Sunday, April 17, 2011

My Cup You Drank and Gave To Me Yours

A team of four folks recently came to Senegal from our Home Church in Mtn. City GA. This is the first time since we arrived in Senegal that they have been able to come! It was so special. One of the things that they did was to lead our Spiritual Life Conference. Our last session we shared the Lord's Supper together. Our pastor Kevin Hurt preached a message that touched me (Steve) very deeply. I wrote a poem that helped me put down some of my meditations on that message. Here it is.

My Cup You Drank and Gave To Me Yours

God’s wrath and judgement for my sin poured out in a cup.
Drink eternal death and punishment, I would never have a hope.

The cup was rightly mine to drink – the judgement for MY sin,
Yet drink it all I never could, or even take one sip.

For to touch it to my lips was eternal death indeed.
Your wrath never to be satisfied – there would always be a need.

I was lost – without hope – as this cup before me stood,
Yet all the while You, oh God, were planning for my good.

“I hate You!”, I declared by every word and deed,
Yet it was then You looked at me and for my sin did bleed.

“The cup of wrath that he should drink, I take it for Myself,” You said.
“For if he even puts it to his lips, he will certainly be dead.”

And so my cup You took from me, and traded for Your own.
The wrath of God that was rightly mine, was poured out on the Son.

That cup of wrath was so terrible – so awful – You cried out in sweat and blood,
“Father, take this cup from me, unless it’s for his good!”

The Father’s judgement was fulfilled as my cup You drank in haste.
To the dregs! Not one drop did You leave for me to taste.

My cup You drank and gave me Yours. In awe and wonder still,
I look and drink from this cup that grace and love does fill.

“Can I finish it?” I cry as I drink from it again.
Your grace and love so satisfies, in spite of all my sin.

This cup of grace and love You give, I shall never see the end.
For you have loved me, died for me, and called me Your friend.

Though I fail and stumble as I walk the path that You, Yourself, have blazed,
That cup of wrath that should be mine, You have already raised.

There is not one thing that I can do to make You love me more,
For my cup You drank and gave to me Yours.

After the SLC they came and visited us in Kaffrine. They even got out to the villages where we work. It was cool!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Fearing God or Fearing Man

“That lesson was really delicious and full!” said Adam*. He is a son of one of the believers and though he hasn’t given his life to Jesus yet, he came with us to the meeting we have with some of the believers in the area. A colleague actually has the responsibility to meet with these guys and teach them the Scriptures, but when he is away, he lets me fill in for him. It allows me to do two things that I enjoy immensely – interacting with the Wolof and interacting with the word of God – when I can combine the two, I’m like a pig in slop!

We were studying John 18:25-27 where Peter denied the Lord. I pointed out that one can deny Him in our speech and our actions. I asked the searching question, “Have you ever denied the Lord?” You see that question is a little different for us than it is for the Wolof. Unlike our experience, the Wolof believers suffer a significant amount of persecution. Many of them know firsthand what it means to be afraid that if you say you are a follower of Jesus you might be killed or worse – ostracized. I did share one occasion when as a new believer I denied the Lord. Like Peter, I wept bitterly.

I contrasted Peter’s denial with Luke 12:8-10. Often Wolof has a larger word choice than English so it is clearer in the Wolof NT what the Luke passage is talking about. It was good for Adam to hear this part as he knows the truth and understands the Gospel so clearly, but has yet to believe. In talking with him more, he openly admits to fear of man and persecution.

We then went to John 21 and saw where the Lord restored Peter. How He gave him a ministry in spite of Peter’s imperfections, in spite of his unwillingness to commit to a higher level of love and in spite of him denying his Lord. Jesus took Peter right where he was and made him the Apostle who led the first church in Jerusalem, who saw the first Gentiles come to repentance, who was a pastor to many in the early church, who wrote part of the New Testament, and who eventually fulfilled this prophecy of Jesus that Peter would be crucified almost like his Lord whom he grew to love so much as to give Him his life.

As I shared this message of God’s great grace towards losers like us, I could see the hope come alive in these dear men. These are men who struggle in their walk from time to time, like me, but who have given the Lord so much, even their very lives.
*Adam is a pseudonym