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The Journal for Jesus' Sheep

Vol. 5, No. 1

Looking Unto Jesus - Romans in Rhymn

Published by:
Christian Concourse Ministries, Inc.
1543 Norcova Ave., Norfolk, VA 23502

Copyright 1993, 2000 by Christian Concourse Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this journal may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher.
 
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Gerald T. Johnson, President
Gerald T. Johnson, Editor
Dar Johnson, Assistant Editor
Jeff Hadsell, Contributing Editor

 

This Journal is dedicated to the work of Jesus Christ.  The goal of this ministry is to provide a vehicle for believers to improve their relationship with each other and with Him. 

  

"Only Christ can enable men to live in a right relationship with each other. It is this unifying power of His which must dictate your every decision, for you were meant to be one united body."
Colossians 3:15 BARCLAY

 

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Table Of Contents Of Vol. 5, No. 1

 

Looking Unto Jesus
Theodore Monod

 

Bleeding With Acceptance
Michael Barlow

 

Romans In Rhyme
W. E. Evans edited for Christian Concourse by J. Johnson.

 

Ever Ashes 
Barbara Spicuglia

 

Journal Entry
Anonymous

 

The Ministry of Christian Concourse

 

 

       

Looking Unto Jesus 

by Theodore Monod translated from the French by Helen Willis

 

". . . looking unto Jesus . . ."  Hebrews 12:2

 

Only these three words,
but in these three words
is the whole secret of life.

LOOKING UNTO JESUS
IN THE SCRIPTURES, to learn there what He is, what He has done, what He gives, what He desires; to find in His character our pattern, in His teachings our instruction, in His precepts our law, in His promises our support, in His person and in His work a full satisfaction provided for every need of our souls. 

LOOKING UNTO JESUS
CRUCIFIED, to find in His shed blood our ransom, our pardon, our peace.

LOOKING UNTO JESUS
RISEN, to find in Him the righteousness which alone makes us righteous, and permits us, all unworthy as we are, to draw near with boldness, in His name, to Him who is His Father and our Father, His God and our God.

LOOKING UNTO JESUS
GLORIFIED, to find in Him our Heavenly Advocate completing by His intercession the work inspired by His lovingkindness for our salvation (1John 2:1); Who even now is appearing for us before the face of God (Heb. 9:24), the kingly Priest, the spotless Victim, continually bearing the iniquity of our holy things (Ex. 28:38).

LOOKING UNTO JESUS
REVEALED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, to find in constant communion with Him the cleansing of our sin-stained hearts, the illumination of our darkened spirits, the transformation of our rebel wills; enabled by Him to triumph over all attacks of the world and of the evil one, resisting their violence by Jesus our Strength, and overcoming their subtlety by Jesus our Wisdom; upheld by the sympathy of Jesus, Who was spared no temptation . . . .Who yielded to none.

LOOKING UNTO JESUS
WHO GIVES REPENTANCE as well as forgiveness of sins (Acts 5:31), because He gives us the grace to recognize, to deplore, to confess, and to forsake our transgressions.

LOOKING UNTO JESUS
TO RECEIVE FROM HIM the task and the cross for each day, with the grace which is sufficient to carry the cross and to accomplish the task; the grace that enables us to be patient with His patience, active with His activity, loving with His love; never asking "What am I able for?" but rather: "What is He not able for?" and waiting for His strength which is make perfect in our weakness (2Cor. 12:9).

LOOKING UNTO JESUS
TO GO FORTH FROM OURSELVES and to forget ourselves; so that our darkness may flee away before the brightness of His face; so that our joys may be holy, and our sorrow restrained; that He may cast us down, and that He may raise us up; that He may afflict us, and that He may comfort us; that He may despoil us, and that He may enrich us; that He may teach us to pray, and that He may answer our prayers; that while leaving us in the world, He may separate us from it, our life being hidden with Him in God, and our behavior bearing witness to Him before men.

LOOKING UNTO JESUS
WHO, HAVING RETURNED TO THE FATHER'S HOUSE, is engaged in preparing a place there for us; so that this joyful prospect may make us live in hope, and prepare us to die in peace, when the day shall come for us to meet this last enemy, whom He has overcome for us, whom we shall overcome through Him - so that what was once the king of terrors is today the harbinger of eternal happiness.

