Why Do We Suffer?

Dr. Mike Stevens remembers reading those words and laughing. He spoke to a young lady about those words and said, “Me, preach? Not a chance!” But he did become willing and the call did come and he said, “Yes” to God. He has been a successful pastor, now a busy evangelist and still finds time to help his dad in the family business. He is one of the most gifted speakers with a boat load of talent and an extra measure of good old fashioned Southern common sense. Like E. F. Hutton of old, when Dr. Mike speaks, people listen.

By The Editor, Ron English
God used me in a tiny way to whisper a thought into this man’s ear when he was just a teenager.  He had no interest in preaching.  He had loads of personality, potential and performance, with no thoughts of preaching.   But God had a plan for him and he used me to strike the first spark (if not the first spark, for sure God used me to fan the spark already ignited).   I gave him a book about Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., Builder of Bridges.  Among other things I wrote these words on one of the blank pages of that book, “My prayer is that somewhere down the line God will speak to you about preaching His glorious Gospel and that you will say yes to His call.  If you are willing–The call will come.”  Below my signature on that good book I wrote these words, “Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. was one of God’s greatest servants –maybe this book will help you in “Building Your Bridges.”

Mike remembers reading those words and laughing.  He spoke to a young lady about those words and said, “Me, preach?  Not a chance!”  But he did become willing and the call did come and he said, “Yes” to God.  He has been a successful pastor, now a busy evangelist and still finds time to help his dad and son in the family business.  He is one of the most gifted speakers, musicians and singers with a boat load of talent and an extra measure of good old fashioned Southern common sense.  Like E. F. Hutton of old, when Dr. Mike speaks, people listen.

His growing Internet site has been visited by thousands who have attended his meetings and church services. http://www.drmikestevens.com

Here is a sentence sermon broadcast on his Internet website, www.drmikestevens.com titled, Why Do We Suffer?

“WHAT ARE YOUR ORDERS, SIR?”

Story reported by Dr. Michael Guido

Sir Henry Shackelton was a world famous explorer of the Antarctic. As he was completing the plans for his last expedition, he began to advertise his final journey around the world.

Asked a friend, “Why so much publicity?”

“My friend and colleague, Mr. Wild, has traveled to the deepest, darkest part of Africa,” came the reply. “He left no address, no contact. I wanted the news to reach him. If he knows that I am going, he’ll come with me.”

Shortly after making that statement, his secretary announced, “Wild is here!”

Wild said, “News of your trip reached me in the heart of Africa. Here I am. What are your orders?”

Many years ago there was a great need for people to hear God’s message. It was a time of great moral and spiritual decay. There was one individual who was well established in a respectable career. One day he heard a voice speaking clearly and with compassion. He realized his sinfulness and felt his inadequacy. But he said, “I have seen the King, the Lord almighty.”  And after God cleansed him, he heard God’s call and responded by saying, “Lord, I’ll go, send me.”

God is calling on each of us to join Him in a journey to reach those whom He loves and died for.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, cleanse our hearts, open our ears, and put within us an attitude of willingness to hear Your voice and to willingly follow You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture: Isaiah 6:8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Classic Songs and Hymns

Think of all the wonderful doctrines of Scripture that are so meaningful to you and to the Christian churches.  Long before we memorize the verses and recite them to others we tend to sing them from the great hymns of our faith.  Songs & Hymns is here to remind you of the importance of singing in our worship and praise to God.  We owe a debt to the hymn writers who have carefully captured the weighty doctrines of the Bible and translated them into easy to sing lyrics.   We shall not attempt to name all the great songs and hymns that have impacted our lives–the list would be too long, but here we post a few to whet your spiritual appetite for song and verse.    I have added several other favorites to this short list.   By the way, here is a site where you can review many, many more hymns  and songs: http://my.homewithgod.com/heavenlymidis/hymns.html

Do you love the doctrine of the cross?  Then reflect on the hymn of William Cowper–There is a Fountain. Here is a song so filled with doctrine you will find it difficult to exhaust its deep meanings.    How about George Bennard’s The Old Rugged Cross? What Christian has not wept as that message in song penetrated their heart?  Another is Isaac Watts’ At the Cross.  What about the resurrection?  Surely Robert Lowry’s Christ Arose! has made many saints of old shout praises unto the Lord.

Low in the grave He lay, Jesus my Savior,
Waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord!

    Refrain
    Up from the grave He arose,
    With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,
    He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
    And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
    He arose!  He arose!
    Hallelujah!  Christ arose!
I love that song.  Why don’t you see if you can sing it right now.  Go ahead–you know it.  Oh, the joy singing to God these blessed songs of our faith.  Here’s another song filled and overflowing with doctrine–One Day. This hymn was written by a famous preacher, pastor-evangelist–J. Wilburn Chapman.   He greatly influenced Billy Sunday.  Look at his words and count the doctrines:
  • One day when heaven was filled with His praises,
    One day when sin was as black as could be,
    Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin,
    Dwelt among men, my Example is He!

