Tuesday, May 23, 2017

John Wesley's Conversion

On this day (May 24) in history 1738, John Wesley was converted.  He later described it like this: "I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given to me that he had taken away my sins, even mine.”

The events leading up to his conversion were significant.  He was on board a ship with a group of Moravians.  They were holding a worship service when a terrible storm him.  John was very much afraid but the Moravians never missed a note. They were completely at peace.  Even the children were unafraid. This impacted John greatly.  When he was back in England he attended a Moravian meeting.  It was there he came to faith.

Wesley became a famous evangelist and social reformer, with the world as his parish. But he himself was won to Christ by the power of a small group whose commitment to Christ was strong enough to keep them unflappable in a storm.

Friday, May 19, 2017

St. Dunstan’s Day,

Today is St. Dunstan's Day.  St. Dunstan’s Day is named for the British politician who, having slighted the king, found himself banished to a monastery in Belgium. There he committed himself to Christ’s cause, eventually returning to England and becoming archbishop of Canterbury. Dunstan died May 19, 988. Three hundred years later another archbishop of Canterbury, William Courtenay, ruled. Courtenay was outraged by John Wycliffe, "We are saved," he said, "by faith in Christ, Scripture alone being our authority." He pre-Luthered Luther, and thus is called The Morning Star of the Reformation. Finally Courtenay summoned a special committee to examine Wycliffe’s teachings, to condemn and destroy the Bible teacher. They convened on St. Dunstan’s Day, May 19, 1382. While they were gathered a powerful earthquake hit.  The committee members were afraid and thought they better leave Wycliffe alone.  But the archbishop’s meeting has ever since been known in English history as the Earthquake Synod. Reminds me of the Scripture: "God is our refuge and strength, a well-proven help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea" (Psalm 46:1-2).

Friday, May 12, 2017

William Carey

Today is the day in history May 12, 1792, that William Carey wrote his book "An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians, to use means for the Conversion of the Heathens in which the Religious State of the Different Nations of the World, the Success of Former Undertakings, and the Practicability of Further Undertakings, are Considered". (Not a very catchy title!).  It was written in response to a rebuke given to him when he became concerned for lost people in other parts of the world.  The rebuke was, “Young man, sit down! When God pleases to convert the heathen, he’ll do it without consulting you or me.”

Despite its unwieldy title, this 87-page book became a classic in Christian history that deserves a place alongside Luther’s Ninety-five Theses in its influence on subsequent church history. It led to the formation of a missionary society and William Carey became the Father of Modern Missions,

Monday, January 30, 2017

Living In Light Of His Coming

Believers in the early church were consistently told to be on the lookout for the coming of Christ. They were also given clear, practical instructions on what they should be doing in light of this imminent event. The most straightforward passage in the New Testament concerning what we should be doing if we believe Jesus is coming soon is in Peter’s first letter:

"The end of all things is near. Therefore be solemn and sober so you can pray. Above all things, have unfailing love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without complaining. As everyone has received a gift, even so serve one another with it, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God" (1 Peter 4:7-10).

Notice the word therefore in verse 7. Peter is saying that the end of the world is coming, therefore here’s what we should be doing. This passage emphasizes four things we should do if we believe that the end is coming soon.

KEEP YOUR HEAD CLEAR: PRAY FOR OTHERS

The Word tells us that in view of the end of all things we are to be “sober.” This word literally means “not drunk.” In other words, we are to be sober-minded, clearheaded, and mentally alert for the purpose of prayer. Believing that Christ could come back today should spur us on to a sober, disciplined prayer life.

KEEP YOUR HEART WARM: LOVE OTHERS

The badge of Christianity is love.  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34–35). As we see the end approaching we are to love one another with an "unfailing love.” The word translated unfailing was used in ancient times of a horse at full gallop when its muscles were stretched to the limit. Peter is saying that our love for one another is to be stretched out but never reaching its breaking point.

KEEP YOUR HOME OPEN: SHOW HOSPITALITY TO STRANGERS

One of the signs of the second coming of Christ according to Jesus is that “the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). In light of this, believers are called to show their love in a concrete way by reaching out in Christian love to strangers. This beautiful Christian virtue is mentioned specifically six times in the New Testament including verse 9 here.

"Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality" (Romans 12:13).

"An overseer then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, sober, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach" (1 Timothy 3:2).

"Do not let a widow be counted unless she is over sixty years old, has been the wife of one man, is well attested in good works, if she has brought up children, has lodged strangers, has washed the saints’ feet, has relieved the afflicted, and has diligently followed every good work" (1 Timothy 5:9-10).

"But hospitable, a lover of what is good, self-controlled, just, holy, temperate" ( Titus 1:8).

"Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unknowingly. Remember those who are in chains, as if imprisoned with them, and those who are ill treated, since you are also in the body" (Hebrews 13:1-3).

As this world becomes a colder and more isolated place, we are to keep our homes open and show the warmth of Christ to strangers.

KEEP YOUR HANDS BUSY: USE YOUR SPIRITUAL GIFTS

Every believer in Jesus Christ has at least one spiritual gift. Spiritual gifts are supernatural empowerments that God has given to His children to serve the body of Christ. As we see the curtain about to rise on the final act of history, we hear the Lord calling us to keep our hands busy, using for His service the gifts He has given us.



Tuesday, October 4, 2016

THE "IF" OF GOD

The “if” of God, is a question about your willingness to be obedient to God’s requests. While Satan plants doubt concerning God’s promises and the human mind questions God’s willingness, God’s “if” is based upon your obedience. At times an “if” plays an important role in receiving a from God.

The “if” of God is always a condition we meet to receive the blessings promised us. The covenant we have with God contains promises and conditions. Hearing the Word is the first condition. Believing the Word is second condition. Acting upon the Word is third condition. Obedience to the Word is the final condition.

At times, it may seem foolish to the flesh and to some Christians when we act out our obedience and do what the Lord commands us to do. However, God loves and honors our obedience.




Monday, June 27, 2016

The “If” of Man

A diseased leper who came to Christ took a great risk when he did so. Leprosy was considered contagious, and Jewish law said a leper had to stand one hundred to three hundred paces away from a clean person, depending upon the direction of the wind. On this occasion, the leper fell at Jesus’s feet and said, "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean" (Luke 5:12). In response, Jesus removed the “if” and said, "I will; be clean" (Luke 5:13).

Jesus removed the “if” of doubt, and the leper was immediately made whole! The “if” of man is connected to knowing the will of God. Satan’s “if” attempts to make a person doubt the promises of God, but the human “if” begins to doubt the willingness of God to perform what He has spoken. It does little good to believe that God can if you do not believe that God will. Think for a moment. God can save the lost, but will God save your family? God can baptize believers in the Holy Spirit, but will God baptize you in the Holy Spirit? God can heal, but will God heal you? The “if” of man questions the willingness of God to perform His promises.