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"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."



Part 61




            “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (Rev. 3:19).

            The trials and testings which are the daily experience of those apprehended of God in this hour are designed to develop a character worthy of one called to reign with Christ in His kingdom.  Our Father rules and overrules in each of these for our good.  Sometimes they take the form of chastening, as we read, “If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not?” (Heb. 12:7).  Ordinarily we think of the word “chastisement” as signifying correcting for wrongdoing.  But in the scriptures it is especially used to convey the idea of education or instruction in righteousness.  The word in Greek which is translated chasten is paiedeia, and comes from the word paideia, which means child.  The verb is paiduo, and has the meaning of “to train, to educate, to instruct, to teach.”  Chastisement is, therefore, the training, education, instruction, and correction of ignorance for the child’s learning. Those chosen to reign with Christ in the authority and power of the kingdom of God need to have practical lessons in character development — lessons of a very high order!  Consequently we receive chastening such as no other creatures in the universe have been subject to, aside from our Lord.  We must receive the training necessary to fully conform us to our Father’s mind, will, and ways in every instance and under all circumstances.

            God is chastening His sons, training them as a father trains his child.  He is educating us and bringing us under discipline.  He is not punishing us because we have done wrong, but He does correct us that we may learn His ways.  Discipline is much more than punishment.  Discipline is something you do for your child, not to your child.  Discipline is part of the character you build into your child that will give him a way of life.  Correction is necessary for children!  A baby is an innocent little thief.  It takes everything it can lay its hands on, and constantly misappropriates unless watched.  It has not any notion of what is right.  It understands nothing of wisdom.  We have to teach children everything!  One of the greatest curses of this country is that children are not lovingly, but firmly, corrected, restrained, and taught righteousness.  They are permitted to be their own masters and do their own thing when they ought to be under government.  Armed with the understanding that chastisement is more than punishing for wrong doing, it is clear that if a man is always beating his child, but never blessing; always grumbling, complaining, and criticizing, but never praising; always discouraging and putting down, but never encouraging and inspiring, he will destroy the child.  God is a loving Father and does not want to punish us at all!  Yet, it is better to correct and teach us that we may obey Him, than for us to end up as spiritual delinquents!  Spiritually spoiled brats, who only receive blessings and benefits from the Father, as many Christians seek, especially those in the “faith” movement, will not reign with Christ in His kingdom!  

            Bennie Skinner once shared this wise counsel: “You need to know God in all the sides of His nature; if you knew all the sides of God’s nature, you would understand how a God of love can allow bad things to happen to good people, and not only allow it, but bring it to pass.  When you know God in all the sides of His nature you do not think of Him as an indulgent old granddaddy who lets everybody do anything they want to, and He still loves them anyhow — ‘it’s alright darling, everything will be wonderful in the end.’  Ah, yes, it will be wonderful in the end — but let me tell you something, beloved; before you get to that end you are going to discover another side to God’s nature.  When I had children born to me I loved those children unconditionally.  There were no reservations to my love, for I am a father.  Regardless of what they did, how they acted, or what they didn’t do, I still loved them the same.  But suppose I had said to them, ‘I love you — I don’t care what you do,’ and just let it go at that.  Do you know what kind of un-holy terrorists I would have raised?  Do you know what kind of juvenile delinquents I would have reared if I would have said, ‘Anything goes, everything goes, I love you darling, it’s all right, it’s O.K.,’ and never taught them a thing about life or responsibility.  Can you imagine how they would have lived?

            “There are multitudes of people today who think of God in this way and so they think of themselves like that as parents.  They don’t want to bear the responsibility of showing  another side to their nature!  They equate love with permissiveness.  They invest nothing into their children to teach them and train them.  Consequently the children grow up to be delinquents.  The real problem is parental delinquency!  If you know and understand God and the different sides of His nature it will put a balance in your life that will be reflected in your home, in the way you treat your wife, in the way you treat your husband, the way you treat your children.  Each of us, though we are one person, has various relationships and offices.  I am a father.  I am also a son.  I am a husband.  Furthermore, I am a citizen of Palm Beach County.  I am a member of the human race.  I am a neighbor.  I am a pastor.  I am all these things and more — and yet I am but one person.  I do not act as a father in the same way I act as a husband.  I do not act as a husband in the same way I act as a son.  I do not act as a son in the same way I act as a neighbor.  I do not act as a neighbor in the same way I act as a pastor.  I have all these different sides to my nature, yet I am but one person.  GOD HAS MANY SIDES TO HIS NATURE, BUT HE IS ONLY ONE GOD.  These sides of God’s nature are revealed through His names.  For instance, the name Yahweh reveals the Father side of God.  Yahweh is the stern One.  Yahweh is the Law-giver.  Yahweh is the Head.  Yahweh does not deal with us in the same way that Jesus deals with us as Saviour!  The Saviour is gracious in all ways, but there is awesome responsibility with being a Father.  It requires wisdom, knowledge, and backbone!”   — end quote.

