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Lifting the Name

The road to church meandered down the hill from my parent’s house. I loved walking to the service alone on Sunday evenings, especially when it was cool weather. I was only nine or ten years old when my evening walk was interrupted by a few moments that would forever change me.

Even though I don’t have the exact date recorded, the memory of the conversation that day is vivid. I was singing these words while I walked in the late afternoon sunshine:

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.1

Just a child, but the worship was robust and true. The lyric’s deep penetration brought me to a standstill on the road. I stopped. I couldn’t move. Suddenly I was at the cross. I was watching the blood flow. I saw the sacrifice and it brought me to my knees.

What love!

“Love so amazing, so divine . . . Demands my soul, my life, my all.”

This wasn’t my conversion experience. I came to Christ when I was only five. This was a calling.

I could take you back to the exact spot where I was standing when I made the commitment to my Savior:

“If You would die for me, the least I can do is live all of my life for You.”

There was no doubt in my heart what I was being asked. It was a call to lay down my life and lift up the Name. A call to follow Christ and carry the cross. A call to spread the gospel throughout the earth.

[box]If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. “For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? (Luke 9:23–25)[/box]

This calling to follow Christ is for every Christian. All of us are called to “lose our lives” for Christ. That call means spreading the gospel to the folks in your hometown, to your neighbors, family, and friends.

But the call can also mean spreading His gospel beyond. 

When I went to school the next morning, I told my class about what happened and rather publicly announced that I would be a missionary. Blank stares from my classmates. I looked across the globe and thought my assignment might be Chad, Africa. Not sure why “Chad” stood out to me as the “anointed spot” for future ministry.

Since that time, I’ve shared the gospel in Kenya, but still haven’t reached Chad. I may not be living on a foreign mission field today, but spreading the gospel across the globe is still my passion. That is one reason why I blog. I desire to exalt Christ in every way possible.

Blogging here is one small way I can send the gospel across the world. 

This month I’ve been reminded of His call to me as a little girl. Several times, the Lord has tenderly taken me back to that afternoon call on the road to church. He reminded me of my commitment to follow Him anywhere, to lay down my life, to lift up His name, and to spread His gospel throughout the earth.

He continues to remind me as I step out in faith to do that. Today, I’m serving with a ministry team in the Dominican Republic. In April, I’ll be speaking to women in Brazil. Next month I’ll be sharing with a group of women in Michigan. Whether it is at home with family and friends, or with total strangers . . .

I am so privileged to lift up the Name. 

“Love so amazing, so divine . . . Demands my soul, my life, my all.”

[box]As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. (John 3:14–15)[/box]

How will you lift His Name today?

1Isaac Watts (1707)

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net