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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT TUESDAY - CLASSICAL TESTIMONIES… Billy Sunday.


They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. – Revelation 12:11.

By way of encouragement, I would like to devote Tuesdays to classical testimonies which have brought great blessing and glory to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. These are of men and women, who have faithfully served for the Kingdom of God. My prayer is that you will be blessed, encouraged, and inspired by these testimonies as I was…

"If a man goes to Hell he ought to be there, or he wouldn't be there." If this statement shocks you, you aren't alone. Billy Sunday met with criticism wherever he went. Yet all over America this statement and others like it led more than 400,000 to Christ in the early part of this century.

Billy Sunday became notorious for his verbal tirades while delivering the message of salvation to the average American. His antics, vocabulary, and heart for the Lord were discussed in every circle of society; crowds were turned away from his tabernacle meetings; and his messages were printed in their entirety in major newspapers. The printed text of his message alone was enough to melt the hearts of those who read it, convict them of their sins, and lead to salvation, even in places as far away as China!

Crime went down and church attendance went up when Billy Sunday rolled into town. The crowds that thronged the "sawdust trail" (the aisles that led to the altar) at his invitation to turn their lives over to Jesus, carried on the revival that was often spawned in Mr. Sunday's wake. The effects of his campaigns were so far-reaching that brewers and distillers united against him when saloons went out of business and citizens voted for temperance after his departure.

Born in 1862, William A. Sunday was named for a father he never met. Billy's father never returned from the American Civil War, leaving behind his wife and three sons to fend for themselves. They lived in dire poverty in Ames, Iowa, in a two-room log cabin. When Billy was twelve, he and his brother were sent to an orphanage for two years. Billy understood the life of the toiling American for that was his life. Common men loved him because he was one of them.

The small-town boy made it big, though. Billy was "discovered" by the leader of the Chicago White Sox in 1883 and played for that team for five years, and later for Philadelphia. Known as the fastest runner in the game, both the public and his teammates respected him, despite his Christian scruples-he refused to play ball on Sundays.

Billy was a drunk, rescued from the street corners by workers of the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago, and led to the Lord by the founder's wife. Eventually he gave up baseball and went to work for the Lord. Billy worked for the YMCA and later for a well-known evangelist before he started out on his own. Mr. Sunday was consumed with winning the lost to Christ and so dared to do and say what no one else would. The man's language, stage drama, and acrobatics all combined to drive home the point that unless you commit you life to the Lord, you are eternally damned; he dared to send local celebrities to hell by name.

Mr. Sunday's own testimony stated, "I staked my soul and everything I had, on the God of the Bible, and the Christ of that Bible, and I won." Billy went home to be with his Lord in 1935.

Are you willing to do whatever it takes and give your all to win the lost to Christ? Then like Billy Sunday, stake your soul on the Word of God, and dare to follow Jesus wherever He leads you?

Loving Father, I thank you for the life and ministry of Billy Sunday, a faithful servant, and one who knew you so well. By the power of the Holy Spirit, help me to be a person of like faith, that I may bring glory to your name. I ask this in the wonderful and mighty name of Jesus. Amen.

Be encouraged.
GBYAY

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