Our heavenly Father is a wise parent!  He it was who inspired the words, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.”  We are not to despise this correction, no matter how severe or painful, and we are not to faint when we are rebuked or admonished  of Him.  We have come to realize that this is for our good and is part of our training as sons of God!  How full of truth are the words of the wise man, “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes” (Prov. 13:24).  If the parent spares the rod, or does not correct the son, then the Bible says that such a parent hates his son!  But the parent that loves his son chastens him betimes.  The word “betimes” carries a special significance also, for it figuratively means “be up early at any task” with the implication of earnestness.

            This definition takes chastening out of the realm of emotion and puts it in the realm of what is best for the son.  The emotional reaction of the parent to the misdeed of the son is not allowed in the act of chastening at all.  It is entirely upon the basis of what must be done to train, educate, instruct, teach, and develop the character of the son.  It is a necessary action to bring the son into line with the ideal of the father for him.  This is an exact picture of God’s love for His family of sons!  It is God’s business to chasten us and He does it with an earnestness and perseverance that we know nothing of!

            This love that we are under today is a chastening love!  It is a love that prunes, that shakes, that molds us and makes us to be just what our Father purposes for us to be.  We have heard parents say again and again, “I don’t want my children to go through what I had to go through.”  So they work and struggle and sacrifice to give their children something better than they had.  In many instances those parents are only indulging their children, handing everything to them on a silver platter, making life easy for them.  These children do not learn the lessons, the principles of hard work, thriftiness, vision, perseverance, integrity, and purpose that the parents learned “through the things they suffered.”  So the children grow up thinking the world “owes” them something, and they are not a credit to their parents.  It is the ones who come up the “hard way,” the University of Hard Knocks, if you please, who generally are the ones who impart something to the uplifting of the world.  

            God is not that foolish!  The love of God is a love that chastens.  The book of Proverbs is a book of wisdom that teaches many beautiful principles of just and righteous living.  In many cases these are written in the natural to parents, but God is doing this very thing today in the spiritual!  It is this love of God that is doing it.  One proverb says, “Chasten thy son, and let not thy soul spare for his crying” (Prov. 19:18).   In plain language, if your child is crying and wailing because he is being spanked, or because he can’t get his way or do what he wants to do, don’t let up the pressure just because of his crying.  I remember when I was a child, my father had a razor strap, for he had at one time been a barber.  That razor strap was one of the instruments applied to my “seat of learning.”  I well remember my favorite scream while he was spanking me — “Stop! You’re killing me!  You’re killing me!”  I would wail this over and over again, but my father was a wise man.  He knew he wasn’t killing me, so my crying had no affect at all on the punishment!  Should he have had pity and stopped, the effect of the chastisement would have been lost.  Sometimes we get to the place where we cry to the Lord, saying, “Lord, I cannot take any more of this.  I’ll die if you put any more upon me.”  But like my father, the Lord just keeps pouring it on and pays no attention at all to us, though we cry loudly. 

Was it not the Lord Himself who taught us this wisdom, “Withhold not correction from the child, for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die” (Prov. 23:13).  If our heavenly Father pitied us every time we whimper and cry when He is correcting us, and left off the correction, we would never amount to anything.  We might spend eternity playing a harp on a golden street, but we would never rule the nations or deliver creation from the bondage of corruption!  If God gave us everything we want, and answered every prayer we pray, and kept us from all the things we don’t want to face, He would have nothing but a family of spoiled children on His hands.  We would be no good for the age and the ages to come, nor qualified in any way to judge the world and angels! 