LOOKING UNTO JESUS
WHOSE CERTAIN RETURN, at an uncertain time, is from age to age the expectation and the hope of the faithful Church, who is encouraged in her patience, watchfulness, and joy by the thought that the Savior is at hand (Phil. 4: 4-5; 1Thes. 5:23).

LOOKING UNTO JESUS
THE AUTHOR AND THE FINISHER OF OUR FAITH: that is to say, He Who is its pattern and its source, even as He is its object; and Who from the first step even to the last marches at the head of the believers; so that by Him our faith may be inspired, encouraged, sustained, and led on to its supreme consummation.

LOOKING UNTO JESUS
AND AT NOTHING ELSE, as our text expresses it in one untranslatable word (aphoroontes), which at the same time directs us to fix our gaze upon Him, and to turn it away from everything else.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT OURSELVES, our thoughts, our reasonings, our imaginings, our inclinations, our wishes, our plans;

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT THE WORLD, its customs, its example, its rules, its judgments;

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT SATAN, though he seek to terrify us by his fury, or to entice us by his flatteries. Oh! from how many useless questions we would save ourselves, from how many disturbing scruples, from how much loss of time, dangerous dallyings with evil, waste of energy, empty dreams, bitter disappointments, sorrowful struggles, and distressing falls, by looking steadily unto Jesus, and by following Him wherever He may lead us. Then we shall be too much occupied with not losing sight of the path which He marks out for us, to waste even a glance on those in which He does not think it suitable to lead us.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT OUR CREEDS, no matter how evangelical they may be. The faith which saves, which sanctifies, and which comforts, is not giving assent to the doctrine of salvation; it is being united to the person of the Savior. "It is not enough," said Adolphe Monod, "to know about Jesus Christ, it is necessary to have Jesus Christ." To this one may add that no one truly knows Him, if he does not first possess Him. According to the profound saying of the beloved disciple, it is in the Life there is Light, and it is in Jesus there is Life (John 1:4).

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT OUR MEDITATIONS AND OUR PRAYERS, our pious conversations and our profitable reading, the holy meetings that we attend, nor even to our taking part in the supper of the Lord.

Let us faithfully use all these means of grace, but without confusing them with grace itself; and without turning our gaze away from Him Who alone makes them effectual, when, by their means, He reveals Himself to us.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT TO OUR POSITION IN THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH, to the family to which we belong, to our baptism, to the education which we have received, to the doctrine which we profess, to the opinion which others have formed of our piety, or to the opinion which we have formed of it ourselves. Some of those who have prophesied in the Name of the Lord Jesus will one day hear Him say: "I never knew you" (Matt. 7:22-23); but He will confess before His Father and before His angels even the most humble of those who have looked unto Him.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT TO OUR BRETHREN, not even to the best among them and the most beloved. In following a man we run the risk of losing our way; in following Jesus we are sure of never losing our way. Besides, in putting a man between Jesus and ourselves, it will come to pass that insensibly the man will increase and Jesus will decrease; soon we no longer know how to find Jesus when we cannot find the man, and if he fails us, all fails. On the contrary, if Jesus is kept between us and our closest friend, our attachment to the person will be at the same time less enthralling and more deep; less passionate and more tender; less necessary and more useful; an instrument of rich blessing in the hands of God when He is pleased to make use of him; and whose absence will be a further blessing, when it may please God to dispense with him, to draw us even nearer to the only Friend who can be separated from us by "neither death nor life" (Rom. 8:38-39).

