Because they prayed

IsonormD – Since the 1400’s, the Moravian church was struggling. Persecution was mounting, the faithful had no choice but to flee to the modern-day land of the Czech Repbulic. In the year 1722, several members were granted land owned by the German Count Nicholas Lugwig Von Zinzendorf to build a village which they called Hernhut. (It means “under the Lord’s watch” in German.) On the first building the built, they inscribed Psalm 84:3.

August 27th, 1727 they began a prayer meeting. They would pray throughout the day, but one person would be in charge of the hour to lead prayer, take requests, open letters. Twenty-four men and Twenty-four women began praying, twenty-four hours a day. seven days a week. However many weeks in a year. It happened non-stop for nearly a hundred years.

The Count soon challenged the people to not only pray, but preach the Gospel. Immediately twenty-six members stood up and agreed to go preach. It is recorded that twenty-two of those members died at a young age on the field. At this time, the number of people in the congragation was six hundred. Whenever people  didn’t come back, others decided to go out and preach. In only a few years, seventy people were missionaries.

By 1792, the Moravians had three hundred missionaries on the field, worldwide. In 1722 they were in Germany, before the end of their prayer meeting, in 1790, they were in Africa, Europe, the Middle-East, and in the Carribean preaching God’s word. In fact, by 1735 they were already establishing congregations in America.

The Moravian church still exists today, they have churches throughout the world. The same congregations they set up gave rise to a sort of denomination that never forgot it’s roots. I’ve even found the websites for a number of museams that proudly display their flag which bears the words: “Our Lamb Has Conquered, Let Us Follow Him.”

My Shortcomings: Time killing

IceAgeD – “Time is short.” (1 Corinthians 7:29)

Time is precious–though misspent, though thought little of. Oh! what great things are to be done in this little inch of time!
Think much on death–that you may not be too much charmed with the ‘vanities of life’.

Remember the deceitfulness and uncertainty of riches–so shall you neither be puffed up with their possession, nor pained at their loss.
Think much on the unseen world, and let the certainty of that which is to come, dispel the ‘delusion of the present’–which so quickly passes away.

Eye God’s glory in everything, and prefer the approbation of God and your own conscience, to the applause of men. Better be the object of man’s ridicule, than the subject of God’s wrath.
Beware that you live not for yourself, or the world. But live above the world, for eternity, and to God.

“So, then, be careful how you live. Do not be unwise but wise, making the best use of time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)

This one is like a blaring sign to me. You see, I haven’t gotten around to a number of things I ought to have. The thing is, it’s not like me to not do something on the sooner side. If I’m asked to do something, I usually get it done as soon as possible. Homework? I got started as soon as I got home. Chores? They’re done as soon as whatever I’m doing is done with.

I can’t figure why I haven’t gotten around to these things. In fact, I’m reminded of it by another sibling often of late. Maybe I’m just so afraid of succeeding. If I do get these things done then it begings a series of steps that can’t be stopped. It’ll mean a complete change in the things that I’m used to, a whole introduction to new things.

Every week I’m asked if I’d gotten around to this one thing or another of the things. I guess much change can be accomplished in seven days, but it seems as one lengthy day to me. I sometimes wonder if I’m being held back at the moment, or if I’m holding myself back from a fair bit of potential.

Change. It can be so welcome and so frightening. We moved from the south to the north in three days. We experienced school being closed for fog and open for snow. It gets late early up here and early often says late in the winter. We’ve been waiting for another oppurtunity to move away from here for three years.

I don’t understand why I haven’t gotten around to some things, what’s keeping me from getting around to them, and why I have plans I don’t care to accomplish. It seems almost contradictory to me to write that. I’d like to have five acres in the country one day but I’m not dead set on that. I’d like to live in a certain state, but I’m okay living with any southern state. I’d like to go to college and gain a certain vocation, but if I don’t I’m not going to be upset over it.

It strikes me that the things I haven’t gotten are a chore that is required but I don’t particularly care for. I guess I could continue,  but I think I haven’t gotten around to wrapping this post up.

My Shortcomings: Composure, or a lack thereof

Hobo Medium –

“We need to guard first of all against A CRITICAL SPIRIT. It is very easy to find fault with people. It is possible, even with ordinary glasses, to see many things in one another that are not what they ought to be. Then some people carry microscopes fine enough to reveal a million animalcules in a drop of water, and with these, they can find countless blemishes in the character and conduct even of the most saintly dwellers on the earth. There are some who are always watching for slights and grievances. They are suspicious of the motives and intentions of others. They are always imagining offences, even where none were most remotely intended. This habit is directly at variance with the law of love, which thinks no evil.

