Saturday, January 15, 2011

Standing Where the Fire Has Been - H. A. Ironside

"Who loved me and gave himself for me. -Galatians 2:20

One of the first Gospel illustrations that ever made a real impression upon my young heart was a simple story which I heard a preacher tell when I was less than nine years old.

It was of pioneers who were making their way across one of the central states to a distant place that had been opened up for homesteading. They traveled in covered wagons drawn by oxen, and progress was necessarily slow.

One day they were horrified to note a long line of smoke in the west, stretching for miles across the prairie, and soon it was evident that the dried grass was burning fiercely and coming toward them rapidly. They had crossed a river the day before but it would be impossible to go back to that before the flames would be upon them.

One man only seemed to have understanding as to what should be done. He gave the command to set fire to the grass behind them. Then when a space was burned over, the whole company moved back upon it.

As the flames roared on toward them from the west, a little girl cried out in terror, “Are you sure we shall not all be burned up?” The leader replied, “My child, the flames cannot reach us here, for we are standing where the fire has been!”

What a picture of the believer, who is safe in Christ!

'On Him Almighty vengeance fell,
Which would have sunk a world to Hell.
He bore it for a chosen race,
And thus becomes our Hiding Place.'

The fires of God’s judgment burned themselves out on Him, and all who are in Christ are safe forever, for they are now standing where the fire has been."

-Harry A. Ironside, Illustrations of Bible Truth, Moody Press; 1945.
Ironside (1876-1951) was a preacher, author of a number of expository commentaries, and pastor of Moody Memorial Church, Chicago, Illinois. During the last century his commentaries have been among the most popular.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, January 15, AD 2011.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Botswana Lady Meets Jesus in Cowpen - Gordon Fort, IMB

Gordon Fort tells the story of an outreach to a particular tribe in Botswana. During the outreach they were camping in the bush. He and Benjamin were walking through the bush to see the tribal chief. Benjamin was of this tribe and had met Christ as his Savior in the city. He was returning to tell his tribe about Jesus.

As they walked they saw a lady over to the left about 40 yards milking a cow in a cowpen. Gordon felt the Lord leading him to speak to her. Benjamin advised against it saying the woman would be afraid if two strange men walked over to where she was working alone. “Let’s just go see the chief.”

They went a little further and Gordon felt the same conviction to speak to her. He and Benjamin talked it over again.

A few steps further and the Lord spoke again. Gordon said they must go speak with her.

She saw them walking toward her and stood up behind the cow. Benjamin called out a greeting in her native language and that seemed to put her at ease. They got to the edge of the pen. Gordon asked Benjamin to ask her if she would mind if they told her their story. She nodded yes.

Gordon was speaking one African language and Benjamin was translating to the native language of the local tribe. Through the interpreter Gordon told her the simple Gospel message. Why Jesus came. How He died on the cross. And what it means to be a sinner - one who has disobeyed God and owned the responsibility - a powerful concept to the African people.

The lady’s heart began to open to the truth of the Gospel message. Gordon knew she was under conviction. He told Benjamin to ask her if she would like to ask Jesus into her heart today. Benjamin talked to her and she nodded yes.

Standing at the cow pen, she invited Christ to become the Lord of her life.

When she was finished, she turned from looking at Benjamin, looked at Gordon Fort and began to speak fluent English.

Gordon’s first thought was, “It’s a miracle! This is what all missionaries are looking for.”

She went on to say, “I know you don’t know who I am. I have a Master’s Degree from the University of Oklahoma. I’m the Chief Instructor at the Teacher’s Training College in the capital city. I happened to come home this weekend to help my parents with the chores.”

“I knew when you saw me in this pen, you’d think that I was just an ignorant peasant woman. I decided in my heart if what you have to say is so important that you would turn aside to share it with me, that it must be the truth.”

Gordon concluded, “That lady became a leading worker in our Baptist work in Botswana.”

You never know what God might do when you share the Gospel with one for whom Christ died.

-from story told by Gordon Fort. Gordon is Vice President of the SBC International Mission Board. He told this story in his President’s Luncheon message at the 2010 annual convention of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention in Corpus Christi. Byron McWilliams is SBTC president.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, January 6, AD 2011.