            How we praise God that He chastens us while there is yet hope, and He does not spare when we begin to cry.  He goes right on, because He knows the end that He wants.  He is training sons to govern the world when the time is ripe for it, and to reveal His nature, glory, and power to all creation!  God knows what He wants to do in us, and we can groan and cry and wail all we want, but our Father will go on with the chastising.  That is the kind of love and wisdom that will produce a son that the Father will be proud of, unto whom He can commit the reins of His government, and be willing to be glorified in!

            We all know that a horse must be broken, that is, its will must be broken before it is of any practical use to man.  God put that will in the horse, but it must be broken and made to conform to the will of man.  Just as surely did God put the will in man, and just as surely the self-will of man must be broken and made to conform to the will of God!  What a credit we will be to our Father, and what a benefit we will be to creation when HIS WILL has fully become OUR WILL!  We do not like chastening and we had just as well admit it.  No chastening for the present seems to be pleasant.  But chastening will pay rich dividends in us when we have matured into the full measure of the stature of Christ.  So we are truly thankful that God’s chastening is just as it is and we would not have it any other way.  I read the story of a man who told how his grandfather used to make him kiss the paddle after every whipping that he gave him.  And if he didn’t, he would get another whipping until he did!  He told it in a humorous way, and on the surface it may sound comical to some, or cruel to others, but there is a great lesson in it.  We can either resist God’s instruction and get another whipping, or learn to thank Him, and kiss the paddle He is using on us, realizing that it is part of the process to mold us and make us what He wants us to be!

            Stacy Wood told a story that a young man in the Marine Corp. had related to him.  He said, “One morning during boot camp training, our Drill Instructor took us out to a field where he ordered us to dig a long, deep trench.   Furthermore, he told us we could not stop to eat or rest until we had completed the task.  It took all day in the hot sun to complete our assignment.  As the sun began to set in the west, we began to take comfort in looking forward to a good hot shower, a meal, and a full night of rest.  Our Drill Instructor returned to check on us just before the chore was completed.  As he approached, we could not believe what we heard.  He appeared full of anger and was shouting, cursing, and fussing at the top of his voice.  He said, ‘Who told you to dig this hole in my field!’  Someone said, ‘You did, Sergeant!’  He said, ‘Who told you that?!’  No one dared to argue with him.  He then said, ‘Fill that hole up!’  It took nearly the whole night to complete the job and no one got any rest, or food, until we completed it.

            “This young Marine went on to say, “I did not understand this discipline until I went to Vietnam.  There I learned that such training often made the difference between life and death!  On the battlefield I experienced the necessity of going without sleep for days at a time.  Yet, it was critically important to remain not only awake, but alert, even when our physical bodies needed rest.”

            This discipline was a hardship on those young recruits while in boot camp, and to them appeared absolutely meaningless and un-called-for!  It probably made some of them angry.  It certainly was not a pleasant experience at the time!  However, it yielded the intended result on the field of battle where that training was so very, very important.  In like manner, the Lord faithfully tutors and trains those who are to serve in the Lord’s army which shall fight in the trenches in battle with the forces of sin and death, defeat the kingdom of darkness, and bring the kingdom of God to pass in the earth!  We must learn to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  Everyone who fills a position of trust and responsibility in the kingdom undergoes discipline.  Every son undergoes discipline, for if we are without chastisement, the apostle tells us, then are we bastards, and not sons.  God disciplines us that we may share in His holiness.  Thus, all who are called to sonship have learned to submit to the Father of spirits and live!  There is great and eternal purpose in all the severity of our Father’s dealings, and we have learned to love and appreciate this wonderful Father who would so fashion us and make us that which we could never become in any other way.

            Oh wondrous love of God!  Not a love that allows us to be indulged by God and gives us the privilege of doing just what we want, but a love that will “beat us within an inch of our lives” and then raise us up in the image and likeness of God.  Remember the words of Jude.  “Keep yourselves in the love of God.”  Do not foolishly ask God to slacken His hand of chastisement, but keep yourself in the love of God, always looking at the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.  This will bring us into the life of the ages!  This is the only way there.  We used to have the idea that because Jesus died on the cross, everything was paid and finished and there was nothing but love, joy, peace, and prosperity forever.  The death of Jesus, however, WON’T KEEP US FROM LEARNING OBEDIENCE THROUGH THE THINGS WE SUFFER.  It is the suffering under the Father’s hand of chastening that will bring us to perfection and show us the path of life!  All this is going on in Christ Jesus, for we are His workmanship, created unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.  Our Father will do what is best for us until we become a credit to Him.  Then shall the voice come from heaven, proclaiming, “These are my beloved sons, in whom I am well pleased!”  Then shall our revealing and showing forth unto the world begin, and the fame of us and our glory shall spread abroad throughout all the world and unto the extremities of the unbounded heavens! 

