Monday, January 17, 2011

:: there is a fountain ::

my dear friend Kimchi has commanded me to blog, so here I am ... blogging away! (:

recently, I've gotten a new favorite hymn. I'm sure you can tell what it is by the title.

well, I admit, I was just going to write a blog about the lyrics and what they mean to me, but out of curiosity, I decided to Google the history to the song. I was totally amazed when I saw what was behind it. I mean ... God just always knows what we need! okay, so I'll tell you why ...

the hymn There Is A Fountain was written by William Cowper (pronounced Cooper in English).
he was born in England in 1731. His father was a prominent clergyman and his mother was from a royal family. He was privileged to be born into such a family and was educated in some of England's best schools. He was educated to become a lawyer, and after earning a degree in law, he passed his bar examination and was licensed to practice as a solicitor (whatever that is lol) in the lower courts of the English justice system.

Even though he was very intelligent and had remarkable success, William was physically and emotionally frail throughout his childhood. Something that contributed to that, was the fact that his mother died when he was just six years old. He was never able to deal with his grief, and it stayed with him throughout his life. In essence, he never stopped grieving for his mother. Even though he had already passed the bar, the final examination he was required to take overwhelmed him. He suffered a mental breakdown from which he never recovered, or so they say. Because of that, he never practiced law, but studied and wrote literature. Add to this a love affair that was an epic fail, and William was pretty much sick of living. He tried unsuccessfully to end his life and ended up being placed in an asylum for eighteen months. While there and suffering from deep depression, he spent much of his time reading the Bible. As he remembered the way he was raised as a child, he struggled with the question of his eternal destiny, salvation, and peace with God. One day, a verse in Romans settled it for him.

"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ: Whom God set forth to be a propitiation (satisfaction) through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past through the forbearance of God." Romans 3:23 - 25

William finally realized his need of a personal Savior and was convicted of his sin. He accepted Christ at the age of 33 in 1764.

After a partial recovery from depression, William moved into the home of a retired minister named Morley Unwin. While there, he received the necessary spiritual encouragement he needed to continue on in his new life from Unwin and his wife, Mary. After five years, Unwin died and Mary decided, at the request of Minister John Newton (yes, thee John Newton that wrote Amazing Grace), to move the family to Olney, England. William was invited to come with them. Not surprisingly, William decided to accompany the family. While living in Olney, William and Newton became very close friends. Both were highly talented in the area of poetry and wrote religious poetry for the church. Newton became a spiritual father for William and helped him overcome his religious doubts, chronic depression, and emotional morbidity. Even after being converted, William still experienced serious doubts about the love of God and His hand in his life.

William and Newton authored the famous (although I've never heard of it) Olney hymn book. This book of 349 hymns became one of the most important hymnal contributions to evangelical Christianity.

William wrote about 67 of those hymns, the best known one being There Is A Fountain. The hymn testifies of Williams final peace with his Savior. While sitting at his desk one day after reading Zechariah 13:1 (On that day a fountain will be opened in the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity), William wrote these words ::

There is a fountain filled with blood,
drawn from Immanuel's veins,
and sinners plunged beneath that flood
loose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see
that fountain in his day;
and there may I, though vile as he,
wash all my sins away.

For since by faith I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
redeeming love has been my theme
and shall be till I die.

not long after he wrote this hymn, William Cowper died in 1800. It was at the writing of these words that he became aware of Christ's complete atonement for his sins. Several years later, Lowell Mason, an American living in Boston set William's words to music.

In spite of severe depression, emotional instability, and spiritual doubts, God used the experience of one man, William Cowper, to encourage and inspire countless people, including me.

I had no idea that the person that wrote my favorite hymn suffered from the very same things I battle with. I am literally fighting tears right now at the goodness of God. This very hymn that has inspired, encouraged, and helped me in amazing ways, was written by someone like me.

I find that quite amazing, no? (:

I don't think I'll ever listen to this hymn the same way again ....

"... redeeming love has been my theme and shall be till I die ... "

Saturday, January 8, 2011

:: lets do it ::

One of my amazing friends sent me this letter last night ... I am soo thankful, because it was just what I needed to read.

enjoy (:

This letter was written in 1974 by Ms. Corrie Ten Boom, a Nazi Concentration Camp survivor, and lifelong missionary.

The world is deathly ill. It is dying. The Great Physician has already signed the death certificate. Yet there is still a great work for Christians to do. They are to be streams of living water, channels of mercy to those who are still in the world. It is possible for them to do this because they are overcomers.

Christians are ambassadors for Christ. They are representatives from Heaven to this dying world. And because of our presence here, things will change.

My sister, Betsy, and I were in the Nazi concentration camp at Ravensbruck because we committed the crime of loving Jews. Seven hundred of us from Holland, France, Russia, Poland and Belgium were herded into a room built for two hundred. As far as I knew, Betsy and I were the only two representatives of Heaven in that room.

We may have been the Lord's only representatives in that place of hatred, yet because of our presence there, things changed. Jesus said, "In the world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." We too, are to be overcomers – bringing the light of Jesus into a world filled with darkness and hate.

Sometimes I get frightened as I read the Bible, and as I look in this world and see all of the tribulation and persecution promised by the Bible coming true. Now I can tell you, though, if you too are afraid, that I have just read the last pages. I can now come to shouting "Hallelujah! Hallelujah!" for I have found where it is written that Jesus said, "He that overcometh shall inherit all things: and I will be His God, and he shall be My son." This is the future and hope of this world. Not that the world will survive – but that we shall be overcomers in the midst of a dying world.