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT HIS ENEMIES OR AT OUR OWN. In place of 
hating them and fearing them, we shall then know how to love them and to overcome them.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT THE OBSTACLES which meet us in our path. As soon as we stop to consider them, they amaze us, they confuse us, they overwhelm us, incapable as we are of understanding either the reason why they are permitted, or the means by which we may overcome them. The apostle began to sink as soon as he turned to look at the waves tossed by the storm; it was while he was looking at Jesus that he walked on the waters as on a rock. The more difficult our task, the more terrifying our temptation, the more essential it is that we look only at Jesus.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT OUR TROUBLES, to count up their number, to reckon their weight, to find perhaps a certain strange satisfaction in tasting their bitterness. apart from Jesus trouble does not sanctify, it hardens or it crushes. It produces not patience, but rebellion; not sympathy, but selfishness; not hope (Rom. 5:3) but despair. It is only under the shadow of the cross that we can appreciate the true weight of our own cross, and accept it each day from His hand, to carry it with love, with gratitude, with joy; and find in it for ourselves and for others a source of blessings.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT THE DEAREST, THE MOST LEGITIMATE OF OUR EARTHLY JOYS, lest we be so engrossed in them that they deprive us of the sight of the very One Who gives them to us. If we are looking at Him first of all, then it is from Him we receive these good things, made a thousand times more precious because we possess them as gifts from His loving hand, which we entrust to His keeping, to enjoy them in communion with Him, and to use them for His glory.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT THE INSTRUMENTS, whatever they may be which He employs to form the path which He has appointed for us. Looking beyond man, beyond circumstances, beyond the thousand causes so rightly called secondary, let us ascend as far as the first cause - His will: let us ascend even to the source of this very will - His love. Then our gratitude, without being less lively towards those who do us good, will not stop at them; then in the testing day, under the most unexpected blow, the most inexplicable, the most overwhelming, we can say with the Psalmist: "I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it" (Ps. 39:9). And in the silence of our dumb sorrow the heavenly voice will gently reply: "What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter" (John 13:7).

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT THE INTERESTS OF OUR CAUSE, Of OUR PARTY, OR OUR CHURCH - still less at our personal interests. The single object of our life is the glory of God; if we do not make it the supreme goal of our efforts, we must deprive ourselves of His help, for His grace is only at the service of His glory. If, on the contrary, it is His glory that we seek above all, we can always count on His grace.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT THE SINCERITY OF OUR INTENTIONS, AND AT THE STRENGTH OF OUR RESOLUTIONS. Alas! how often the most excellent intentions have only prepared the way for the most humiliating falls. Let us stay ourselves, not on our intentions, but on His love; not on our resolutions, but on His promise.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT OUR STRENGTH. Our strength is good only to glorify ourselves; to glorify God one must have the strength of God.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT OUR WEAKNESS. By lamenting our weakness have we ever become more strong? Let us look to Jesus, and His strength will communicate itself to our hearts, His praise will break forth from our lips.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT OUR SINS, neither at the source from which they come (Matt. 15:19) nor the chastisement which they deserve. Let us look at ourselves, only to recognize how much need we have of looking to Him; and looking to Him, certainly not as if we were sinless; but on the contrary, because we are sinners, measuring the very greatness of the offense by the greatness of the sacrifice which has atoned for it, and of the grace which pardons it. "For one look that we turn on ourselves," said an eminent servant of God (McCheyne) "let us turn ten upon Jesus." "If it is very sure," said Vinet, "that one will not lose sight of his wretched state by looking at Jesus Christ crucified - because this wretched state is, as it were, graven upon the cross - it is also very sure that in looking at one's wretchedness one can lose sight of Jesus Christ; because the cross is not naturally graven upon the image of one's wretchedness." And he adds, "Look at yourselves, but only in the presence of the cross, only through Jesus Christ." Looking at the sin only gives death; looking at Jesus gives life. That which healed the Israelite in the wilderness was not considering his wounds, but raising his eyes to the serpent of brass (Num. 21:9).

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT - DO WE NEED TO SAY IT? - AT OUR PRETENSE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. Ill above all who are ill is he who believes himself in health; blind above the blind he who thinks that he sees (John 9:41). If it is dangerous to look long at our wretchedness which is, alas! too real; it is much more dangerous to rest complacently on imaginary merits.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT THE LAW. The law gives commands, and gives no strength to carry them out; the law always condemns, and never pardons. If we put ourselves back under the law, we take ourselves away from grace. In so far as we make our obedience the means of our salvation, we lose our peace, our joy, our strength; for we have forgotten that Jesus is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth (Rom. 10:4). As soon as the law has constrained us to seek in Him our only Savior, then also to Him only belongs the right to command our obedience; an obedience which includes nothing less than our whole heart, and our most secret thoughts, but which has ceased from being an iron yoke, and an insupportable burden, to become an easy yoke and a light burden (Matt. 11:30). It is an obedience which He makes as delightful as it is binding, an obedience which He inspires, at the same time as He requires it, and which in very truth, is less a consequence of our salvation than it is a part of this very salvation - and, like all the rest, a free gift.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT WHAT WE ARE DOING FOR HIM. Too much occupied with our work, we can forget our Master - it is possible to have the hands full and the heart empty. When occupied with our Master, we cannot forget our work; if the heart is filled with His love, how can the hands fail to be active in His service?