We turn to the Pattern. Does Christ look upon us sharply, critically, suspiciously? He sees every infirmity in us, but it is as though He did not see it. His love overlooks it. He throws a veil over our faults. He continues to pour His own love upon us in spite of all our blemishes and our ill-treatment of Him. The law of Christian forbearance requires the same in us. We must not keep our selfish suspicions ever on the watch-tower or at the windows, looking out for neglects, discourtesies, wrongs, or grievances of any kind. We must not be hasty to think evil of others. We had better be blind, not perceiving at all the seeming rudeness or insult. It is well not to hear all that is said, or, if hear we must, to be as though we heard not.Many bitter quarrels have grown out of an IMAGINED slights, many out of an utter misconception, or perchance from the misrepresentation of some wretched gossip-monger. Had a few moments been given to ascertain the truth, there had never been any occasion for ill-feeling.

We should seek to know the MOTIVE also which prompts the apparent grievance. In many cases, the cause of our grievance is utterly unintentional, chargeable to nothing worse than thoughtlessness—possibly meant even for kindness. It is never fair to judge men by every word they speak or everything they do in the excitement and amid the irritations of busy daily life. Many a gruff man carries a good heart and a sincere friendship under his coarse manner. The best does not always come to the surface. We should never, therefore, hastily imagine evil intention in others. Nor should we allow ourselves to be easily persuaded that our companions or friends meant to treat us unkindly. A disposition to look favorably upon the conduct of our fellow-men is a wonderful absorber of the frictions of life.

Then there are always cases of real injustice. There are rudenesses and wrongs, which we cannot regard as merely imaginary or as misconceptions. They proceed from bad temperament or from jealousy or malice, and are very hard to bear. Kindness is repaid with unkindness. We find impatience and petulance in our best friends. There are countless things every day in our associations with others, which tend to vex or irritate us.

Here is room for the fullest exercise of that divinely-beautiful love which covers a multitude of sins in others. We seek to make every possible excuse for the neglect or rudeness or wrong. Perhaps our friend is carrying some perplexing care or some great burden today. Something may be going wrong in his business or at his home. Or it may be his unstrung nerves that make him so thoughtless and inconsiderate. Or his bad health may be the cause. A large-hearted spirit will always seek to find some palliation at least for the apparent wrong.”

Compose is defined as a calmness in a persons trait. I would like to say I had learned to maintain my composure, but there are times when I have lost it. To my way thinking, I don’t like to be wronged. When something should be mine and it isn’t mine, such as a turn, can cause friction. I have to take the time to forgive those around me because they are busy and I am not.

Me and my siblings are still growing up, but when the oldest of the kids were much younger there was a time of great conflict in this now mostly peaceful household. At the time conflict would break out at the drop of a hat, as I was usually involved things would get loud. I think we screamed ourselves hoarse on an occasion or two (I remember that once the other person had gotten so worked up that person couldn’t breathe, I think I felt both scared and mad because I wasn’t making that much drama or getting attention).

Then I started seeing a pattern. I would always have to say that I was sorry, it was never the other way around. In fact, that’s what didn’t make sense. I couldn’t always be wrong, it just wasn’t possible. In another argument I realized how pointless it all was and actually laughed. It wasn’t easy, but I stopped participating in the fighting. Soon my sibling saw how pointless it was to attempt to start a fight because I wouldn’t argue or scream.

I would like to say from that moment on I never lost my composure, but I sometimes forget how difficult it was to get it in the first place. Every so often, I’ll have to put up with being pushed out of another’s way. I can either choose to push back and make the most of my time or to let the rest of my time go. I can choose to fight and lose that hard-earned composure or to keep that composure. It’s difficult to know when I should fight back or pretty much allow myself to get walked over. It’s my shortcomming in that I don’t keep it as often as I would like.

My Shortcommings: Killing Time

HandelGotDBol – “This world is fading away, along with everything it craves! But the man who does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John 2:17

Compared with spiritual and eternal blessings, we see how vain and empty are all earthly things.
What vain toys!
What idle dreams!
What passing shadows!
We wonder at the folly of men in hunting after such vain shows–and spending time, health,
money, and life itself, in a pursuit of nothing but misery and destruction!