            These words by brother Paul Mueller beautifully express the depth of this blessed truth: “There is another rod of God that concerns us: it is the Lord’s rod of discipline and correction.  Job referred to this rod when he said, ‘Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power?  Their seed is established in their sight with them, and their offspring before their eyes.  Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them” (Job 21:7-9).  As we look about us in the world today, we can see that the wicked live just as Job said they did, without the rod of God in their lives.  The wicked enjoy wealth and the power which that wealth brings.  They live the so-called ‘good life,’ for their lives are free of the Lord’s rod of discipline and correction.  But it is not so with the chosen saints of the Lord!  Our lives are wondrously and strangely predestined of our Father to attain to the fullness of sonship in Christ through the discipline of our trials.

            “Throughout our journey in this life, with every step we take, we will see the rod of God in our lives.  At times, our lives will be interrupted by a strange set of circumstances that are unique and unexplainable.  But we must know that our loving Father predestined us to the adoption of sons, and His rod is that set of disciplinary circumstances in our lives designed to lead us to the fullness of the life of Christ (Rom. 8:29).  Others may live in abundant prosperity and health, enjoying the things of this world, but we are being disciplined by the rod of the Lord, and are separated unto Him for His holy purposes.  If we are truly called and chosen of our Father to become manifest sons of God at this time, we must experience His strange and unique rods, including the rod of selection and separation as well as His rod of discipline.

“The chastisement of Father’s rod is unique to true sons.  All the sons of God are now going through some form of chastisement, or will soon experience it.  The prophet declared, ‘The Lord’s voice crieth unto the city (the heavenly Jerusalem): hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it’ (Mic. 6:9).  When the Lord applies His rod of correction to our lives, it is an indication that He wants to teach us something wonderful and important.  The Lord’s rod brings a message to us, therefore we should hear the message of the rod.  In every trial, He is doing something wonderful in our lives!  When a strange form of discipline unto correction comes our way, we will then reply to our Father, ‘Abba, Father, what lesson do you want me to learn through this experience?’  Father has a rich, new message for us in every application of the rod, a message we could not receive in any other circumstance, so we are admonished to ‘hear ye the rod.’

            “Furthermore, we should not only hear the message of the rod, but we also should understand ‘who hath appointed it.’  The rod of correction, that must come into the life of every true son, is that experience that will perfect us and bring us into the fullness of the life of Christ.  By the wisdom of the mind of Christ we will recognize the chastisements in our lives as the rod of God, and not Satan’s works.  The devil would rather keep us living in constant ecstasy, and our minds thus dulled to the voice of the Lord.  Satan does not want us to be perfected and would not send these tests and trials into our lives!  But God is applying His rod to our lives to keep us alert and aware of His voice and leadings, and to perfect us and conform us to His image and likeness.  We have grown spiritually beyond the doctrines of the old order.  Now, we no longer see the devil in our lives.  The Lord has taken the devil out of our minds, out of our doctrines, and out of our lives.  Now we know the truth!  Now we know ‘It is GOD which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure’”  — end quote.

            A strange but wonderful statement from the inspired pen of the prophet Isaiah says, “When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done.  Wherefore glorify ye the Lord in the fires, even the name of the Lord God of Israel” (Isa. 24:13,15).  Those of God’s elect who walk in the dealings of the Lord in this hour have truly learned to glorify God in the fires!  We glorify God in the fire when we bear it patiently.  We glorify God in the fire also, when we are really and fully persuaded God will not put us in the fire except for our good, and His own glory.  We glorify God in the fire when we say, “Lord, don’t let the fire go out until it has purged away all the dross.  Then we glorify God when we wish for the good of the fire, and not to have it extinguished; when the soul can say, “Here I am, my God, do with me as seemeth good in Thy sight.”

