Archive for December, 2018

Brighten The Corner Where You Are!

December 23, 2018

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With the passing of the winter solstice, I almost feel optimistically that I can already see the days getting longer with the promise of spring. Of course no one knows what sort of weather will be in store for us before the dawn of spring! And so it is with life itself, for no one knows what a year will hold, or indeed what life will hold for us before the dawning of that New Day when we are called Home or the Lord returns for His own. However, for those who have put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour – we can rest assured that “our times are in His Hands.”

I was considering the element of “light” just recently and how the Lord Jesus Christ was “a light of the Gentiles.” (Isaiah 42v6) The first 7 verses of this chapter are prophetic of His coming… “to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” (Verse 7)

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus exhorts His followers to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5v16)

While the rest of the world will curse the awful situations that mankind universally finds himself in, His true followers will use such situations to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2Peter 3v18) and to let their lights “so shine before men.”

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.” (Matthew 5v14) Each day that the Lord gives His children is yet another opportunity to “brighten the corner where we are.” Sometimes it may simply be to patiently support and care for someone in our own homes, or just be there for someone who is going through tumultuous times, or offering kind and loving words of witness to a neighbour or someone we meet in daily life, or speaking to souls in a hospital waiting room. As the years go by, we may not be in a position to launch out to foreign fields to reach the lost but “we can brighten the corner where we are.”

In fact we must brighten the corner where we are, wherever the Lord has placed us; making use of whatever opportunities, situations we find ourselves in, or talents that the Lord has bestowed upon us to reach others. “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights of the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.” (Philippians 2v15&16)

Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do,

Do not wait to shed your light afar;

To the many duties ever near you now be true,

Brighten the corner where you are.

 

Brighten the corner where you are!

Brighten the corner where you are!

Someone far from harbour you may guide across the bar;

Brighten the corner where you are!

 

Just above are clouded skies that you may 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 may 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.

 

© Ina Duley Ogdon (1872-1964)

 

Link to this hymn: https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/h/8652

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Have You Any Room For Jesus?

December 10, 2018

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I was recently listening to the story of Brian Gault, who was a victim of the Thalidomide drug in the early 1960’s. Around that era expectant mothers were given this so called “miracle drug” to combat morning sickness and as a result many other children like Brian were sadly born without legs or arms at that time. It was lovely to hear his testimony of coming to know the Lord as Saviour, after all the bullying and hardship he had endured as a child with no arms. Praise God, he had made room in his heart for Jesus… and that room is now filled with love, joy and peace, instead of bitterness and anger about his situation.

How the love of God transforms the humble place when He fills it with His Presence! This, His Presence will never find its abode in the heart that is full of the things of this world. The humble, quiet manger became filled with the Presence of God. There was no room for Him in the inn… a place full of the distractions of this world.

Another interesting testimony came to my notice recently: that of the hymn writer Daniel Webster Whittle (1840-1901), who rose to the rank of major in the American civil war. Like Brian Gault, Daniel was disabled but his one missing arm was as a result of combat. While in a prisoner of war camp recovering from his wounds, Daniel looked for something to read and found a New Testament. Although under conviction from the words he read, he was still reluctant to accept the Lord into his heart. A short time later an orderly approached him, saying that a dying prisoner wanted someone to pray with him. The orderly said that he assumed that Daniel was a Christian as he had watched him “reading his Bible.” Finally, Daniel agreed and miraculously he confessed his own sins and asked the Lord into his heart, before praying earnestly with the dying young soldier. In his own words he said: “I cannot but believe that God, who used him to bring me to the Saviour, used me to lead him to trust Christ’s precious blood and find pardon. I hope to meet him in heaven.” What a wonderful miracle of two lives transformed in one “fell swoop!”

Praise God, indeed, for such stories and testimonies. There is no limit to what the Lord can do with a life that is filled with His Presence. Brian Gault now travels extensively, speaking at meetings and churches, his DVD’s making a practical difference in the lives of disabled children and adults and his testimony to God’s grace in his own life touches the lives of individuals whoever or wherever they are.

And Daniel Webster Whittle’s humbled, repentant heart was touched by the Lord to such an extent that he went on to write at least 130 beautiful hymns. After his conversion experience he said that while at work, he “went into the vault and in the dead silence of the quietest places I gave my life to my Heavenly Father to use as He would.” The quiet, humble manger is filled with the Lord’s Presence…

I love his hymn… “Sin no More,” the chorus of which goes…

“Sin no more, thy soul is free,

Christ has died to ransom thee;

Sing the message o’er and o’er,

Christ forgives thee, “Sin no more.”

 

His hymn “Have you any room for Jesus?” is a convicting one, reminding us that “room for pleasure and room for business” should never be allowed to take the place of His Presence in our lives…

It is somehow fitting that the great Saviour of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ, should be born in the humblest of abodes – one that was emptied of the trappings of this world…

 

Have you any room for Jesus,

He who bore your load of sin?

As He knocks and asks admission,

Sinners, will you let Him in?

 

Room for Jesus, King of glory!

Hasten now His Word obey;

Swing the heart’s door widely open,

Bid Him enter while you may.

 

Room for pleasure, room for business,

But for Christ the Crucified,

Not a place that He can enter,

In the heart for which He died?

 

Have you any room for Jesus,

As in grace He calls again?

O today is time accepted,

Tomorrow you may call in vain.

 

Room and time now give to Jesus,

Soon will pass God’s Day of Grace;

Soon thy heart left cold and silent,

And thy Saviour’s pleading cease.