We care little for the opinion of men as to what is good or great–but much for what God has
stamped His own approval upon, such as . . .
  a tender conscience,
  a broken heart,
  a contrite spirit,
  a humble mind,
  a separation from the world,
  a submission to His holy will,
  a meek endurance of the cross,
  a conformity to Christ’s suffering image,
  and a living to God’s glory.

“This world is fading away, along with everything  it craves! But the man who does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John 2:17

I’m thinking the same thing. I tend to choose my vain toys over a living to God’s glory. You see, I’ve spent hours, days, and weeks on this video game. I then got a sequel to the game, so between the both of them, I’ve lost days and days to a thing that ultamately will not enter heaven. I know how to defeat both games by heart, I know where to look for bonus items, I know what combinations are most effective to ensure my own victory.

 All the while, I know that I ought to be reading the Bible. I ought to be seeking God’s truth. I ought to find a way to put down my system, but it’s so portable. In fact, of all my video game systems, its the one that is constantly at my disposal. No wires to hook up or anything to plug in. In another game I have worked up my characters beyond level 65 and I can’t tell the sequel to use these characters because the password generator wasn’t prepared to create the neccessary code.

I may not be wordly to the core, but I’m worldy enough to keep from being a really good Christian. Just enough to get confused about those churchy words. Just enough to not know Jesus as much as I’d like. What if I was the video game system? Always available for God’s use? Ready to spend the time in worthwile pursuits and not worthless time killers?

This sermon greatly helped me, “Video Games: Are they Biblical?”, believe it or not. Like most my age, I’m obviously addicted to the video game and the Internet.  I sometimes catch myself listening to it on my mp3 player. That’s step one, right?

Big Churchy Words: Holiness (2 of 2)

2. The importance of practical holiness

Can holiness save us? Can holiness put away sin, cover iniquities, make satisfaction for transgressions, pay our debt to God? No, not a whit. God forbid that I should ever say so. Holiness can do none of these things. The brightest saints are all “unprofitable servants.” Our purest works are not better than filthy rags when tried by the light of God’s holy law. The white robe, which Jesus offers and faith puts on, must be our only righteousness, the name of Christ our only confidence, the Lamb’s book of life our only title to heaven. With all our holiness we are no better than sinners. Our best things are stained and tainted with imperfection. They are all more or less incomplete, wrong in the motive or defective in the performance. By the deeds of the law shall no child of Adam ever be justified. “By grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8, 9).

a. For one thing, we must be holy, because the voice of God in Scripture plainly commands it.
b. We must be holy, because this is one grand end and purpose for which Christ came into the world.
c. We must be holy, because this is the only sound evidence that we have a saving faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
d. We must be holy, because this is the only proof that we love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.
e. We must be holy, because this is the only sound evidence that we are true children of God.
f. We must be holy, because this is the most likely way to do good to others.
g. We must be holy, because our present comfort depends much upon it.
h. Lastly, we must be holy, because without holiness on earth we will never be prepared to enjoy heaven.

And now, before I go any further, let me say a few words by way of application.

1. The most pertinent question to ask is this: “Are you holy?” Listen, I pray you, to the question I put to you this day. Do you know anything of the holiness of which I have been speaking?

2. Let me speak a little to believers. I ask you this question, “Do you think you feel the importance of holiness as much as you should?”

3. A word of advice
Do you want to attain holiness? Do you feel this day a real hearty desire to be holy? Would you be a partaker of the divine nature? Then go to Christ. Wait for nothing. Wait for nobody. Linger not. Do not think to make yourself ready. Would you continue holy? Then abide in Christ. (John 15:4, 5).

Big Churchy Words: Holiness (1 of 2)

Greeting Monotone – “Holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14).

The text which heads this page opens up a subject of deep importance. That subject is practical holiness. It suggests a question which demands the attention of all professing Christians: are we holy? Shall we see the Lord?