            We glorify God in the fire when we are not grumbling and complaining, but humbly submitting to His will, content to walk by faith and not by sight.  We glorify God in the fire, when in the midst of the fire we can sing God’s high praises.  Years ago we learned to sing the high praises of God in the assembly of the saints, in great joy and rejoicing.  But now, praise God, we have learned to glorify God in the fire!  Thus the children of Israel glorified the Lord; the song of the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace is a sweet song! as are all songs that are made in the fire.  Then we glorify God in the fire when we can bless God for not letting us alone; but we glory in tribulation, knowing that tribulation worketh patience.  Blessed are you that have gotten into Christ’s fire!  Blessed are you that have found His fire in your souls, in whatever fires He has been pleased to send you, and into whatever furnaces He has been pleased to cast you!

            Our hearts and souls are the workshop of God.  It is there that He is changing us and bringing us into union with Himself in the spirit.  And what a mighty work it is that He is doing there!  The change comes not by a wonderful spiritual experience with waves of joy and glory.  Oh, no!  It is the blow of His hammer that breaks our hard heart!  It is the stroke of His ax that strikes at the root of our life!  It is the plunge of His pruning knife that cuts away the natural, worldly, and religious things that sap our spiritual strength!  It is the furnace heated seven times hot that consumes our dross!  It is an overthrow, a shipwreck, utter desolation that He brings to our carnal mind and our old religious ways!  It is His bitter cup of suffering that mellows our self-confident spirit!  And without ceasing God works — the everlasting God, He neither slumbers nor sleeps, sang David in one of his sublime psalms.  Absolutely without sleeping He works.  He visits us in our dreams, He searches our reins and instructs us in the night seasons, as if He had no other man’s perfection on His hands but ours!  We see, we hear, we taste, we feel Him and His work in us every day and night, and every hour and moment of the day and night!  This is the experience of every son of God who walks with Christ in the spirit and is being changed into His image and likeness!

            One of the most interesting places in the world to see, I have been told, is the Royal Palace in Tehran, Iran.  One of the things that makes it so interesting is that it has been recognized as one of the most beautiful buildings ever to have been constructed.  And yet, when they were building it, a catastrophe occurred.  The main entrance hall was going to be lined with mirrors.  The architect had ordered the mirrors to be shipped from across the ocean.  When the shipment had finally arrived, the mirrors were uncrated ever so carefully.  But to the astonishment of the architect, many of the mirrors had been shattered en route.  And what wasn’t broken would never cover the designated area.  They were useless.

            As the crew was preparing to haul the splintered glass to the dump, the architect suddenly had an idea.  “Stop!” he ordered.  “Don’t throw them away.”  Then he ordered that the mirrors that were still intact be broken into fragments as well.  And so, every last mirror was shattered into fragments.  Then they hauled the small pieces to the worksite and began piecing them together again into what became an exquisite mirrored mosaic.  They used this innovative technique to cover pillars and to cover the dome and some of the different hallways.  The effect was phenomenal!  The mirrors pick up light, like a prism, reflecting rainbows of color throughout the rooms.  They were broken to be made beautiful.  And that is what happens with us as well!  God breaks us to make us the revelation of His glory!

            The deep mystery of our Father’s chastening is that He is not punishing us for not being what we should be, but He is making us what he has purposed for us to be!  When He is chastening us He is making us chaste, pure, clean, undefiled, and bringing us into His likeness.  He not only chastens us, He also “scourges every son whom He receiveth” (Heb. 12:6).  Scourge is a pretty strong word!  Scourging is the word used for the beating that was given with a whip called the “cat of nine tails.”  It was a whip with nine lashes, with little balls of lead tied to the end of the lashes to give them greater force when brought down on the bare back of the victim.  The victim would be tied to a post, his back made bare, and when the beating was over his back would be cut to shreds. 

            This is what Jesus suffered just before His crucifixion.  Our English word “scourge” literally means to strip the hide off, and when the scourging is over there is little hide left on the victim’s back.  It is instructive to note that the first five letters of the word spell “scour”.  When something has a residue or coat of dirt, grease, or other undesirable substance on the surface of it that spoils its appearance or usefulness, then we scour it to remove the film, or the covering that should not be there.  Usually an abrasive material is used to remove this film,  such as Comet or Brillo pads.  When the scouring is finished, and the film removed, the vessel shines forth in all of its beauty!

            That which the Lord has to get rid of in us is the covering of the old fleshly nature and carnal mind which conceal and mar the beauty of the Christ within.  What our Father is doing when chastening and scourging us, is stripping away our old self-nature which obstructs the glory of the divine life within.  This covering of the old flesh must be removed to let the glory of the Christ shine forth!  This God is doing with His chastening rod and His scourging whip; removing the filthy film of our old fleshly nature and religious ways, taking the hide of carnality off, until our vessel shines with the beauty and glory of Christ and is made useful in the kingdom of our Father. 

