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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wet pink rose

Brooksyne's favorite rose pose is early morning "when the dew is still on the roses."

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"A New Heart"

"Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26).

Mary Bell and children
Mary Bell Dambaugh (shown in photo), a resident of Longwood Manor where we serve as chaplains, loaned us an original historic book given to her grandmother by her great-uncle, Ira D. Sankey, who was a music composer and song leader for Evangelist D.L. Moody in the 1800's. The book is "The Autobiography of Dwight L. Moody" compiled by his son in 1900, one year after his father's death.  It is a remarkable retelling of Moody's conversion to Christ and his many evangelistic crusades where hundreds of thousands came to faith in the U.S., England, and elsewhere.

Moody, uneducated in the conventional way that ministers were trained in his day, was mightily used of God one on one and in massive evangelistic meetings.  The stories are tremendously inspirational and an example to those who want to be used of God.  Here's one illustration of his witnessing effort as a young believer:

"On his way home from meeting one night Mr. Moody saw a man leaning against a lamp-post.  Stepping up to him and placing his hands on his shoulders, he said:  "Are you a Christian?"  The man flew into a rage, doubled up his fists, and it seemed for a moment as if Moody might be pitched into the gutter.  "I'm very sorry if I have offended you," said Mr. Moody.  "Mind your own business!" roared the man.  "That is my business," Moody replied quietly, and went on his way.

About three months later, on a bitter cold morning at daybreak, there was a knock at Mr. Moody's door.  "Who's there?" he asked.  A strange voice answered, and Moody said, "What do you want?"  "I want to become a Christian" was the reply.

Mr. Moody opened the door, and, to his astonishment, there was the very man who had cursed him for talking to him as he leaned against the lamp-post.

"I'm very sorry," said the man.  "I haven't had any peace since that night.  Your words have haunted and troubled me.  I couldn't sleep last night, and I thought I would come and get you to pray for me."  That man accepted Christ, and the moment he had done so asked:  "What can I do for Him?"

He eventually taught in the Sunday School until the Civil War broke out, when he enlisted, and was one of the first to be shot down, but not before he had given his testimony for God.

The troubled man that Moody prayed with needed a new heart, and when he stopped resisting, he found the peace and joy that comes from allowing God to change his heart.  God promised the ancient Israelites through the prophet Ezekiel, "I will give you a new heart."  That was about 2,550 years ago and remains God's work through all generations.  The heart of stone represents a cold, hard heart unreceptive to spiritual truth. That sure describes so much of what we see and encounter today.

John Wesley comments on this verse:  "A sanctified heart, in which the almighty grace of God is victorious, and turns it from all sin to God. A new spirit - A new, holy frame in the spirit of man; which is given to him, not wrought by his own power. The stony - The senseless unfeeling. Out of your flesh - Out of you.  Of flesh - molded into a compliance with his whole will; to forbear, do, be, or allow what God will, receiving the impress of God, as soft wax receives the impress of the seal."

Brooksyne and I have been talking quite a bit about the great revivals of D.L. Moody's day and of course we could go back to other historic revivals as well.  People's hearts were turned toward God and thus healing was brought upon their land.  We need a great revival in our day to turn stone hearts to tender hearts, sin-filled lives to redeemed lives.

Charles H. Spurgeon, a great pastor, scholar, professor, and college president in London, addressed the students at Agricultural Hall following one of Moody's meetings.  He implored them, "If you have professed to have found Christ, don't make a sham of it.  If your salvation is worth anything it should be a salvation from sin.  Salvation from hell is not the salvation you ought to cry after, but salvation from sin, that will bring salvation from hell.  A thief might want to get salvation from going to prison but the only salvation for him that is worthy anything is salvation from thieving." 

Thousands will trust Christ today for salvation through the witness of godly people, burdened for the lost, around the world.  Have you trusted Christ for salvation and a asked Him for a new heart?  If so thank God for what He did in your life when He gave you a new heart.  But if you haven't made that commitment you can do so right now by earnestly calling out to the Lord.  If you are a believer, pray for a passionate heart to witness to the lost that are otherwise dying without hope.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer:  Father, we consider the sentiment of the hymnwriter who asked, "Where could I go, oh, where could I go?  Seeking a refuge for my soul. Needing a Friend to save me in the end, where could I go but to the Lord?"  Father, though You love us so much that You sent Your only Son to die on the cross for our sins we put up a struggle with You instead of surrendering to You.  But when we finally do surrender, we find You to be a mighty Refuge from the storms of life, a Savior who redeems us from the sins that held us in Satan's captivity. Even as we have received Your mercy and forgiveness from sins, we want to see others released from the devil's stronghold as well.  Enable us to be faithful witnesses to the lost.  Give us a passion for souls so that Your kingdom will be enlarged and Satan's domain will decrease.  In Jesus' name we pray.  Amen.

DL Moody quote from autobiography
Flyleaf from the book, "The Autobiography of Dwight L. Moody" written in 1900, one year after his death.  The cover has fallen off the book so we included a photo of the flyleaf. In the past we have used this quote in our messages so it was extra special to open the book and find it to be the first message written in the book.  Moody instructed his son to write this biography/autobiography before others would do so.  He wanted the facts to be correctly written before others might incorrectly write about his ministry, so his son followed through.  Here we are, 109 years later, deeply touched by the stories and accountings in this book about a devoted and very humble servant of God.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"Create In Me A Clean Heart"  Video  Based on Psalm 51 by Keith Green.

"Create In Me A Clean Heart" Psalm 51:10-12,15 from the Integrity Scripture Memory series. If you care to listen to this song open here and then click "play".

"Rescue The Perishing" (Audio) A stirring hymn with Fanny Crosby lyrics but a slightly different tune than we sang growing up. Brooksyne really likes it and enjoyed listening when I found this version! Lifespring podcast of this song with a delightful hymn background story and audio version

Today's photo of the rain soaked rose was taken in front of our home and in the caption we included a phrase from a hymn. Can you tell us which one?  Reply by email here.  (We'll provide the answer tomorrow.)

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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