Friday, July 29, 2011

Banner of the Cross

There’s a royal banner given for display
To the soldiers of the King;
As an ensign fair we lift it up today,
While as ransomed ones we sing.

Marching on, marching on,
For Christ count everything but loss!
And to crown Him King, we’ll toil and sing,
’Neath the banner of the cross!

Though the foe may rage and gather as the flood,
Let the standard be displayed;
And beneath its folds, as soldiers of the Lord,
For the truth be not dismayed!

Over land and sea, wherever man may dwell,
Make the glorious tidings known;
Of the crimson banner now the story tell,
While the Lord shall claim His own!

When the glory dawns—’tis drawing very near,
It is hastening day by day—
Then before our King the foe shall disappear,
And the cross the world shall sway!
"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the Truth. Selah." ~Psalm 60:4

This hymn was written by a human, just like you and me. Yet the devotion that influenced the man who wrote these words is not so commonly acquired.  Daniel Webster Whittle, born in the November of 1840, has a testimony worthy of acknowledgment.

Whittle was named af­ter Amer­i­can pol­i­ti­cian Dan­i­el Web­ster. Whit­tle reached the rank of ma­jor in the Amer­i­can ci­vil war, and for the rest of his life was known as “Ma­jor” Whit­tle. Dur­ing the war, Whit­tle lost his right arm, and end­ed up in a pris­on­er of war camp. Re­cov­er­ing from his wounds in the hos­pi­tal, he looked for some­thing to read, and found a New Test­a­ment. Though its words res­o­nat­ed with him, he was still not rea­dy to ac­cept Christ. 

Short­ly af­ter, a hos­pit­al or­der­ly woke him and said a dy­ing pris­on­er want­ed some­one to pray with him. Whit­tle de­murred, but the or­der­ly said, “But I thought you were a Christ­ian; I have seen you read­ing your Bi­ble.” Whit­tle then agreed to go. He re­cord­ed what took place at the dy­ing youth’s bed side:

I dropped on my knees and held the boy’s hand in mine. In a few brok­en words I con­fessed my sins and asked Christ to for­give me. I be­lieved right there that He did for­give me. I then prayed ear­nest­ly for the boy. He be­came qui­et and pressed my hand as I prayed and plead­ed God’s prom­ises. When I arose from my knees, he was dead. A look of peace had come over his trou­bled face, and I can­not but be­lieve that God who used him to bring me to the Sav­ior, used me to lead him to trust Christ’s pre­cious blood and find par­don. I hope to meet him in hea­ven.

 After the war, Whittle be­came trea­sur­er of the El­gin Watch Com­pany in Chi­ca­go, Ill­i­nois. In less than 10 years, though, he en­tered the evang­el­ism field. Dur­ing this per­i­od, he worked with mu­si­cians Phil­lip Bliss and James Mc­Gran­a­han. His daugh­ter May Moody al­so wrote mu­sic for some of his lyr­ics.
Of his de­ci­sion to de­vote his life to the Gos­pel, Whittle said that, while at work, he:
… gave my life to my Heav­en­ly Fa­ther to use as He would.

(The biography was used from The Cyber Hymnal site which is dedicated to the glory of God, established in 1996, and contains over 8,500 Christ­ian hymns & Gos­pel songs from ma­ny de­nom­in­a­tions. We have lyr­ics, sheet mu­sic, au­dio, pic­tures, bi­o­graph­ies, his­to­ry, & more.)

Mr. Whittle died in 1901. One day, years ago, you were born. Some day, sooner than you discern, you will die. What will you do about Jesus Christ? Mr. Whittle has an amazing testimony because he went from being under sin to under the cross. With the banner of the cross as your theme, and the Lord as your identity, your testimony can be too.

"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." ~Romans 10:9

I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.

But I know Whom I have believ├Ęd,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.

I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word
Wrought peace within my heart.

I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing us of sin,
Revealing Jesus through the Word,
Creating faith in Him.

I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days,
Before His face I see.

I know not when my Lord may come,
At night or noonday fair,
Nor if I walk the vale with Him,
Or meet Him in the air.

Daniel Whittle also wrote the following hymns:
I know Whom I Hath Believed (above)
Beloved Now Are We
By Grace Are Ye Saved
Christ Liveth in Me
The Church of God is One
Come Believing
The Crowning Day
Glory to God the Father
He is not Here, but Risen!
The Hope of the Coming Lord
I'll Stand by until the Morning
I will Pass Over You
Jesus is Coming
Moment by Moment
Neither Do I condemn Thee
Oh, Revive Us by Thy Word
Preach the Gospel
Redemption Ground
There Shall Be Showers of Blessing
They Tell Me the Story of Jesus Is Old
Thou Remainest
Why Not Now?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Handiwork in the Heavens

Lately great clouds have been dwelling in the sky. They are exposed in the birth of the morning sun and then reign in established splendor amid the peak life. The earth is reminded of the clouds when their immense shadows voyage overhead. As the sun draws in its last breath, etched across horizon the clouds remain. Their flushed colors settle in the painted display. Hastily darkness emerges; and yet, we can faintly read the promise of return.
~        ~        ~
"Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." 1 Thessalonians 4:17

"He holdeth back the face of His throne, and spreadeth His cloud upon it." 
Job 26:9

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Little Light on Halloween

October 31st 1517 Martin Luther nailed his Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences on the doors of the Catholic church. This disputation, commonly known as The 95 Theses, caused an uproar...

Halloween, nowadays celebrated as a holiday with candy, costumes, and creepy movies, was formally recognized as the eve of All Saints Day. A Catholic tradition, All Hallowed Saints' Day was a day in honor of any saints (known or unknown). On 1st of November it is said that all evil spirits were absent; however, October 31st was marked an evening of suspicion to ward off many evil spirits. Catholics celebrated All Saints' Day in the fundamental belief that “there is a prayerful spiritual communion between those in the state of grace who have died and are either being purified in purgatory or are in heaven, and the church members who are the living”.
German at birth, Martin Luther was a devout Roman Catholic priest. He claimed, "If anyone could have gained heaven as a monk, then I would indeed have been among them," and he practiced the church's false teaching to the fullest-- until he caught a glimpse of light. The Truth he discovered could not be concealed. God's punishment of sin could not be freed by the purchase of money. Good deeds do not earn or keep salvation-- Salvation is received as a free gift of God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of sin. Man is justified by faith alone. The Catholic church was in error and the people were stumbling in the dark. Fear, doubt, and pride ruled the hearts of these lost men. Martin Luther himself experience this despair and declared "I lost touch with Christ the Savior and Comforter, and made of Him the jailor and hangman of my poor soul". Martin sought to free the imprisoned and began opening his letter (The 95 Theses) with “Out of love and concern for the truth...”

The Protestant Reformation had begun. Martin Luther did not cloak the knowledge God gave him and neither should we. Though excommunicated from the church and persecuted by many, Martin Luther was used of God to aid in sending a light of hope and Salvation in a dark age. Are you being used of God to show forth the Truth today?

To read Martin Luther's 95 Theses visit:

One of Martin Luther's hymns:
A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.