Wednesday, September 25, 2019

The Death of D. L. Moody

 Suddenly he was heard speaking in slow and measured words. He was saying: "Earth recedes; Heaven opens before me." The first impulse was to try to arouse him from what appeared to be a dream. "No, this is no dream, Will," he replied. "It is beautiful. It is like a trance. If this is death, it is sweet. There is no valley here. God is calling me, and I must go." Meanwhile the nurse was summoning the family and the physician, who had spent the night in the house.

Mr. Moody continued to talk quietly, and seemed to speak from another world his last message to the loved ones he was leaving.

"I have always been an ambitious man," he said; "ambitious to leave no wealth or possessions, but to leave lots of work for you to do. Will, you will carry on Mount Hermon. Paul will take up the Seminary, when he is older; Fitt will look after the Institute, and Ambert (his nephew) will help you in the business details." Then it seemed as though he saw beyond the veil, for he exclaimed: "This is my triumph; this is my coronation day! I have been looking forward to it for years." Then his face lit up, and he said, in a voice of joyful rapture: " Dwight! Irene!—I see the children's faces," referring to the two little grandchildren God had taken from his life in the past year. Then, as he thought he was losing consciousness, he said, "Give my love to them all." Turning to his wife, he exclaimed, "Mamma, you have been a good wife to me!" and with that he became unconscious.

For a time it seemed that he had passed on into the unseen world, but slowly he revived, under the effect of heart stimulants, and, suddenly raising himself on his elbow, exclaimed: "What does all this mean? What are you all doing here?" He was told that he had not been well, and immediately it all seemed to be clear to him, and he said:

"This is a strange thing. I have been beyond the gates of death and to the very portals of Heaven, and here I am back again. It is very strange." Again he talked about the work to be done, assigning to the sons the Northfield schools, and to his daughter and her husband the Chicago Bible Institute. ...

To the plea of his daughter that he should not leave them, he said: "I'm not going to throw my life away. I'll stay as long as I can, but if my time is come, I'm ready." ...

A second sinking turn left him exhausted, and he was willing to return to bed, where he remained, quietly awaiting the end, for an hour. To the very last he was thinking of those about him and considering them. Turning to his wife, only a little while before he passed away, he said: " This is hard on you, Mother, and I'm sorry to distress you in this way. It is hard to be kept in such anxiety." The last time the doctor approached to administer the hypodermic injection of nitro-glycerin he looked at him in a questioning and undecided way and said in a perfectly natural voice, "Doctor, I don't know about this. Do you think it best? It is only keeping the family in anxiety."

In a few moments more another sinking turn came, and from it he awoke in the presence of Him whom he loved and served so long and devotedly. It was not like death, for he "fell on sleep" quietly and peacefully. ...

Of that larger life he had spoken in no uncertain way. "Some day you will read in the papers that D. L. Moody, of East Northfield, is dead," he had said. "Don't you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now. I shall have gone up higher, that is all—out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal; a body that death cannot touch, that sin cannot taint, a body fashioned like unto His glorious body. I was born of the flesh in 1837. I was born of the Spirit in 1856. That which is born of the flesh may die. That which is born of the Spirit will live forever."

-- from The Life of Dwight L. Moody by his son William Revell Moody, pages 552-555. 

Saturday, September 21, 2019

When God Wastes Your Life

I've wasted a lot of my life.  But so has God.

I never wanted to waste my life (does anyone?), but as a young Christian I was all thrust and no vector.  John Piper's Don't Waste Your Life showed me better how not to waste it. 

But the book didn't warn me that often God Himself would waste my life.  I chafed when circumstances crafted by God essentially threw away huge chunks of my time.

Why does the same God who said "the harvest is plentiful and the laborers are few" impede the service of the laborers He does have? 

Of course this has happened to other believers also.  Abraham spent years waiting for the promised son.  Job lost his life savings and had to start over.  Moses spent 40 years herding sheep - and another 40 years herding rebels. David used up a lot of time running in the desert.  William Carey lost years' worth of translation work in a fire.  Jim Elliot's widow Elisabeth, who had a vibrant ministry teaching women, spent the last decade of her life with dementia.

We could even think of Jesus' first 30 years on earth.  One recorded conversation from age 12.  The rest, forgotten.

It seems God is so confident of His team's victory that He often puts some of His players on the bench.

If God has left you on the court, don't dribble.  Play with all your might.  But if He has benched you, trust Him. 

"They also serve, who only stand and wait."

Monday, September 9, 2019

The King of Upside-Down

I just "discovered" this poem today.  I had to share it with you.  Please read, then share!  -- Daniel


Behold the King without a crown
Who’s turned the whole world upside down!
Now first is last, and last is first,
And cursed is blessed, and blessed is cursed,
And even death can be reversed.

Why have you served the best wine last?
The bridegroom’s come - we cannot fast!
The children see the wisest men
Missing what is plain to them,
And grown-ups must be born again!

The lying cheat is right with God,
The pious man is found a fraud;
The wise are blind while blind men see,
The free are slaves, the slaves are free,
And good things come from Galilee.

The prostitutes have entered in
Before the ones who have no sin.
Now least is most, and most is least,
And five small loaves are quite a feast--
The King has washed His servants’ feet.

Now low is high, and high is low;
The one who’d rise must downward go;
The life that’s lost is life that’s found
And living plants will soon abound
From seeds that died and hit the ground.

The one who’s last receives full pay
The same as him who worked all day,
And mountains jump into the sea
By order of the mustard seed,
And light has dawned in Galilee!

His demands leave us aghast--
The Pharisees must be surpassed!
Our finest cannot pass His test,
And when He’s shredded all our best
He says He wants to give us rest!

We’ll give this king a thorny crown--
We do not want things upside down!
And maybe if we kill Him, then
We can turn them back again,
Where last is last and first is first
And best is best and worst is worst
And blind is blind and we can see
And slaves are slaves and we are free
And dead is dead and tough is tough
For human good is good enough!

Still reigns the King we thought a clown
Who turned the whole world upside down.
He turned on death when He was dead
And now He is alive instead!
He’s blessed the world by being cursed
He gave His best and took our worst
And lived our life and died our death
And loved us to His final breath
And when we thought He’d lost, He won!

Now soon He’ll turn the world around
Until the sky’s below the ground
And shake and shake ‘til all things fly
Off loose and fall into the sky,
And only what was not in vain
And can’t be shaken will remain.
And in that kingdom, He will crown
All who loved Him upside down.