1. The nature of true practical holiness

A man may go great lengths and yet never reach true holiness. It is not knowledge—Balaam had that; nor great profession—Judas Iscariot had that; nor doing many things—Herod had that; nor zeal for certain matters in religion—Jehu had that; nor morality and outward respectability of conduct—the young ruler had that; nor taking pleasure in hearing preachers—the Jews in Ezekiel’s time had that; nor keeping company with godly people—Joab and Gehazi and Demas had that. Yet none of these were holy! These things alone are not holiness. A man may have any one of them and yet never see the Lord.

a. Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God, according as we find His mind described in Scripture.
b. A holy man will endeavor to shun every known sin and to keep every known commandment.
c. A holy man will strive to be like our Lord Jesus Christ.
d. A holy man will follow after meekness, patience, gentleness, patience, kind tempers, government of his tongue.
e. A holy man will follow after temperance and self–denial.
f. A holy man will follow after charity and brotherly kindness.
g. A holy man will follow after a spirit of mercy and benevolence towards others.
h. A holy man will follow after purity of heart.
i. A holy man will follow after the fear of God.
j. A holy man will follow after humility.
k. A holy man will follow after faithfulness in all the duties and relations in life.
l. Last, but not least, a holy man will follow after spiritual–mindedness.

But still, for all this, I am sure that to have such a character as I have faintly drawn, is the heart’s desire and prayer of all true Christians. They press towards it, if they do not reach it. They may not attain to it, but they always aim at it. It is what they strive and labor to be, if it is not what they are.

And this I do boldly and confidently say, that true holiness is a great reality. It is something in a man that can be seen and known and marked and felt by all around him. It is light: if it exists, it will show itself. It is salt: if it exists, its savor will be perceived. It is a precious ointment: if it exists, its presence cannot be hid.

Big Churchy Words: Righteousness

Goudy Old Style – Righteousness: Our right standing according to God, attained by salvation, belief in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

The basis on which all men are judged by God is their works. Those who practiced righteousness could expect God’s blessings. Those who did not practice His righteousness, but who practiced unrighteousness, could expect God’s judgment. On the basis of this standard, no one could be found righteous, and all mankind falls under the condemnation of a holy God. Judged according to their practice, all men fail to meet God’s standard of righteousness. A man’s works are always sufficient to condemn him, but they are never sufficient to make him righteous.

Because all mankind is found to be unrighteous, under a divine sentence of death, God Himself accomplished salvation for men. He satisfied His holy wrath by punishing His Son, in the place of the sinner. In Jesus Christ, God offers men the righteousness which He requires and which men can never attain through their own works. All who believe in Jesus Christ are saved. In all of this, the righteousness of God is demonstrated.

To sum it all up: God alone is righteous. He is the personification of righteousness. The Law is God’s standard of righteousness. We cannot earn or obtain the righteousness which God requires by our works. We fall desperately short of His righteousness, and thus are under the sentence of death. The “righteousness” which we desperately need has been provided in the person and work of Jesus Christ. It is imputed to us, on the basis of faith. All who trust in Him are reckoned to be righteous and are therefore justified by faith.

False righteousness has two distinguishing earmarks. The first is that it avoids the fact that true righteousness comes only from Christ. True righteousness is never really ours; it is His righteousness, given to us and manifested through us. Second, false righteousness almost always is in the form of “good works” which men seek to perform in order to obtain man’s approval and God’s. When we take our eyes off Christ and His righteousness and begin to focus on ourselves (and our righteousness) or anything else, we are in a weakened condition, and set ourselves up for an attack.

This certainly means that we must take sin and righteousness seriously. After all, how can we take a casual attitude toward sin if we know that it undermines our defenses and makes us vulnerable to Satan’s attacks. The awesome, almost unbelievable, truth is that lost men and women not only would rather believe a lie than the truth; they would rather live in a world of unrighteousness than in a world of righteousness.

the extremes

Georgia – Paradise. A place so beautiful, so natural, so wonderful, and so much more one can’t help but book a vacation there. It’s the compromise between two extremes. I’m thinking about how warm it would be there, and it sounds very good as its seventeen degrees outside and it’s definately not warmer than seventy degrees inside unless I stay beside the fire. Then again, paradise to me is a ranch in a southern state with a few extras. Why stop with acres and animals? I could have a spa, a smokehouse, and an fitness obstacle course if I had the means. It’s at this point when I get to thinking. I’ve seen dozens of decades-old houses collapsing in on themselves. Animals don’t live long. Things break down. Whatever is built here doesn’t last. There are natural disasters that take out all these things in one fell swoop. Without salvation, everything is lost, including myself.

The opposite of paradise, a place so horrible, so unbearable, so terrifying and so much more one can’t help but do everything possible to keep from going there. It could be bitterly cold or life-sapping heat. What if it’s dark? What if the light reflecting from the sand blinds you? It’s a place of two extremes and no compromise. If I wasn’t saved, I’d be bound here. A place that is worse than anything one can imagine. Any portrayal of this place can’t capture the never-ending nightmare it really is, words can’t express how unfit a place it is for eternity. 