Betsy and I, in the concentration camp, prayed that God would heal Betsy who was so weak and sick. "Yes, the Lord will heal me,", Betsy said with confidence. She died the next day and I could not understand it. They laid her thin body on the concrete floor along with all the other corpses of the women who died that day.

It was hard for me to understand, to believe that God had a purpose for all that. Yet because of Betsy's death, today I am traveling all over the world telling people about Jesus.

There are some among us teaching there will be no tribulation, that the Christians will be able to escape all this. These are the false teachers that Jesus was warning us to expect in the latter days. Most of them have little knowledge of what is already going on across the world. I have been in countries where the saints are already suffering terrible persecution. In China, the Christians were told, "Don't worry, before the tribulation comes you will be translated – raptured." Then came a terrible persecution. Millions of Christians were tortured to death. Later I heard a Bishop from China say, sadly, "We have failed. We should have made the people strong for persecution rather than telling them Jesus would come first. Tell the people how to be strong in times of persecution, how to stand when the tribulation comes – to stand and not faint."

I feel I have a divine mandate to go and tell the people of this world that it is possible to be strong in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are in training for the tribulation, but more than sixty percent of the Body of Christ across the world has already entered into the tribulation. There is no way to escape it. We are next.

Since I have already gone through prison for Jesus' sake, and since I met the Bishop in China, now every time I read a good Bible text I think, "Hey, I can use that in the time of tribulation." Then I write it down and learn it by heart.

When I was in the concentration camp, a camp where only twenty percent of the women came out alive, we tried to cheer each other up by saying, "Nothing could be any worse than today." But we would find the next day was even worse. During this time a Bible verse that I had committed to memory gave me great hope and joy. "If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you; on their part evil is spoken of, but on your part He is glorified." (I Peter 3:14) I found myself saying, "Hallelujah! Because I am suffering, Jesus is glorified!"

In America, the churches sing, "Let the congregation escape tribulation", but in China and Africa the tribulation has already arrived. This last year alone more than two hundred thousand Christians were martyred in Africa. Now things like that never get into the newspapers because they cause bad political relations. But I know. I have been there. We need to think about that when we sit down in our nice houses with our nice clothes to eat our steak dinners. Many, many members of the Body of Christ are being tortured to death at this very moment, yet we continue right on as though we are all going to escape the tribulation.

Several years ago I was in Africa in a nation where a new government had come into power. The first night I was there some of the Christians were commanded to come to the police station to register. When they arrived they were arrested and that same night they were executed. The next day the same thing happened with other Christians. The third day it was the same. All the Christians in the district were being systematically murdered.

The fourth day I was to speak in a little church. The people came, but they were filled with fear and tension. All during the service they were looking at each other, their eyes asking, "Will this one I am sitting beside be the next one killed? Will I be the next one?"

The room was hot and stuffy with insects that came through the screenless windows and swirled around the naked bulbs over the bare wooden benches. I told them a story out of my childhood.

"When I was a little girl, " I said, "I went to my father and said, "Daddy, I am afraid that I will never be strong enough to be a martyr for Jesus Christ." "Tell me," said Father, "When you take a train trip to Amsterdam, when do I give you the money for the ticket? Three weeks before?" "No, Daddy, you give me the money for the ticket just before we get on the train." "That is right," my father said, "and so it is with God's strength. Our Father in Heaven knows when you will need the strength to be a martyr for Jesus Christ. He will supply all you need – just in time…"

My African friends were nodding and smiling. Suddenly a spirit of joy descended upon that church and the people began singing, " In the sweet, by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore." Later that week, half the congregation of that church was executed. I heard later that the other half was killed some months ago.

But I must tell you something. I was so happy that the Lord used me to encourage these people, for unlike many of their leaders, I had the word of God. I had been to the Bible and discovered that Jesus said He had not only overcome the world, but to all those who remained faithful to the end, He would give a crown of life.

How can we get ready for the persecution? First we need to feed on the word of God, digest it, make it a part of our being. This will mean disciplined Bible study each day as we not only memorize long passages of scripture, but put the principles to work in our lives.

Next we need to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Not just the Jesus of yesterday, the Jesus of History, but the life-changing Jesus of today who is still alive and sitting at the right hand of God.

We must be filled with the Holy Spirit. This is no optional command of the Bible, it is absolutely necessary. Those earthly disciples could never have stood up under the persecution of the Jews and Romans had they not waited for Pentecost. Each of us needs our own personal Pentecost, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We will never be able to stand in the tribulation without it.

In the coming persecution we must be ready to help each other and encourage each other. But we must not wait until the tribulation comes before starting. The fruit of the Spirit should be the dominant force of every Christian's life.

Many are fearful of the coming tribulation, they want to run. I, too, and a little bit afraid when I think that after all my eighty years, including the horrible nazi concentration camp, that I might have to go through the tribulation also. But then I read the Bible and I am glad.

When I am weak, then I shall be strong, the Bible says. Betsy and I were prisoners for the Lord, we were so weak, but we got power because the Holy Spirit was on us. That mighty inner strengthening of the Holy Spirit helped us through. No, you will not be strong in yourself when the tribulation comes. Rather, you will be strong in the power of Him who will not forsake you. For seventy-six years I have known the Lord Jesus and not once has He ever left me, or let me down. Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him, for I know that to all who overcome, He shall give the crown of life. Hallelujah!

-Corrie Ten Boom-1974

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:11-13