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT TO THE APPARENT SUCCESS OF OUR EFFORTS. The apparent success is not the measure of the real success; and besides, God has not told us to succeed, but to work; it is of our work that He requires an account, and not of our success - why then concern ourselves with it? It is for us to scatter the seed, for God to gather the fruit; if not today, then it will be tomorrow; if He does not employ us to gather it, then He will employ others. Even when success is granted to us, it is always dangerous to fix our attention on it: on the one hand we are tempted to take some of the credit of it to ourselves; on the other hand we thus accustom ourselves to abate our zeal when we cease to perceive its result, that is to say, at the very time when we should redouble our energy. To look at the success is to walk by sight; to look at Jesus, and to persevere in following Him and serving Him, inspite of all discouragements, is to walk by faith.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT TO THE SPIRITUAL GIFTS which we have already received, or which we are now receiving from Him. As to yesterday's grace, it has passed with yesterday's work; we can no longer make use of it, we should no longer linger over it. As to today's grace given for today's work, it is entrusted to us, not to be looked at, but to be used. We are not to gloat over it as a treasure, counting up our riches, but to spend it immediately, and remain poor, "Looking unto Jesus."

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT THE AMOUNT OF SORROW that our sins make us experience, or the amount of humiliation which they produce in us. If only we are humiliated by them enough to make us no longer complacent with ourselves; if only we are troubled by them enough to make us look to Jesus, so that He may deliver us from them, that is all that He asks from us; and it is also this look which more than anything else will make our tears spring and our pride fall. And when it is given to us as to Peter to weep bitterly (Luke 22:62), oh! then may our tear-dimmed eyes remain more than ever directed unto Jesus; for even our repentance will become a snare to us, if we think to blot out in some measure by our tears those sins which nothing can blot out, except the blood of the Lamb of God.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT THE BRIGHTNESS OF OUR JOY, the strength of our assurance, or the warmth of our love. Otherwise, when for a little time this love seems to have grown cold, this assurance to have vanished, this joy to have failed us - either as the result of our own faithlessness, or for the trial of our faith - immediately, having lost our feelings, we think that we have lost our strength, and we allow ourselves to fall into an abyss of sorrow, even into cowardly idleness, or perhaps sinful complaints. Ah! rather let us remember that if the feelings with their sweetness, are absent, the faith with its strength remains with us. To be able always to be "abounding in the work of the Lord" (1Cor. 15:58) let us look steadily, not at our ever changeful hearts, but at Jesus, who is always the same.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT THE HEIGHTS OF HOLINESS to which we attained. If no one may believe himself a child of God so long as he still finds stains in his heart, and stumblings in his life, who could taste the joy of salvation? But this joy is not bought with a price. Holiness is the fruit, not the root of our redemption. It is the work of Jesus Christ for us which reconciles us unto God; it is the work of the Holy Spirit in us which renews us in His likeness. The shortcomings of a faith which is true, but not yet fully established, and bearing but little fruit, in no way lessens the fullness of the perfect work of the Savior, nor the certainty of His unchanging promise, guaranteeing life eternal unto whomsoever trusts in Him. And so to rest in the Redeemer is the true way to obey Him; and it is only when enjoying the peace of forgiveness that the soul is strong for the conflict.

If there are any who abuse this blessed truth by giving themselves over unscrupulously to spiritual idleness, imagining that they can let the faith which they think they have take the place of the holiness which they have not, they should remember this solemn warning of the Apostle Paul: "They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and the lusts" (Gal. 5:24); and that of the Apostle John: "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (1John 2:4); and that of the Lord Jesus Himself, "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire" (Matt. 7:19).

