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Thursday, May 16, 2013
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"I'd Rather Have Jesus"
"And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life" (Matthew 19:29,30). "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ" (Philippians 3:8).
Several years ago we visited Fallingwater, a luxury home in the mountains of western Pennsylvania, most famous because it was designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It is in a gorgeous setting built over waterfalls, thus the name. It was the getaway home for Edgar Kaufmann Sr., a successful Pittsburgh businessman. It is listed among Smithsonian's Life List of 28 places "to visit before you die." Although quite interesting I wouldn't go that far! Actually at 6 foot 2 inches I found the ceilings and doors way too low for me in addition to the damp, clammy feel due to the proximity to the water.
Built nearly eighty years ago it was the ultimate home of the time and a symbol of worldly wealth, or in the words of a poem, "riches untold".
We mentioned several weeks ago that George Beverly Shea passed on to his eternal reward in April at 104 years of age. He was associated with the Billy Graham organization for many years. He is perhaps most famous for a song he wrote the music to that used the words to a poem his mother had given him; a song he calls his testimony.
I'd rather have Jesus than silver or gold
I'd rather be His than have riches untold
I'd rather have Jesus than houses or land
I'd rather be led by His nail pierced hands
"But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first." This is a familiar verse that we quote often. It seems we often quote it in a humorous way when called up to the serving line at a church meal. If you are not selected in the first grouping and wait and find you are the last to be called up someone in your group will inevitably quote this verse with a smile. I suppose being last in this case can make you feel sort of "spiritual"!
It's a serious verse though and worthy of much meditation. It follows the stunning verse, "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life." I still recall hearing a guest preacher share this verse in a sermon in Bible College and recall that he specifically shared how in his personal experience he really wouldn't miss the "farms". Since he was from the inner city it was just not something he could identify with! But we have several farmer friends and, in the case of the agriculturally-based Bible era, it is very purposefully placed here by our Lord.
This verse describes a price for following Christ that very few reading this have ever had to pay. Many have left a more comfortable life to serve in an area of great need. We consider Dr. John Spurrier, a physician who has served many years in a very needy area in Africa. Almost certainly he would have had a more prosperous and comfortable life had he practiced medicine here in the states.
Yet throughout history and even in our modern day many have made such a sacrifice in regard to worldly comforts. Some have also paid the price in regard to their family relationships. Consider the tremendous price paid by converts to Christ from the Islam religion. In many cases they are completely estranged from their family as a result of their conversion to Christ.
The point of the verse is not that we will necessarily have to leave that which we cherish so much on this earth, especially human relationships in our families, but also our houses and farms. But, comparatively speaking if we are ever called to do so, it will definitely be worth the price. We "will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life."
Today we urge you to place your faith in Christ and hold firmly to the Word of God. Whatever worldy things you might have pales in comparison to the eternal benefits and blessing of following Christ.
We end with the Apostle Paul's powerful perspective: "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ."
I'd rather have Jesus than worldly applause
I'd rather be faithful to His dear cause
I'd rather have Jesus than world wide things,
I'd rather be true to His holy Name
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, forgive us when we seek after temporal solutions to meet the deep yearnings of our heart. Your eternal solution was to send Jesus, Your Son, to give us life – a life that is no longer empty or imprisoned by sin's chains. Thank You for Jesus who came that we might have abundant life through His substitutionary death on our behalf. Nothing on earth and no person dear to our hearts deserves our allegiance more than our Savior. Thank You for coming; thank You for giving and thank You for saving us from our sin. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"I'd Rather Have Jesus" Video George Beverly Shea along with the story behind it's writing.
"I'd Rather Have Jesus" Video Dallas Holm I happen to really like this version
This beautiful poem was written by Rhea F. Miller of Brooktondale, NY. One day in 1922, at 28 years of age, while walking the fields of their Brooktondale home, Rhea began to reflect on her father's testimony of how he had been delivered from alcohol, and how he had said he would rather have Jesus than all the gold and silver in the world, and all the houses and land that money could buy.
"Does Jesus Care" Video George Beverly Shea singing at over 100 years old along with Guy Penrod.
"Save Me A Seat" Video Brian Free & Assurance
"Forgiven Again" Video Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
"Knowing You" Video Kathy Troccoli
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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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