      Chorus
      Living, He loved me; dying, He saved me;
      Buried He carried my sins far away;
      Rising, He justified freely forever;
      One day He’s coming – O glorious day!
  • One day they led Him up Calvary’s mountain,
    One day they nailed Him to die on the tree;
    Suffering anguish, despised and rejected:
    Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He!
  • One day they left Him alone in the garden,
    One day He rested, from suffering free;
    Angels came down over His tomb to keep vigil;
    Hope of the hopeless, my Savior is He!

    One day the grave could conceal Him no longer,
    One day the stone rolled away from the door;
    Then He arose, over death He had conquered;
    Now is ascended, my Lord evermore!

    One day the trumpet will sound for His coming,
    One day the skies with His glories will shine;
    Wonderful day, my beloved One bringing;
    Glorious Savior, this Jesus is mine!

Let us not forget the works of an old slave trader, John Newton.  His life story is colorful, sad and eventful.  Look him up and learn of his story.  However, we shall refer to a bit of his creativity, Amazing Grace.   We all recognize this remarkable hymn by the opening line of the song, but do you know the original title?  Faith’s Review and Expectation. For one, I am glad the title changed to the one we know and love.
Amazing Grace
    Amazing Grace!  How sweet the sound
    that saved a wretch like me!
    I once was lost but now am found,
    was blind but now I see.
    ‘Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear
    and grace my fears relieved;
    how precious did that grace appear
    the hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
and grace will lead me home.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years
bright shinning as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s Praise
than when we first begun!

Here’s another hymn that has challenged Christians down through the long years.  Am I a Soldier of The Cross? written by Isaac Watts.  He didn’t stop there.  Who has not enjoyed singing and hearing sung, Joy to the World and When I Survey the Wondrous Cross?  These and some 700 others were penned by this prolific hymn master.

Am I a Soldier of The Cross?

    Am I a soldier of the cross,
    A follower of the Lamb,
    And shall I fear to own His cause,
    Or blush to speak His Name?
    Must I be carried to the skies
    On flowery beds of ease,
    While others fought to win the prize,
    And sailed through bloody seas?
    Are there no foes for me to face?
    Must I not stem the flood?
    Is this vile world a friend to grace,
    To help me on to God?
    Sure I must fight if I would reign;
    Increase my courage, Lord.
    I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain,
    Supported by Thy Word.
    Thy saints in all this glorious war
    Shall conquer, though they die;
    They see the triumph from afar,
    By faith’s discerning eye.
    When that illustrious day shall rise,
    And all Thy armies shine
    In robes of victory through skies,
    The glory shall be Thine.
    • Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
      O what a foretaste of glory divine!
      Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
      Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
      • Refrain
        This is my story, this is my song,
        Praising my Savior, all the day long;
        This is my story, this is my song,
        Praising my Savior, all the day long.
        Have we trials and temptations?  Is there trouble anywhere?
        We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
        Can we find a friend so faithful?  Who will all our sorrows share?
        Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer!Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
        Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
        Do your friends despise, forsake you?  Take it to the Lord in prayer!
        In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised, Thou wilt all our burdens bear.
        May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to Thee in earnest prayer.
        Soon in glory bright unclouded, there will be no need for prayer. Rapture, praise and endless worship will be our sweet portion there.
    • Perfect submission, perfect delight,
      Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
      Angels descending bring from above
      Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

      Perfect submission, all is at rest;
      I in my Savior am happy and blest,
      Watching and waiting, looking above,
      Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

      Joseph Scriven was an unusal man who loved his Lord.  Devoutly religious, he gave freely of what money he had, even giving his own clothig and services to those poorer than himself who needed them.  His fiancée drowned in 1845, the night before they were to be married. The grief-stricken young man moved to Canada. There he again fell in love, was due to be married and the young woman suddenly fell ill of pneumonia and died. He then devoted the rest of his life to helping others. After spending the evening with others, he disappeared one night and his body was found in the water nearby.

      He wrote a poem to comfort his mother called “Pray Without Ceasing”. It was later set to music and renamed by Charles C. Converse, becoming the hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus“.

