Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Shepastor: "Am I a Soldier of the Cross?"

1Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.2And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.3Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.4No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of [this] life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. II Timothy 2: 1-4, KJV

The great hymnologist Sir Isaac Watts penned these haunting words…

1. Am I a soldier of the cross,
A follow’r of the Lamb?
And shall I fear to own His cause,
Or blush to speak His name?
2. Must I be carried to the skies
On flow’ry beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize,
And sailed through bloody seas?
3. Are there no foes for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace,
To help me on to God?
4. Sure I must fight if I would reign;
Increase my courage, Lord;
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by Thy Word.

On the heels of many civil rights memorials and in preparation for the Lenten season, we as the people of God should be reminded of the sacrificial nature of Christian discipleship. There are costs associated with being a “soldier of the cross.” While many literally gave their lives to “make this world a better place,” God calls others to continue to live out their lives in a manner that is sacrificial in different ways.

At times we must choose between popularity and speaking the truth in love. At times we must stand with the minority for a just cause. Other times we may feel like “a voice crying in the wilderness.”

Whether we are preaching to multitudes like Peter or like Noah, building arks for refuge while others laugh or assisting with making tents like Pricilla and Aquilla, our assignments have been given by God. May we have the courage, the faith, the obedience and the perseverance to remain clear about our assignments. May we seek always to please our “enlisting officer.”

The Way
To every man there openeth
A Way, and Ways, and a Way,
And the High Soul climbs the High Way,
And the Low Soul gropes the Low,
And in between, on the misty flats,
To rest drift to and fro.
But to every man there openeth
A High Way, and a Low.
And every man decideth
The way his soul shall go.

John Oxenham

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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

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