From Luke 23:44-46: “It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed, and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit.’ Having said this, He breathed his last.”
Darkness surrounds solemn ground
Bloodied cross witnesses death
Son of Man’s reign ending now
His journey, now out of breath
Heartless enemy praises
Night sky covers grave of death
Disciples fleeing . . . hiding
But grace, never out of breath
Son of God shall rise, be seen
Morning light erases death
Praising over vacant tomb
Alleluia fills each breath
Called to march with our Savior
Love forever conquers death
Crown beloved Christ, our King
Mercy’s everlasting breath
From Matthew 28:5-6: “But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He has been raised, as He said. Come, see the place where He lay.'”
Grandparents Jim and Marge experienced a love story that began in their teenage years. Little did they know where life planned to take them in the years to come.
In 1911, Jim was born in the tiny town of Marmarth, North Dakota. The small community of about 800 was founded as a railroad town along the Milwaukee Road line. The transcontinental railroad traveled from Chicago, Illinois to Seattle, Washington.
When Jim was an infant, his family moved to Cleveland, Ohio. He excelled academically and athletically during his school years.
Born in 1912, Marge already lived in Ohio when Jim moved there. Eventually their lives intersected during junior high school. Her father was a Cleveland native while her mother was born in Belfast, Ireland.
With their love blossoming, Jim and Marge were married in 1928. Jim pursued his career goal of becoming an engineer with his studies at the University of Akron.
Sadly, the arrival of the Great Depression crushed Jim’s pursuit of a college degree. With money very tight, Jim needed to pursue a different career.
In 1936, Jim, Marge, and their first-born son traveled to Billings, Montana. Jim had been hired to work for a wholesale and produce grocer. Working for the Gamble-Robinson Company for 40 years, Jim eventually became the general manager of its Billings office.
When World War II arrived, Jim accepted his responsibility and served with distinction in the U.S. Army until being honorably discharged at the war’s end. Meanwhile his young family endured without him being at home.
Marge and her three young children managed to make life as pleasant as possible during Jim’s wartime absence. Unable to drive a car, Marge used other means for transportation. Rationing of vital commodities during the war made for useful transactions because Marge traded her gasoline ration cards for other ones.
Billings was growing, but it still had the feel of a smaller, close-knit community. Neighbors helped out each other. Church was a center of worship and fellowship for the young family as well.
When Jim returned home, the family continued to live in Billings at the same home. As childhood sweethearts, Jim and Marge experienced quite a life journey, which took them from their former homes in Ohio to a lasting one in Montana.
This story recalled the start of my mother’s family. Being the middle child and only daughter (born in 1938), Martha started a family of her own with the birth of her first child in 1956 (Richard). Eventually the family would number five sons and one daughter.
A heart can no more be forced to love than a stomach can be forced to digest food by persuasion.
Alfred Nobel (1833-1896) was a Swedish chemist, engineer, and philanthropist. While he was known as the inventor of dynamite and blasting caps, his influence has been felt for generations due to his generosity. He bequeathed his personal fortune to fund the Nobel Prize.
Saddest of all God’s creatures in the world is the religious person who has disciplined himself to outward obedience, but who has no inward love to God.
From John 14:23-24: “Jesus answered him, ‘Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words, and the word that you hear is not mine but is from the Father who sent me.'”
Walter J. Chantry (born 1938) served for 39 years as pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He was also an prolific Christian writer and editor.
The real test of the saint is not preaching the Gospel, but washing disciples’ feet, that is, doing the things that do not count in the actual estimate of men, but count everything in the estimate of God.
From 2 Corinthians 12:15: “I will most gladly spend and be spent for you. If I love you more, am I to be loved less?”
Oswald Chambers (1874-1917) was a Scottish evangelist and Christian teacher. Following his death from an illness while in Egypt during World War I, his wife took on the task of transcribing the detailed notes she had written from his lectures and sermons. Gertrude Hobbs Chambers’ efforts resulted in the publication in 1924 of MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST. I frequently read from this devotional, and it has greatly deepened my faith and understanding of God’s Word.