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT OUR DEFEATS OR VICTORIES. If we look at our defeats we shall be cast down; if we look at our victories we shall be puffed up. And neither will help us to fight the good fight of faith (1Tim. 6:12). Like all our blessings, the victory, with the faith which wins it, it the gift of God through our Lord Jesus Christ (1Cor. 15:57), and to Him is all the glory.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT OUR DOUBTS. The more we look at them the larger they appear, until they can swallow up all our faith, our strength, and our joy. But if we look away from them to our Lord Jesus, Who is the Truth (John 14:6), the doubts will scatter in the light of His presence like clouds before the sun.

UNTO JESUS
AND NOT AT OUR FAITH. The last device of the adversary, when he cannot make us look elsewhere, is to turn our eyes from the Savior to our faith, and thus to discourage us if it is weak, to fill us with pride if it is strong: and either way to weaken us. For power does not come from the faith, but from the Savior by faith. It is not looking at our look, it is "looking unto Jesus,"

UNTO JESUS
AND IT IS FROM HIM AND IN HIM that we learn to know (not only without danger, but for the well-being of our souls) what it is good for us to know about the world and about ourselves, our sorrows and our dangers, our resources and our victories: seeing everything in its true light, because it is He Who shows them to us, and that only at the time and in the proportion in which this knowledge will produce in us the fruits of humility and wisdom, gratitude and courage, watchfulness and prayer. All that it is desirable for us to know, the Lord Jesus will teach us; all that we do not learn from Him, it is better for us not to know.

LOOKING UNTO JESUS
AS LONG AS WE REMAIN ON THE EARTH - unto Jesus from moment to moment, without allowing ourselves to be distracted by memories of a past which we should leave behind us, nor by occupation with a future of which we know nothing

UNTO JESUS NOW
IF WE HAVE NEVER LOOKED UNTO HIM --

UNTO JESUS AFRESH,
IF WE HAVE CEASED DOING SO --

UNTO JESUS ONLY,

UNTO JESUS STILL,

UNTO JESUS ALWAYS --

WITH A GAZE MORE AND MORE CONSTANT, more and more confident, "changed into the same image from glory to glory" (2Cor. 3:18). Thus we await the hour when He will call us to pass from earth to Heaven, and from time to eternity --
The promised hour,
the blessed hour
when at last "we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is" (1John 3:2).

"Looking Unto Jesus" was brought to our attention by Margaret Park. She had a copy of it in booklet form last printed in 1960 by Back to the Bible Publishers.  A printed copy can be obtained for a resonable price at Bible Truth Publishers.

     

Return to Journal Table of Contents

         

Bleeding With Acceptance 

by Michael Barlow


Pregnant with praise,
Christ's church is in the birthpangs of worship
Preparing to deliver the seed of glory to God.
The Sword Of Kindness penetrates through
The callous and tough skin of rejection 
And causes the church to bleed with acceptance.
Bursting with purity, 
The Holy Ghost marshals His troops into battle formation,
Preparing them for the rough road ahead.
Obstacles are everywhere 
And only the Spirit's power knows the way home.
Because of blind foolishness
Many will fail to receive the sight of deliverance
Offered by God.
Crippled by sin and faithlessness
(Instead of putting the flesh in the coffin of repentance
And conducting funeral services over dead works), 
Many continue in the darkness.
Don't be without sight and light
Or you may find yourself in the pit of despair
In these troublous times ahead.

Pray unceasingly
And be alert.

Return to Journal Table of Contents

 

        

Romans In Rhyme

by W. E. Evans edited for Christian Concourse by J. Johnson.

 

1:1 
The Apostle Paul, in the regions beyond,
    Had heard of the Romans' faith,
How, with zeal abounding, they had preached the Word. 
    Till it was heard in every place.
Then, his heart set aglow by their love for Christ,
    He resolved to stablish them more.

So, a visit he planned, and a letter he wrote,
    That from him it should go on before.
This letter we read, and in it we find
    That the Gospel is fully explained.
So lets study it now as the Spirit reveals
    The Truth that is in it contained.


Paul's greeting comes in seventeen verses
    And he tells of his setting apart.

1:3-5 
Then a word of the Son by whom the Gospel came,
    And of the longing he has in his heart.

1:17 
He gives his text "The just shall live by faith"
    With accent on the "just".
Paul learned it by living it 
    And thus learn it we must.


1:18 
Of God's wrath against sin the Apostle then speaks
    And reveals some excuses by which man fairly reeks:

1:19-32 
First, "I know not God" some might declare;

2:1-16 
Then "I am better then heathen", others might dare;

2:17 
"I am beloved of God" the Jews might aver;

3:19 
But they keep not the law so their plea is not fair.


