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CHRIST-CENTEREDNESS

~ Century-Old Prayer

 There is a fifteen-hundred-year-old prayer which still stirs our hearts. It is particularly inspiring and helpful to those who want to follow Christ. It is called “St. Patrick’s Breastplate.”

 Here is part of it: Christ be with me, Christ in the front, Christ in the rear, Christ within me, Christ below me, Christ above me, Christ at my right hand, Christ at my left, Christ in the fort, Christ in the Chariot seat, Christ at the helm, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks to me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.

~ “We Would See Jesus” On Pulpit

 In the Grace Baptist Church, Philadelphia, Dr. Russell Conwell, was moving the city mightily from his pulpit. To this day one sees inscribed upon the back of the pulpit the simple words, “We would see Jesus.” These words, visible only to the preacher, stared Conwell in the face every time he rose to preach. They were placed there at his own request. It was his desire to present Christ to the great congregation.

 He was voted the first citizen of Philadelphia in recognition of the Christlikeness of his character and the breadth of his philanthropies in founding the Temple University for the education of the poor and the founding of Temple Hospital.

—Benjamin P. Browne

~Simple Preaching Of Brainerd

 David Brainerd, the famous missionary to the American Indians, proclaimed this truth throughout his ministry. He said, “I never got away from Jesus and Him crucified in my preaching. I found that once these people were gripped by the great evangelical meaning of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf, I did not have to give them many instructions about changing their behavior.”

 When Charles Spurgeon lay on his deathbed, he testified to a friend, “My theology now is found in four little words: “JESUS died for ME.” I don’t say this is all I would preach if I were to be raised up again, but it is more than enough for me to die upon.”

—Our Daily Bread

~ For Dr. Gordon—Preach Christ First

 When interviewing Dr. A. J. Gordon as a prospective pastor of a Boston church, the pulpit committee asked: “If you are called to the pastorate of our church will you preach against the cards, the theater, and dancing?” “I will,” solemnly affirmed Dr. Gordon. He was called.

 Months passed and he didn’t say a word against the cards, the theater, and dancing. The official board of the church said, “Almost a year has gone by and you have said nothing against cards, the theater, and dancing. We wonder why.”

 Dr. Gordon replied essentially as follows: “Gentlemen, it is true that I have said nothing against these things, but I have preached Christ who is the only Saviour from all evils. When He comes into one’s heart all evil things vanish from the life like the mist before the hot breath of the noonday sun.”

~“Him, Him, Him”

 Dr. S. D. Gordon tells of an old Christian woman whose age began to tell on her memory. She had once known much of the Bible by heart. Eventually only one precious bit stayed with her. “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I committed unto him against that day.”

 By and by part of that slipped its hold, and she would quietly repeat, “That which I have committed unto him.” At last, as she hovered on the borderline between this and the spirit world, her loved ones noticed her lips moving. They bent down to see if she needed anything. She was repeating over and over again to herself the one word of the text, “Him, Him, Him.”

 She had lost the whole Bible, but one word. But she had the whole Bible in that one word.

—American Holiness Journal

~ Loving God’s Son

 In his splendid book of anecdotes entitled Bible Windows, Ivor Powell tells the story of a rich man who died and left no heirs. When his household goods were auctioned off, an elderly lady dressed in shabby garments was the only one to bid on the picture of the dead man’s son. It had been greatly cherished by the wealthy father because his only child had died at an early age. But the crowd that had gathered for the sale showed no interest in it. When the woman who bought the portrait was asked why she wanted it, she said she had been the boy’s nurse many years before, and had loved him dearly.

 Later she examined the picture closely and noticed a bulge in the heavy paper on the back. Making a small cut, she removed an envelope which turned out to be the man’s missing will. The document very clearly stated that he wanted to leave his property to the person who still held dear the memory of his beloved son.

—Our Daily Bread

~ The Great Stone Face

 Hawthorne has given us a great scientific fact in the story of the Great Stone Face:

 A certain people had been so well governed that when their king died they determined never to have another until they could find a man that looked and acted just like the dead monarch, and to keep his picture before the people they had a great profile of the king carved on a cliff.