      What a Friend We Have in Jesus

      What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
      What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
      O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
      All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Most good hymn books have a good selection of songs written by Fanny Crosby (Did you know her middle name was Jane?). She lost her eyesight shortly after birth because of a health accident. She was a life-long Methodist and wrote over 8,000 songs. One of her great hymns is: Blessed Assurance

 

    Solid Rock (My Hope is Built on Nothing Less) By Edward Mote

    Edward Mote: Did you ever hear of him?  You probably have joined in on one of his lovely songs, “My Hope Is Built.”  Also known as “Solid Rock.”  Rev. Mote was born in January 21, 1797 and died November 13, 1874–77 fruitful years.  His early years were spent in the cabinetry business.  Later in life he became a Baptist pastor and served 26 Years at Horsham, Sussex.  He was a popular pastor and so well-loved that his congregation offered him the title to the church building.  Listen to what he said to that offer: “I do not want the chapel, I only want the pulpit; and when I cease to preach Christ, then turn me out of that.”    Interesting thing about this song, My Hope is Built–the day he wrote the first few lines to the song he ran into a friend who told him his wife was gravely ill.  The friend asked that he visit her and see if he could prayerfully cheer her.  Rev. Mote and the friend went immediately to her bedside.  The friend said it is my custom to sing a song, read some from God’s Word and then engage in prayer.  When the friend looked for his hymn book he couldn’t locate it.  Rev. Mote said, “I have just penned the words to a new song and I have it in my pocket.  We could sing it.  And they did.  The man’s wife enjoyed the new song so well that the friend asked him to leave a copy.  Since the song was not complet, Mote returned home and completed the last two verses and then gave a copy to the friend.   So this song–the very first time it was sung–blessed the soul of a woman who was at death’s door (or I should say, Heaven’s door).  The song has blessed many saints since.  (Note: I was in church yesterday, Sunday, June 7, 2009.  Our music leader led the church in singing this great hymn).  Here are the words.

     

     

    Solid Rock (My Hope is Built)

    My hope is built on nothing less
    Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
    I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
    But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

    Refrain

    On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
    All other ground is sinking sand;
    All other ground is sinking sand.

    When darkness seems to hide His face,
    I rest on His unchanging grace.
    In every high and stormy gale,
    My anchor holds within the veil.

    Refrain

    His oath, His covenant, His blood,
    Support me in the whelming flood.
    When all around my soul gives way,
    He then is all my Hope and Stay.

    Refrain

    When He shall come with trumpet sound,
    Oh may I then in Him be found.
    Dressed in His righteousness alone,
    Faultless to stand before the throne.

    Refrain

     

     There’s a great feast day coming.   Many believe that time is so very near.  We can only hope and pray it so.  Right now–today–Jesus through the Holy Spirit and the preaching of His Word is calling out men and women to come to Him.  Have you answered that call?  Don’t delay.  Today is the day of salvation. 

               Come and Dine

  •  
      Jesus has a table spread
      Where the saints of God are fed.
      He invites His chosen people, “Come and dine”
      With His manna He doth feed,
      And supplies our ev’ry need;
      O ’tis sweet to sup with Jesus all the time! 

        Refrain
        “Come and dine,” the Master calleth, “Come and dine”
        You may feast at Jesus’ table all the time;
        He who fed the multitude, turned the water into wine,
        To the hungry calleth now, “Come and dine.”

      The disciples came to land,
      Thus obeying Christ’s command,
      For the Master called to them, “O come and dine;”
      There they found their hearts’ desire,
      Bread and fish upon the fire;
      Thus He satisfies the hungry ev’ry time.

       

        Refrain
        “Come and dine,” the Master calleth, “Come and dine”
        You may feast at Jesus’ table all the time;
        He who fed the multitude, turned the water into wine,
        To the hungry calleth now, “Come and dine.”

      Soon the Lamb will take His bride,
      To be ever at His side,
      All the host of heaven will assembled be;
      O ’twill be a glorious sight,
      All the saints in spotless white;
      And with Jesus they will feast eternally.

       

        Refrain
        “Come and dine,” the Master calleth, “Come and dine”
        You may feast at Jesus’ table all the time;
        He who fed the multitude, turned the water into wine,
        To the hungry calleth now, “Come and dine.”

       

  •  Come and Dine  Words and Music by C. B. Widmeyer  Scripture: “Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the Kingdom of God.” –Luke 14:15

     

           Rock of Ages

             Words by Augustus M. Toplady

  •  
      Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
      Let me hide myself in Thee;
      Let the water and the blood,
      From Thy wounded side which flowed,
      Be of sin the double cure;
      Save from wrath and make me pure.Not the labor of my hands
      Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
      Could my zeal no respite know,
      Could my tears forever flow,
      All for sin could not atone;
      Thou must save, and Thou alone.Nothing in my hand I bring,
      Simply to the cross I cling;
      Naked, come to Thee for dress;
      Helpless look to Thee for grace;
      Foul, I to the fountain fly;
      Wash me, Savior, or I die.

      While I draw this fleeting breath,
      When mine eyes shall close in death,
      When I soar to worlds unknown,
      See Thee on Thy judgment throne,
      Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
      Let me hide myself in Thee.

  •  

Hillsong & Others

A beautiful collection of worship songs that span over many years!

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