Saturday, September 08, 2007

Am I a Soldier of the Cross?

I finally have the time and heart to post my Saturday hymn for this week. I've long given up on my initial intention that I would first go through my Thurday Thirteen list of long ago. Circumstances and my state of mine have often "hindered" that from happening--it's more important that it be the right one for that week, determined primarily by what seems right at the time, for a variety of reasons. So, with that in view, I went on a search for lyrics that captured what God would seem to want me to meditate on at this time and which He would have me to offer to those who might come by. As soon as I saw this old hymn of Isaac Watts, I knew these were the words for this week. It may not be too familiar to some of you, though we often sang it in church when I was growing up. I never liked the tune that much, but I now realize how powerful its lyrics are.

Last week, there were the tragic murders of two "soldiers of the cross" which still weigh heavily on the hearts of many of us. (See August 30th post.) This family is so very dear to many of us, that it's hard to put all this behind and move on in a normal way in our own little comfort zones. Their bodies still have to be returned to our country, the funeral and burial have yet to take place, so it's hard to move on right now. But I know we have to. Even in the midst of things like making travel plans, finding babysitters, getting time off from work, etc. that abruptly tear asunder daily routines when death comes, somehow we have to "keep keeping on", as they used to say. After all, the battle's not over and there is still work to do. The cause of Christ moves on. I'll quote what I read on someone else's blog today: "May the cause of the gospel run even faster and farther because of this very difficult providence." The conflict we are in has been a reality for centuries and continues. Shed blood has always been the Church's impetus--that of the Savior and that of His saints. Christianity has never been stopped by the death of Christ's people, only increased. It started with Stephen and so it will be until the war's over. And Jesus will be victorious.

Which brings us to our part in the whole thing. Are we soldiers? Each of us should ask the question posed in this hymn: Am I a soldier of the cross? I'll answer that. If you and I are followers of the Lamb, then yes, we are soldiers of the cross. Let's pay particular attention to the second and fifth stanzas. They help to put it all in perspective. I hope we don't expect to reach heaven "on flowery beds of ease." We're soldiers. A soldier's task is not an easy one, but the victory brings reward. I want to focus on the fact that like others before them, the people I knew "sailed through bloody seas", but I'm sure they now view the triumph not from afar, but with their eyes. Hallelujah.

May they, and others that have gone through the same seas, always be an inspiration for those of us whom they have left behind. Bless all of you, fellow warriors, as you meditate on these words. I hope they push us all courageously onward.

Am I a soldier of the cross,
A foll'wer 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 flow'ry 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 view the triumph from afar,
And seize it with their eye.

When that illustrious day shall rise,
And all thine armies shine
In robes of vict'ry through the skies,
The glory shall be thine.

~~Isaac Watts



Yes, Maxine and as soliders we have armour for every part of our body except the back. God does not give any protection for our backs because we are not to turn our backs but Go forward holding his banner high. God bless you. connie from Texas

sparrow's song said...

you shared,
Last week, there were the tragic murders of two "soldiers of the cross" which still weigh heavily on the hearts of many of us."

I pray closure will come as a comforting embrace from our Lord. He is the lifter of the broken hearted. May His strength be the strength of all those so deeply involved.

A scripture that comes to mind, and one of my most favorite....

John 11:25-26 (KJV)
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die..."

I salute our fallen soliders of the cross. I weep with those who loved them so dearly. To God be the glory through the sweet sacrifice of their lives.

Maxine said...

Connie: Your comment is right on. Thanks for bringing up our armor. All the more proof that we're soldiers.

Sparrow: Your comment is so precious to me. Your last paragraph touched me deeply and brought tears. Your heartfelt compassion means so much, and I hope the day might come that I'd be able to pass it on. Thank you also for that Scripture; it's one of my all time favorites.

Beverly said...

I knew what hymn you were going to post before I even finished reading. I am glad I read this tonight. We were just talking a few minutes ago about how very hard it is to do the simple daily things because we are so grieved and shaken. But these soldiers, through their death, have bolstered us to serve the Lord more. They, through their death have caused us to ask ourselves "Am I a soldier of the cross?"

Maxine said...

Amen, Bev. They've made us more determined to do what we can for the cause. And I'm coming to believe that this is why the kingdom is advanced through the those who make the "ultimate sacrifice."

sparrow's song said...

Just a note to say I was thinking of you this evening. God bless.

Beka said...

A glorious hymn indeed, and so fitting for this time.

And yes, we must "keep on keeping on."

Elise said...

I admire that you waited for the right *heart place* to post this.

There are not many words I have at this moment. But thank you for this reminder - I need to remember that there are other matters that I myself need to be bringing before the throne, that are much more pressing and of lasting value than my own.
Love to you.

Francine said...

Maxine, your blog continues to offer a peaceful place with poignant words. The reminder of our roles as soldiers is one I think we too often forget. Thanks for the reminder.

Blessings to you.

Maxine said...

I am not always so diligent about commenting back to those who leave their thoughts at this blog, but because this post has so much meaning for me, I feel constrained to respond more than I usually do.

Beka: We'll march on and rejoice as we see new recruitments being sent out!

Sparrow, you are so sweet.

Elise: I know what you've been going through and my prayers continue. You have always been a blessing to me, even if you only say two words when you come.

Hi Francine. Welcome back to the blogging world. I've missed you. I hope in the days ahead not to forget that we're in a battle. Hostility towards the gospel abounds, even here in our own land. Hopefully, this hymn will inspire us.


You have been in my prayers and you are on my mind. I just wanted to stop by and say how much I appreciate you and your blog. connie from Texas

A Note From Theresa said...

That was a very good post! Thanks

Vicki said...

Sending warmest hugs and praying comfort for you from Him. I'm deeply moved by your words here, Maxine. Thank you for posting this. We just learned of another soldier who gave his life here, but is now with the Lord.

Maxine said...

Connie and Theresa,
I do appreciate you guys so much. You come faithfully and encourage me.

Vicki, my friend. Whoever this fallen soldier is, I'm sure he/she is receiving their crown. A prayer for their loved ones--God knows who they are. These days do have their purposes--they cause us to reflect on the real meaning of taking up our cross and following Him.