 For years and years a commission of men hunted through the realm for a man that could qualify, but without success, until one day they stopped at a humble cottage at the base of the Great Stone Face to rest and secure food, and there to their great joy found a stalwart youth whose face was just the same as that of the monarch on the cliff.

 Day in and day out as this simple boy had plowed his little fields and cut his wood, he had gazed up at the wonderful profile that bespoke courage and purity and determination, and day by day, shaped by the thoughts he allowed to dwell in his mind, he became like the dead king.

—Selected

~ Dr. Gordon’s Dream

 Dr. A. J. Gordon, while preparing his Sunday sermon, was so tired that he fell asleep in his study. He dreamed that it was the next morning in the pulpit and the church was packed. A stranger walked in and a deacon let him have his seat. The stranger was so commanding yet attentive, and Gordon found himself as if speaking to him alone. He decided to meet this stranger after church.

 As the congregation filed out one by one, the pastor (in his dream) looked in vain for the stranger until everyone was home. “Do you know him?” he asked the deacon. “Why, yes. He is Jesus Christ.” “Oh. how I wished I could have talked with him!” Gordon lamented. “It is alright, pastor,” assured the deacon, “He’ll be back next Sunday.”

 Gordon awoke, realizing in a new way that everytime he preaches and speaks about Christ Christ is in the midst and hears every word. This dream revived both pastor and church. Gordon preached with a new power. He established “Salvation Centers” in Boston, gave great sums to missions, to weak churches, to the Jews, to the Chinese. He started a school to train missionaries. He died at age 59 with “Victory” on his lips.

~ I Wish I were Blind

 The hymnwriter Fanny Crosby gave us more than 8000 Gospel songs. Although blinded at the age of 6 weeks, she never held any bitterness in her heart because of it. Once a preacher sym pathetically remarked, “I think it is a great pity that the Master did not give you sight when He showered so many other gifts upon you.”

 She replied quickly, “Do you know that if at birth I had been able to make one petition, it would have been that I should be born blind?” “Why?” asked the surprised clergyman. “Because when I get to Heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior!”

~ Leonardo Da Vinci’s Cup

 When Leonardo da Vinci was forty-three years old, the Duke Ludovinco of Milan asked him to paint the dramatic scene of Jesus’ last supper with his disciples:

 Working slowly and giving meticulous care to details, he spent three years on the assignment. He grouped the disciples into threes, two groups on either side of the central figure of Christ. Christ’s arms are outstretched. In his right hand, He holds a cup, painted beautifully with marvelous realism.

 When the masterpiece was finished, the artist said to a friend, “Observe it and give me your opinion of it!”

 “It’s wonderful!” exclaimed the friend. “The cup is so real I cannot divert my eyes from it!”

 Immediately Leonardo took a brush and drew it across the sparkling cup! He exclaimed as he did so: “Nothing shall detract from the figure of Christ!”

~ Patriotism Not Enough

 Edith Cavell, the British nurse killed by Germans in World War I, was captured. Just before the bandage was placed over her eyes for the firing squad, she said: “I am glad to die for my country. But I realize that patriotism is not enough.” Then she gave clear and definite testimony to her personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and assurance of salvation. She died under the firing squad in 1915.

~ Lord Stamp’s Chief Interest

 Lord Stamp, British authority on economics and finance, was also a Methodist lay preacher. In one of his last speeches which he made before he was killed in a bombing attack, he was talking without noticeable feeling about something connected with the gold standard.

 Suddenly his tone changed, and he brought his speech to a close with these words: “Before I finish, I should like to say one other thing, and it is this: I have not the smallest interest in what I have been talking about tonight; not the slightest interest in this or any other scale of values excepting only as it may subserve that other scale of values introduced into this planet by Jesus of Nazareth. That is the one and only scale of values which ultimately matters, and which no man now listening to my voice can ever afford to ignore on peril of his soul.”

—Alliance Weekly

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