The choice we have is now. It’s been said in many forms but it always means the same thing. “If I die and you’re right, I lose nothing, but if you die and I’m right then you lose everything.” “There is a gap between where we are standing and where God is, only Jesus Christ can fill that gap and allow you to cross to the other side.” “The Bible says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The wages of sin is death. Now Jesus never sinned, no not once. He died on the cross, taking on the world’s sin. He died so that every sin, past, present, and future would be forgiven, no matter what sin it was or who was the sinner. The thing is, you have to believe in Him so that you can have everlasting life. Pray this prayer and you’ll be right with God …”

It’s easy to believe in God standing before a white throne and going through the judgement. It’s not so easy to believe when there is no evidence other than what faith proves. Think on it and don’t wait, because those that don’t make a decision either way still don’t go to paradise.  

Jude: Certain Men have deserved their fate

Garamond – While writing a letter, Jude was suddenly hit with the neccesity of contending for the faith. (The word contend means to strive in opposition.) He wrote that certain men were changing the grace of God into a liscense for immorality and they were denying Jesus Christ, our only Soverign and Lord.

He then reminded the church that of those the Lord led out of Egypt, the unbelievers were destroyed. The angels that abandoned heaven are bound in darkness waiting for Judgement Day. He also wrote that Sodom and Gomorrah serve as an example of the fiery fate that awaits the immoral.

He tells the church that these certain men are due the same fate. They speak against what they don’t understand, and the things they do understand destroy them. We might want to say something to them one way or another, but he includes the story that Michael said to Satan “The Lord rebuke you.” in an argument. If we have to say anything, it probably ought to be to the same effect.

I posted about the next verse at one point, but I want to include it here because it has three refrences:

The Way of Cain: I’m thinking that Adam and Eve taught him and Abel the right type of sacrifice, but Cain wanted to do it his way. He became angry and then killed his brother. He did not do what was right.

Balaam’s Error: He was right in blessing the Israelites, but he was wrong to lead them in the idolatrous worship of other gods.

Korah’s Rebellion: In the attempt to take what was not his, he led 250 followers to stand against Moses, Aaron and the leadership set up by God. They were really holding God in contempt, and so God let them have it – they were swallowed up by the ground. When the people complained, a plague broke out among them. Moses interceded on their behalf and the plague stopped, but not before 14,700 people had perished.

Jude then uses a few illistrations about these certain men, calling them twice dead. He wrote that Enoch had preached about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

He said that these certain men grumble, are faultfinders, are sinful, they boast about themselves, and flatter others if they gain an advantage by doing so. The apostles of Jesus Christ warned us that in the last times there would be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires. These certain men divide us, live by insinct, and do not have the Holy Spirit.

Jude advises the church to build themselves up in the most holy faith, pray in the Holy Spirit, keep themselves in God’s love as they wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring them to eternal life, to be merciful, and to save others.

He then closes with this doxology: To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

Paying Debt Off Society

Franklin Gothic Book – We’ve been on our best behavior, finanicially speaking. It just seems that we can’t catch a break, we pay off something and then something else goes up. Checks that we expect don’t show up, and things that we don’t expect do break down. I’m thinking of those parables, the shrewed manager, the servant that owed more, and the one about the talents. I’m wondering just how much longer we have to wait to prove that we can be trusted with more. I’m not asking  for much, just enough to stock the shelves, just enough to fix my car, and maybe a dvd or two. Well, the third isn’t necessary,  but the first two would be pretty handy.

I used to be a little careless with my money. It wasn’t anything to buy an extra can of pop or anything, but that was well before bottles plus tax were over a dollar. I liked a certain brand of water, it was seventy-nine cents and it came with a straw. I tended to stick with my video game system, strangely, I only had three games for it. (Now I have five.) Then I learned how useful saving that money could be. Later, I was able to double that amount. It’s nothing, though. It’s too little to get started in the world. There its much more difficult to deal with money. My grandparents always saved their money before buying the object. Today we can buy the object and begin making payments on it two years from now.

It’s no wonder why we are watching the markets with such uneasiness. We’re standing on a trap, hoping that our weight won’t trigger it because we know that it’s a far distance to fall. We also know that it’ll be unlikely to scale that height. Romans 13:8, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.” So I’m hoping that we have proved more financially responsible and able to the financially responsible for more and waiting too.