Their excuses are false, can be seen without fail

3:20 
And all shall be lost if works must avail.

3:21-23 
But a way without Law God's plans do entail
    And thanks be to Him, His Word must prevail.
Since the broken Law's penalty we must fulfill.
    The Son did it for us according to God's will.


3:24-28 
By accepting in faith His work for us
    We can stand before God in righteousness.
This God calls being justified
    For behind the Lord Jesus our sins doth He hide
Nevermore to look on them 
    For His Dear Son has cancelled our sin.

3:29-31 
For both Jew and Gentile it doth avail
    And for all eternity it must prevail.


4:1-5 
Some examples we have now to help us more
    And these we find in Chapter Four.
The Jews counted much on Abraham --
    Was he saved by Law, or like any other man?
Well, as we read in Genesis
    His faith in God was his righteousness.

4:6-8 
David also tells us this:
    Showing -- without works -- a righteousness;


4:9-18 
Now Abraham shows that it is for all --
    Not just for those who under Law did fall;

4:19-25 
And for us Abraham's great faith is shown:
    That it is all we need to be made God's own!


5:1 
In Chapter Five we have some things
    That our grand position brings:
Peace, grace, hope of glory, and mercy for the path,
    God's love in our hearts, and salvation from wrath.

5:12-21 
Another thing is now expounded,
    For by Adam the human race was founded.
And as Adam thru sin received death as his due,
    So we, his children, were born dead to God too.
But now -- by God's grace and free gift in His Son --
    We live eternally by the obedience of One.

6:1 
So have we new life which the Son for us bled,
    Thus a new path we must evermore tread,

6:2-7 
For God doth now see our old man as dead,
    And we must ever now by the Spirit be led.


In Chapter Six we see these things God doth give,
    And blest are we if in them we will live;

6:8-14 
As unto sin once Christ's life did He give,
    And now unto God He forever doth live:
So we being dead with Him can claim the same blessing
    And live unto God in Whom we are resting.

6:15-23 
Now of a warning the Apostle doth tell
    And heed it we must if all will be well!
If we yeild unto sin then we are its servants we see,
    So to live unto righteousness we very careful must be!

7:1-24 
In Chapter Seven we learn of the grandeous things
    That Christ's work for us, in great goodness, brings;
How, freed from the Law by the body of Christ,
    We now serve Him, risen together, in newness of life!
How the Law was good -- but it was only given
    To show sin as the cause that from God we are riven.
And, even now the old nature tries to keep us from living
    By God's way for us, as in His Word given.

7:25 
Paul shows us two ways that we can take
    It is up to us the choice to make

8:1-13 
If we walk in the Spirit, vict'ry we'll have over sin;
    But if after the flesh, mis'ry we'll have within.


A cluster of blessings is now set before us!
    How our poor hearts should sing as in a great chorus.

8:14-15 
If God's Spirit is leading us His children are we
    And heirs of His glory, O wondrous to see.

8:16-17 
He witnesses in us, teaching us all
    That God is our Father and thus Him to call.

8:26-34 
And when we are burdened and His blessed face seek
    The Holy Spirit helps us, and for us will speak.

8:35-39 
And now, blessing of blessings, our poor hearts do praise
    A God who is faithful where our faiths' eyes do gaze:
For we learn that once saved we can never be lost;
    For our God ever keeps us regardless of cost.

9:1-30 
Paul's burden for Israel is next brought to mind:
    In Chapters 9, 10 and 11 tis the Jews that we find.
Not all who are Jews can call Abraham father;
    Only those with his faith can around him thus gather.
There can be no complaint about God showing mercy:
    He is absolutely soverign without controversy.
And out of all Israel He has saved a few,
    But not only Jews: He saves Gentiles too!

9:31-33 
For the rest sought salvation by the works of the Law
    And thus they did at that Stumbling Stone fall.

10:1-24 
Of the righteousness of God the Jews did not know,
    They sought to work out their own and this with great show.
The Apostle then shows that all that they need
    Is just simply unto God's Word to give heed.
For that Word does explain very simply indeed,
    The truth about Christ, their Messiah -- David's seed;
And that the Gospel is not for the Jews all alone.
    But both Jew and Gentile, whoever will come.

