Items For Prayer And Praise
By Lois J. Stucky
America was saddened to hear about the plane which went down due to icing on the wings while in holding pattern over Chicago. Awaiting its turn to land at the nation’s busiest airport, the plane was on automatic pilot and the cabin crew apparently were not aware of the accumulating ice. Sixty-eight lives were lost.
There is icing over relationships that can result in tragedy also. We must do our part to keep intact our relationships – to friends, to a marriage partner and above all, to God. If we fail in the latter, our spiritual life will slip into a routine “holding pattern,” automatically doing what we are accustomed to doing, and we are not aware that an iciness is taking place. Maybe personal devotions, church attendance, prayer, witnessing – whatever our Christian life consists of, has become merely habitual, and we have lost the heart out of it all. We might not even realize what is happening.
Let’s get off “automatic pilot.” Break the routine. Do not take our relationship with God for granted. Do not let the icy breath of Satan overcome us. Let us go again and again to Calvary. Let us stay there long enough for the spirit of Calvary to penetrate our spirit. Let our hearts try to take in the suffering love displayed for us there. Yes, go on to the exulting love of Resurrection morning. Go on to the powerful, outflowing love of the Upper Room. But let us go again and again to Calvary, lest we forget the depth of Christ’s sacrifice for us.
The glory that follows starts with the self-sacrificing love of our Lord and Saviour at Calvary. If that love, the superb, divine love, truly penetrates and permeates our heart, who knows what the outcome will be in our lives – of sacrificial service, of sacrificial giving of our means, of sacrificial praying, of sacrificial living of a pure and holy life. And who can measure what this could mean for the kingdom of God!
What better time than the new year to go again to Calvary to view the “precious Lamb of Calvary, love’s most wondrous story” as the songwriter expresses it. As we take down the old calendar and put up the new, might we give thought and effort to putting out of our life the old and taking in of the new.
If our Christian life does not show much difference from when we were unsaved, we need to go back and make sure we have truly been born again of the Holy Spirit of God (John 3:3). If we have no reason to question, we dare take no chance. Eternity is at stake! Repent and believe! (Mark 1:15). Let us be sure Jesus Christ is Lord and Saviour of our life.
Maybe we are confident of being a Christian but we are in bondage to some sin. Go to God for grace to press through until deliverance comes, until victory is ours. Bondages and besetting sins will plague us for years if we do not get in earnest about breaking the downward drag. We must purpose in our heart to get God’s grace for deliverance and to pay any price it takes. It has to be more than fleshly resolve. That will only lead to failure again. Even our best human efforts will fail. Christ sets us free! (John 8:34-36).
Consider at this new year: is there something to lay again on the altar, something we once laid there at Christ’s gentle bidding, but which we have now taken back to ourselves? Do we need to renew a neglected prayer time? Are we carrying our cross with stumbling, reluctant feet, or even with resentment – the cross taken up humbly and gladly in the fervor of the first love? Maybe our first love has become lukewarm (Rev. 2:4-5). Is there some competing love to be dropped? Oh, for a warm glowing love for God in our hearts!
Will you make it your prayer with the songwriter, “Lest I forget Gethsemane, lest I forget Thine agony, lest I forget Thy love for me, lead me to Calvary!” Then may God help us to transmute our heartfelt gratitude for Calvary and our Saviour into daily, sacrificial living.