Saturday, February 16, 2013

AT THE CROSS hymn....story behind it.


At the Cross
Isaac Watts, 1674 -1748
refrain by Ralph Hudson
At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light, And the burden of my heart rolled away, It was there by faith I received my sight, And now I am happy all the day!
A few years out of college, I was angry with the world, and God had been silent so long I was sure he was angry with me. I paced my apartment until the walls closed in. Then I walked briskly around the block, once, twice.
On the third time around I saw a middle-aged black man climbing the steps of a small red-brick church about which I knew nothing except what was evident from the sign: The Fire Baptized Holiness Church.
"Wearing patched jeans and flip-flops, I asked the man if I would be welcome. "Anyone can come to church," he answered. And I walked through the sanctuary door, flanked by white-gloved women passing out paper fans printed with Martin Luther King profiles.
As I slipped into a back row, a young girl dressed in starch pointed at me. "She can't stay here; she's got pants on."

The shushing mother smiled at me. "Of course she can." I was welcome, albeit a curiosity.
As was the service to me. It started with fifteen minutes of fervent prayer around the altar. I stayed in my seat, contemplating the words painted on the wall—"I am the way, the truth, and the life"—and silently praying my anger: "But where are you, God?"
Then singing—"Everything's all right, in my Father's house." Over and over and over. A dance of blessing. Up and down the aisles. Jumping till the pews shook.
And testimonies, most confessing unfaithfulness yet thanking God for his faithfulness.
More songs—and with no hymnbooks (no hymn racks!), overheads, or handouts. Everyone knew all the verses.
"Leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms." I sang along and kept praying. God, come to me as you have come to them. Nothing happened. See it doesn't work for me, I finally shrugged.
But then God broke through—with the old, out-of-fashion words of Isaac "Watts, sung in slow, deliberate, half-time:

Alas, and did my Savior bleed? And did my Sovereign die? Would he devote that sacred head For such a worm as I?

And the refrain, not by Britisher Watts, but by American evangelist Ralph Hudson: "At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light, / And the burden of my heart rolled away." At that word, my burden of anger lifted as I anticipated the next lines, sung by the Fire Baptized: "It was there by faith I received my sight, / And now I am happy all the day!"
"We blessed singers went on and on—repeating verses and refrains. Where was God? "The way, the truth, and the life" was not only painted on the wall, he was not only "a worm" nailed on a cross (see Psalm 22), he was with me and within me, and eager to let his presence be known as I humbled myself at his bleeding feet.

God doesn't restrict his blessing to those who dance down the church aisles. If you're burdened with anger or feeling God's absence, try meeting him at the cross. Loosen your pack and let him rip it off.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.... For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28, 30).
..........

Lord, at the foot of your cross I drop my burden of angerjust drop it. Release it. Let me walk away with a new yoke that is easy to wear, light with grace.
..........

From the book: "Spiritual moments with the Great Hymns" by Evelyn Bence.
..........

YES,  THIS  IS  A  CENTRAL  PART  OF  THE  GOSPEL.  JESUS  AS  PERSONAL  SAVIOR!  WE  ARE  ALL  SINNERS,  FOR  IT  IS  WRITTEN,  ALL  HAVE  SINNED  AND  COME  SHORT  OF  THE  GLORY  OF  GOD.  BUT  JESUS  CAME  TO  DIE  FOR  SINS,  TO  DIE  FOR  YOU  AND  ME,  FOR  SIN  BRINGS  THE  DEATH  SENTENCE  ON  US.  JESUS  DIED  IN  OUR  PLACE,  SO  WE  COULD  LIVE!

IT  MAKES  NO  DIFFERENCE  WHO  YOU  ARE,  HOW  FAMOUS  OR  NOT  FAMOUS,  HOW  WEALTHY  YOU  ARE,  HOW  OLD  YOU  ARE.  YOU  NEED  JESUS  AS  PERSONAL SAVIOR.  IT  MAKES  NO  DIFFERENCE  THE  QUANTITY  OF  SINS,  THE  MAGNITUDE  OF  SINS  YOU'VE  DONE;  THEY  CAN  BE  FORGIVEN  THROUGH  JESUS  AS  SAVIOR.

AS  A  YOUNG  TEENAGER  SITTING  IN  CHURCH  LISTENING  TO  SOME  SERMONS  THAT  SHOWED  WE  WERE  SINNERS,  TEARS  WOULD  FALL  DOWN  MY  CHEEKS  FOR  IT  HIT  HOME...... I  WAS  A  SINNER.  I  HAD  THOUGHT  THE  WRONG  THOUGHTS,  SAID  THE  WRONG  WORDS,  DONE  A  WRONG  THING,  OR  NOT  DONE  A  GOOD  THING  WHEN  I  SHOULD  HAVE.  I  WAS  A  SINNER..... I  NEEDED  JESUS  AS  MY  PERSONAL  SAVIOR.

I  TOOK  JESUS  AS  MY  PERSONAL  SAVIOR.  WE  NEED HIM  AS  OUR  PERSONAL  SAVIOR  ALL  OUR  LIVES,  FOR  WE  SHALL  SIN  FROM  TIME  TO  TIME.  WHILE  IN  THIS  BODY  OF  FLESH  WE  ARE  SINNERS,  NEEDING  TO  CONFESS  OUR  SINS,  NEEDING  GOD'S  GRACE,  NEEDING  CHRIST  TO  INTERCEDE  FOR  US  AS  OUR  HIGH  PRIEST IN  HEAVEN.

BEING  SAVED  BY  GRACE,  THOUGH  SPOKEN  ABOUT, FEW  REALLY  UNDERSTAND  WHAT  IT  MEANS.  THE  SUBJECT  OF  BEING  "SAVED  BY  GRACE"  IS  FULLY  EXPOUNDED  FOR  YOU  IN  AN  ARTICLE  BY  THE  SAME NAME  ON  MY  WEBSITE.

Keith Hunt




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