            When receiving chastening and scourging from the hand of God there is nothing pleasant about it; it is not an occasion for great shouting and rejoicing.  The words of the apostle Peter are fulfilled in us, for he speaks of our being “in heaviness through manifold testings” (I Pet. 1:6).  Yet, when we consider the end of the chastening we can rejoice and praise and thank our Father for what He is producing in our lives, for truly “the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, be found unto praise and honor and glory at the unveiling of Jesus Christ” (I Pet. 1:7).  As we submit to the testings and trials, which are the instruments of the Lord’s rod and of His whip, and endure them patiently, they bring forth in our lives His righteousness, beauty, and perfection.  We will be holy as He is holy and perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect. The old fleshly self-nature will be gone, and Christ will be all in all within us.  We will be like Him!  We will do only those things we see our Father do, and speak only those words which we hear from Him.  If we are to be king-priests in His kingdom, working with Him in the restoration of the suffering creation, bringing the dominion of the kingdom of God into the life of every man and nation on the face of the earth, there can be no interference in us that would keep us from doing wholly and always the perfect will of our Father.  The old carnal nature and the old religious mind can never do this!  Only Christ in us can be this submissive to the Father’s voice and the Father’s will — there is no way we can be.  There has to be a complete stripping away of the tough hide of the outer man, so we can come into the formation of Christ, to be the revelation of the Father upon earth.  As we presently endure the chastening of the Lord, let us remember the words of the writer to the Hebrews, who tells us that in all these trials, “GOD DEALETH WITH YOU AS WITH SONS”(Heb. 12:7).

            This indeed is the pathway to sonship!  Sad to say, there are many who glibly mouth the truths of sonship but who are not walking under the Father’s disciplines which are common to all the sons of God.  To use the very words of scripture, these then are “bastards, and not sons.”  We would do well to remember at all times that sonship is a WALK.  It is not just a “message,” a “revelation,” a “doctrine,” or even a “truth” to be put to memory and repeated.  IT IS A LIFE TO BE LIVED AND WALKED OUT.  Sonship involves training and discipline, and all who are apprehended of the Lord for sonship must be seen passing through the disciplines, instructions, corrections, trials, testings, provings, chastisements, and scourgings of the Lord.  Let us therefore walk through this time of intense preparation with faith and confidence, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, keeping our eyes on the goal set before us: to live in His life and partake of His holiness.  This is the best and most sound advice anyone can give to the sons of God who are passing through the fiery trials and severe dealings of this present hour, along with the inspired words spoken to Job, “ACQUAINT NOW THYSELF WITH GOD, AND BE AT PEACE.”


Yes, I was living to myself — was dead:

Self — with its hopes and dreams was all I had;

                                                But soon the Lord fulfilled my prayer to know

                                                The power of His cross — ’twas death below.


                                                I asked contrition — He sent me pain;

For purity — but anguish came again;

                                                I asked I might be meek — He broke my heart;

                                                I asked — I knew not what — the better part.


                                                I asked to know what death was to the world,

                                                And quickly all my living hopes were spoiled;

                                                I asked to be like Him — His image bear —

                                                He placed me in a furnace, sitting there


                                                Like one refining silver, till He see

                                                The reflex of His image bright in me.

                                                I asked that I the daily cross might bear,

                                                It lacerated me — the wounds I wear;


                                                I blindly prayed, not knowing how, nor what,

                                                He took me at my word — it mattered not.

                                                Then I began to shrink from following near,

                                                And well-nigh prayed Him to depart through fear.


                                                To suffer was not pleasing to the flesh,

                                                I feared to pray lest suffering come afresh;

                                                But I had gone too far — on I must go —

                                                The virtues of His cross had pierced me through.


In me His promise now fulfilled must be —

                                                Suffer with me, and you will reign with me!”

                                                Ah, I had only heard of love — but now

                                                I feel it, Oh!  I feel its living glow.


                                                He fastened on me such a look of love,

                                                Withering to self — tender, all words above;

                                                Follow I must, whatever may betide;

                                                I love the cross — I shelter in His side!

           To be continued…                                                                                          J. PRESTON EBY


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Updated by Sharon Eby 02/09/2007 11:06:51 AM