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Words to live by

Musings and Memories

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I have long been an admirer of the godly women and men who have lived throughout history and who practiced their piety and Christ-like example before others. I especially admire those men and women who lived that life in private as well.  

There was Some One watching; He is the same One who is watching you and me when we think we are alone.  

The Psalmist David wrote these words that have always been very special to my precious and saintly wife, Lynn, and myself; words from Psalm 139:1-18 (NKJV).  

  1. O Lord,You have searched me and known me. 
  2. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.  
  3. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways.  
  4. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.  
  5. You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me.  
  6. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.
  7. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
  8. If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.  
  9. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,  
  10. Even there Your hand shall lead me, AndYour right hand shall hold me.  
  11. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me;
  12. Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
  13. For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.
  14. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. 
  15. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  
  1. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.  
  2. 1 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!
  3. If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.

There have been so many historical figures that I have admired for their practice of openly living their faith, men and women such as the Apostles of Jesus Christ, and the godly female disciples who openly served Jesus and His followers. And there are those precious historical figures that I admire, such as the earliest Bible translators, men such as John Wycliffe and William Tyndale, who wanted common people to have God’s Word in a language they could read.  

They were people who were martyred for their refusal to obey the false doctrines of the Roman Church at that time. I admire those historical figures that preached the Gospel of Christ in defiance of the State Church, men such as John Calvin, George Whitefield, and John and Charles Wesley. I have long admired those referred to as Saints throughout history such as Martin of Tours, Brother Francis of Assisi, and Mother Teresa of Calcutta.  

Christian author, David Scott, in his book, The Love That Made Mother Teresa, wrote: “As Phyllis McGinley, the venerable Catholic poet and saint watcher, once wrote, ‘Just as regularly as folk tales begin, ‘Once upon a time,’ so half the biographies of saints start with, ‘He first sold his estates and goods for the benefit of the poor.’ ”  

“Take the early instance of the Roman imperial soldier Martin. In A.D. 334, he gave half his cloak to a shivering, naked beggar he passed on the side of the road. Later, in a dream, he saw Christ wearing his half cloak and boasting to the angels of how Martin had given it to Him.  

That’s all it took to set him on the path to becoming St. Martin of Tours, one of the most venerated of all saints during the Middle-Ages.  

“Mother Teresa of Calcutta will be remembered centuries from now as an ordinary nun personally touched by Jesus, called to abandon herself, to imitate his life in the slums, and to bring the good news of God’s love to the poorest of the poor. ‘My little one, come, come, carry Me into the holes of the poor . . . their dark, unhappy homes,’ He told her. ‘Come, be their victim. In your immolation, in your love for Me, they will see Me, know Me, want Me.’”  

“While many were supping at tables of relative plenty, Mother Teresa was kneeling outside our gates, showing us the great gulf fixed between us and the legions of Lazaruses begging for our scraps.  

“While many of us were playing the part of the guy in the parable who passes by on the other side of the road, Mother Teresa was the Good Samaritan, binding the wounds of those our world beats up and leaves for dead.  

“She is most often compared to St. Francis, the rich boy who made himself poor and kissed the leper. But really she was more like St. Lawrence. He was roasted alive for impertinence in A.D. 258 because, when ordered by the emperor’s men to turn over the Church’s wealth, he showed up with a retinue of the destitute and smiled. ‘These are the treasure of the Church,’ he said.”  

That precious sister-of-mine-in-Christ, the one who was affectionately referred to as Mother Teresa, also wanted us to see in the poor the richness of Christ. 

“These are our treasures,” she so often told those who came to visit her mission in Calcutta. “They are Jesus. Each one is Jesus in His distressing disguise.”  

This precious historical figure that I have long admired taught us to meet our Maker in the poorest of the poor, to find our salvation there, to see Jesus in ‘the least of these.’ Jesus wants all of us as believers, to follow His example. 

I strive every day to do that. It is my prayer for the Church of today, that we stop imitating celebrities and that we imitate Jesus Christ; that we follow His example. The Apostle Paul famously said, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” 

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