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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Love of Christ

"The Love of Christ constraineth us."
(2Cor 5:14)

Dear friends,
What is it, that would compel the true believer to live a life so contrary to this present world? A life characterized by self-denial and cross bearing; where afflictions and trials play a vital role in their joy and happiness?

A life where "loving your enemies and praying for those who despitefully use you and persecute you", best testify to your truly being a child of God? A life, where "denying this world's pleasures and lusts are demanded, and being hated for Christ's sake is promised? A life where the "loss of all things gained are counted but dung and loss, that we might win Christ"?

The answer to all these great questions can be summed up in these most blessed and precious words of the Apostle Paul. Words which work mightily, and almost mystically, in the hearts and minds of every true believer!

"The Love of Christ constraineth us." (2Cor 5:14)

"Tis happiness below, to encounter many a cross,
But the Savior's power to know, sanctifying every loss;
Trials must and will befall, but with humble faith to see,

"Satan's sifting of Peter" was designed to "try his faith." Yet it was "one glance from Christ" and the remembrance of His words that he would deny Him, which pierced Peter's heart and caused him to "weep bitterly", thus ushering in a greater awareness of Christ's unchanging and eternal love! Satan's sifting would, in the hands of God's grace, prove to sift Peter's heart of all self-confidence, while revealing the greatest of Christ's unchanging love.

"Paul's thorn in the flesh", which he considered to be very grievous and a great hindrance, was made by God's all-sufficient grace, a thorn he now cherished and warmly embraced.

"Moses" would not have all the riches and pleasures of Canaan, if the "presence of God" went not up with them.

And "David" found nothing in heaven or upon earth itself that he desired more than Christ!

What is it then, that would compel a believer to choose such a life? To be willing and ready, to deny the whole world and himself, and face such great persecution and hatred?...."The love of Christ constraineth (arrests, compels, motivates) us." (2 Cor 5:14)

I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,

Hail, sovereign love that first began,
The scheme to rescue fallen man;
Hail matchless free eternal grace,
That gave my soul a hiding place.

Against the God who rules the sky,
I fought with hand uplifted high,
Despised the mention of His grace,
Too proud to seek a hiding place.

Enwrapped in thick Egyptian night,
And fond of darkness more than light,
Madly I ran the sinful race,
Secure without a hiding place.

But thus th' eternal counsel ran,
"Almighty Love, arrest that man!"
I felt the arrows of distress,
And found I had no hiding place.

Indignant justice stood in view,
To Sinai's fiery mount I flew,
But Justice cried with frowning face,
"This mountain is no hiding place!"

Ere long a heavenly voice I heard,
And Mercy's angel form appeared.
Who led me on with gentle pace,
To Jesus Christ, my hiding place.

On Him Almighty vengeance fell,
That must have sunk a world to hell;
He bore it for a chosen race,
And thus became their hiding place.

Should storms of sevenfold vengeance roll,
And shake this earth from pole to pole;
No flaming bolt could daunt my face,
For Jesus is my hiding place.

A few more rolling suns at most,
Shall land me safe on Heaven's coast.
There I shall sing the song of grace,
To Jesus Christ, my hiding place.

Bro. Audey Shepard

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