches,
From lies of tongue and pen,
From all the easy speeches
That comfort cruel men.

From sale and profanation
Of honor, and the sword,
From sleep and from damnation,
Deliver us, good Lord!

TIE IN A LIVING TETHER
THE PRINCE, AND PRIEST, AND THRALL
Bind all our lives together,
Smite us, and save us all:

In ire and exultation
Aflame with faith, and free,
Lift up a living nation,
A single sword to Thee.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton 1874-1936

DO NOT WAIT FOR SOME DEED OF GREATNESS–

BABIES-KIDSMany of us yearn for God to use us. Our hearts desire is to have a place of service for Him. We have a yearning to give back for all He has done for us.

We look forward to that great “calling” that He surely must have for us. We hear the preaching on ‘laying our all on the altar for Christ” and our willing hearts become impatient while we wait on God to reveal His plan for our lives.

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The Body of Christ is made up, like the human body, of a variety of members to which God has given certain skills and abilities. As much as we yearn to be the hands we might find that we are the feet. There are those called to visible ministries. They preach or teach. They work in the Christian School or the Sunday School. Perhaps they have a music ministry. All these people are a needed part of the body of Christ; but so are the not so visible ones. Where would the body be without feet? I know the body would still find a way to get around but it would be somewhat ‘crippled” and hindered in it’s movements.

The fact is that God will, and can use, each and every one of us in special and unique ways that we often miss as we strive for some ‘greater ministry.”

Over the years in my life I have served God in many ‘open’ and visible ministries but not so much any more. God has called me now to a quieter and more “obscure” life when it comes to being recognized as “serving” the Lord.

What I am learning is that God can use me where ever I am. Even in the humble tasks of shopping and everyday chores He finds a way to integrate in opportunities to serve Him. Oh–they are not ways that anyone would notice.

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Sometimes it is simply leaving a gospel tract or handing one to someone. Sometimes a conversation breaks out and I have a chance to share a “word” about God’s love and grace.

When I ask God to make me a blessing to someone he invariably sends a “someone’ my way.

I think of the young girl at the checkout that was humming a Christian tune, and when I commented on it, she said she was waiting on God for an answer to prayer. When I went to put my groceries in the trunk of my car and my eyes fell on an extra book I had purchased at the Bible book store I was impressed to return and give it to her.

Another lady approached me in the store once and just started talking about church and her need to attend one. Wonderful open door.

One time a woman came to my door to ask about a vacant house in our neighborhood and I was able to share the gospel and a Bible tract with her.

Yes I write–but it is a silent, unheard, unseen, occupation. I don’t often know if anything I’ve written has made a difference in anyone’s life.

The majority of believers are going to live a humble life. Witnessing to others on their jobs or in their cars. Does it make them–you and me–any less important in the body of Christ? I’ll let you answer that for yourself–because by now I think you get what I’m saying.

Charles Gabriel wrote this hymn I want to share with you today. In the early 1900’s he was the “king of gospel music.” He wrote many popular songs for the evangelists of his day such as Billy Sunday.

Hymns in the 1800’s were written with a more serious and reverent tone.

However with the revivals of Moody and Sunday; Christians began to want to sing peppier songs. These songs would focus on a simple emotions and celebrate it.

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So is this song “Brighten the Corner Where You Are.”

“Do not wait until some deed of greatness you might do,

Do not wait to shed your light afar,

To the many duties near you now be true.

Brighten the corner where you are.
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Just above are clouded skies that you might help to clear,

Let not narrow self your way debar,

Though into one heart alone may fall your song of cheer,

Brighten the corner where you are.

Here for all your talent you will surely find a need,

Here reflect the Bright and Morning Star,

Even from your humble hand the bread of life may feed,

Brighten the corner where you are.

Chorus:

Brighten the corner where you are!
Someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar,
Brighten the corner where you are.