10:15-21 
But first the Glad Tidings must in their ears ring,
    For the Prophets of old had told of these things.

11:1-3 
And this Good News, this Gospel of Grace,
    Israel refused and with God lost their place.
Although, God must be to His promises true,
    Not casting away, those He foreknew:
But always thru the years, He has a remnant kept,
    And even now there are Jews among the elect.
How wondrous are the riches of God's knowledge and wisdom:
    Israel's fall was so Gentiles could come into God's kingdom!
Unbelief's branches were broken from Israel's olive tree,
    And Gentiles' wild olive branches we in place of them see.
So the Gentile has the blessing for Israel intended,
    Till that day comes when their blindness is ended.
And when, in God's time, Gentile fulness has come
    The Deliverer shall appear and the Jews will come home.
Then will Israel's branches be back in the tree
    And all thru this world great blessing will be!

12:1 
The Apostle now turns from exhorting the Jews
    And speaks to all who have received the Good News.
He exhorts that in view of all of God's grace,
    To give our bodies to His service is surely our place.
In the work that He gives us let us therein abide,
    And let not our hearts be lifted in pride.
But rather let us live together in love
    And manifest to the world we are born from above.

For us to do this, there are a number of things
    That the Apostle now before us brings:
Personal things that we must let grow
    Paul would first have us to know.

13:1 
Then, how the Christian reacts to the laws of the land.
    Or how each one of us must take our stand.
We learn that God has the civil powers ordained
    Thus our hearts must be ever in obedience maintained
For they are God's ministers for the good of all,
    And if we do evil upon us their wrath must fall.

And love is the greatest thing of all:
    For if we have love we fulfill all the Law.
Let us now realize that salvation is near
    And the time at hand when the Lord shall appear.
Let us walk them as children of light
    In the lusts of the flesh let us take no delight.

14:1
 Now a word about fellowship and the brother whose faith is weak:
    Tho he hasn't full knowledge yet, to receive him is meet;
It isn't right for us to judge him for his master we are not
    For all of us have one Master, and Christ's Judgment Seat our common lot.

For whether our brother sees as we do or not
    Let us not before him put a stumbling block:
For the main thing in God's Kingdom is
    In the Holy Ghost to have peace, joy and righteousness!
And let us remember no matter what state we're in
    That whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

15:1-29 
Now Christ, to the Jews, their Scriptures He fulfilled
    And of both Jew and Gentile His Church would He build.
And Paul was Christ's minister this work to perform
    And of these things he would the Romans inform.

15:30-33
Now of some personal things he has to say
    And beseeched the Romans that for him they would pray.

16:1-16 
Then the love Paul has for the saints in Rome
    Is seen as by name he salutes each one.
And lastly a warning to the faithful Church
    To mark those who would God's doctrine besmirch.
For they are Satan's agents sent to deceive
    And keep the saints from God's Word to receive.

With a prayer and a promise the Apostle closes
    This letter, which for the saints, God's blessings discloses.
And O! reader, a final word to you:
    Be zealous to study and God's Word to do;
For many a blessing is lost to us
    Thru indolence or just plain laziness.

Wallace Evans graduated in 1993 to his reward in Heaven.  


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Ever Ashes

by Barbara Spicuglia


Self-sufficiency, my abhorrent sin,
keeps me from turning to God again
with a broken heart and a humbled soul,
and keeps me from ever becoming whole.
For no man is ever reborn by might
of human will and fleshly power,
but utterly depends on God's Spirit,
His breath, His touch, His benevolence showered.
Have I been consumed by holy fire,
become ashes and died to all desire
save to be blown upon the wind of His breath,
and truly set free from hiding from death?
Is it yet, no longer I but Christ?
Am I desperate to give all my life
that I may see Him, touch Him, know Him,
obey Him, love Him, only Him?
Oh let Him live through me: I am broken.
Oh let Him breathe upon me: I am open
and lifeless now to ever scatter
where He wills. Nothing else matters.

  

As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mighter than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Matthew 3:11

 

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Journal Entry

Anonymous


Went to see the movie, "Gettysburg," yesterday.  I was very conscious that this was a movie and not anything like the pathos and terror of true battle field experience.  Some drama was good.  But the point of the movie to me was not its technical or acting quality - it was a rendition of history.  A moment in time when principal and determination extracted the ultimate price from 50,000 men who gave their lives and thousands more who walked away from the battle with memory's scares to bear, much less their bullet wounds!  The carnage is incidental to the dynamics of opposing wills.  It is a man's will that makes him do heroic things; it is his will that musters his courage if it is indeed courage: if courage musters your will than it is not courage at all but recklessness and/or foolish pride.  And here is the paradox: war, this battle at Gettysburg, boils to the top in every man all of what he is - hero and fool, coward and courageous, a bulwark with gleaming eye and clenched teeth to the attacker and a whinning wounded puppy in the amputee tent. 

So where really was God in all of this?  Where do you really get a glimpse of His loving eye and His tender touch?  In a sense of destiny? In a sense of His almightyness?  In a sense of His razor sharp knowing of truth upon which He anchors His absolute justice with each flesh searing musket ball?  Yes, and to the degree and through the filter you choose to restrict your view with!  Drop your perception of yourself - stop looking at God as though He were you - and see clearly His participation in your innermost meditations as He hangs His Son on the Cross!  The pathos and drama of the battlefield is but a pantomime of the self-inflicted tragedy of humanity.  God wages war with our waging war with ourselves, and with all around us!  The puss source - Satan and his spirits - merely have to make themselves available - for we suck on his slimy pap with relish and passion. 

Don't stand there with your disgusting self-indulgence hanging out, looking for someone to encourage you to refine your self-pity!  Don't whimper at God for letting you get sick from eating Satan's arsenic when you had been told what it would do to you.  No!  No!  No!  My brother, my sister, turn to the agony of God as He carries your burden and your disease on His back.   Look full on the bloodstained face of Jesus Christ and hear His eternal plea for your deliverance as He hangs on that tree.  Are you a rock, that you are not moved by His love for you?  He has never had an ugly thought about you!  He has always held His hand out to you in understanding and mercy!  Embrace Him, walk with Him, forever look upon Him!  The victory's won.

 

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The Ministry of Christian Concourse

 

In the name of Jesus Christ, this ministry is dedicated to God for the development of practical tools with which we may harmoniously enhance our relationships and our service within the greater interdenominational Church. As the full-time Director, the President and the founder of this ministry, I seek to follow our Lord in each step of our progress. In prayer and consultation with other Christians, we have established an organization that is flexible yet faithfully focused on our goal of promoting The Good News of Jesus Christ and Christian Accord among believers.

To that end, our labor encompasses activities in three distinct areas:

Nursing Home Ministries
Christian Publications
Small-group Bible Studies

The long-term care facility arena is a perennial opportunity for Christian service. My wife, Dar, and I conduct "church services" in several care centers each month, and we have been instrumental in helping many others start. The ministry collects and distributes "care packages" for nursing homes year 'round.  There are over 130 facilities in Hampton Roads. It is our goal to see all of their Christian volunteer needs met.

The publication of "The Journal" answers our burden to offer Christian writers the opportunity to share their work. We minister to them by providing the opportunity to be in print and, in turn, they minister to the Christian community that reads them -- both without fees or subscription costs. We know of no other publication of its kind. The criteria for consideration of an article is that it should magnify Jesus Christ or encourage others in their faith in Him.

Our inductive Bible study format, Chapter & Verse, has been developed especially for interaction with a small-group. The type of study we have designed does not impose on someone what we think they should believe the Bible means. Rather, we guide the serious Biblical student toward discovering for themselves what God meant when He recorded it. We also present the Focus On The Family video series, "That The World May Know." This suite of seven volumes, with several lessons each, is a Biblical teaching tool for the spiritual growth of believers, using the historical, cultural and archeological settings of Ancient Israel.

All of our ministry is provided without cost. We are supported solely by freewill offerings.

As you can readily see, each of these areas of endeavor incorporate tools that bring Christians together in meaningful activities. I strongly believe that in God's eyes, though there are many assemblies, there is only one Church in each locality. And I am equally convicted that our Heavenly Father wants us to act like it! It is my prayer that these efforts will, in a great way, effect that reality.

Gerald T. Johnson
Director of Ministry

 

 

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